As more and more AIPC member centres embrace the AIPC Quality Standards certification, there is a broad range of experience developing that is both advancing the program itself and enabling other members to better understand how to achieve this important recognition. Two recently qualified centres in very different parts of the world - Amsterdam RAI Convention Centre and the London Convention Centre in Canada - share their experiences in achieving the AIPC Gold Level certification;
Team picture of Amsterdam RAI.
Team picture of London Convention Centre.
Question:TravelDailyNews: Why did you decide to pursue AIPC Quality Standards qualification?
Jan van den Bosch, Executive Vice President - Amsterdam RAI Convention Centre: Amsterdam RAI is a prominent member of the AIPC association. The RAI is ISO-9001 and ISO-14001 certified since 2011. Our AIPC Gold certification is another independent and professional confirmation of Amsterdam RAI's commitment in being a front runner in sustainability amongst Convention Centres in Europe and delivering world class quality in the event industry.
Lori Da Silva, CEO & General Manager - London Convention Centre: The London Convention Centre team elected to pursue the AIPC Quality Standards qualification to measure LCC standards with the best in the world. As an organization, we talk about being "world class" and this qualification validates that our standards compete on the world stage.
TDN: How challenging was the process for your staff?
J.B.: Amsterdam RAI is now in possession of the international recognized ISO-9001, ISO-14001, EarthCheck Gold and Green Key Gold certificates. The AIPC Golden Quality certification requested from the RAI QS-team to show compliance to one of the highest available international quality and sustainable standards in the event industry, the AIPC-Gold standard, which requested compliance from 4 different perspectives, the Owners perspective, the Clients perspective, the Internal perspective and the Community perspective.
L.S.: For us, the most challenging aspect of the process was dedicating the time to organize a team and for team members to carve out the time to collect and organize the required documentation. The review is extensive, requiring dedicated time to source and collate documents. While the team anticipated that the process would help identify opportunities for improvement, the unexpected benefit was the education of several newer team members about the history of established standards and the opportunity to organize all standards into a common document. The improvement to several standards and the sense of accomplishment for completing this process as a new working group was extremely valuable.
TDN: What other benefits came out of the exercise?
J.B.: The major benefit which the QS-team achieved from this exercise was a solid confirmation, that our strategy in improving quality and sustainability resulted in belonging to 'best in class' in the event industry. It strengthens our focus to offer our customers and visitors improved and repeated quality in service and products in a convention centre with state-of-the-art technical and facility equipment and to have a sufficient company structure and management system in place with processes, procedures, monitoring tools, market analysis, benchmarking and customer satisfaction analysis and a full awareness about our responsibility to our stakeholders.
L.S.: Our standards team identified several opportunities for improvement that were immediately tackled and planning is underway for future improvements to several additional standards. The collection of all standards into one electronic document makes for a comprehensive record and was recognized as an added benefit of the process.
The program also provides an ongoing benchmark for all departments, and the process reminded all team members of the importance of focusing on the quality standard and how it is communicated to new team members.
TDN: What benefits do you think your accreditation will provide in terms of things like marketing and community relations?
J.B.: Our accreditation as an AIPC Gold Quality Standard facility confirms that Amsterdam RAI can benchmark itself against the highest available international quality and sustainable standards in the event industry in our striving to offer world class quality. It is an independent recognition of our high level on quality and sustainability to our customers, our visitors and to the event industry.
L.S.: I would agree. The AIPC Quality Standards logo will be proudly displayed on the London Convention Centre website, letterhead and sales proposals. Our Quality team unveiled the recognition certificate at a property team luncheon, sharing the success with all team members and reminding everyone of the importance of following established standards and most importantly, reinforcing why the London Convention Centre team members are so very proud of their facility. In our view, the AIPC Quality Standards Gold achievement validates the daily work conducted by each and every team member of the London Convention Centre.
AIPC represents a global network of over 170 leading centres in 54 countries with the active involvement of more than 1000 management-level professionals worldwide. It is committed to encouraging and recognizing excellence in convention centre management, based on the diverse experience and expertise of its international representation, and maintains a variety of educational, research, networking and standards programs to achieve this. AIPC also celebrates and promotes the essential role of the international meetings industry in supporting economic, academic and professional development and enhancing global relations amongst highly diverse business and cultural interests.