The Royal College of Physicians has this week clinched the title of ‘World’s Best Convention Centre’. The award is an unprecedented achievement for an academic venue, achieved in the face of competition from leading conference and convention venues throughout the world.
The award was announced at the annual conference of AIPC, the International Association of Congress Centres, in Amsterdam. The sixteen finalists included major venues in Adelaide, Istanbul, Toronto, Kyoto, Belfast, Orlando and Orange County in California.
AIPC is the industry association for professional convention and exhibition centre managers world-wide. Membership includes venues from more than 50 countries. It is committed to encouraging and recognising excellence in convention centre management, while at the same time providing the tools to achieve high standards through its research, educational and networking programmes.
The award – officially entitled the AIPC Apex Award - is made every two years and is a central part of AIPC’s mission to encourage and recognise excellence in congress centre management and operation. It is judged on the basis of a comprehensive analysis of centre performance based on customer satisfaction surveys. An independent ‘blind’ evaluation process, carried out by an independent global research company, ensures an objective analysis of data addressing a series of factors including centre facilities, project management capabilities, catering and technical capacity. The winner in 2008 was the Valencia Conference Centre in Spain.
This year’s competition was one of the most intensive in the award’s history. The process was extensively reviewed and enhanced for this year to ensure the most accurate possible assessment, achieve the correct weighting and produce the optimal statistical validity. The enhanced process generated more extensive customer feedback on competing venues than ever before. Some 1560 client references were received and 739 questionnaires completed – the latter a 40% increase over the previous competition. It is understood that the RCP received more client responses than any other finalist.
“The Apex award is one of the most prestigious titles in the world, and to secure it we have had prove that we are competitive in every respect with some of the most successful venues in the world,” said Clive Ostler, the RCP’s General Manager, Marketing & Facilities: “The defining factor is customer feedback, and clearly the detailed comments of our own clients gave us the edge. It is further vindication of our rigorous approach to the processes of building mutually productive relationships, which means that currently more than 70% of our business is repeat.”
The RCP has sustained consistently outstanding customer feedback ratings over more than a decade. The Apex award is the second major accolade for the RCP in the past few weeks. In June, it secured the ‘Best UK venue for up to 250 people’ title in the UK’s annual Conference Awards.
The venue is an iconic, award-winning, Grade 1 listed modernist building with a distinctive combination of modern conference facilities and evocative heritage locations. Further opportunities to make events memorable include its medicinal garden and extensive museum collections. Recent events that it has hosted include the international meeting of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the BBC’s prestigious Dimbleby Lecture and the JMIC (Joint Meetings Industry Council) International Conference on Evaluating Meetings.