Alan Trotter to receive Lifetime Achievement Award from the PCO Association

Alan TrotterAlan Trotter,  CEO of Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) to receive Life Membership and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Professional Conference Organisers Association for his significant contribution to the MICE Sector.

Alan has been the CEO of CINZ for 20 years.  During this time the membership has grown from 20 to 320.  Under Alan’s tenure, CINZ has established a sales and marketing office in Sydney which is responsible for the marketing of New Zealand in the Australian market for business tourism.  Australia currently contributes 60% of all international arrivals into New Zealand, and is therefore, a critical “engine room” market.

Alan also inaugurated the MEETINGS Exhibition held each year in June which is now recognised as the best business event tradeshow in Australasia and continues to grow exhibitor and hosted buyer numbers.

He was also responsible for introducing the Conference Assistance Programme (CAP) into New Zealand.  CINZ ran the CAP programme for 5 years with great success, before handing it over to Tourism New Zealand.

A passionate advocate for the Business Events Sector, it was Alan’s  vision to facilitate the union between PCO’s in New Zealand and Australia with an alliance between the CINZ PCO group and the Professional Conference Organisers Association.

Alan will be stepping down as CEO of CINZ at the end of the year.

Sarah Siebert, chair of the New Zealand PCO group and Professional Conference Organisers Association Councillor will make the presentation to Alan in Auckland next month.


Just say No – Reforms to Self-education Expense Deductions

The Professional Conference Organisers (PCO) Association Inc, on behalf of our members, would like to express our concern regarding reforms to self-education expense deductions, as recently announced by the Federal Government.

The PCO Association is a national not-for-profit member-based industry association representing conference, meetings and events managers. Our members collectively organise over 70% of the conference, meetings and business events convened throughout Australia per annum, with a spend by these business events customers worth in excess of $10b per annum (source: Tourism Research Australia 2011). The majority of these business events are hosted by not-for-profit organisations.

The industry is already feeling the impact of various State Government cut-backs on conference attendance, and to impose an additional dis-incentive for potential delegates to invest in their professional development by attending business events is a cause of major concern throughout the sector, in particular, the policy will:

  • Adversely impact the sustainability of Australia’s not-for-profit sector, many only just recovering from the impact of the GFC
  • Lead to a decline in the overall skill levels of Australian employees
  • Adversely affect the young and those just starting in careers
  • Adversely affect the competitiveness of Australian workers in the global marketplace
  • Adversely affect the viability of PCO businesses throughout Australia

The PCO Association urges the Federal Government to reconsider this retrograde step and reconsider the implementation of this policy for the sake of the not-for-profit sector, the business events industry, and the Australian economy.

Complete our petition and auto-send to the Treasurer

Footnote: Thank you to the 3011 people who completed the petition form, we have taken it down for a while.  With the change of PM and Treasurer and the likely change of Government we think the issue is off the agenda for the time being.  We will monitor the situation after the election.

The Importance of your Event Brand

As I sat down to write this I was tempted to kick off with a couple of classic arguments about “giving your branding the business edge” and “helping your business grow”, but I’m pretty sure you’ve heard it all before and know the what and why. Instead I would like to pay credit to those who have done it well, the events that have a good, immediately recognisable brand that communicates clear values and carries a reputation, and expand on that.  How can that be translated to your event?

Whether a conference or expo, consistent branding gives the impression of a well-constructed and organised event (regardless of the possible pandemonium behind the scenes) to your sponsors, delegates and guests. It’s not just a logo and tagline; it needs to convey professionalism, integrity and value to your stakeholders. What signals does your event brand send? Does it have longevity? Will it keep people coming back?

Hosting a conference takes a lot of planning and logistics so branding often gets left until the last minute. Invitations, emailers, sponsorship and registration brochures, press ads, presentations, not to mention pulling the handbook together and getting it printed before the event starts – assuming all your speakers show up!

It might seem like I’m waving a self-promotion flag right now, but as an event organiser you know it is crucial to align yourself with the right people to fulfill critical roles for your event; a creative agency is no exception. A team familiar with the mechanics of how events work, what is involved and what can be done to make it easier for you is priceless. Take the time to consider your suppliers and partners; it could help take your event to the next level. Everything you do, each element from the colours and texture of your signage and collateral to the staff you hire, should be carefully thought out and reflect your event brand.

Great spiel, but can I walk the talk? We are involved in over 10 separate events in Australia this year and I would like to share one particular success with you. We are proud to be the creative agency and branding partner for Carbon Expo Australasia, now going into its fifth year. It is the premier carbon-centred conference in the Asia-Pacific and has drawn the attention of rivals from Singapore and Europe. Five years ago we pitched for the account from a blank canvas and we have enjoyed being part of the incredible growth year to year. Originally on the Gold Coast, it moved to Melbourne in its 3rd year to facilitate its expansion and development.

We manage the entire event brand for the conference director, looking after all the general paraphernalia including sponsorship and registration brochures, advertising, website, emailers and signage needs, for both the event and sponsors where required. We also look after media, managing webcasting and photography. To see the professional result of end-to-end brand management, visit their website

Most events that I have been to are well planned and I take my hat off to the organisers and their ability to take an idea and deliver an expo of quality exhibitors or a conference bursting with satisfied delegates. All you need to do is take that knowledge and power to achieve and ice the cake with a strong and consistent brand.

Phil Winton is the Creative Director and CEO of Admedia Creative.