How many members of staff? How many offices and where are they located?
What year was the company set up and have you seen a change in the meetings industry?
We now have over 150 staff all over Taiwan, but not all of them are originally from Taiwan so we have a very good mix of colleagues with different cultures. Apart from the PCO team, GIS Group also has teams of DMC, venue management, congress technology service and catering service. Most of the staff station in the head office in Taipei, while others support the Kaohsiung office and operating offices of venues. Jason started the company in 1991 and we are celebrating our 26th anniversary this year. Things of course have changed a lot throughout these years—especially with the meeting industry in Asia Pacific growing rapidly. For example in Taiwan, the government agrees with how this industry can help the country’s economy so it has been supporting meetings for more than 12 years now.
What are your companies current challenges?
Not having enough well-trained project managers has become one of our main current challenges. It takes a great amount of time to source potential project managers and to train them to be professional enough to handle projects by their own. There could be times that we would hesitate to bid for projects because of this limitation.
In the last 3 years, what has been the most successful meeting you have organised and why?
Looking back of the list of proud projects we have completed in the last 3 years, Velo-city Global 2016 is definitely the one to highlight. Velo-city is the world’s premium cycling forum to promote cycling as a daily transportation option. Hosting this event in Asia for the first time, it was quite a challenge for us as cycling was not yet part of the local culture. And we needed to be out of the box to pitch a uniqueness that is attractive enough for visitors to join the event from other countries. Being the organizer, GIS Group combined the event with the Taipei Cycle Show and organization of side events to enhance the visitors’ experience. We were very glad that all hard work paid off as the event attracted more than 1,000 delegates from 43 countries and 100 media representatives. We look forward to adding more successful events into our milestone.
One piece of advice for running a PCO business? Business Tip? Quote? Book/ Website Recommendation?
“Every moment inspires.” This is GIS Group’s tagline as well as a phrase that we keep in mind everyday. We believe that every little detail should be taken care of if we want to create a unique experience for clients. There is not one item that is the least important for a meeting and we always deliver our very best.
How do you manage the wellbeing of the team?
Our team is our most important asset, so we make sure everyone contributing to the company has a wonderful working environment. We hold internal events regularly to keep the team together. For example we invited the founder from Tripbaa, an online trip planner platform, to share his journey at our last annual meeting and all of us find it very inspiring. Also, every staff looks forward to the annual staff trip as we can take a short break from work. This year we could choose to visit either Korea or Chiayi; we had a lot of fun with the colleagues! Climbing the Jade Mountain every year has become our company tradition. The mountain is the highest in Taiwan, and we hope our staff can break out of their comfort zone and do something extraordinary. It is definitely an once-in-a-lifetime experience. We also arrange in-depth cultural trips around Taiwan, so the colleagues get to learn more about our destination while having a great time. From all these activities, our staff is very engaged with the company as well as each other. Working in the meeting industry sometimes puts us in high pressure, so recently we have introduced the EAP program. Staff can take this opportunity to solve emotional problems.
Why/ How do you value being an IAPCO member?
First of all we feel extremely honored to be certified as an IAPCO member. It also means a lot to our clients because they understand how strict IAPCO is controlling their members’ quality standard. The networking between all IAPCO members is wonderful as we can exchange useful ideas while building our friendships. This year we brought the first EDGE seminar to Taipei which was definitely a wonderful opportunity to educate the meeting industry here. Without the great support from IAPCO, we could have never done it.
Have you had a successful partnerships with another IAPCO member – an internship/ staff swap, exchange of best practice or even a helpful piece of advice?
We have a very close business relationship with MCI Asia-Pacific. Between the two, we share experience and insight especially during the pitching process. This is very useful for both parties as we can learn from each other and improve to provide better service to clients.
Find out more about GIS Group – http://www.gisgroup.com/