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ABPCO research indicates money troubles keep 39% of PCOs awake at night

In a poll conducted amongst members of The Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO), 39% of respondents commented that either market conditions or finance represent their greatest concern.

The short poll asked ABPCO members “What part of your business keeps you up at night?”
• 39% cited finance – relating to either budgets or market conditions
• This was closely followed by 24% citing sales and marketing
• And 21% citing management and HR

ABPCO board member and owner of Tekevents, Nicola Crossland conducted the research: “This research offers real insight into the ongoing challenges faced by PCOs working across the UK.  In particular our members are suffering not just from reducing budgets and tighter financial controls but also greater client expectations and competition from CVBs and DMCs, who provide a wider range of services.”

In response to these findings, ABPCO has announced its first peer to peer debate – taking place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre on 23 September.  The debate will focus on the business challenges of running association conferences.  A key aim for the event is the production of a white paper examining the challenges facing PCOs.  The white paper will be available via the ABPCO website once completed.

Crossland concludes: “The forthcoming debate will focus on partnership working and commercial considerations between association conference organisers and conference suppliers.  It is the ideal forum to discuss many of the issues raised by the poll and we look forward to the input of both the panel and audience.”

Specific text comments amongst the responses to the poll included:
• Reduction in training budgets therefore affecting delegate numbers
Profitability: Associations' perception of acceptable remuneration vs the real cost of delivery to meet service level agreements
• Achieving targets with diminished budgets for activity
• PCO terms and conditions
• Increased competition for fewer contracts
• Finances - being expected to always deliver under budget
• Clients expecting more for less
• Convention bureaus taking on role of PCO

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