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January 27, 2015

South East Europe: Catching Up With IAPCO President Michel Neijmann

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Interview with Michel Neijmann, IAPCO President 
1. What has been happening recently on the International PCO scene?
PCOs are dealing with a number of considerable changes in the way that delegates and industry partners engage in meetings and events. In many societies around the world people and industry partners like a more individual approach, and require customized services.

2. What are the latest trends and have you noticed any new approaches?
Trends in the meetings industry follow this change towards more individual expectations and requirements. Technological tools have strongly influenced the way people process content and communicate, which drives the organisers to adjust the services and supplies delivery and their own business models as well.

3. Would you say that the classical, logistic PCOs have become extinct today?
The fact that previously ‘unique’ services have commoditised and may no longer offer a sustainable business model does not mean that these services or their providers have become extinct. A full service model for PCOs nowadays includes many more services that are of a strategic nature, rather than logistics alone.

4. What distinguishes the superior from the average PCOs?
The term ‘superior’ somehow seems to refer to connotations that do not sit well with me. Some PCOs run profitable business models and at the same time spend a considerable time and effort on improving the environment in which they operate. Such a commitment will reflect benefits to clients, staff, communities and company performance on many levels. We are in the people business and therefore the performance of a successful PCO requires measurement not only on technical elements, but also on the wider variety of engagement with the client and their mission.

5. What will the future of International and local PCOs be?
I do not pretend to know anything about the future, so the answer is “no idea”. I see that the current market offers enough business for international and local PCOs who are committed to delivering quality, and keep questioning, developing and improving their performance. 

6. How do you rate the development in Eastern Europe and especially in South-Eastern Europe?
As there are many clients who seek to develop their membership (or product base) development in those areas, there is a natural development of service providers. There are new convention bureaus being created and also commercial operators seek to increase their market share. There is a clear situation of demand-and-supply and as such the business opportunities will grow.

7. What are your plans with the management of IAPCO?
The IAPCO Council has agreed on a strategic plan about a year ago, and my role is to make sure we keep our focus and implement the agreed steps to consolidate and where necessary improve membership value.

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