Ali Copeman appointed new CINZ Approved PCO Group Chairperson

Ali - CINZAli Copeman has been appointed the Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) Approved Professional Conference Organiser (PCO) Group Chairperson.

Ali is a CINZ PCO member based in Dunedin where she established akB Conference Management in 1999, and has been working nationwide in the industry ever since. She was Director of the Otago Chamber of Commerce for nine years, the last three as President.

“We extend a warm welcome to Ali in this new role. Being on both sides of the management and governance table, her knowledge and practice around good governance is exceptional,” says CINZ Chief Executive, Sue Sullivan.

Ali Copeman’s career spans the events, tourism and sporting sectors and she has broad experience in sponsorship procurements and people management.

She is also well-known for her work in coaching and mentoring women to help them realise their potential in the board room, in their own business or on the sports field.

Ali says she looks forward to plenty of engagement with the CINZ PCO Group members. “We must continue with a strong, united voice and lead from the front together,” she says.

“CINZ extends its thanks to the previous Chairperson, Janet Matheson for her contribution over the past three years,” Sue Sullivan says.

The next CINZ Approved PCO Group Meeting is planned for Thursday, 1 June 2017 during MEETINGS 2017 at the ASB Showgrounds.

The 10th Annual PCOA Conference and Exhibition is being held at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, between 26 – 28 November 2017

The Ultimate Site Inspection

Version 2With so many new venues coming online across the country, we are often spoilt for choice when it comes to booking somewhere for the next staff conference or event.

However despite the increase in options, venues are booking up well in advance these days, especially at peak times of the year. Even if, like our team, you have worked with hundreds of venues across the country, I always recommend scheduling a site inspection prior to committing to a new or unfamiliar venue to ensure there are no surprises onsite. Looking at a website is useful (especially during the research phase), yet it will only get you so far. The venue’s photographs will be selective, as a result it’s up to you to leave no stone unturned.

A site inspection may cost you an airfare or some time out of the office. If you can stretch the budget to fit it in, I promise you it’s worth it. Not only will you be able to determine if the venue is the right fit, it can help you avoid unexpected costs later down the track. Also, meeting the venue’s event team onsite at the very beginning of a project helps build a solid relationship and opens communications – remember you will be working closely together over the coming months to bring your event to life.

What Should I Bring?

You’ll need a brief detailing your event requirements to make sure you and the venue representative are on the same page. A tape measure and camera are another must have! You can share photographs with your client, colleagues or suppliers (if required). There are some great apps you can use to take 360 degree views of rooms – these can be great to refer to when you are back at your desk looking at floorplans.

Don’t Forget to Prepare – Have a Checklist Ready.

You’ll also need a checklist to track and compare the quality of each venue. A good checklist will focus your search by not only listing the venue brief, but clearly noting the overall event objectives clearly at the top. As with all aspects of good event planning, the venue should support the achievement of the event goals in some way, whether it be via alignment with brand or business values or through its layout, access to offsite activities or its location.

Your checklist only needs to be a simple one page document ensuring you review all the important elements to consider when choosing a venue. For example, does the room have any obstructions, windows or views? Does it have built in audio-visual equipment? Where would you set up registration? In addition you may need to consider, access times, catering capabilities, storage areas and sound-proofing between rooms.

Using a checklist will prompt you to ask the right questions to ensure there are no problematic revelations when you’re onsite.

Remember, a methodical, in person review of a venue will enable you to identify the advantages and limitations of its location, service and rooms. It is also often beneficial in the final negotiation stages to have a face to face meeting with the venue contact.

If you need some help to get started, you are welcome to download our free venue research and site inspection checklist I should point out that this is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start that works for our team. You may want a separate checklist for accommodation rooms, outdoor spaces and even locations if you are considering more than one location across Australia or internationally. Feel free to contact us if you need further information.

Don’t put it off any longer, conduct some research, create a shortlist and schedule some site inspections sooner rather than later to make sure you secure the best possible venue for you next event!

Happy hunting!

Author: Peta Moore
Managing Director,
Conference Program Director, PCO Association

Join us for the 10th Annual PCOA Conference and Exhibition, Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, 26 – 28 November 2017

PCO Association Hotel Advisory Committee News

Twelve months ago the PCO Association established a Hotel Advisory Committee.

One of the committee’s objectives was to improve dialogue between PCO’s, Hotel Sales Teams and Hotel Revenue Managers and to work towards ways of improving the level of communication and standard of professionalism between all parties.

Over the course of Advisory meetings many discussions took place on the issues Hotels and PCO’s face when contracting business.

With the collaboration of both parties a RFP (Request for Proposal) document was designed and is now available exclusively to PCO Association members by logging onto the members section of the PCO Association website

Mary Sparksman, one of the PCO Association councillors has been trialling the RFP document over the past month. Mary said, “not only has the document simplified her requests for proposals, the positive feedback from the hotels has been extremely encouraging”.

Barry Neame, President of the PCO Association said “based on Mary Sparksman’s feedback, all PCOA Councillors will be encouraging their staff and our members to trial the RFP document”.

For information on the PCO Association memberships please contact Cindy Axisa on

The 10th Annual PCOA Conference and Exhibition is being held at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, 26 – 28 November 2017