CHICAGO, IL – Following research among the 378 members of the International Association of Conference Centres (IACC), the association released its Top Meeting Package Trends for 2016, which are influencing meeting planners and venue operators across the globe.
The concept of meeting packaging is one where the required components provided by a venue are included in a per person package. The concept carries different names in different parts of the world (such as Complete Meeting Package, Day Meeting Package, Day Delegate Rate, 24-Hour Rate etc.), but the concept is the same throughout IACC’s membership in 22 countries. An IACC-certified meeting venue must offer a package which includes food and beverage, meeting room hire and basic AV). See IACC’s Guide to Quality Standards for more information on what it takes to be an IACC-certified venue.
Mark Cooper, IACC’s CEO, commented, “Meeting Planners not only prefer easy-to-manage delegate packages for their meetings, they also expect delegate packages to be creative and fit their specific meeting objectives. Venues that specialize in meetings also understand that planners need to be able to buy in transparent and easy-to-budget ways.” Cooper continued with, “We are seeing some very innovative meeting packages available at IACC member venues in 22 countries across the globe.”
Trend: 95% of venues have offered non-traditional meeting packages for over 5 years. IACC member venues surveyed stated that they have been offering flexible and highly creative delegate meeting packages for over 5 years. As a result, they have developed packages over time, which meet the specific needs and requirements of planners and delegates. They are now experts in customizing packages.
Trend: Innovative packages developed by venues and clients. Two-thirds of delegate packages were crafted and developed by the leadership at IACC-member venues, using their specialized knowledge in selling meeting space in this inclusive and consultative way. At the same time, a third of those surveyed reported that their planner clients had a direct hand in developing a package that was bespoke to them and their needs. Being able to influence the way a venue packages services and products is a true demonstration of collaboration between venue and client.
Trend: 55% reported that meeting planners wanted to tailor a package specifically to meet their needs. Offering inclusive delegate packages provides certain differentiation, but being able to tailor a package to the individual client is a further step. With 55% reporting their clients prefer flexible packaging, this is not a rare approach any more. Of the packages offered which include guest room accommodations and meals, 56% of responders cited that these packages were becoming more customized.
Trend: 65% reported that planners are starting to request new inclusions. A significant number of members surveyed reported that clients are starting to ask for packages beyond the normal meeting room, F&B and tech inclusions. The top additional items requested were teambuilding, local cultural trips, coaching and facilitation. Although many IACC venues offer free delegate WiFi, the inclusion of high bandwidth WiFi to support the use of collaborative technologies was highlighted as a growing trend. The survey also indicated that the inclusion of collaborative technologies such as audience participation and meeting apps, had potential for future packaged pricing.
Trend: The top components included in customized packages. Food & beverage enhancements lead the list of inclusions, with 76% of those surveyed reporting they tailor packages with non-standard F&B items. Indoor teambuilding and meeting room configurations were second at 70% and outdoor teambuilding was forth. Also included in the list of components used to customize delegate packages were AV, WiFi and culinary teambuilding activities.
Trend: Delegate packages make good business sense for 3rd parties as well! Thirty-five percent of the venues surveyed reported that third party booking agents could consider all components of the delegate package as part of their commercial terms with the venue.
Trend: Flexible meeting packages are here to stay. Although flexible meeting packages — where the client can build a package that fits their needs exactly — have only become widespread amongst IACC venues since the economic downturn, all surveyed believe that this is a concept that is here for the long term and demonstrates that they are true partners to their clients and understand their needs.