Producers, Managers
and Convenors

Barry Neame, president of the PCO Association, says certification is likely to become a necessity for event planners in 2020, while technology and collaboration will also lead the way.

There is likely to be an increasing expectation during 2020 for event managers and event companies to become certified, says Barry Neame, president of the Professional Conference Organisers (PCO) Association.

Neame says the ‘expectation’ will come from the clients with whom the managers and companies do business. He says those who are not certified lessen their chances of gaining new work from those clients.

“Certification determines if an event manager or event management company meets or exceeds minimum standards of service and business practices,” he says.

“Clients see certification as a method of ensuring they are getting quality and at the same time being assured of risk mitigation.”

“Industry suppliers are also placing credibility on certification and are providing better deals for accredited companies.”

In 2019 the PCO Association experienced a surge in the number of associations and corporate clients approaching it to distribute tender documents to certified event companies.

“Industry suppliers are also placing credibility on certification and are providing better deals for accredited companies,” says Neame.

“Certification is now included in government ‘invitation to tender’ documents as a desirable criteria.”

Technology and collaboration

Fresh from a highly successful 2019 PCOA Conference in which the theme was ‘Anything is Possible’, Neame says new technology has a major impact on events across the board.

“It impacts on how we organise, market and deliver events,” he says.

“One aspect of these new technologies is silent sessions, where delegates use headphone technology which allows, for example, the simultaneous presentation of multiple content, depending on what broadcast station the listener chooses from their headset.

“Using this technology, presenters can run several sessions in the same room at the same time.”

According to Neame, the PCO Association was buoyed by a strong sense of collaboration that was woven through its latest conference.

“The attendees, as at previous conferences, were willing to share their experiences, and this is appreciated by the growing number of in-house event planners joining the PCO Association and attending its annual conferences,” he says.

“Our association will continue to support development of those new to the events industry through mentoring programs and special industry groups.

“Companies can only benefit from mentoring programs and such groups because of their contribution to the development of a better trained and more engaged workforce.”

In 2020, Neame predicts corporate and social responsibility will continue to be a hot topic in the events industry.

“The PCO Association councillors will continue ongoing discussions during 2020 on how to run events with purpose, legacy events and how to create corporate and social responsibility,” he says.