The new IACC MultiPOD Meeting format promises to deliver savings along with increased opportunities for face-to-face engagement.
Launched at the end of September, the format was developed after months of research. It merges in-person and virtual elements at two or more different IACC member venues with one gold-star standard framework. It also offers strong, interconnected technology platforms.
“This has been designed to cater to the way meetings need to happen in the current climate and is underpinned by our commitment to venue excellence,” explained Mark Cooper, CEO, IACC. “Given global restrictions on travel and limits on the number of people who can gather in person, many business events will take place regionally in smaller groups. However, that does not diminish the desire for in-person live experiences and to foster cross-fertilization of ideas across countries and continents.”
Sean Anderson, IACC’s global president and senior vice-president of Sodexo Conferencing comments, “Our immediate focus is on keeping our colleagues, guests and families safe and healthy. At the same time, IACC venues around the world are banding together to help lead the industry’s recovery—and beyond. Personal contact and the closeness of face to face are powerful communication and connection tools. By creating our PODs, venues will embrace all necessary elements of physical meetings, and provide the necessary infrastructure for best-in-class hybrid solutions. By avoiding physical barriers and infusing the power of digital, we are able to help increase attendance, improve engagement and offer a more inclusive environment.”
IACC partnered with meetings architect, Mike van der Vijver of Mindmeeting, to design a benefits statement for harnessing the power of meetings and conferences taking place in two or more locations. The content, connections and collaboration were all key to an impactful event for attendees and the venues play a very important part. Each IACC venue commits to not only having in place MultiPOD knowledgeable staff, but also to collaborate with the other venue teams, AV and production teams, making it easier for meeting professionals to manage the event.
Partnering with PSAV and Electro-Media Design (EMD), IACC has developed a specification document and venue pledge which must be committed to by any of the 400 IACC-certified venues in 25 countries wishing to host a POD meeting. IACC, in conjunction with EMD, offers venues training and consultancy to ensure they are prepared for both MultiPOD and hybrid meeting hosting. PSAV offer a full range of production, platform and collaboration tools, adapted to each brief.
“IACC is a global community of expert venues that has always had a strong DNA for sharing ideas that matter. So, collaborating with their colleagues at the venues hosting the other PODs was a concept they can easily embrace,” says Cooper. “It may be as simple as co-ordinating the same food and drink offer across all venues, to provide continuity shared experiences for attendees, or sharing important planning related information in advance to save the meeting organizer time. It can also go much deeper if desired.”
Benefits of the IACC MultiPOD Meeting for attendees and planners include:
- Reduced travel and transportation costs.
- Opportunities for live networking, as well as the chance to meet with people further afield through the virtual component.
- Avoiding the complex health security measures needed for larger group gatherings.
- An easy multiple venue sourcing process supported by IACC.
- Peace of mind from using IACC-endorsed hybrid technology providers.