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Two Advantages of Outsourcing Meeting Management

The biggest advantage of outsourcing is that it frees up the outsourcer from a secondary task, enabling them to focus on their primary tasks. When preparing for an event, there is the potential for a lot of hidden costs, starting from arranging internal resources to training the people in charge of the event and even overall management. In the Meetings Industry, there are specialists called PCOs, and there are several ways how they help to not only reduce costs but also ensure a high-quality event.

What Exactly is a PCO?

PCO stands for Professional Congress Organizer. Generally, the PCO works with the company or organization holding an event such as an international meeting, exhibition, symposium, or seminar, handles everything from preparations to operating the event on site and post-event support.

Especially for events with many participants, or where an extremely accurate simulation of revenue and expenses is needed, outsourcing it to a skilled professional, rather than doing it internally can result in, while controlling costs, a higher quality event, therefore leading to higher participant satisfaction. Due to this, the trend in the Meetings Industry has been for more outsourcing to meeting and event planners.

Two Big Advantages

There are many advantages of outsourcing meeting and event management to a PCO. Here we will explain two big advantages, from the perspective of the organizer.

Access to the Latest Solutions and Trends

As creatures of habit, we tend to do what is familiar to us. When companies do their events in-house, people tend to do what is familiar, which can lead to very similar events; however, by outsourcing to a PCO, using the experience gained by running various types of meetings with differing themes, we can provide the best solution that matches your needs.

For example, traditionally, event registration was done manually, but by using an automated registration system using smartphones and QR codes, the time required for registration can be reduced to 20 seconds per person.
Using IT tools like this as part of an operational strategy has an added benefit of meeting attendees’ varying needs and projecting a modern appearance.

Making Your Employees More Efficient

Preparing for a meeting or event is not just about sending invitations to potential attendees – there are lots of things to do, such as contacting suppliers such as designers, printers, contractors, and security providers and make the necessary arrangements with them. If doing this in-house, this then becomes more work your employees have to do, leading to them working longer hours and having to respond to sudden emergencies regarding the event.

However, by outsourcing to a PCO, this problem can be avoided by entrusting them with all the organizational work, such as managing schedules, checking task progress on Gantt charts and contacting partners. Your employees are then freed from these tasks and can use their time more productively by focusing on core tasks for the meeting and the event program. Outsourcing to a PCO is especially recommended for events that demand high quality, such as anniversaries and general meetings.

Understanding the Advantages and Disadvantages

Here, the advantages of outsourcing to a PCO were just briefly explained. However, when dealing with clients, they often wonder whether it is best to outsource everything right away, or keep doing things in-house, as has been done traditionally. It is important to note that there are situations where it makes sense to keep doing things in-house, depending on the number of participants, the meeting space, and the personnel required. On the other hand, when having a meeting or event with substantially more participants than before, or planning something completely different from before, there are almost certainly cases where it is better to outsource. Due to this, it is often better to look at each event being held, before deciding whether or not to go ahead with outsourcing.

It is only natural to be worried about switching to a PCO to manage meetings and events that are currently managed in-house. In that case, it might be better to, instead of outsourcing all of the preparatory work, to only outsource certain parts, such as arrangement of staff, managing the meeting, set-up and onsite operation. If you are not sure which parts to outsource, consulting your PCO can be helpful in order to find a good balance depending on your event and your needs.

Editor’s Note

Here, we talked about what a PCO is and the advantages of using one. We understand that events and meetings are filled with big decisions and one of the options is to talk to a PCO. A PCO, with years of experience hosting international meetings with many foreign attendees, and large corporate events will be able to discuss your challenges and assist you in having an event that exceeds expectations.

Written by Yasemin Karatas

MCI-JCS Japan and Meetings Industry Research Institute
Japan Convention Services, Inc.

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