The International Association of Conference Centers added service standards to its Universal Criteria, according to exclusive information learned by Meetings Focus.

The quality committee of the conference center oversight body, which oversees rules its members must adhere to as well as some that are recommended, proposed the measure to IACC’s board, which passed it.

IACC plans to create service standards in several key areas, but the first was in the meeting planner experience, according to Tom Cole, general manager of the Arden Shisler Conference Center at Ohio State University, and a member of the Quality Committee.

Cole, who is also on the IACC board, plans to have the association tackle service standards for food and beverage next. This will be followed in eight other areas: technology, sales, front desk, guest accommodations, sustainability practices, perceptions of staff, overall value of meeting experience and accounting. The new standards are recommendations, not requirements for membership.

The association wants to enhance both the planner and the guest experience, said Steve Smith, director of quality services.

“IACC is striving to establish the baseline of service that ought to impact every conferee, as well as the planner,” he said. “In the end, the full success of serving a meeting depends on the impressions left with each attendee.”