Sharing experience

Three new perspectives you should consider when deciding on a local or international conference organizer company

By Barbara Siqueira 


Meeting planners are often facing the eternal question: should I work with a local or international professional organizer (PCO)? Making any choice leads us to pro and cons. We have decided to offer insights to help with your decision. Let’s start by debunking some common myths.


1) Local has better contacts so I can get better deals

Not really. Local PCOs have many local connections, can get around easily, and as they are doing business in the area, they might get good deals.  On the other hand, they might select someone they are personally connected with due to their relationship, instead of selecting the best solution, which an international PCO would do.

In addition, the world has become Global and international PCOs with extensive experience worldwide can support equally and more. What really matters is understanding the conference needs and the structure, being solution driven, and having active connections in the market. A good international PCO usually attends renowned trade shows such as IMEX America / IMEX Frankfurt and PCMA Convening Leaders.  How your PCO works is critical.  Also, many PCOs team up with a local Destination Management Company (DMC) and provide equal support as the core Local PCO. Here we see a perfect combination - international PCO and local DMC.


2) Local offers cheaper services and yet excellent services


Here are the magical words that many meeting planners don’t like to say out loud: “I am looking for a cheap option as I have a tight budget.” Instead of thinking of costs, think of efficient cost solutions. An international PCO has worked in different destinations, experienced many challenges around the world, so most likely they will find an effective solution to reduce costs and suit the conference needs. 


3) Supporting local business


Some destinations, especially from developing countries, have the requirement to support local business. It’s a legitimate request as tourism and the MICE industry represent a great portion of a country's GDP.   When using a local PCO there could be a problem with trusting their experience with large meetings. Or they might not have enough expertise to handle different requests from international delegates.  Let’s think it over by bringing the famous tale of two brothers fighting over an orange, which says: “instead of splitting the orange in half, understand the other's needs. It turns out that the first brother wanted to make orange juice. So all he needed was the pulp of the orange. The other brother was preparing a recipe that required only the skin of the orange.

 Taking this popular tale that is often used to illustrate the difference between positions, we can bring to this scenario of Local or International PCO.

So instead of contracting the local PCO for the whole event, hire the international PCO and they will subcontract locals for logistical support for the meeting. 


An international conference rotating around the world has many challenges that an experienced international PCO can meet quickly. You don’t have to discard any locals but focus on your meeting needs with what the PCO can offer.


The magic words are “Solution Driven meets International Experience”.

Make sure that the professional conference organizer can provide this to you so that you are on the right path.











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