Short-term outlook positive for smaller meeting venues, says Cooper

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Mark Cooper, CEO of IACC Mark Cooper, CEO of IACC. Photo Credit: IACC

Smaller meeting venues are enjoying a post-pandemic boom, according to the head of an industry trade body, but staffing issues presented an ongoing challenge.

Mark Cooper, CEO of IACC, the International Association of Conference Centres, said most of his members were fully booked through the first quarter of 2023.

He said IACC members were enjoying a ‘moment’ as organisations booked smaller, more frequent meetings but inflation was clouding the medium-term outlook. 

“Lead times are still very short compared to how things were before the pandemic and there is some uncertainty around the second and third quarter of 2023.”

Speaking to AMI at IBTM World, the meetings industry trade show in Barcelona, Cooper said staffing was still a major challenge for conference centres.

“It’s not necessarily about the numbers anymore, but about ensuring the people who are coming into the industry have the right knowledge for the job,” he said. “The skillset has evolved in the last two years, so that’s a leadership challenge we are helping our members with right now.”

IACC has recently extended its partnership with venue booking agency Swedish Meetings, effectively adding another 80 venues to its list of accredited members.

Amongst other things, the collaboration, which takes IACC’s membership to around 200, will give the Swedish venues access to IACC’s international market intelligence. 

Michael Schüller, Swedish Meetings CEO, said: "We see our partnership with IACC as an important platform to be able to highlight Sweden as one of the most sustainable meeting destinations in the world. Through IACC, we open a window for international conference guests to come here and meet in a sustainable way.”

Cooper added: "This partnership is extremely exciting and will lead to significant growth for IACC in Sweden and Europe in general. There is a natural affinity between our and Swedish Meetings' members, with a shared commitment to quality, knowledge sharing and the pursuit of a more sustainable meetings industry. We look forward to working with our new members to deliver real value and demonstrate the broad benefits of membership.”

James Lancaster
Written By
James Lancaster

AMI editor James Lancaster is a familiar face in the meetings industry and international association community. Since joining AMI in 2010, he has gained a reputation for asking difficult questions and getting lost in convention centres. Proofer, podcaster, and panellist - in his spare time, James likes to walk, read, listen to music, and drink beer.

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