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Normandy Farm Hotel and Conference Center recently


underwent more than $3-million in


renovations, implementing first-rate amenities. Its main lobby serves as the first and last stop to those


visiting this historic gentleman's farm and features new flooring, warm colors and comfortable furnishings.


person price for an entire day (or half- day) meeting.


“Gone are the days of ‘a la carte’ and in are the days of DMPs,” she proclaims. “Planners are always asked to submit a budget, meet a budget, or design a budget, and that can be very difficult if there are a lot of extraneous and unex- pected charges during a meeting. Our DMPs allow planners to provide all of the necessary products and services to their attendees while keeping to a strict, predetermined cost per person."


Mandel shares that she recently spoke with a customer who chose to meet at Normandy Farm, in part, because of its ergonomic chairs. “She said that her previous venue was not IACC-certified (International Association of Conference Centers) and they had Chiavari chairs in their conference center, which are fancy bamboo-like chairs with thin pillow cushions. The lesson learned from her comments reinforced what we at Normandy Farm already knew - and that was the impor- tance of making and keeping your guests comfortable in a meeting setting that usually includes hours of passive sitting.”


Though Normandy Farm exceeds the minimum requirements for IACC-certifi- cation, she says the property continues to push the envelope when it comes to maximizing their guests’ experience.


“One of our newest additions includes the installation of a contemporary art gallery, which lines the walls of our conference center. We understand that attendees may get fatigued during a long day of meetings, and we decided to do something out-of-the-ordinary to help stimulate creativity."


"IACC is the platinum brand standard for meeting and conference centers and we find that our certification gives us a tremendous advantage over our competition,” explains Mandel. “The profile of planners has shifted in our market given that we appeal to smaller retreats and meetings, under 100, ver- sus the larger meetings. That being said, many of the planners that we work with are administrative assistants or in-house support staff verses CMPs.”


These planners can be less familiar with IACC, she notes, so it gives Normandy Farm a great opportunity to build trust, rapport and unique points of differentiation while educating them about IACC. “Our more savvy and expe- rienced planners associate the IACC credentials with meeting innovation, culinary excellence, and room design to provide trend-forward, productive meetings."


In trending forward, IACC started its “Predict. Create. Shape. IACC Meeting Room of The FutureTM” initiative three years ago, through which the associa-


tion shares its vision as to what future meeting rooms may look like.


Excerpted here from iacconline.org, this annual report brings together research, trends and innovations with the single goal of predicting, creating and shaping the future of meeting environments. It includes insights from over 50 venues across four continents, as well as suppliers such as global meeting space designers, architects, technology companies, furniture man- ufacturers and nutrition experts.


“As the industry evolves and expands, just as meeting planners must continu- ally evaluate all elements of the meet- ing experience, operators and suppli- ers must also ensure they are meeting and anticipating the changing needs of planners,” explains IACC CEO, Mark Cooper. “The survey was designed to highlight these growing needs; we looked specifically at experience cre- ation, meeting room space and design, technology and internet capabilities as well as culinary trends.”


Among the highlights of the 2018 report findings are: high quality Internet will be the most important meeting element in the coming years; experience creation is expected to become more important; flexible meet- ing spaces are growing in popularity; easy screen-sharing between devices is becoming more important for collabo-


Mid-Atlantic­EvEntS Magazine 41


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