Congress organisers need to reprogramme mindsets

Jan Tonkin

President Jan Tonkin, IAPCO.
President Jan Tonkin, IAPCO.

"Carefully curated content which is ideally built with community input, making time for attendees to absorb information and taking account of the rhythm of a day are now key considerations," says Jan Tonkin, president of International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO). Emphasis is not on "super-sizing" events but on producing the right journey of experience for delegates.

Tonkin said that Asia Pacific is well positioned to grow its share of international meetings as there is keen interest in global exchange and meeting facilities are varied and of high quality. She also noted the strengthening of professional associations, through individual efforts and consolidation with like-minded associations. This development is expected to open the door to more pan-Asian meetings that will stimulate industry growth and career opportunities. 

To generate effective attendee engagement, PCOs need to consider:

• Ready access to experts in one‐on‐one or small group sessions to address problems and to learn more effectively. This will allow experts and attendees alike to seize those opportunities and foster interactions.
• Turning exhibition halls into networking hubs and giving companies more freedom about how they profile themselves in such an environment. This is a welcome move away from tradition.
• Harnessing technology tools to personalise offerings to various audiences and to connect people. This targets delegates who are happy to share their specialist know‐how and want to acquire specific knowledge.
• Securing important data from apps is a must for events. Collect feedback from attendees, whether that be polling, questioning or evaluating. When reported on effectively based on that data, hosts will be able to design even more valuable and customised events. 

Tonkin and other association leaders share their outlook for the year in the Jan/Feb issue of Meetings & Conventions Asia (pg14).

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