Imagine the scenario: you are a planner tasked with organising an international conference, meeting or exhibition. You want to have professional meeting planning experts at your side, so you start searching the internet for meeting planners, event organisers or professional conference organisers (PCOs).
You will find a massive number of search results – but it does not need to be challenging to find quality and experienced organisers you can trust.
Whittle down the list by checking for professional organisations who guarantee qualifications, expertise and, most importantly, the quality assurance recognised by a wide range of congress clients, suppliers and other organisers worldwide.
In our case: reach out to IAPCO member PCOs.
Who is IAPCO?
IAPCO is the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers and the top professional association for those whose core business is organising, planning and managing national and international special events, conventions, and congresses.
IAPCO is a non-profit organisation committed to raising the standards of professionalism in the meetings industry regarding efficiency, timeliness, good management, and financial responsibility.
Related: Nine Signs You Need A Professional Conference Organiser For Your Next Event
IAPCO is an exclusive group of Professional Congress Organisers considered the best in the business. This is not an easy association to join either because a Core PCO must meet very stringent requirements to be accepted, which include the following:
- Providing references from clients they’ve worked with
- Evidence that they have organised at least ten international conferences or meetings, 5 of which must have had more than 400 participants
- A site visit to an international congress they’ve organised so that IAPCO can interview their client, the local organising committee, exhibitors and delegates.
- Office inspection, along with an audit of their operating procedures
That’s not the story’s end; once a PCO has been accredited into IAPCO, they can only keep their membership by committing to annual participation in a quality assessment. They must continually prove they are maintaining the highest standards of business practices as well as operating with the utmost professional ethics by doing the following:
- Provide statutory returns that prove they are still in business as a Core PCO
- Notify IAPCO of any changes in management
- Submit their Congress Check Lists showing they are continuously active in the meetings market internationally.
- Conduct and offer a self-assessment on the quality of their services, comparing themselves to their competition and offering benchmarks to improve their services even more
- Attend the annual IAPCO Quality Seminar every three years at minimum
This gives you the assurance you need when hiring an IAPCO member PCO. You will find a top-quality company with the qualifications and expertise to manage your event successfully. Most importantly, you will receive quality assurance recognised by a wide range of congress clients, suppliers and other organisers worldwide.
The benefits of using an IAPCO member PCO
Having an IAPCO-accredited PCO provides tremendous expertise in organising your event or conference, along with the highest quality standards, which relieves you of headaches.
They bring a well-trained professional staff dedicated exclusively to you and your event. An IAPCO member PCO will also have access to innovative congress management software customised to the needs of your congress so that all processes can be streamlined, ensuring that everything runs efficiently and smoothly.
An IAPCO-accredited PCO has a certain depth of knowledge about the international meetings industry, who the players are and what is required for a top-quality conference. They are up on all the trends in the industry and how best to incorporate them into your event, and how to avoid any possible problems or pitfalls.
Related: The Role of the Professional Conference Organiser (Core PCO) [2021 updated version]
With their proven track record of success and the benefit of a vast network to assist, you can enjoy peace of mind and be freed from all the operational and administrative responsibilities of planning a conference. You can also reduce the pressure and anxiety that comes with trying to put on a large gathering.
What you will receive by working with an IAPCO member PCO will save you time and money and ensure that you have a top-quality, successful and profitable event. Do not take a chance on hiring a Professional Conference Organiser that does not belong to IAPCO.
Contact one of our expert advisors today for more information about how Congrex can help plan your next conference.