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IACC's Meeting Room of the Future Survey Reveals Key Post-Covid Trends

Photo of attendees gathered at IACC's educational session at MPI WEC 2023.
Photo of Mark Cooper, president and CEO of IACC
Mark Cooper

IACC, which represents conference centers located throughout the world, unveils a Meeting Room of the Future Study every year. The 2023 version—the first since Covid shut down the meetings industry—registers a variety of evolving planner preferences. IACC President & CEO Mark Cooper revealed some of the most significant.

“I don’t know where to start, there were so many,” Cooper said of the results of IACC’s first Meeting Room of the Future Study in four years. “This report continues to demonstrate new experiences are really important. What is changing is what those experiences are. 

“I don’t know who came up with the saying, but ‘if it can take place on Zoom, it has no place in the room,’” Cooper continued. “We’re craving those memories—the venue and the live event has to be a richer experience.”
Cooper emphasized that the chill the pandemic put on in-person social interaction is a key driver of new meetings trends.

“They want larger spaces for the attendees to spread out; they want to access the outdoors—that’s really important,” Cooper said. “Social elements are a very important element now, but at the same time, they don’t want to be doing the old teambuilding that we used to have. They want relationship-development activities, as opposed to traditional teambuilding [problem-solving] activities. It’s privacy, but more space. And that came through loud and clear.”

[Related Podcast: IACC CEO Mark Cooper on the Resurgence of the Conference Center Segment]

Key Survey Findings

Key findings from the 2023 Meeting Room of the Future Study included the following:

  • An in-person event should be very hard if not impossible to replicate in a digital environment.
  • Teambuilding is a lower priority than social networking—it’s okay to have fun!
  • Groups want privacy from other groups. 
  • Reduced lead times are forcing planners into outsourcing more. 
  • 46% of planners expect venues to be able to deliver on-the-day requests for virtual streaming.
  • 80% of meeting planners agree that their current role in planning meetings involves more “experience creation” for delegates compared to pre-pandemic.
  • Collaborative meeting and dining spaces will be the first to be booked.
  • 61% of respondents gave accessibility the highest ranking.
  • Climate ranked as least important by Americas and most important rest of the world.
  • 19% of RFPs include request for carbon measurement from venue
  • Cyber security will become a greater priority in the next 3-5 years and is often considered in the venue-sourcing process.
  • Continuous break stations are the second-most important element in F&B programs.
  • Food service that supports attendee networking sessions is important.

[Related: 9 F&B Tips to Reach Your Meeting Sustainability Goals]

IACC Meeting Room of the Future graph of most important aspects of meetings.

IACC Meeting Room of the Future graph detailing key findings about breaks and meals.


IACC Meeting Room of the Future graph about future preferences for breaks and mealtime formats.

The full Meeting Room of the Future Study research is available for download at

Read Next: IACC Expands Membership to Include Smaller Meeting Venues

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About the author
Tyler Davidson | Editor, Vice President & Chief Content Director

Tyler Davidson has covered the travel trade for nearly 30 years. In his current role with Meetings Today, Tyler leads the editorial team on its mission to provide the best meetings content in the industry.