Convention centers are striving to satisfy planners’ requests by offering innovative, customized meeting packages focusing on team-building, high-bandwidth Wi-Fi, local cultural trips and more, according to a new study.
These are among the highlights in the International Association of Conference Centre (IACC) report, Top Meeting Package Trends for 2016, which is based on responses of 378 of the association’s worldwide members. Meeting packages provide planners with required components in a per-person bundle. An IACC-certified meetings package includes food and beverage, meeting room hire and basic audiovisual items.
The IACC identified seven main trends in its report.
Ninety-five percent of venues have offered nontraditional meeting packages for more than five years: IACC members have developed flexible, creative packages to meet the specific needs and requirements of planners and attendees.
Two-thirds of attendee packages were created and developed by leaders at IACC-member venues: The leaders have used their specialized knowledge in selling meeting space in an inclusive, cooperative manner. One-third reported that their planner clients directly assisted in creative a package that met their group’s needs.
Fifty-five percent of those surveyed reported that meeting planners want to tailor a package to meet their specific needs: Inclusive delegate packages provide some options for groups, but tailoring a package for individual clients is another step. The survey shows that 56 percent of the packages that include guest room accommodations and meals are becoming more customized.
Sixty-five percent of planners are starting to request new inclusions: These requests extend beyond the typical meeting room, F&B and tech. The leading additional requests are for team building, local cultural trips, coaching and facilitation. Other popular requests are for high bandwidth Wi-Fi to support the use of collaborative technologies.
F&B tops the list of components included in customized packages: Seventy-six percent of those surveyed reported that they tailored packages with nonstandard F&B items. Indoor team building and meeting room configurations tied for second at 76 percent, followed by outdoor team building.
Attendee packages make good sense of third parties, as well: Thirty-five percent of those responding reported that third-party booking agents could consider all components of the attendee package as part of their commercial agreement with the venue.
Flexible meeting packages are here to stay: Although they’ve become widespread among IACC venue only since the economic downturn, everyone surveyed agreed that the packages are here for the long term and that this shows that they are true partners with their clients and understand their needs.
BY DAN JOHNSON