The International Association of Conference Centers experienced a series of firsts at its recent annual meeting, held at the Zermatt Resort & Spa in Midway, Utah, March 27-30.

Among them: a webcast of a highly interactive town hall meeting that featured IACC's seven committee heads on stage addressing questions from the nearly 400 attendees in the live audience, as well as text questions from members watching from conference-center computer screens around the world.

IACC President Neil Pompan, COO and CFO, EMCVenues, said that the association hoped to educate members about new initiatives under way, all of which underscore the IACC difference: Its 300-plus conference center members all meet stringent universal criteria that provide high-quality facilities for meeting professionals and regularly undergo audits to ensure that they continue to meet quality standards.

One highlight of the town hall was the input from Melissa Bell, conference manager, BMO Financial Group, Toronto, who is a board associate for the IACC board, a position the association created last year to include voices of Gen X/Y members as well as to help the association examine how conference centers — and meetings — of the future will look and feel. Bell explained a new generational term that most of the audience had not heard before: Zoomers, another name for baby boomers “who are zooming toward retirement.”

IACC also introduced its new brand at the conference, which includes a new visual identity and logo. Under the letters IACC, the words meeting experience have been added to denote the association's focus on quality and setting standards.

At the final night's banquet, the Mel Hosansky Award for Distinguished Service was given to Rodman Marymor, CEO, Cardinal Communications Inc., who built IACC's Web site into a respected industry portal. Meeting professionals know and appreciate Marymor as the creator of the original meetings industry listserv, the MIMlist.

Plans are in the works to invite meeting planners to upcoming IACC regional meetings, one of which will be held in New Jersey in June and another in Chicago in January.

For more information about upcoming events and a directory of all IACC conference center members, visit

Strategic Reading

Any planner who has ever been asked to justify the expense of holding a meeting knows how challenging it can be to gather ROI metrics. Here are two books that offer a primer.

Proving the Value of Meetings & Events: How and Why to Measure ROI, by Jack J. Phillips, Monica Myhill, and James B. McDonough, shows planners how to set objectives, collect and analyze data, and report results. Case studies that detail the process are included.

Return on Investment in Meetings & Events, by Jack J. Phillips, M. Theresa Breining, and Patricia Pulliam Phillips, builds on the “ROI Methodology,” to calculate ROI from all perspectives — that of participants, sponsors, exhibitors, and organizers — and shows how it can be applied to all types of meetings.

Related article:
IACC 2007 Annual Meeting Wrapup