Committing to quality

Expert Opinion
Committing to quality

IACC CEO Mark Cooper identifies some of the unexpected benefits of quality standards.


You’d think answering the question, ‘Why are quality standards important?’ would be simple and straightforward – of course they are important. And, on a basic level, this is perfectly correct, but to truly understand the benefits to conference and meetings venues requires a deeper understanding of the challenges that can be overcome by compliance with these standards and how.

I believe IACC’s stringent set of comprehensive quality standards is the biggest gift we have brought to our sector and I’m very proud of that. Each and every venue that applies for membership of our association must go through a thorough application and inspection process to ensure it meets the global quality standards we set; they then become IACC-certified venues.

We ask our members to demonstrate a commitment to the highest standards in design, facilities and services, as well as technology and sustainability. We also ask them to prove their staffing structures and professional development opportunities meet our requirements.

This process and quality standards compliance checks are a huge advantage to venues, as they all learn industry-leading practices for delighting customers, building team cohesion and attracting and keeping the best employees.

Then, once compliance is assured, they have a certificate that demonstrates that they are a best-in-class meeting venue. It’s a powerful brand building tool and compelling sales message that helps them grow their business.

But our quality standards wouldn’t be a gift to the industry if they were only of benefit to our venues; let’s consider the deeper advantages they offer event organisers. I say ‘deeper’ because again, it is straightforward to understand why a stringent quality standard is popular with event organisers; it’s the reassurance the modern industry is looking for from its venues.

Yet, reassurance is simply the start of the benefits a well-structured venue quality standards programme offers. It’s not every event manager that has the resources to have the latest trends and developments in dietary expectations, in culinary practices, AV technology or in sustainability at their fingertips, but, IACC does. We’re a global association, at the cutting-edge of the industry; knowing the changing client and delegate expectations is our business, and we build these developments into the regular updates to our quality standards, influenced by innovation around the world.

IACC creates and implements the trends that are shaping the way we connect, network and learn from each other. This means by keeping up-to-date with these criteria in our quality standards, organisers know what they should be insisting on for their clients. It’s a great way to benchmark what’s on offer from non-IACC venues, while staying ahead of the curve.

I’m passionate about the IACC quality standards, and the advantages they offer the industry. We’ve made them the principle feature that membership of our association is built on. Working with our venues to ensure our standards remain the measure of excellence they – and the industry – needs, is forward-thinking, creative and, most important of all, provides opportunity to stand witness to the tangible improvements our venue members achieve – year after year – simply by complying.

Stuart Wood is a news reporter across the Mash Media editorial portfolio. He writes for CMW alongside sister publications Conference News, Exhibition News, Access All Areas and Exhibition World.