IACC External Meetings Demand Report 2022

Management Summary The Hotel Management School Maastricht (HMSM) was contacted by IACC with the desire to gain a better understanding of the demand for external business events, specifically post COVID-19. With the rise of remote work in recent years, employees were forced to exchange meetings in-person for virtual meetings. After elaborately reading and understanding the essence of the project brief, the following management question was formulated: “What are the current trends and factors affecting future demand for the external meeting venues that will enable IACC to predict and adjust to the changes brought on by a decentralised work environment?” Through exploratory- and literature research, a better understanding of specific factors and trends that could affect demand was gained. The seven topics identified through the exploratory research were the following: the current trends in the industry, Decentralisation of the work environment, the importance of technology in a decentralised work environment, change, organisational culture, transformation post pandemic, and the changing customer expectations. Three research questions were formulated to get insights into various relevant viewpoints to properly answer the management question: RQ1: “ Under what conditions * will strategic leaders * of large companies * , bring their teams together in real life again, considering the current decentralised work environment * ? ”

RQ2: “ What are the needs * and wants * of the clients of IACC’s venues regarding business events? ”

RQ3: “How does the perception of strategic leaders and the clients of IACC’s venues on the future of the meeting industry compared to trends and factors * , derived from the literature review? ” To answer the research questions, a combination of three research methods has been used. Literature research was used throughout the entire project. As mentioned above, it was first used to identify the initial seven topics. After conducting quantitative and qualitative research, literature research was used to explore the newly derived topics which were identified in the survey and the interviews. These research tools will be elaborated on in the following paragraphs. The second research method was a survey that was distributed via online platforms. The target audience for the survey consisted of employees that work in a high managerial position in a large international company. The survey revealed the circumstances under which the managers will bring their teams together in real life again. According to the survey findings, p eople’s motivations for gathe ring and meeting have changed as well as the purpose of meetings as they are intended to connect and engage rather than to conduct business only. If individuals solely need to discuss business matters, they will most likely do it virtually, however, if their meetings require collaboration, they will meet in-person. In addition, team buildings and training have a strong collaborative component, and participants must be present for a meeting to be successful. Virtual meetings lack the added value of an in-person human connection.

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