Original article published by IACC
A venue only becomes a leading venue because they deliver what clients want, whether that be essentials done well, or memorable embellishments. Here’s a short list of some of the elements that the world’s best venues have in common.
1. Consistently high standards
Members of a professional meetings alliance, like IACC, are obligated to make a commitment to quality standards covering a range of best practices from management of the physical environment to the services and support they provide.
Lotta Boman, CEO of Sigtunahöjden conference venue in Sweden, says that membership in IACC helps venues to keep raising the standards of their offerings. This applies to “the professional way of hosting meetings when it comes to the technical things, like having a good sound system or fast Wi-Fi, to the importance of finer details like design of flip chart covers or a specific colour on the walls in meeting rooms.”
“IACC venues stand out from the mainstream by creating authentic and valuable experiences,” added Jeu Bressers, General Manager of Kapellerput, “whether by their design, their location or hospitality.”
2. Commitment to productive meeting outcomes
It could be opportunities for networking among delegates or educational sessions that happen without a hiccup. The top venues make the success of their customer’s meetings and events their priority.
Technology has become an obvious part of the recipe for successful meetings. “Good quality venues offer the same levels of technology that clients enjoy in their office environments and even their homes within a setting that brings the best out of delegates,” said Craig Emmerson, Group Business Development Manager at Prestige Retreats.
Top meeting venues do what it takes to accommodate their customer’s technology requirements: the latest audiovisual equipment, teleconferencing tools or hi-speed internet. Staying updated on the latest meeting technology available is an important goal for the top-rated meeting venues.
3. Transparent pricing
No one likes to get a nasty surprise attached to the invoice. The best meeting venues work closely with meeting planners to provide a service within the company’s budget, but without hidden costs. And according to Staging Connections, clients will be looking for straightforward quotes.
Flexible delegate packages incorporate catering, technology, event planning, meeting rooms and guest rooms. However they do it, venues can create meeting packages and pricing to accommodate the needs of their clients.
Henrik Karsten, CEO of Karsten Conference Centres in Australia and New Zealand, said “packaging the venue offer in a transparent way is both better for the client running the meeting and for the venue. There are always core elements every meeting needs and then others added to the per person package to make it truly personal to each event. Just like it is when you buy a car today!”
Of course, the key for pricing transparency is a written agreement up front. This will help meeting planners to focus on must-haves and more successfully manage event budgets.
4. Staying updated on best practices
Leading venue managers keep up with the latest ideas and practices in the meetings and conference industry. Ongoing staff training, developing eco friendly policies or understanding the latest experience-creation techniques being used in meetings today will be standard fare. It makes sense. Seek Learning rightly says that this will help you “identify opportunities for growth and give you a competitive edge.”
IACC and similar associations help members discern trends in the way meeting attendees want to work and learn, as well being able to better anticipate changing needs. “Successful venue operators adapt to new challenges and participate in a global network where inspiration, information and best practices are disseminated,” said Bressers. “This includes everything from generational differences to technology or design.”
5. Finding inspiration through global networking
Networking with other venue professionals that have the highest standards provides an advantage for high-caliber event and meeting properties that aim to stay in the top 1% in the world in terms of service and offerings.
Being exposed to international ideas can be inspiring, but also transformative. TJ Fimmano of Dolce Hotels and Resorts says, “All of us are better together than separately. Every time you interact with another IACC member, even if they are also a competitor, you’re learning something.”
Global networking also helps members keep tabs on trends in the industry. “There is a benefit to networking with other operators to compare where the local market is at,” said Karsten. “Plus members may refer customers to other member venues when they are fully booked or need a different location.”
A global network will also give you someone who can offer trustworthy advice. “IACC can help with the real day-to-day challenges within a business when you need a second opinion from someone not living the business you are in every day,” added Karsten.