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Mice Net : February 2010
24 mice.net news Speaking to an Italian PCO company prior to BTC, an exhibition for Italian conference professionals, and ICCA 2009 in Florence, Ms McLeod was bullish about the future of the MICE business generally. She responded to the following: Q: Both Italian and international surveys are showing a decrease in the number of participants and days for events, even though the number of events organised per year remains quite stable. How do you interpret it? Could it mean that in 2010 smaller and more targeted events will be the new trend? A: These economic times provide the environment for acceptable change. By this I mean that recession can be a convenient excuse for companies and organisations to make dramatic change to their policies in the name of survival for the future. This means that what has become normal no longer is! Reducing expenditure by eliminating participation in congresses for sponsorship, exhibiting, or as delegates is an option that many organisations have undertaken. That is why numbers in a variety of events have reduced. The other reason is competition for the available dollar will flow to those PCOs who offer the best value proposition. In other words, if the program is attractive, the venue appealing and the price is right, then the event will win over competing events. The buyers spending their dollars have lots of choice and are looking for opportunities to get the best ROI so it is imperative to have the best sales team to ensure success. Not all meetings are experiencing reduced numbers - even in these tough times the more successful PCO is still breaking records, not losing ground. It is their less skilled competitors that are making the statistics look poor. Q: How is your feeling about the scientific congresses for 2010? A: Here in Europe many meetings are continuing to grow as Europe extends its reach into newer EU countries. Europe is attractive to the rest of the world and still a magnet as the scientific standards in many European congresses has continued to improve. But not all scientific congresses will grow and be more successful. It is the congresses that are well run and moving with the times, offering the latest in science and the best in technology, operating in the most appropriate venue with the right level of service that will succeed. Those that are living in the past, not keeping up with technology nor in touch with what delegates in their profession want are the congresses that will suffer and diminish in size and success. Some areas of science have become greedy and are populating too many congresses and this will have a detrimental effect on not only the credibility of their meetings but also the support from sponsors and exhibitors who will find more cost effective ways to reach their prospective clients. Q: In your opinion are there new or preferred criteria to choose a location / destination for a congress? A: Competition is the key these days. There is a lot of it. If venues are not offering the right space, service and price then their chance of building their business is at risk. Reputation is important. The word soon gets around our global industry if locations and venues are not up to standard or delivering on their promises. Web 2.0 technologies or social networking are alive and driving decisions so it is very public when performance is not positive. ROS MCLEOD, ONE OF Australia's leading PCOs and co-chair of the global network of PCOs, INCON Partnership, believes the meetings business will grow stronger in 2010. BUSINESS experienced PCOs strengthens for ROS MCLEOD