MMIP 2013 - (Page 25)
Professional Conference Organizers (PCOs) are experts at making international conventions, world trade shows and in uential summits organization a breeze in Mexico.
Mexico plays host yearly to numerous world gatherings — the G-20 Summit, the WTO T-20 Summit, the WHO International Congress on Occupational Health, the World Chambers of Commerce Convention, the International Canopy Conference, the UN COP-16 Conference on Climate Change – to name a few. And to make sure these large gatherings run smoothly, choosing a Professional Conference Organizer (PCO) is an important part of the process. “A good PCO is a one-stop shop that guarantees a successful event,” says Alex Vidal, director of strategy and marketing for Los Cabos Convention Center. America, according to Farias-Barlow. The latter drew more than 900 world leaders and influencers. PCOs are especially valuable when U.S. organizations are hosting large meetings in Mexico since a PCO can assist in offering local customs and business protocols of the place they are doing business. “They can provide the most cost effective resources and advice,” says Vidal.
What to Know Before You Hire a PCO
What should a planner know in order to select the best PCO for their program? If your convention and/or trade show is beautybased, for instance – with cosmetics, etc. –find a PCO with expertise in that sector. “The focus of the program is extremely important in choosing a PCO,” explains Gamboa. Be sure it’s a reputable PCO, too, experts caution. Obtain recommendations from the Mexico chapters of SITE, PCMA, MPI, CMP and others as to whom they consider the best PCOs in the field. n (See a guide to DMCs and PCOs, page 26)
Why Use a PCO?
As Vidal explains, “a PCO can provide full service management for conferences and conventions including registration, venue selection and contracts, accommodation booking, conference design and room set-up, program development, audiovisuals, IT support, public relations, event promotion, funding, sponsorship, food and beverages, financial management and off-site events and activities.” How does a PCO differ from a DMC? “A PCO sees the whole picture,” explains Gamboa. “We offer all the services to stage conventions and trade shows. We often hire local DMCs for various parts of a convention.” The choice of when to use a PCO can vary, too, depending many times on the number of in-house planners an organization has and less on the size of the convention that will be staged. “If an organization has only one, two or three in-house planners – then they need a bigger team and they need a PCO,” according to Elias Gamboa, director of marketing for Grupo Fidalex, one of Mexico’s top PCOs and the organizer of some of Mexico’s biggest events including ICOMEX. A reputable PCO will have a network of group suppliers and the knowledge of which suppliers are best for specific needs. Patricia Farias-Barlow, general director of Puerto Vallarta International Convention Center, says that it is helpful for convention centers to work with the professional organizers because, through her experience, PCOs speak what she calls the same “meetings language” as the convention center team. U.S. clients that have used PCOs for large 2012 international conventions in Puerto Vallarta include the World Congress of Endoscopic Surgery and the World Economic Forum on Latin
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MMIP 2013
Here and There
Centers of Attention
Spotlight on Congresses
What They Say About Mexico
What to Do
Mexico Meetings Hotels