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The Future of Professional Congress Organization. Roger Tondeur MCI AIPC July 2006. The Future of Professional Congress Organization. The MCI Group – An Introduction Trends in Associations and their Impact on PCOs / DMCs Local PCO/DMC – The Future? Opportunities for Local PCOs

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The future of professional congress organization

The Future of Professional Congress Organization

Roger Tondeur


AIPC July 2006

The future of professional congress organization1
The Future of Professional Congress Organization

  • The MCI Group – An Introduction

  • Trends in Associations and their Impact on PCOs / DMCs

  • Local PCO/DMC – The Future?

  • Opportunities for Local PCOs

  • From Local PCO to Core PCO

  • Emergence of Association Management Companies

  • Conclusions

  • Questions and Answers

Mci group
MCI Group

  • MCI is the foremost Pan-European association, communications, and event management company

  • 18 years of experience (founded 1987)

    • 4.000 projects+

    • 400.000 hotel room nights booked/year

  • One Company, a World of Experiences

    • (360 staff, € 120 M turnover)

  • 13 European offices, plus Singapore, Strategic Alliance in the USA

Serving corporations and associations
Serving Corporations and Associations

MCI is the Preferred Vendor for global companies

Lilly, HP, AstraZeneca, BMS, Roche, Amgen, France Telecom,

Abbott, Orange, DaimlerChrysler

MCI manages 23 associations on a strategic level EULAR, ECTS, ESPEN, FIDI, WLPGA as core PCOISN, WFSBP, PMI, ISPE, as AMC

Trends in associations
Trends in Associations

(national, regional, international)

  • Meetings increasingly “only” part of the overall strategy of an organization

  • Change from volunteer to professional management

  • Importance of greater central involvement/control

  • Need for “progressive development” of any organizational activity

  • Long term accountability to stakeholders (including pharmaceutical industry)

  • Technologicaladvancements

Trends in associations1
Trends in Associations

  • Meetings decreasingly the single most important activity of an organization - diversification of activities

  • Limited or even decreasing funding resources (= success of meetings is even more critical)

  • Return on investment for association, sponsors, partners

  • Varying objectives depending on destination

  • Emergence of international “Core PCOs” and “Association Management Companies”

  • Importance of a greater international presence(particular in South & Latin America) (“go there”)

Trends in destination selection
Trends in Destination Selection

  • Selection increasingly based on overall strategic goals of associations / mission cycles

  • Association/meetings professionals have more (pre-)decision making influence

  • Pre-selection of regions and possibly countries

  • Open and formal RFP for candidate destinations and local vendors

  • Need for transparency when making selections

  • Increasing preference to work with professional convention bureaus

Market environment
Market Environment

  • Companies and associations are using global strategies, creating a need for a global approach to strategy, with local execution.

  • “Relationships” are no longer sufficient in the world of procurement departments, PCOs have to move towards long-term contracts and added value.

  • Commoditisation and consolidation

  • Increased return on investment and stakeholder value

  • Experience and purchasing power are needed to be credible.

  • Transparency, competence, flexibility and price are important elements as businesses and associations focus on core competencies.

Perceptions of local pcos by associations
Perceptions of Local PCOs by Associations

+ Local knowledge

+ Professionalism

+ On the ground (time, culture, language)

+ Time saving

+ Cost efficiency

- Need for “investment”

- Lack of transparency

- Lack of trust

- Objectives may not be the same

- Costly

Local pco dmc the future1
Local PCO/DMC - The Future?

  • All the trends indicated before

  • Less control over events (including selection of destination)

  • Less opportunities to make money (budget constraints)

  • Works with PCOs or AMCs rather than volunteers (greater control)

  • Core PCOs have increasing purchasing power


  • Local knowledge and contacts, purchasing power remain important

  • Ideally complement the strengths of associations and add value

Example transportation of your delegates
Example: Transportation of your delegates

Opportunities for Local PCOs

How can local pcos be successful
How can Local PCOs be successful?

  • Understand your partners (associations, AMCs, Core PCOs)

  • Offer seamless integration with association or Core PCO

  • Be transparent

  • Offer local competence and added-value

  • Have a pro-active approach

  • Show your flexibility

  • Find the price – quality balance

Areas of collaboration
Areas of Collaboration

  • Accommodations

  • Social events

  • On site services

  • Transfers / welcome services

  • Local / regional marketing

  • Local / regional sponsorship and exhibition sales

How to find the best collaboration
How to Find the Best Collaboration

  • Clear expectation management

  • Distribution of tasks

  • Acceptance of limited scope for local PCO/DMC

  • Understanding of all parties’ needs – The Association, The LOC, The Local PCO/DMC & The Core PCO

  • Work as a team and not against each other

  • Provide a clear value-added

Your reputation will travel far!

Scope of work of core pcos
Scope of Work of Core PCOs

  • Work with associations (or corporations) over several events

  • Travel with them to various locations (national, regional, international)

  • Align their goals with the associations

  • Align their working styles

  • Become “one team”

  • Build long-term relationships with key stakeholders (e.g. sponsors)

  • Securing the association’s interests

  • Knowledge maintenance & development

    • Marketing

    • Congress Culture

    • Content

    • Cost Control

  • Guarantee unified high service and product level

  • How are core pcos structured
    How are Core PCOs Structured

    • Taking full responsibility as much as requested

    • Dedicated team members (year after year)

    • Leaving appropriate roles to the local entities: DMC / PCO

    • Work with specialized departments

      • Sponsorship / fundraising

      • Events marketing

      • Technical

      • Accommodations

      • Purchasing

      • Finances

      • Program development

    Benefits for core pcos
    Benefits for Core PCOs

    • Long-term relationship (= secure business)

    • Closeness to decision makers

    • Ability to influence and/or be part of the decision making process (including site selection)

    • Become part of the overall strategy of an organization

    • Can be pro-active about their own business future

    • Can grow with the associations they service (= create own business)

    The emergence of association management companies
    The Emergence of Association Management Companies

    From dmc to association management company
    From DMC to Association Management Company

    Control over the Association / Event

    Association Management C.

    Core PCO

    Local PCO


    Trends towards association management
    Trends towards Association Management

    • More Associations seek stronger central control - use Core PCOs, AMC’s or Integrated AMC’s

    • Decision on locationis made more strategically – based on an association’s need

    • Return on investment for associations and partners critical

    • Core relationships must be served more constantly (e.g. sponsors)

    • Meetings are increasingly seen as “only one aspect” of an association

    • IPCAA Recommendations:

      • “Use experienced, financially solvent, and loyal PCO”

    Integrated association management



    Sec. Gen





















    IT Partner

    Integrated Association Management







    More centralised control

    Association management
    Association Management

    • Central office and association management

    • Membership administration and development

    • Strategic planning, management and development

    • Financial planning, management and controlling

    • Communications and marketing (hardcopy and electronic)

    • Branding

    • Corporate relations and fund development

    • Strategic relations and partnerships

    • Educational programs and knowledge management

    • Leadership development

    • Government affairs


    • Associations are becoming more sophisticated (must become)

    • Local expertise remains very important

    • PCOs who understand professional trends (national, regional, international) will ultimately be successful

    • PCOs can and must become strategic partners of associations or corporations

    • There is increasing need for more strategic services to associations

    • PCOs must be pro-active as the business environment changes quickly

    • National, regional and international collaborations become more important

    The future of professional congress organization

    MCI HQ

    75 rue de Lyon

    1211 Geneva 13


    Phone: + 41 22 33 99 500

    Fax: + 41 22 33 99 501