Jared Long of The Inn at Villanova University in the U.S. finds that his clients “are not looking for the same layouts now as they were previously; for example, instead of a classroom setup they want something more collaborative.” As meetings comprise different modes of learning — auditory, visual, and collaborative — a flexible layout allows for seamless reconfiguration without interruption. Shifting layouts provides a sort of “change in scenery” that can be invigorating and creatively stimulating for attendees. Most of the venue operators we surveyed (81%) indicated that 75% or more of their meeting rooms have furniture that allow for flexible layouts. This number has gradually increased since 2017 (69%) and in 2018 (74%), making the trend towards flexible layouts more evident.

Jared Long of The Inn at Villanova University, US

Third Spaces and Breakouts

While the flexibility of meeting spaces has and will continue to become more important, flexible furniture in non-meeting spaces is also growing in importance. Rik Husken of Kapellerput Hotel in the Netherlands says that all their furniture is flexible, “not only those in meeting rooms but also the tables and chairs in restaurants, bars, cafes and public foyers.” Using these third spaces as work cafes, breakout rooms or networking lounges is a great way to foster further collaboration and build trust among attendees. Tim Chudley of Highgate House in the UK says he has seen an increase in clients who ask for “more relaxed, less formal spaces while also desiring a return to more formal settings. These clients are now happier to use shared spaces, lounge areas, bars and more.”

Rik Husken of Kapellerput Hotel, Netherlands


IACConline.org & IACCmeetings.com

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