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Six out of 10 planners concerned about food waste, IACC report reveals

Food waste generated by meetings and events is a major concern for more than six in 10 meeting planners, according to IACC’s annual Meeting Room of the Future report 2019.

The report found that 62 per cent of respondents said they will look at how a venue manages its food waste before booking.

The report, released at MPI’s World Education Congress, also showed that 44 per cent of respondents believe that ethical operations and sustainable practices will be one of the most important elements for venues by the year 2024.

Cybersecurity is also a key topic, with 27 per cent of respondents stating that cybersecurity will become a greater priority in the next three to five years, with 76 per cent of meeting planners reporting that they are concerned about cybersecurity when implementing new technologies into their events.

Matt Harvey, vice president of internet services, PSAV, said: “Events are vulnerable to a variety of cyber-attacks that can occur both prior to and during an event so organisations will need to take a holistic approach to security that addresses each type of threat. Event software developers, venues and Wi-Fi operator partners will be faced with the escalating challenge of improving security without diminishing the ease of use which will be key to the implementation of new digital technologies.”

The report also revealed an eight per cent increase from 2017 to 85 per cent in 2019 in the number of meetings which are integrating new technology, such as audience participation apps, projection mapping and screen-sharing.

IACC’s Meeting Room of the Future report brings together insights from more than 250 meeting planners.

IACC’s Meeting Room of the Future report brings together insights from more than 250 meeting planners.

The report also points to the fact that the recent focus on experience creation has continued to grow. Since 2017 the number of meeting planners now responsible for creating memorable meeting experiences has grown by 10 per cent to 85 per cent. The rise is being attributed to an influx of new generations both attending events and also planning them. Younger generations are providing a driving force for change to meeting formats, breakout sessions and team building activities.

Dietary requirements have remained the number one priority in food and beverage for meeting planners in 2019. Of those surveyed, 88 per cent had full confidence that their venues of choice will accommodate special requests in advance of a meeting or event. However, some believe more can be done by venues when it comes to ensuring serving staff are briefed on food ingredients and potential allergens, labelling all ingredients for buffet spreads but also creating more exciting food for those who have dietary requirements.

Mark Cooper, CEO of IACC, said: “IACC is dedicated to setting the agenda for the meetings and events industry when it comes to giving venue operators insights and understanding into how they need to continue to adapt to deliver an outstanding experience for event planners. This year’s report reveals some interesting new trends and shows that trends that have emerged in recent years are continuing to grow.

“We are seeing more critical analysis of venues and practices before booking events and, especially, a real focus on sustainability and ethical operations. These are areas we expect to continue to develop over the coming years. I am interested to see how venues and companies address the concerns of meeting planners over the next year and what changes we will see in the 2020 report.”

IACC’s Meeting Room of the Future report brings together insights from more than 250 meeting planners from five different continents to gain insights from global venue operators, industry experts and suppliers, with the goal of understanding how they are responding to the changing expectations and needs of meeting planners, as identified in the 2019 survey of buyers.