The PCO April 2021

Page 1

News from the International A ssociation of Professional Congress Organisers

Issue No. 94 Q2 April 2021


CONTENTS ON THE COVER Traditional Rwanda dancer


Photo source: Rwanda Convention Bureau



From the President and the CEO



IAPCO Ambassadors


2020 member survey stats


Turning safety measures into opportunities


myRadio Nurse


Towards a new understanding of hygiene


Converting a live event into a virtual one


EventsAIR / IAPCO partnership


Is it necessary to continue training?


Education calendar – what’s coming up


EDGE-ucation – recent events


ICS Asia Offices – new members


60 seconds with Sissi Lignou


Getting to know Symporg AS


Re-imagining the role of the event professional


Connection co-ordination


FIGO in Rwanda


Members’ headlines


Our Partners


EDUCATION What’s happened and is happening


ON POINT ARTICLES Keeping up to date with what is happening in the industry

MEMBERS’ EVENTS AND NEWS Read the full stories of our members' news on the IAPCO Knowledge Hub

Not enough time in the day? Too much good content to read? The PCO is adapting to meet your needs by being slimmer but more frequent – you can read it now every six weeks! Extended news is linked to the Knowledge Hub where you can find other articles, videos and learning, so grab that cup of coffee and enjoy your second issue of the new The PCO!

The PCO: published by IAPCO Whilst every care is taken in the preparation and publishing of The PCO, the views expressed are not necessarily those of IAPCO or its members and no responsibility can be taken for articles, errors or comment. Editor: Sarah Storie-Pugh / Design:


YOUR MEETINGS SAFE 6 things hotels are doing to help you book with confidence. #StaySafeTO







New physical barriers and signage to help maintain physical distancing.

New no contact technology uses your phone to check in and out, as a key to rooms, access to chat with staff and more.

Priority is meeting public food guidelines. We’ve eliminated shared use items and now offer contactless delivery.

Increased cleaning and disinfecting in public spaces and guestrooms.

Dedicated group sections with decreased room capacity to meet physical distancing requirements and allow for hybrid in-person/virtual connection.

Connect with confidence with our adjusted contracting process that offers flexible terms and simplified contracts.


A WORD OF OPTIMISM 2021 started as another year of virtual events across our

Take advantage of change…

industry. A challenging year with a lot of uncertainties. Stephen Hawking once communicated that “Intelligence is With recent news, however, coming from different countries,

the ability to adapt to change”. Well, if the last 12 months is

a bright light is appearing at the end of the tunnel.

anything to go by then our industry is certainly filled with very intelligent people and we don’t have to look far within the

The US travel association has released their travel forecast

IAPCO community to experience just this.

to 2024 using Oxford Economics’ proprietary travel forecasting model. Total spending on Business Travel will increase by 20%

IAPCO PCOs continue to lead the conversations with their

during 2021 and additionally by 23.2% during 2022.

association and corporate clients alike in transitioning business and professional events from traditional, in-person

Restrictions are being lifted and business events are

models, through to new and exciting hybrid formats that

happening again on a local and/or regional level in countries

facilitate both on-line and in-person engagement.

that have contained the virus such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, and in those where their vaccination rate is

There is no clearer evidence of this than when we compare

high, as in the United States and UAE. Venues are turning into

the IAPCO Member Annual Survey data from 2019 to 2020

vaccination centres instead of field hospitals, for example, in

[see pages 6 & 7]. This ability to adapt to change and present

the Prague Congress Centre.

viable alternative options to clients has resulted in IAPCO Members facilitating content and knowledge-share delivery

We all know that people are eager to travel and meet again.

to 6.4 million participants in 2020 compared to the 6.7 million

Nevertheless, we have an obligation as industry professionals

participants in 2019, a drop of less than 5%.

to ensure this is done in a safe way, a way that will protect our staff, suppliers and participants and will keep them healthy.

Had it not been for the sheer professionalism, agility and for-

This year, along with continuing to service our clients, mostly

ward-thinking of the many leaders and their teams across the

in a virtual environment, we will focus on planning the return

IAPCO community, this important knowledge-sharing amongst

of in-person events.

academics, scientists and others would likely not have happened and solutions to some of the world’s greatest

One thing that came out of this pandemic is that organisations

future challenges may not have been discussed and debated.

and associations have realised that education can continue online. This will shift the way we think and design the future

Although faced with challenging situations, professionally

of the in-person meeting. While content will still be the core

and personally, our IAPCO community has embraced change,

of the in-person meeting, more emphasis will be given to

created new opportunities and adapted exceptionally well.

networking, community building, research collaborations and hands-on experience. This will be bolstered with online

As you read through this edition of The PCO, take a moment

participants unable to travel to the event.

to congratulate yourself on how well you too have adapted to change over the past year, what you have already achieved,

One thing is clear, a fascinating year with room for optimism is

and consider what more exciting opportunities await you.

ahead of us. Martin Boyle, CEO Ori Lahav, President 2020-2023 4

| April 2021


AMBASSADORS’ PROGRAMME EMBRACES MEMBER ENGAGEMENT 2021 will mark the launch of a further IAPCO initiative –

networking. IAPCO’s Ambassadors’ team will be dedicated

the new Ambassadors’ Programme.

to providing full 1-1 support to the members via a 2-branch support programme: a 1-year automatic induction programme

This innovative programme has been created as part of the

to new members, which will include all members joining

IAPCO mission to provide support to all members and their

IAPCO in the last 2 years, and a bespoke 2-year support

teams, new or pre-existing, big or small and from all regions.

programme for current members and their teams.

The goal is to ensure all members can benefit equally from

Four new ambassadors join the 1-strong team bringing the

all that IAPCO has to offer in terms of quality, education and

total number to 15 across all continents.

Renata Pozza

Amit Saroj

Irene Tolis

Consulting & Community


Managing Director

Solutions Director


ERA Ltd,

MCI Sao Paulo, Brazil

Gurgaon, India

Athens, Greece

Stephane Talboom Director of Sales K.I.T. Group GmbH Germany

See full list of IAPCO Ambassadors here

NEW ASSOCIATION RESOURCE TO SUPPORT HYBRID EVENT DELIVERY In the wake of the pandemic, associations must rethink

receive proposals from PCOs and host destinations,

design and delivery of events to ensure they can bring together

this new template will provide the first building block

international delegates safely and without travel if necessary.

in designing a hybrid event.”

A new, complimentary Bid Guidelines template articulates these new requirements clearly to PCOs and CVBs, equipping

“Both BestCities and IAPCO have a passion for sharing

them to support the delivery of hybrid event formats.

knowledge and expertise”, commented Ori Lahav, IAPCO President. “This free resource is the product of effective

The template, a result of collaboration and knowledge

collaboration and will now facilitate further fruitful

sharing between IAPCO and BestCities, addresses crucial

collaboration in the delivery of COVID secure business

points for the hosting of virtual event components including

and professional events.

consideration of destination selection, appropriate software choices for streaming, capturing content and security,

“Thank you to the IAPCO Ambassadors, the CVB

facilitation of networking, the cost for attendees and

representatives and the associations that were involved

promotion of the event.

in bringing this project to life. We’re hopeful this will help to drive innovation and keep our industry moving, even in

Corne Koch, Board Chair, BestCities Global Alliance says, “It’s

these uncertain times.”

clear that virtual events or hybrid event formats are here to stay for some time to come, so in order to help associations

Download template | April 2021



IAPCO’S 2020 STATISTICS The following statistics have been taken from a combination

The IAPCO Company Report and Annual Survey is

of the IAPCO Coronavirus Impact Survey (Dec 2020) and the

mandatory for IAPCO Members to complete as part of

IAPCO Company Report and Annual Survey.

their annual membership renewal process. It is designed to provide IAPCO with an overview of changes to our members’

The IAPCO Coronavirus Impact Survey was distributed to

organisations regarding their own company size, staffing and

IAPCO members in two parts, the first in July 2020 and the

administration changes over the year. The responses also,

second in December 2020. July provided IAPCO with mid-year

importantly, provide insight into the sentiment, foresights and

data on the immediate impact that the Pandemic was having

trends of members, their clients and suppliers all of which is

on IAPCO Member business and on their clients’ meetings and

analysed by IAPCO to ensure that the Association's products

events. IAPCO then distributed a 2nd Survey in December

and services meet the future needs of IAPCO Members, their

2020 in order to ensure a more comprehensive understanding

teams and the professional and business events industry

of the impact across the entire calendar year.

as a whole. This year’s Survey was completed by 87 IAPCO Members.



Meetings Organised (physical, hybrid, virtual)

meetings per day on average

2019: 21 423

2019: 58.6

6 367 856


participants managed

member companies

2019: 6 797 266

2019: 135




10 273 meeting professionals 2019: 9 700

Interestingly, the average number of participants per event increased dramatically from 317 during 2019 to 478 during 2020

National Meetings

International Meetings

Corporation meetings








Meetings 16%

Meetings 5% 6

| April 2021

meetings 57%




Governmental Meetings 5%

Other Meetings 4%


GENERAL SENTIMENT How has your business outlook for 2021 and beyond

A year from now, what do you expect of the following

changed when compared to what it was in August?gust

types of meetings/events/congresses: virtual only,

68% have similar, slightly or significantly

hybrid, in-person only, hub and spoke?

more positive outlook

Number of virtual: will remain consistent Number of hybrid: 78% reported they will increase

Have any of your clients been reluctant (unwilling)

Number of in-person only: 51% reported will decrease

to transition to Virtual Meetings?

Number of hub and spoke: 43% reported will increase

Only 22% of clients were immediately willing to change However, 90% of sponsors and exhibitors were supportive of

Future skillset requirements of PCOs

the change and willing to do so

42% (the highest response) say that digital content production will be essential

Have your virtual or hybrid meetings/events/congresses

26% digital marketing

experienced an increase in "attendees" from the

10% communication experts and 10% meeting designers

previous in-person meetings/events/congresses?

8% sales

77% have experienced an increase

4% planning and logistics

VIRTUAL / HYBRID EVENT DATA Is there a trend for future events being hub and spoke, ie where delegates could attend an event in person or locally or within their region while being connected to the main event digitally?

63.22% (55)

36.782% (32)

The biggest factors influencing the location

To what extent do you agree with the following

of my next international congress is

statement regarding expectations of a VENUE in terms

1. Flexibility in cancellation terms

of their virtual technology offerings

2. Ability of destination to satisfy tech requirements

1. Strong preference to use external meeting platform

3. Ensuring the least travel time for the largest number of delegates 4. Funding flexibility 5. Satisfying the global rotation pattern requirement of the association 6. Strong access via rail and road and not only by air

supplier of PCO choice: 79.5% agree or strongly agree 2. Expectation that venues have full virtual technology infrastructure: 70.2% agree or strongly agree 3. Strong preference for in-house venue hybrid meeting platform capabilities: 46% agree or strongly agree

| April 2021



TURNING COVID SAFETY MEASURES INTO ATTENDEE ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES Author: Casey Gale, Associate Editor, Convene Antigen rapid testing was key to ensuring the two-day,

event that requires rapid testing:

300-person, PCMA Convening Leaders 2021 event in

Make the environment welcoming. “Many event profession-

Singapore, could take place safely during the COVID-19

als are frequent fliers and will be familiar with airport lounges,”

pandemic. But with additional safety measures came a longer

Pang commented. “What if the waiting areas could look and

check-in process; attendees needed to wait 20-30 minutes

feel like that? Instead of a line of sterile chairs, have sofas, work

in designated holding areas at the event’s venue, Marina Bay

pods, drinks, plants, light music, etc., that immediately

Sands, for their rapid test results to be confirmed.

changes one’s experience of what a waiting area can look like.”

Philip Pang, PCMA’s Singapore-based manager of marketing

Add entertainment. “There could be an exclusive

and events, realised that the holding areas and waiting

performance that can only be watched or experienced at the

period need not be empty downtime - they could be turned

waiting area. I’m thinking, instead of merely moving into a

into opportunities to enhance participants’ overall

separate waiting area, attendees are treated to the tunes

event experience.

of a musician or better still, be allowed to select songs like a jukebox,” Pang suggested. “Perhaps the problem now

Jaga-Me, the rapid testing provider, rightly prioritised attendee

becomes getting attendees to move out of the waiting

care making sure safety guidelines were adhered to, however,

area once their test results are delivered!”

Pang felt there were ways to strike a balance between safety and serving the needs of attendees. “We talk about customer

Turn the rapid testing process into an educational

centricity at our events,” he said, which in his mind means

moment. “It’s a first for many attendees to take the antigen

working within the safety guidelines while seeking “creative

rapid test,” Pang said. “Could we invite them to understand

solutions around registration and rapid testing”.

what went behind the test, critique the experience first-hand and how they would improve it, so that their event partici-

Pang asked himself how event organisers might be able to

pants would ultimately benefit?”

make the waiting experience more comfortable in the future and “flip things around making the antigen rapid test part of

Pang sees this as prime time in the participant journey, a way

the programme - or even better, to become something to look

to warm them up for the positive experience that is just ahead

forward to”. Using HaiDiLao Hotpot - a restaurant chain that

of them — once they get the negative COVID result.

offers diners snacks, drinks, and manicures while they wait to be seated - as his inspiration, Pang brainstormed three forms of attendee engagement that organisers could add to any


| April 2021

This article ran in Convene


myRADIO NURSE THE FIRST WEB RADIO DEDICATED TO DIABETES SPECIALIST NURSES IAPCO Member: AIM Group International AIM Education has launched myRadio Nurse, the first digital radio channel entirely dedicated to Diabetes Specialist Nurses (DSNs). The project was promoted with the non-conditional support from Sanofi. The goal of the project is to connect nurses in a simple and direct way, promoting the exchange of information and encouraging the sharing of experiences despite the limitations dictated by the pandemic.

In times of social distancing, the digital radio offers nurses a new education and knowledge sharing tool that will be enriched with multichannel initiatives. READ FULL STORY

TOWARDS A NEW UNDERSTANDING OF HYGIENE AND INFECTION PREVENTION IAPCO Member: Congrex Switzerland During the past year, Congrex Switzerland has been monitoring the latest developments affecting the meetings and business events sector, which has been particularly vulnerable to lockdowns and travel bans. Following the initial disruption, we now find ourselves in a transition period marked by uncertainty as to how the events industry will reshape itself. Congrex’s research identified key areas of opportunity and a number of emerging themes that are likely to become permanent fixtures in this industry. Their findings have been compiled in a white paper entitled “A New Landscape for Hygiene and Infection Prevention in the Events Industry”.

The paper discusses the foundations of a strategic approach to hygiene and infection prevention that can help PCOs, associations, venues and professionals in the MICE sector fulfil their role safely and organise events that inspire and deliver value. Download the full paper here. READ FULL STORY

| April 2021



CONVERTING A LIVE EVENT INTO A VIRTUAL ONE IAPCO member: GUARANT International, Czech Republic Author: Ivo Miksa, Business Director

Last year, like most other organisers, we were forced to cancel

of time after the conference. In such cases, we consider it

events, change their dates, or transform them into the virtual

appropriate that the registration fees are at least 50% of

form. Now we want to share with you the practical experience

the original fees of the live conference.

that the last year of organising virtual events has brought us. How to change the programme When to make the decision

In a virtual conference, it is not necessary to offer many

Of course, for a successful transition from live to virtual

parallel sections; on the contrary, it is possible to take

conferencing, it is best to make a virtualisation decision

advantage of the additional time space for placing sections

as soon as possible. The later such a decision is made, the

one behind the other. Highly interactive sections should

greater the pressure on precise organisation and meeting

be planned for mornings or early afternoons. Evening

deadlines. We consider two months to be the minimum for

times can be effectively used for panel discussions and

an optimal and unhurried preparation of virtualisation (if the

specialised workshops.

technologies and the format of the programme are clear). The importance of training (testing) How to decide on the fee

The critical moment for the success of a virtual conference is a

In our opinion, the information and scientific content

quality rehearsal of the speakers' speeches. It begins with clear

provided through virtual conferences are as valuable as in live

instructions and self-testing of technical devices on the part of

conferences. It is important to provide participants with the

the speaker. Great attention must also be paid to the correct

highest possible level of live interaction and to complement

processes for the handling of the section from the point of

it with the opportunity to study the papers for a certain period

view of the chairperson and the reaction of individual speakers


| April 2021


as well as the way of moderating the discussion after the

Comfort of participants, speakers and exhibitors

contributions. The same approach must be taken for the

For participants of virtual conferences, clear instructions,

support at the exhibitors' stands. Each speaker should go

a clear programme and easy availability of the interactive

through the connection process at least twice and have

elements used are important.

practiced access to his/her presentation and passing the floor to the next speaker – this is a key criterion for the

For the comfort of the speakers, it is important to know and

smooth running of the programme from the point of view

practice the presentation process especially from a timing

of virtual live event technology.

perspective. And at the same time it is essential that the technical support of the speakers is sufficiently strong in

Strong support

asserting the technical requirements; for example, muting

For the technical team, the busy part of the conference

the non-presenting speakers, fulfilling the requirements for

starts about a week in advance, when individual sessions and

a quiet environment, etc.

training with individual speakers and exhibitors takes place. For the live conference as such, the critical requirement is to

Exhibitors need to feel comfortable, with clearly defined

correctly set up the communication channels, for example,

capabilities of virtual stands and with sufficient technical

to separate the help-line for speakers from the service for

support during their preparation. During the conference

participants. Well-communicated instructions and correctly

itself, the exhibitors are the best self-organised group.

set processes lead to the satisfaction of both participants and speakers.

| April 2021 11

IAPCO’s Technology Partner As the chosen Technology Partner, the award-winning innovative EventsAIR event management platform is used across numerous events delivered by IAPCO Headquarters, streamlining pre, during, and post event management. Using the EventsAIR system with the award winning OnAIR virtual and hybrid event platform, you can run successful virtual, hybrid and in-person events through a single event technology platform that ticks all the boxes: Comprehensive Secure User-friendly Cloud-based

Interactive 2D and 3D Experience Seamless Engaging

IAPCO Members deliver high-quality professional event services around the globe and demonstrate high levels of professionalism towards their clients. Likewise, IAPCO provides its members with world class services. We required a software provider to help us deliver exceptional events and membership engagement initiatives. We chose EventsAIR for their outstanding products and commitment to customer service. Their attention to our needs has been excellent.”

Ori Lahav, President of IAPCO

Talk to the EventsAIR Team to find out more. Email us at Or visit

AUSTRALIA 1300 236 848

NEW ZEALAND 0800 236 848

EMEA +44 808 280 0738

AMERICAS +1 855 236 8486

INTERNATIONAL +61 7 3063 3700

IAPCO and EventsAIR New Partnership

What drew you to EventsAIR as a technology partner? Martin Boyle In addition to satisfying our technological needs, EventsAIR understands IAPCO, our mission and objectives, and our members. Our long-term, mutually beneficial partnership with EventsAIR allows us, among other things, to manage our membership applications, quality reviews, communications, and invoicing from one source and to deliver tailored online educational content directly to members.



, yle o B

Will your approach to in-person events change?

Ori Lahav Yes. While content will still be core, emphasis will shift to networking, community building, research collaborations and hands-on experience.

Has the shift to virtual technology changed your objectives?

Will you consider a hybrid event model with the help of EventsAIR?

Martin Boyle The shift to virtual technologies allows us to deliver more content to a wider audience in key geographical regions through new offerings including IAPCO Impact Dialogues, IAPCO Day and GA, CEO Meetups, Hackathons and Online espresso exchanges and Virtual EDGE Seminars.

Ori Lahav Yes. Each hybrid event will be designed differently. For events where 80% of delegates are online, we will collaborate with EventsAIR to focus on building the online platform and content capture.

However, our objective remains steadfast—to raise the standards of service amongst our members and the events industry through education and interaction.

Ori Lahav Early on, we had to educate and equip delegates to get the most out of virtual events. Now, the focus is on interactivity and networking opportunities. Delegates enjoy the benefits of online learning such as being able to consume more content compared with in-person events as it is available on demand.

EventsAIR has been at the forefront of Event Technology and Innovation for over 30 years, continually pushing the boundaries of what an event management platform can do. Built by event planners for event planners, EventsAIR is a scalable, secure, cloud based platform that can manage everything from virtual, hybrid and in-person events for midsize meetings to global events. EventsAIR all on one platform is accessible anywhere, anytime and on any device.

How have delegates responded to virtual events?



IS IT NECESSARY TO CONTINUE TRAINING DESPITE THE CRISIS? IAPCO Member: Business Travel Consulting, Mexico Author: Karla Escamilla, Innovation and Process Leader Uncertainty and change are two words that have defined our

The crisis that we are currently experiencing has helped us

environment this year, and while we may think that this 2020 is

to take a giant step towards technological development with

an atypical year, the reality is that climate, economic, political,

accelerated changes in systems and procedures, as well as

and social environments are changing. This is not something

changes in customer needs. These have forced us to generate

new or something that will eventually stop, the only certainty

new tools, new working materials, new ways of working and

we have is that the changes will become more pronounced

new products and services. That is why, today, training goes

over time and that the challenges we face will be increasingly

beyond the work environment and becomes necessary also

complicated and uncertain.

for suppliers and users in the handling of the different services provided (especially in automation and digitalisation

Then, the big question that arises is how do we prepare

services). This will allow us to mitigate the effects of the

ourselves to move forward in the face of the new challenges

uncertainty that is generated after a crisis, marking a

that arise from the different areas of our lives? How do we

structured path, and oriented to the new goals set for growth.

generate new paths that will be necessary to travel during and after the crisis that afflicts us today?

Thanks to this technological leap, we have different resources with which to carry out the training, from virtual classrooms,

The big answer to these questions is simple: Training.

Training is the most powerful tool that we must adapt to our constantly changing environment

customised platforms that allow us to do streaming combined with real time interactions, pre-recorded capsules, digital graphics to gamification, among many other ways. In short, is training and updating necessary during and after a crisis? Of course it is, but it needs to be well directed and focused on the development of skills that allow the capacity to adapt to new circumstances, to create and develop projects, and most importantly, to increase the resilience of people and organisations.

“Training is the most powerful tool that we must adapt to our constantly changing environment, and it applies to our field of work, our families and also ourselves.” There are issues where we all need to improve our skills: • Effective communication skills • Conflict resolution and teamwork skills • Practices applied to occupational safety and health It is through training that we seek to improve this knowledge, criteria, attitudes and behaviours of people in their environments to perform activities more easily and efficiently,

Mathias Posch, IAPCO IPP l Kayo Nomura and Mai Ohira, JNTO | Ori Lahav, IAPCO President l Aurelien Bandini, JNTO

using the minimum of resources and time. 14

| April 2021

Image source: Adobe Stock

• Negotiation and process management skills


EDGE (bespoke) Thailand (TCEB)


Webinar Pt 1

July 2021

October 2021

15 April 2021

‘Bid Training –

Part of IAPCO’s webEDGE programme


Impact Dialogue

EDGE (bespoke) KLCC/MyCEB

April 2021

July 2021

Brought by MCEC/Melbourne CVB

By invitation only


Pain or Gain – Rationale for Hybrid

EDGE Lillehammer 24-26 January 2022 Host: Gyro Conference AS EDGE (bespoke) JNTO January 2022

Pain or Gain – Rationale for Hybrid


Presenters: Mathias Posch, Ori Lahav,

Webinar Pt 2

August 2021

Jan Tonkin, André Vietor

13 May 2021

Host: Business Travel

Part of IAPCO’s webEDGE programme

Consulting, Mexico

EDGE (bespoke) Thailand (TCEB)

EDGE (bespoke) Thailand (TCEB)

June 2021

Dates tbc - Q3 2021

‘Bidding for the Beginner’

‘Bid Training – Advanced’




EDGE (bespoke) JNTO January 2023 Presenters: Mathias Posch, Ori Lahav, Jan Tonkin, André Vietor


The Rationale for Hybrid

REGISTER NOW | April 2021 15



FACING THE NEW CHALLENGES IAPCO’s outreach programme of bespoke seminars in

Lahav, and Past President, Patrizia Semprebene Buongiorno,

Durban continued with the third EDGE seminar in the series,

the seminar took place 23-25 March, this time held virtually,

to selected DMCs and PCOs. Driven by IAPCO President, Ori

but no less impactful.

Three years of training to 20 professionals from Durban, KwaZulu-Natal


23-25 March 2021



Attendees: 22 selected participants Faculty:

Ori Lahav, Patrizia Semprebene Buongiorno

Closing Evaluation Score: 97.5% (new record)

PARTICIPANTS’ CHAT SAYS IT ALL embracing * adapting * restrategize * back to business unusual * nothing is impossible * evolve * adapt

“The topics are relevant to current situations impacting on

Thank you to IAPCO for being a progressive organisation;

the future industry changing events keeping us abreast

indeed, this is not the end of this amazing, life changing

of international trends.”

partnership with IAPCO – we are looking forward to many more.

Gwyn Heaton, Company GH Consulting Africa Ori and Patrizia are always amazing! They have become EDGE full of positivity and enthusiasm

part of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal; we, as the entire Province of KwaZulu-Natal, appreciates them, may they grow from

“Thank you for all your assistance in the past years when we

strength to strength!

started talking about an idea that didn’t exist until then; today I am proud to say we have managed to assist over 40 meetings

Once again, thank you to you and the entire team at IAPCO

professionals from Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. My heart is full and I

for the amazing work that you do for the industry.”

will forever be grateful to you for allowing me to dream and to positively change the lives of these professionals.

Sonto Mayise, Acting General Manager, Convention Bureau/Business Development

The participants are grateful for this amazing opportunity!


| April 2021

and Relations Manager, Durban.



COMPETING TEAMS AT JNTO SEMINAR Three teams competed to “win” the World Congress on Endometriosis 2026 Bid at the IAPCO / JNTO Seminar in Tokyo, 3-5 March. Leading the groups and providing top tips to upskill their bidding processes were international faculty experts Jan Tonkin, New Zealand; André Vietor, Spain; Mathias Posch, Singapore; and Ori Lahav, Israel; introduced

Team 3

Team 2

Team 1

by Mayuko Tosu of JNTO.

ICS ASIA OFFICES QUALITY ENDORSED IAPCO is delighted to announce two new members in

strategic locations to manage conferences in the whole Asia

Asia, as Member Offices of International Conference

Pacific”, commented Mathias Posch, President ICS. “Since

Services (ICS). ICS’s Tokyo and Singapore Offices received

then we have been able to establish ourselves as a well-

resounding references from clients and CVBs alike and now

rounded PCO that offers world class services in live, virtual

join the ranks of the industry’s quality association members.

and hybrid formats. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic we were

“ICS has done business in Asia for many years and finally

able to grow our offices and I am proud of our experienced,

opened our offices in Singapore and Tokyo in 2018 – two

energetic team in both cities that serve our clients all over Asia with innovative approaches.”

Yoke Cheong

Hitoshi Ikezono

Senior Project Manager

Managing Director

ICS Singapore

ICS Tokyo

1 Raffles Blvd Suntec City

Lib Port Hamamatsucho


2-5-3 Hamamatsucho

Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0013, Japan

| April 2021 17


60 SECONDS WITH… SISSI Sissi Lignou CEO AFEA Travel and Congress Services Greece

As a new member of council, how are you

What is your personal

finding the experience?


Since the day AFEA became a member of IAPCO in 2009,

Set high goals, believe in

I’ve always flirted with the idea of becoming more active

yourself and do not be

within the Association. Since then, following this dream,

afraid of the future. I

I’ve been supporting IAPCO through various positions, as

sometimes choose to

an Ambassador, Edgineer, Speaker for webEDGE etc. I feel

“dare” a bit more than

honoured and extremely happy to now be a member of the

my potential might allow,

Council, especially in these critical times, and I already find

but I’ve never lost out

the experience and the collaboration with great professionals

because of that decision.

exciting. I am looking forward to the journey and I am more How has IAPCO affected

than ready to contribute.

your life and your What are the most important interests outside of work


and how do you fit these into your busy life?

As an active member of

My first and absolute passion is my family, but my second is

IAPCO, we’ve learned to invest in quality and into constantly

dancing. I’ve been dancing since I was five, and still do, in fact,

raising our standards as a company. We‘ve been educated by

now more than before. No matter what, I always find time to

the best and inspired by the value of both teamwork and the

practice competitive Latin dancing and I also participate in a

immediate need to respond to change. Personally, I’ve evolved

contemporary dance group. Believe it or not, I also love skiing

through IAPCO as a meeting professional, a team player and

on the mountains and any sporting activity close to nature.

a team leader. Tell us something that might surprise us about you I've always wanted to spend some years in Germany, as I lived in Regensburg, Bavaria, as a student for six years and absolutely loved it. I love the language, the people, the structured thinking, everything. A bit difficult for now, but maybe, one day, who knows…. Any advice for someone joining the events industry as a PCO? Set solid foundations for your business, plan in advance, study and follow the key players of our industry, such as IAPCO; be always ready to adapt and change. Trust and support your team, a positive human approach is key.


| April 2021


GETTING TO KNOW... SYMPORG SA, SWITZERLAND IAPCO chats to Bertrand Joehr, Managing Director

Tell us some background about the company

With COVID as a current challenge, how do you

Symporg was founded in 1983 by Primola Nicole who

see 2021 evolving?

retired in 2011 since when I have been totally involved.

COVID has of course had a very negative impact on our day-to-day business but, projecting into the future, it might

We have developed a strong relationship with the Geneva

turn out to be a very good opportunity. We have been pushing

University, the Geneva University Hospital and the CERN. We

our clients for years to implement hybrid solutions to their

are very lucky to have these three strong institutions in our

congresses, but the fear of the technology related to it as

city, helping us not only to attract association congresses to

well as the fear of reducing the number of attendees was too

Switzerland but also to create new projects and conferences

strong in their minds to enable a change of direction. I really

attracting attendees from all around the world.

hope that the past months have shown them that we have the technical capacities to deliver quality content; and thanks to

We have one office in Geneva, Switzerland, where we organise

the statistics we now have from all the digital events recently

most of our events but of course we work all over the country

organised we can prove that a virtual event can attract many

as well as overseas, following our clients or projects.

additional participants who would not otherwise have attended an in-person meeting.

Do you specialise in

Every day we think about the next few months and what will/

particular events

can happen. What the past year has shown us is that uncer-

or services

tainty is the master word. We still have to be very flexible and,

which make

although we are pretty sure that in-person congresses will

Symporg unique?

be possible this autumn, we are now preparing for whatever

We don’t have

outcome might materialise (in-person, hybrid, virtual) for all of

any specialisation

our events, having to set a deadline for the decision about the

per se, although

final format.

we have decided to focus on

Why do you value being an IAPCO member?

congresses and

The accreditation is pretty important, not only for our clients,

conferences only

but also for us: it is like a reward for a job well executed!

and not corporate or public events.

But what I value most is the networking and the shared

What makes

experience between members. Being a congress organiser

Symporg unique is the fact that our core employees have

is tough… meeting with other people in the same position

been with us for more than five years, and that we have

always reminds you that you are not alone; and that you have

really close relationships with our clients. Their project is

colleagues who can help you to find solutions to problems

our project and we make anything possible to make

that other companies might have encountered.

it a success! | April 2021 19


RE-IMAGINING THE ROLE OF THE EVENT PROFESSIONAL IAPCO Member: AIM Group International Author: Annalisa Ponchia, Director of Innovation and Customer Experience

My question to you is what are your biggest takeaways from

Reskill, upskill, learn, listen, ask (the right) questions, open

what was undoubtedly one of the most difficult of years for

your mind, analyse data and trends, embrace technology, use

event organisers? I personally have two insights:

all tools at our disposal: this is what we must be prepared for.

1) professional life is a perpetual learning experience

As event professionals we must develop new competences

2) the essence of our job is the importance of (mass) social

and embrace new professional roles related to these key areas:

and professional gatherings. • Meeting Design. For an omni-channel experience, The pandemic has compelled many meeting planners to find

engagement comes through a mix of F2F and online focus

solutions to sudden shifts in meeting management. As a first

groups, social activities to targeted groups, content

reaction, we were best supporting our clients by replanning

(physical) hubs, or one-to-one interactions through speed

scheduled programmes or pivoting them to virtual events.

networking or matching.

The meetings and events industry will survive, of that there is

• Digital Tools and Platforms. Choosing the right tech

no doubt. The desire to ‘meet’ does not end. On the contrary,

solutions, understanding the right necessities and

the importance of human interaction is now more important

balancing costs with the organisation’s needs and audience

than ever. What awaits us, according to insiders’ predictions,

- we need (or to become) tech-savvy experts.

is a huge shift of perception. And the ultimate modus operandi

is to create omni-channel experiences, the hybrid event.

• Data Analytics. Gather and use data to deliver highly personalised events and boost attendee engagement.

This will raise the bar of the required professionalism and

Furthermore, it can also help organisers to build the agenda

will urge us to reimagine the role of the PCO.

of an event based on trends and preferences, identify ideal sponsors and exhibitors, improving targeted promotions.


| April 2021


As event professionals we must develop new competences and embrace new professional roles

• Communication & Community Management. • Virtual Sponsorship & Exhibition. Virtual meetings are Promoting the correct event image and awareness, not simply a lead-generation machine, we must help engaging the community, managing social media and sponsors and exhibitors to change their mindset and facilitating the networking and online social moments are identify the marketing insights they are getting out of their our new specialised duties. An omni-channel marketing participation and investment. strategy commits to providing consistent, on-brand communications across multiple customer touchpoints.

• RoI analysis. Take the time after the event to look at potential leads, attendance numbers, floor traffic,

• Content Management. On demand content offers the networking connections, activity, and get those numbers possibility to ‘consume’ ‘anytime, anyplace, anywhere’, that will justify their interest next year. But there is more adding value to a one-shot schedule.

to it than that because it is not just your RoI. You have Exhibitors’ RoI, Attendee RoI and Client’s RoI. Mastering the

• Speaker & Moderator Coaching. Dealing with basics of RoI analysis should be in the portfolio of skills multi- platform events, will require additional effort from of any meeting planner, with tools and resources readily speakers to adapt messages to different channels. Coaching available, to learn what is necessary. the speakers should come mainly from the meeting planner. A professional moderator/master of ceremonies Embrace lifelong learning as it will increase our can help keep everyone concentrating utilising professionalism as well as our personal lives. breaks strategically.

Image source: Adobe Stock

| April 2021 21


CONNECTION CO-ORDINATION: MANAGING AN INTERNATIONAL HYBRID EVENT DURING THE PANDEMIC IAPCO Member: International Conference Services, Vancouver, Canada Author: Dale Rodas, Proposal Manager, ICS In late December of 2020, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) held the FIGO Africa Regional Kigali Congress. This event was unique in that it was a hybrid meeting, combining an in-person component in Kigali, Rwanda, with a virtual component, sometimes within the same session. Marta Collins, Senior Conference Manager at International Conference Services (ICS), worked with her global team and the local organisers to manage the virtual component of the event. What were some of the challenges behind managing an

from all over the world, including many from developing

in-person event without any of your team being on-site?

countries. It was quite satisfying to deliver this congress and

Co-ordination of mixed sessions was a challenge. There were

open up this kind of education to delegates who may not

some sessions where panellists were on stage and others were

have been able to travel or attend in-person, even during

joining virtually. It was difficult for the monitor to see where

non-pandemic times. I think this will be the future for this

questions were coming from and then having to share the

congress, particularly as FIGO’s goal is to engage audiences

questions on-site. Having a liaison in Kigali was important.

in low-resource countries, who cannot afford to travel to

Ideally, we would have had a contact on-site 24/7.

every meeting.

What were some of the benefits of being a hybrid event,

What was the feedback like?

as opposed to a purely in-person or purely virtual event?

People were really excited at the opportunity to attend

Because it was a hybrid meeting, it meant we were part of a

a congress and felt like they were a part of the community,

multi-team, multicultural, multinational event. The A/V

even during a pandemic. Going virtual has certainly opened

company and local PCO were in Kigali, but the delegates were

up the doors for this congress.


| April 2021



the Opening Ceremony and, within the programme, some of

and ICS to make the congress a success. The event, initially

the keynote speakers were Rwandan professionals in the field

scheduled for June 2019, was postponed and re-modelled into

of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

a hybrid congress with a hub in Kigali. This was the first hybrid conference for FIGO.

As many delegates would normally travel to a destination for a meeting, how has the perspective

How were the cultural aspects and touches added

changed or expanded with a hybrid event?

into the event experience for both online and in-person

Delegates would still want to experience the destination and

guests of the Congress?

the challenge for event organisers would be to design “visual”

Being a hybrid event it was important for virtual delegates to

and “sound” virtual experiences for the delegates. Organisers

get a true feel of Rwanda’s culture. The live streamed Opening

now have to develop TV production skills to bring to life this

Ceremony was the highpoint of the Congress, with traditional

element of events. The event has to be seen as a TV

Rwandan décor, including the mesmerizing traditional

production. Now that’s a challenge!

Rwanda Dancers. Feedback from onsite conference management team How did Rwanda showcase itself as a destination

Handling onsite management for the FIGO congress was

throughout the Congress?

an unforgettable experience. The challenges that come

The iconic Kigali Convention Centre is a replica of the former

with technology are always there so it is vital to have both

traditional King’s Palace and was the backdrop for the website

a strong virtual as well as a technical partner on the ground.

landing page. Onsite décor was typically Rwandan and host-

It is definitely a collaborative effort as we are now not

esses were dressed in Rwandan attire known as Mushanana.

only co-ordinating the onsite delegates but also the

H.E. First Lady Jeannette Kagame was the Guest of Honour at

online delegates.

| April 2021 23


VIRTUAL EVENT PIONEER AWARD FOR ABBEY IAPCO Member: Abbey Conference & Events, Ireland Abbey Conference & Events, headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, have been awarded the OnAIR Virtual Event Pioneer Award for Americas/Europe by EventsAir. “Like everyone around the globe in March 2020 we were shell-shocked,” commented Abbey Director Patricia McColgan upon receiving the Award. “However, our team responded in their usual positive way, reviewed the situation and immersed themselves almost 24/7 into the world of Virtual Events. Their

the confidence to continue meeting virtually until such time as we can again meet face to face. We are truly honoured and are so proud of our wonderful team who made this possible.”

knowledge and expertise in Virtual Events has given our clients



their long-term partner Centium [EventsAir] and their online

IAPCO Member: Kuoni Group, Switzerland

their first virtual event at the end of June, EAS2020, with 2000

platform OnAir, to deliver all their virtual and hybrid events. Even though there was a very short period of time to adapt to the situation and get to grips with the new technological tools, learning happened quickly, and Kuoni were able to perform attendees and 900 speakers; but hard work pays off, and

Since March 2020, just like everyone in the industry, Kuoni

EAS2020 was recently awarded ‘Virtual Event of the Year’.

Congress was challenged to move all meetings to an online environment. Without hesitation, they placed their trust in


TWO BIZBASH EVENT STYLE AWARDS FOR MCI IAPCO Member: MCI Group, Canada Toronto - 09.03.2021. MCI won two BizBash Event Style Awards: Best Events of the Decade for their press event for the Nissan Canada Route 66 Media Drive Event; and Best Virtual Awards Show/Ceremony for the Enterprise Blockchain Awards. The 2020 BizBash Event Style Awards feature noteworthy live and virtual event moments from top creative brands. Two winning projects are outstanding examples of how MCI creates human-centric and multi-channel touchpoint solutions that engage and bring people together. 24

| April 2021



WORLD TUNNELLING CONGRESS FOR ATHENS IN 2023 IAPCO Member: Convin SA, Greece The Greek Tunnelling Society (GTS) has been selected as the

Thanks to a detailed and fully and integrated proposal, as well

host of the World Tunnel Congress 2023 (WTC2023) in Athens,

as an innovative presentation, the Greek candidature prevailed

in a secret ballot during the General Assembly of 10 February

in the final stage of the candidate evaluation with 33 votes

of the International Tunnelling and Underground Space

(70%) against the Turkish candidature, which received 14 votes

Association (ITA -AITES).

(30%), constituting a national success for Greece.

GTS joined forces with professional congress organisers


CONVIN SA along with other major stakeholders.

IT’S OFFICIAL: PLANNERS CONFIRMED FOR G20 IAPCO Member: Ega worldwide congress & events, Italy

The contract with the Delegation for the Italian Presidency of the G20 has been concluded. The three companies that will sign the most significant institutional event of the year are

The temporary joint venture, formed by Ega worldwide

ready to get started.

congress & events, Triumph Group International and Studio 80, will plan the G20 Summit in Rome in October this year.


ON-LINE BID SUCCESSFUL FOR MILAN TO HOST WCEE IAPCO Member: AIM Group International Milan will host the 2024 edition of the World Conference in Earthquake Engineering (WCEE). This is the most important international scientific event in the field of seismic engineering held every four years and with about 5000 delegates expected. The congress is returning to Italy, from 30 June to 5 July 2024, 51 years since it was celebrated in Rome in 1973. A close collaboration and creative approach between the academic world, engineering companies, the city and the PCO guaranteed the success of this bid. AIM Group, the congress organiser, was one of the key promoters of the candidacy. READ FULL STORY

| April 2021 25


THE RIMINI PALACONGRESSI to host the IUFoST 2024 IAPCO Member: AIM Group International Rimini will host the 22nd edition of the IUFoST World Food

7500-9000 overnight stays over the five congress days.

Congress in 2024. It is the first time that this biennial event,

The successful bid was brought to fruition through

organised by IUFoST, the international organisation

a collaboration with the Italian Food Technology

representing over 300 000 scientists, technicians and food

Association, AIM Group International, Rimini, and the

engineers, from over 75 countries, will be held in Italy.

Rimini Conference Center.

The event will be held from 8-12 September 2024 at the Rimini


Conference Center; 1800 participants are expected with about

TAINAN, WHERE CULTURES COLLIDE IAPCO Member: GIS Group, Taiwan With the perpetual passion for organising international events, GIS Group has expanded their journey into venture management with the International Convention Center Tainan (ICC Tainan). First, just a quick question: In the Age of Exploration, the Dutch came to the New World and established what is now New York. What was the port of similar significance they founded in East Asia? You may have already got the answer—Tayouan, in today’s Tainan City of Taiwan. Tainan is where Taiwan made its debut to the world in modern history. As Europeans set sail into East Asia in the 17th century and began what we embrace, and much depend upon today,


| April 2021

The architecture takes symbols from a whale as a tribute to the city’s maritime history and will be finished with red brick outer walls that resemble the old city barricade.

the global trade, Tainan soon rose as a trade centre for its pivotal location. Standing on the junction of south and north East Asia, it attracted the major powers of the Dutch, Japanese, and Chinese to gather here and exchange the pictures and ambitions for their development. Since then, Tainan has always been where cultures collide and amazingly enough, mesh well. READ FULL STORY


MCI INCREASES NPS BY 7% IAPCO Member: MCI Group, Switzerland

with the company's engagement solutions, including live & virtual events, consulting & community solutions, and

MCI announces the results of its customer satisfaction survey.

strategic & digital communications.

The company's Net Promoter Score (NPS) reached 65, which is 7% higher than the previous year. It results from MCI’s

Through the customer satisfaction survey, MCI tracks and

dedication to customer relationships and its ongoing

measures relational and transactional clients' satisfaction

strategy to allow the client audience to influence, interact

to manage and enhance the agency's service offering.

and be immersed in the conversation.

The survey is performed annually to ensure a high level of support for customers.

The latest MCI customer attitudes survey demonstrates 98% of positive responses, which shows a high level of satisfaction



At the back offices of a virtual congress –


the 32nd Congress of the ESP and XXXIII International Congress of the IAP

SHOWCASING VIRTUAL EVENT SUCCESS IAPCO Member: MCI Dubai, UAE Aggressive marketing campaigns by MCI Dubai for their

With the 5th Annual Saudi Midwifery Group Conference

virtual events has led to retaining key sponsors, ensuring

confirmed only 1.5 months prior to the event date, a virtual

participation and undertaking the successful training of

exhibition for their sponsor of the event, proved a winning

speakers and committee to enable their familiarisation

marketing strategy with over 980+ registered delegates.

with virtual delivery of events. READ FULL CASE STUDIES The result was that the DDI DOCS Event, originally planned for March 2020, rescheduled as a virtual event, achieved the highest number of registrations ever received for a CCAD [Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi] event. | April 2021 27


DESTINATION PARTNERS Long-term partners of IAPCO, each representing specific regions of the world

webEDGE Supporters of web-EDGE educational programme - KLCC and MyCEB

HOSTS, SERVICE PROVIDERS & CONVENTION CENTRES Recognising convention centres and suppliers to the meetings industry who provide an insight into current trends, latest innovations, advice and tips and quality service.

Service Provider

Convention Centre


| April 2021

Service Provider

Annual Meeting Host 2022

Service Provider

Powering the IAPCO Day

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