New Research Reveals Experience Creation is Key to the Meeting Room of the Future

June 13, 2023

The latest edition of the Meeting Room of the Future, a research study conducted by Development Counsellors International in partnership with the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC), provides firsthand insight into the world of meetings and conferences from meeting planners and venue operators.

The study builds on previous surveys of meeting planners from 2017 and 2019. Needless to say, since 2019, the way we live, work and travel has undergone profound transformations, as has the world of business events.

In the post-pandemic world, with many adjusting to a remote work or hybrid-work lifestyle, the role of human connection and experience creation have emerged as central driving forces for business events travel. With virtual and hybrid attendance also a new norm for meetings, conferences need to be worth the time and cost of in-person attendance. As such, four out of five meeting planners surveyed agreed that their roles involve more “experience creation” than they did before the pandemic.



This emphasis on the experience has impacted the format and spaces of events that meeting planners are prioritizing. Gone are the days of events centered around long-form, one-way lectures. Planners are seeking unique and flexible spaces, that allow for creative and memorable events. Interaction, networking and the experience are front and center. This includes an increased emphasis on audience participation such as polling and Q&A, more breakouts sessions and engaging interactive activities.

Gone too are the days of a “one size fits all” approach to meeting planning, regardless of the host location. The study found that destination value and access to local, authentic experiences has risen in importance since 2019. Business travel shouldn’t be all business and no travel! The effects of the pandemic have created a thirst for meaningful local and authentic cultural experiences that are unique to the destination. This includes offering locally sourced ingredients for F&B and access to local landscapes.

The key take-away from this study? By creating unforgettable local experiences for delegates, destination organizations can emphasize the “travel” in “business event travel” and create future ambassadors for your destination.

To download the report, visit:

About IACC: Founded in 1981, IACC is a not-for-profit association dedicated to promoting understanding and awareness of the meetings venue industry and to giving member properties the tools necessary to provide an exceptional IACC meeting experience. Active members meet a set of stringent Quality Standards and agree to a Code of Ethics. 

Currently, the association includes approximately 400 members from the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, England, Scotland, Ukraine, The Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand and Singapore. 

About the Survey: The survey of 275 meeting planners, representing every continent, builds on previous surveys from 2017 and 2019, as well as exploring new topics that have emerged in importance.  

Written by

Robyn Domber

Senior Vice President, Research