Professional conference organiser
A professional conference organiser, professional congress organiser (PCO) or simply conference company is a company which specialises in the organisation and management of congresses, conferences, seminars and similar events.
Role of PCOs
PCOs can typically work as consultants for academic and professional associations. They usually provide full service management for conferences including but not limited to conference design, abstract management software,program development, registration, site and venue selection and booking, audiovisuals, IT support, logistics, leisure management, marketing, printing and web services, sourcing speakers, funding, sponsorship and exhibitor sales, financial management and budget control.
Other companies offer related services including travel agents and public relations companies. They tend to focus on limited areas such as destination management.
Size of market sector
Recent surveys of UK conference venues have found that a third of conference bookings were made by PCOs or venue-finding agencies. In 2006 UK-based conferences generated £7.6 billion in direct sales giving PCOs a central role in some £2.5 billion of revenue generation. The UK is ranked second behind the US for global market share of conferences. Thus, although there is no one source of global statistics for the conference market it appears that PCOs play a central role in several billion dollars' worth of revenue generation worldwide.