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In a recent survey of more than 4000 delegates, the International Association of Professional Congress Organizers (IAPCO), attempted to understand if technological ability or physical location is more popular in attracting healthcare professionals to specific conference locations.

“When asked what reasons made them attend a conference, the destination did not feature in the top 10 list of answers: Science, CME, networking all featured strongly,” said Christian Mutschlechner, director, Vienna Convention Bureau. “Therefore, the future for attracting healthcare events to a destination is primarily about the exchange of science.”

“The destination used to be association driven now it is delegate driven; it is not necessarily the most attractive destination that wins the day but the one that suits the scientific focus of the association and the delegates,” said Martin Jensen, head of international congress and events, H. Lundbeck.

“Capturing content so it can have a longer lifetime and be shared with a wider audience; technology, the way people learn and communicate, social media are all having an effect on the structure of face-to-face medical congresses as well as compliance and regulation,” said Caroline Mackenzie, director of business development, Congrex Holdings BV. “Factors such as globalization brings a wider demographic audience to events, and their cultural differences need to be understood and catered for.”

As for compliance within healthcare meetings, it is the aim of IPCAA to use only EFPIA or IFPMA codes at international events to avoid the inconsistency in the use of compliance within IPCAA membership companies. Mutschlechner urged convention bureaus to be far more proactive in following the compliance issues and thus to be an active partner for all stakeholders, and to spend time massaging their clients to meet their needs.

“It is the responsibility of the PCOs to understand the changes impacting on medical associations and their congresses from factors such as compliance and regulatory restrictions, stakeholder products going off patent and fewer blockbuster products being launched into the market place, et cetera,” said Mackenzie. “PCOs must provide expert advice and a service offering to meet the changes not only for their clients but for all other stakeholders in the chain.”

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