Book a Meeting

The National Conference Center Blog

Posts Tagged ‘IACC 2011’

Helping Meeting Planners Understand the IACC Value

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Closing Reception at IACC 2011 in The National Conference Center Ballroom

As a 30 year veteran of the meetings industry and a recent honoree of the Mel Hosansky award, Joan Eisenstodt has a true passion for conference centers. When honored with the award Joan said, “…[She hopes] IACC conference centers would continue to be true to their mission, that they would be places where true learning would happen” (Hotel-Online).

At the 2011 annual IACC conference, we learned more about our mission as an IACC member. Here are the most interesting findings – you’ll be surprised to know some are sitting in front of us on a daily basis:

  • Define a Conference Center – Don’t assume all meeting planners understand what a conference center is because there are many who don’t and choose to book at hotels instead. Joan best said it during the Customers Panel on the opening night, “A small portion of meeting planners and particularly Generation Y planners don’t book at conference centers because they don’t understand conference centers. Explaining the conference center concept and the value of productive meetings at an IACC conference center is our job in educating the meetings industry.”

  • Utilize IACC – Use IACC to help meeting planners understand certified IACC conference centers. Explain the 32 point universal criteria to being a IACC conference center from a personal conference planning manager on staff to the Complete Meeting Package. In a case study, there was a division of meeting planners who understood the certifications of an IACC conference center and those who didn’t know what it was. The study found that meeting planners who weren’t explain the 32 criteria of an IACC conference center could care less about meetings at a conference center. However, the case study found of meeting planners who were explained the 32 criteria of an IACC conference center loved hosting meetings at a conference center.

  • Focus on the visit or site-tour, THEN the meeting. According to a session at IACC 2011, explaining membership as an IACC conference center and the value extended the meeting planner will help sales managers in bringing the meeting planner to the property. At that point, the sales manager can then focus on bringing the meeting to the property. “Sell the visit, THEN sell the meeting.”

  • Return on Investment – As mentioned in “11 Takeaways from IACC 2011,” ROI is not necessarily reducing cost but the value delivered. If meeting planners understand the product more, then that’s also a form of ROI. In this case, helping meeting planners understand conference centers, Complete Meeting Packages (CMPs), and the 32 criteria of an IACC conference center are all part of the daily ROI for your conference center.

If you’ve hosted meetings in the past at a conference center, what influenced your decision? As a meeting planner, what do you value the most from the 32-point IACC criteria?

[RECAP] In the past week at NCC

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011


Colson embraces Dustin Shipley, from Minneapolis. He is funny before a crowd and quick to hug fans.


Religion, hearing, literacy, and conference centers are just a few items we advocate for at The National Conference Center. In the past week, we’ve served as a “center hub” for non-profits, associations, and beyond. Here’s a recap of some of the more public events at NCC:

  • Evangelist Chuck Colson challenged a new group of Centurions to become a spiritual clone of himself and accept the obstacle of religious pluralism. According to The Washington Post, “They are regular people for the most part, though graduates include a few politicos (Bill Redmond, a former New Mexico congressman, and Bob Snelling, a former member of the Georgia House) and high-ranking executives (former Freddie Mac vice president Chris Morris and Documentary Channel Chief Executive James Ackerman).”  Read more from “Evangelist Charles Colson’s final mission: Spiritually cloning himself” at The National Conference Center last Monday.
  • American Girl Dolls Generate Hearing Aids – Each Spring, Blue Ridge Speech & Hearing hosts their annual American Girls Fashion Show for mothers and daughters to enjoy an afternoon of dolls and tea. Blue Ridge’s ultimate goal this past Sunday? To raise funds for hearing aids for children in Loudoun County. Watch Loudoun Times Mirror’s YouTube Video from the event which generated six hearing aids for families at no cost to them.
  • Be a BOLD Speller: Corporate Spelling Bee – B-A-T was in first grade, and when you’re in the Loudoun Literacy Council’s spelling bee, this is one competitive challenge you don’t want to miss! On Monday night, corporations from around Northern Virginia met for the challenge to spell and raise money to educate those below or at the poverty level in Loudoun County. Brian Mitchell, former Washington Redskins made an appearance as a spelling bee judge and was not reluctant to call players out. Rounds included spelling backwards, replacing vowels with “B,” and a spelling speed race. We won the title of 1st place and anticipate supporting Loudoun Literacy Council again in 2012.
  • IACC: Providing for Our Peers – Members of the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) slowly trickled in on Tuesday evening of last week and expanded into a 300-person conference. Over the course of the week, members discussed best practices, learned about technology in the hospitality world, and savored the taste of exquisite dishes prepared daily by a group of talented Executive Chefs in the house. To find out what you missed from the conference, read “11 Takeaways from IACC 2011.

If you weren’t able to make it to these events, we hope to see you at them next year!

11 Take-Aways from IACC 2011

Monday, March 28th, 2011

The 30th annual conference for the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) was held at The National Conference Center this past week. Each year, a chosen conference center hosts the annual IACC conference, we were honored to host the 2011 IACC  conference. Here are 12 take-aways from the 2011 IACC Conference:

  • Social media makes a large breakthrough – at the IACC conference before, during & after. The twitter hashtag #IACC2011 made its debut in February and gained momentum in the days leading up to the conference. During the first session which featured a web-casted Thought Leaders Panel discussion, tweeps could direct their questions to panelists by tweeting to @IACCthought. Throughout the conference, attendees and non-attendees tweeted about sessions using the hashtag #IACC2011 or tweeting discussion questions to @IACCconfcenters.
  • Apps are used to engage attendees – aside from engaging attendees through social media such as LinkedIn questions and Twitter walls and hashtags. IACC members on-site could play SCVNGR, a Google app with challenges. IACC developed their own SCVNGR game where attendees could interact and meet others with challenges, points, and rewards on their smart-phone.

  • ARAMARK Executive Chefs know how to impress! – On the opening night, 7 Executive Chefs came together to create the IACC Road Trip: A Taste of ARAMARK. The National Tour showcased items specific to regions around the United States including West Coast, Pacific Northwest, Southwest, New England, Deep South, Bayou, and Chesapeake Bay. Pictured above is Executive Chef Rannae Hamlet’s Smoked Canadian Salmon and Idaho Trout with Smoke Bacon Foam, Fresh Dill, over Quail Egg.
  • 5 Stages of Meetings – From the Thought Leaders Panel discussion,the panelists discussed 5 Stages of Meetings. Attract, Entering, Engaging, Exiting, and Extending all which make up the 5 key concepts conference centers should know in creating compelling meeting experiences for clients.

  • IACC Copper Skillet Judges awards U.K. Executive Chef - In an intense competition, IACC Executive Chefs from around the world competed for the title of “2011 Chef of The Year.” With 15 minutes to review their ingredients, 5 minutes to brainstorm, and 30 minutes to cook, the 7 Executive Chefs raced to create the best dish and become the 2011 IACC Chef of the Year. Executive Chef Jamian Lewish of the Devenport House in the U.K. was awarded this year’s title.

  • A Universal Conference Center Goal - as best stated by Joan Einsenstodt, a 30 year veteran of the meetings industry, a portion of meeting planners and event professionals aren’t aware of the benefits a conference center; they may mistake a conference center as a hotel with meeting space. However it shall be every conference center and meeting planner’s goal in 2011 and beyond to explain the conference center value and the 32 universal criteria of IACC.
  • Join the #eventprofs community on Twitter – coupled with Joan Eisenstodt’s statement about educating on conference centers, joining the #eventprofs on Twitter is another strong suggestion from Joan. As discussed during the “Joan Eisenstodt Show” with Camille Paluscio from VW and Bill Reed from Experient at the IACC conference,by joining in the #eventprofs conversation, you’ll increase the ROI of your conference  center.  ROI is not only defined as reducing costs – “It’s the value delivered. If that means understanding the product better such as a conference center, then that’s also the ROI [with using social media].”
  • Technology and Room Set-Up Play Key Roles – Design of a room can be the biggest factor in the success of a meeting. Meeting projectors should be set in the left corner of a room, with the speaker presenting in the middle and the entrance/exit at the back of the room. Distraction-free meetings that are appealing to the eye and the mind.

  • Apps will make a breakthrough – Apps in the hospitality industry are becoming increasingly popular. As hotels develop their own apps as a channel of customer service, those who seek real-time information on their smart phones are early adapters of this technology trend. Conference centers should be next to pick up on the trend with property information, shuttles times, meeting agenda, and more.
  • Food is where the mind is – Andrea Sullivan of BrainStrength discusses her compelling research on how food affects the mind by enhancing mood, performance, and learning. Attendees created their own meeting menus for successful learning and discovered what works best for meetings and what should be avoided. For instance, honey helps memory and garlic and ginger create clarity. Andrea recommends using all three!
  • Award Wrap-Up – The following awards were given during Thursday night’s evening reception. The Pyramid Award Winner was Melissa Fromento, Group Publisher of MeetingsNet, Award of Excellence was given to Robert Sanders of Hospitality Resource Group, Conference Center Industry Award 2011 awarded to Leah Bernick from George Washington University, Doris Sklar Award to EJ Lee, and last, congratulations to Joan Eisenstodt of Eisenstodt Associates who received the Mel Hosansky Award – the highest honor in IACC.

What was your favorite session from IACC 2011?  If you didn’t attend this year, we hope to see you in 2012!

Behind the Scenes: Gearing Up for #IACC2011

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

You may be arriving on property here at The National Conference Center to attend IACC 2011, the annual conference for the International Association of Conference Centers. Or, you may have plans to attend the Thought Leaders Summit webcast tomorrow to enlighten yourself on trends in the hospitality & meetings industry. Behind the scenes of it all, ARAMARK Executive Chefs are working hard at the conference center to prepare regional dishes for the opening reception of IACC. Get ready to “Rev It Up” the theme of the conference this year.

Food for Thought with Executive Chef Craig Mason

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Whether you’re interested in food that will increase your cognitive memory or you’ll be introduced to the concept at IACC 2011 for Andrea Sullivan’s “Meet & Eat,” food research seems to fascinate people and have them questioning: Am I feeding my brain the right food? In this YouTube video, Executive Chef Craig Mason speaks about food for thought trends at NCC. Food for thought are items known to provide nutrients for your brain to fight off afternoon fatigue and increase cognitive memory, helpful for full functionality at work and in meetings or at conferences. Check out more below in our YouTube series, Lessons In The Kitchen with Chef Craig Mason.