arinexis an innovator in technology for scientific meetings and actively shares its experiences and knowledge with industry colleagues via many educational platforms around the world.
Driven by the goal to achieve wonderful experiences for their clients, arinexis a multi award winner in the meetings industry for their many outstanding achievements.
Establishing strong relationships with clients is key for a Professional Conference Organiser (PCO) to achieve success and the Project Manager is the face of the PCO.
It is crucial in the initial stage for the Project Manager to receive a thorough briefing on the background of the client event in the handover from the sales team. The first meeting agenda should allow for discussion of the financial and non-financial objectives, marketing and sponsorship targets and the delegate profile.
The Project Manager needs to know who has contracted the PCO (in other words who is the client?) and what relationship and expectations exist between the organising committee, the national association and international body.Who are the decision makers, how is each party to be involved and what are the lines of communication? This enables allocation of roles to the right people within the organising committee for scientific program, sponsorship and marketing in conjunction with the PCO. The Project Manager needs to understand the individuals, professionally and personally and how and why they wish to be involved in the planning. The chairperson must be a good leader and oversee the members in their roles.
Different personalities communicate differently - formally, casually, promptly, slowly etc. The Project Manager needs to adapt quickly and learn to work with them in the way that suits whilst at the same time balancing the challenge of managing a number of clients and conferences thus management should be firm with clear guidelines for communication and planning.
Clients are experts in their industry sector and therefore should guide the PCO by sharing their knowledge and experience in past conference history; program themes and experts in the field to be invited as speakers; delegate expectations; marketing to the right people in the right places; sponsorship and exhibition, targeting the right sponsors at the right level; budgeting to qualify expected income and required items for expenditure. Adetailed project plan is essential to encourage a collaborative approach clearly delegating responsibility to the PCO or the client to achieve outcomes.
It is important that the Project Manager develops strategies such as the following while maintaining client relationships to foster cohesion and trust:
Clients have a right to a high expectation of their PCO for the success of their event. In recent years clients are more experienced and becoming more accustomed to planning processes and practices with some clients expecting to be more actively involved. On the other hand many clients are time poor and wish to delegate most action to the PCO.
Our industry,through industry forums and shows such as IMEX, AIME, EIBTM and even the internet, is constantly educating clients on trends, opportunities, even competitor services.Particularly with repeat clients, we are sharing our expertise and providing client training.
There is an increasing focus on the return on investment (ROI) from PCO management and service fees. Therefore one of the challenges PCOs face in this decade, is satisfying a client's changing expectations whilst continuing to invest in the development and growth of the PCO'sbusiness to be able to deliver in an environment of rapid change and increasing demands.
From the outset of the relationship it is crucial to clearly outline each party's role, expectations and objectives for the conference. That way,thePCO can strive to meet and even exceed their client's expectations.