What is an IAPCO PCO?


An IAPCO PCO is a Professional Congress Organiser or Meeting Planner who administers and brings to fruition the organisation of a congress, meeting, event or convention in a professional manner. Such a professional manner will include timeliness, efficiency, financial responsibility and good management.


IAPCO members are subject to annual quality checks where their membership is approved, under caution or suspended.

An IAPCO PCO has achieved a professional standard as judged by their peers and their clients. Each member has had to undergo rigorous entry criteria:

  • Proof of organisation of 10 international meetings, of which 5 must be of over 400 participants.
  • Confidential references received from past clients.
  • Site inspection of a selected international congress.
  • Successful interviews by peer review of international client, local organising committee, delegates and exhibitors of a selected international congress.
  • Inspection of offices and audit of procedures.

Once accepted into the Association, an IAPCO PCO has to maintain their membership by participating in an annual quality assessment including:

  • Statutory returns to prove on-going trading and notification of management changes.
  • Submission of Congress Check Lists to ensure continuous activity in the international meetings market.
  • Quality Self Assessment to position oneself against one’s competition and peers and to provide a benchmark for improvement.
  • Attendance at the annual Quality Seminar at least once every three years.

As a result of the above, an IAPCO PCO offers a unique quality assurance recognised by congress clients and suppliers all over the world.

Why do you need an IAPCO PCO?

An IAPCO PCO will bring added value to the organisation of a congress or event providing their clients with the highest quality standards.
As well as:

  • Proven experience and expertise.
  • Organising congresses is the core business of an IAPCO PCO.
  • Professional well-trained staff with exclusive dedication.
  • State-of-the-art congress management software tailored to the specific needs of the congress.
  • A more professional outcome.
  • Full PCO services freeing the client from all organisation, administrative and operational tasks.
  • Relief from many of the everyday concerns and stresses involved in the organisation.
  • Excellent value for money by maximising income/profit for the client.
  • A code of conduct, ethics and quality practice; all IAPCO members must respect the IAPCO code of conduct any breach of this code is submitted to the Committee of Ethics for investigation.
  • Understanding and knowledge of the international meetings industry, demands and its players involved.
  • Knowledge of changes and trends in the international meetings industry and how to integrate them into the organisation of the congress or alternatively avoid the pitfalls that might otherwise occur.
  • The benefit of a network and sharing of experience amongst members, as part of an International forum of exchange.
  • You will work with a PCO who has met with IAPCO’s strict entry qualifications – including reference checks from past clients and industry colleagues – to confirm a high level of professionalism.
  • IAPCO entry qualifications include documented proof of successfully organising a minimum of ten international congresses.
  • IAPCO members’ activities are monitored on an annual basis with members meeting on a regular basis to discuss best practice and to exchange ideas and experiences.
  • IAPCO members have to undertake annual quality assessments and reviews.
  • IAPCO membership shares a pool of experience in terms of worldwide destinations, professional competency and technical know-how. The PCO has immediate access to the IAPCO membership network to collect information on preceding congresses and to provide a continuity of quality service.
  • IAPCO members are at the forefront of training in the congress industry through the IAPCO EDGE programme, providing a comprehensive international and regional educational programme for senior and middle management involved in managing congresses.