Is your venue future-proof?

Expert Opinion
Is your venue future-proof?

Mark Cooper, CEO of global venue association IACC, examines some current trends and asks: is your venue future-proof?


This year we introduced our fourth annual IACC Meeting Room of the Future™ report, designed to highlight the needs of the global meetings industry as it continues to develop at a rapid pace. For this study, we looked specifically at experience creation, meeting room space and design, technology trends and internet capabilities, as well as culinary trends.

We surveyed 250 meeting planners and industry experts across five continents, and suppliers, which included global meeting space designers, architects, technology companies, furniture manufacturers and nutrition experts, to find out how they are responding to the changing expectations and needs of meeting planners.

Some of the key findings and trends that emerged and will impact meeting, conference and event venues in 2020 and beyond were:



Ethical operations and sustainable practices are a top priority for meeting planning. Our report revealed that 44% of respondents believe ethical operations and sustainable approaches to events will be one of the most important elements for venues by the year 2024.

It won’t just be about the small offerings, such as replacing plastic straws, it will be about wider venue operations, management and ethos. We’re seeing a rise in the number of eco-friendly venues being booked by meeting planners. At IACC we showcase venues that have achieved IACC Green Star Certification, by tier (Platinum, Gold or Silver) on our environmental initiatives page to make it as easy as possible to find an eco-friendly venue.



Cyber attacks continue to evolve. From computer worms to large data breaches, attacks come in all shapes and sizes. Our report highlighted 27% of respondents who believe cyber security will become a greater priority in the next three to five years, with 76% of planners reporting concern about cyber security when implementing new technologies into their events.

While threats continue to develop, so do technological advancements and defence against them. It’s important to uncover your biggest security risks to know what needs to be done in order to protect against the next generation of cyber attacks.



The report also revealed a dramatic increase (up 8% from 2017 to 85% in 2019) in the number of meetings which are integrating new technology, such as audience participation apps, projection mapping and screen-sharing. This is coming from the desire of participants to be an active part of meetings and events, and to be able to have a say in what is happening. To keep up and stay relevant, venues must begin to offer more collaborative technologies to clients free of charge.


Food and beverage

Another area we’re expecting to see a focus on is venues’ approach to food and beverage, both in terms of sourcing and provenance, and also food waste.

A staggering 62% of Meeting Room of the Future respondents said that they look at how a venue manages its food waste before booking their event.

In 2020, the evolution of technology and shifting attendee expectations will continue to redefine trends.

For more on how to participate in the next IACC Meeting Room of The Future initiative visit:

Founded in 1981, IACC is an association dedicated to representing the best meeting venues globally. All 300 members meet a set of stringent Quality Standards and agree to a Code of Ethics.

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.

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