5 steps to help pick a PCO

A professional conference organiser or PCO is a company which specialises in the management of conferences, seminars and business events for academic and professional associations.

A PCO will provide a full service management for conferences including conference design, abstract management, program development, registration, venue selection, accommodation, speaker sourcing, marketing, audiovisual, logistics, administration support, financial management, social functions leisure tours, sponsorship and trade exhibition services.

By engaging a PCO, you outsource the role of Project Manager to an team of knowledgeable experts that will act as a link between suppliers, provide sound advice to the organising committee and manage technical elements to ensure the success of your conference or business event.

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Five Reasons to use a Professional Conference Organiser (PCO)

1. TIME SAVING

A PCO is an expert at saving you time and minimising stress for the organising committee. By finding the right PCO, you will have a support system readily available to answer questions, meet deadlines and keep your team accountable to make sure everything runs smoothly in the lead up to your conference. Time is money and they will be able to streamline processes for you.

2. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

If you have organised a conference before then you know that costs can add up, QUICKLY! A PCO will be able to provide you with a realistic budget from the start as well as help you manage your expenses, identify cost savings and an effective sponsorship revenue strategy. An established PCO works on events all year round so they will have great relationships with suppliers, hotels and accommodation providers which will help save you money along the way.

4. EXPERT ADVICE

The right PCO will make you feel comfortable right from the start. They will be able to provide you support and expert advice that will save you time, money and stress. We don’t doubt that your in-house staff are great but they may not have the knowledge, experience or time that a PCO will to do your event justice.

4. ADD VALUE

As a PCO we’ve seen and done it all and whilst your committee might have wonderful ideas, we know that not all ideas work in practice. Our expertise as a PCO will make sure your delegates receive the experience they are paying for by adding value to every element of your event and making your money work!

5. PROBLEM SOLVE

The conference that you deliver will be a true reflection of your organisation or association so it is crucial that we get it right. There are so many elements to running a conference, often it can be overwhelming but a PCO will be with you every step of the way to solve your problems, instantly react on-site and deliver a well rounded and seamless experience.

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Five Reasons to use a Professional Conference Organiser (PCO)

Provide an Event Brief

It is important to provide your PCO with as much information about the event as possible for your PCO to accurately estimate their costs. For example, include information such as event history, types of services required, accurate budget estimate, number of conference days, dates and location, how often the conference runs, no. of delegates, registration fees, social functions, size of exhibition, accommodation requirements, no of presenters or a program overview and pre/post event tours.

Create a shortlist

In order to select a PCO that is the right fit for the management of your event we recommend that you establish a set of key criteria. The criteria might include a summary of previous conferences they have organised, images or testimonials from clients, professional association memberships, number of years in operation or team size. It’s also useful to complete reference checks with clients both past and present that your PCO has worked with.

Get to know them

It is normal to want to get to know the team that you will end up working with. Arrange a time for your Organising Committee or Association to meet with the preferred PCO for a presentation or interview so that you can ask any questions you may have.

This is your chance to find out about their track record, if they have organised events of a similar size, what their core business is, how advanced their technology is, environmental and cultural policies, level of experience and whether they subcontract or run everything in-house.

Select your PCO!

Once you have been through all of the steps, it’s time to make a decision. Select the PCO that best matches what you are looking for and that you will have the best working relationship with. The selected PCO will send you an agreement to sign off on and its time to start working together to plan your event!