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The PCO as a Consultant

The role of a professional conference organiser has drastically changed over the past ten years, and this trend is only expected to continue. Many believe that the PCO of the near future will represent more of a consultant as opposed to dealing with logistical services alone. However, it is still interesting to note that many companies which claim to offer professional conference organiser services are still solely based on logistics.

Let us explore the methodology and techniques which should be embraced to guarantee quality results.

Tasks of the PCO of the Future

There are several tasks which the “modern” PCO as a consultant will need to embrace. Not only must the PCO strive to develop medium to long-term relationships with the client, but bespoke plans will need to be modified every two to three years to stay ahead of the competitive curve. To put this another way, an adaptive nature is one of the keys to success. Some core competencies will, therefore, involve notions such as:

  • Brand development
  • Strategic business planning
  • Compliance consulting
  • Fundraising

Related: Taking the Guesswork Out of Conference Management: Investing in a PCO

Of course, these competencies can often be used in synergy with additional conference management techniques to provide more balanced (and flexible) solutions. The synergy of such methods will help ensure superior levels of quality improvement; a genuine concern in such a competitive environment.

This, of course, will naturally prove to be quite tricky for third-party clients who rotate event planners on a semi-yearly or a yearly basis. Relationships must be fostered over time, and a significant amount of knowledge will need to be exhibited concerning goals and objectives.

Conference Success

It may initially appear quite easy to increase the profitability of a conference. Higher revenue generation and lower in-house costs are the two key metrics. However, maintaining the same degree of quality from a long-term point of view is much more challenging, a more in-depth marketing planning should be applied.

Related: From Conference Budget Planning to Cash-Flow Management: The many Tasks of the PCO

Let us look at one interactive model geared towards meeting the needs of service companies:

The Seven “P’s”: The Marketing Mix Matrix

The intention of applying this model is to undertake a competitive analysis and to set objectives utilising a broad SWOT approach. This is a practical framework intended to examine an existing business model and to determine the appropriate strategies along the way. As a result, these critical questions should be answered through such an implementation:

  • How can you further develop your services to fit the clients and your participants’ expectations? (products)
  • What are the most relevant marketing and communication tools to reach your target audience of your conference? (promotions)
  • How can existing price models be modified which will add revenue for your conference and still be seen as good value for money? (prices)
  • How does your target participants want to register for your conference, what kinds of distribution options exist? (places)
  • Who is directly involved with your client and do any skills need to be enhanced? (people)
  • Is the present level of customer support adequate and are current IT solutions sufficient? (processes)
  • How can customers be reassured to foster higher levels of brand loyalty? (physical evidence)

To sum things up, the future PCO consultant will be focused on delivering additional services as well as standard logistical solutions. This directly applies to the capabilities of Congrex.

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Congrex Switzerland is an internationally operating agency delivering customised solutions. This encompasses the overall organisation of conferences and meetings including the management of hotel rooms and the strategic consultancy. Annually Congrex Switzerland organises approximately 33 events with over 73’000 delegates. Amongst our clients are international associations, governmental organisations and corporations.

If you wish to receive additional information about Congrex Switzerland, please feel free to contact us.



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