PCOA Program Release – Meeting Beyond Tomorrow

PCO Web Banner FINALThemed ‘MEETING Beyond Tomorrow’, the PCOA Conference & Exhibition will be held at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, between 26 – 28 November 2017, the city where it all started 10 years ago.

The program, with two strong sub-themes of Innovation and Engagement, includes a variety of expert speakers, covering topics ranging from the latest technology and what impact it has on conferences to new ways to engage and influence audiences.

There is an ever-changing business and economic landscape and today, more than ever, we have to think beyond tomorrow to stay competitive and shape our future in the meetings and events industry.

This year’s program will include practical and personal development sessions for every level of event professional and networking opportunities for all PCOs, industry members and in-house event managers to connect with each other.

Delegates will be encouraged to discuss ways to take conferencing to the next level and continue the growth of the business events sector.

The PCO Association conferences have a history of being educational, motivating and where expectations are exceeded.

To view the Program click here

To Register for the conference click here

PCO Association applauds NSW Government on policy launch

The NSW Government has released the much-anticipated NSW Regional Conferencing Strategy & Action Plan, which it says will drive more business events and visitors to rural and regional NSW.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro, Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Adam Marshall, and Member for Tamworth, Kevin Anderson, launched the $6 million strategy with the aim of securing more conventions, meetings and business events to rural and regional NSW.

Mr Barilaro said the conferencing industry was currently worth $145 million to regional NSW each year.

“Through this strategy, we want to increase that contribution by bringing more conferences and visitors to regional NSW, and in turn boost local economies and create more jobs in our regional communities,” Mr Barilaro said.

Mr Marshall said the business events sector presented a significant growth opportunity for regional destinations, and the actions in the Regional Conferencing Strategy & Action Plan would ensure that growth was realised.

“From the bush to the coast, we want every conference planner to know that regional NSW can offer delegates both an opportunity to do business and the chance to explore our fantastic tourism offerings,” Mr Marshall said.

The NSW Regional Conferencing Strategy & Action Plan includes 11 strategic imperatives and 64 actions, with the following now in place:

• The establishment of a Regional Conferencing Unit within Destination NSW which will work closely with industry and the Destination Networks to build capacity and increase the number of business events held in regional NSW.

• The launch of a website portal called ‘Meet in Regional NSW’ to help showcase the array of business event venues and destinations in regional NSW.

• The development of a NSW Regional Conferencing Toolkit which offers the tools and tips of the trade for regional business event suppliers.

• The launch of a pilot NSW Regional Conferencing Development Grants Program which will provides investment on a matched-dollar-for-dollar basis to attract more conventions, meetings and business events in rural and regional NSW. An initial investment of $500,000 has been allocated to this pilot program.

Member for Tamworth, Kevin Anderson, said the Regional Conferencing Strategy & Action Plan would be a huge benefit to the region.

“The Strategy will help attract more visitors to enjoy everything Tamworth has to offer, and will equip local businesses with the tools and resources they need to ensure visitors have the best possible experience while they’re here,” Mr Anderson said.

PCOA President Barry Neame said “its members are strong advocates of regional conference and events destinations as they provide opportunities to showcase and support unique locations. The Regional Conferencing Strategy & Action Plan can only benefit local economies and add to community spirit. We applaud the NSW government on this policy launch”.


Making Sponsorship Work

Warwick MerryMany events struggle with sponsorship. It is not that they struggle to get sponsors, it is more that with the ever-evolving events industry, sponsorship does not work like it used to and we need to get better at making it work, writes Warwick Merry.

Here are some key elements to keep in mind when dealing with sponsors.

It’s not about you
While it is your event, it has your name on it;the sponsorship is not about you. Sponsorship is all about the sponsor. What value can they get, what leverage does the event give them and how can they use the event to increase their market share, their position in the market or their brand awareness?

Be crystal clear, when you are approaching sponsors, you are doing them no favours.Positioning your event is all about how you can create a great opportunity for your sponsor. This in return will be advantageous for you and your delegates. You may be trying for a “win – win” but you must understand it from the sponsor perspective first.

There has to be a return
Sponsors don’t have bottomless pits of money. High level promises of “it’ll be really great branding” used to work but not anymore. Smart brands want to calculate their return on investment, return on objective and return on energy.

If they are investing $50k with you, they want a multiple of value. For example, if they only get $50k of value, their return is 100 per cent which is barely worth it. Sponsors will want an increased payback.

For example, if a premium car brand sponsors your event for $20k and they make $10k profit on each car sale, they will want at least two car sales to cover the cost of the event and then give some return. How can you help make that happen?

Help sponsors be successful
Many sponsors struggle with sponsorship.They spend a lot of money for the brand awareness but then do very little to take advantage of the event. They send the wrong people to the event and then do very little follow-up.

We are successful when our sponsors are successful. As part of your sponsor’s package, it is important to educate the sponsor on how to take advantage of their sponsorship. Too often sponsors invest their money, don’t get the outcome they were after and then don’t partner with you again. Some of this is due to unrealistic expectations but mostly it is because they have not decided before they started on how they will measure if this is a successful event.

It is so important to be focused on a longterm relationship with your sponsors. It is far easier to have them sign up for a multi-year deal or to eagerly re-sign the sponsorship deal year after year.

What that means for us is that we have to make sure that they know how to measure their success. We need to work with them to decide what they want from the event.If we can help our sponsors get concrete measures of success, then we can have them sign up with us time and time again.

Warwick Merry will be the conference MC at  the 10th Annual PCOA Conference and Exhibition, to be held at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, 26 – 28 November 2017

CIM magazine – PCO Association business partner