Discover The Advantage Of A PCO

Published: 29 May 2018

Convention Edinburgh has nine PCO’s in our membership; they have many years’ experience of organising conferences and their knowledge and capability is second to none. Offering a range of tailored services to suit your conference needs, a PCO can be involved from the initial bid stage and will work closely with the team at Convention Edinburgh to ensure the highest chance of winning your conference in Edinburgh. Two of our PCO’s, MCI UK and Conference Partners International, have answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the range of services a PCO can offer.

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How can a PCO help you bring your next conference to Edinburgh?



From the get-go, the value proposition of your PCO will be integral to your destination decision-taking process. In partnership with the city, you will be looking for a relationship with a PCO which will support you, maximise the impact of your Conference for your organisation in the destination, and create a lasting legacy.

A PCO can help you build your community, create interest in your conference, drive traffic to your website and increase participation, as well as being fully compliant with the latest data protection regulations for you, your existing community and your visitors.

MCI has impeccable credentials and qualifications and can manage the finances of your conference so you don’t have to. Most importantly, you will be looking for a PCO who understands you, works with you to help you achieve all of your objectives for your conference and your society in collaboration with the destination and your conference venue.

Conference Partners International: 

Bidding for an international congress provides a wonderful opportunity to raise the profile of your industry sector, your organisation and your professional career. It brings together stakeholders of that industry, builds long term relationships which ultimately improve standards and showcases the talent of your sector to a global community. Your PCO guides you through each step of the process to ensure the above is delivered with professionalism.

At CPI we work in partnership with you, your Local Organising Committee (LOC) and the Convention Bureau to produce a compelling bid that encompasses all that Edinburgh has to offer from a, destination, organisational and knowledge perspective.

We understand that our clients' concerns in bidding for and hosting conferences are as follows:

Time: This is not your day job but it is ours, we will ensure that you can host the conference and continue to do your day job by putting an experienced team in place to support you.

Reputation: You are in safe hands with CPI as our goal is to deliver a truly exceptional conference that you can be proud of.

Finances: We carry out a very detailed financial feasibility study at bid stage to ensure the conference is financially viable. 

As a multi award winning and IAPCO accredited PCO, we are here to support you every step of the journey and deliver a conference which has a lasting legacy post the event.

What is the difference between a PCO and a Convention Bureau?



The Convention Bureau knows the city inside out and can advise on anything from venues and accommodation to accessibility and social events. Convention Edinburgh can make introductions to government representatives and additional key influencers which will prove invaluable when building a lasting legacy around your conference.

The role of the PCO is to draw all that the city has to offer together into a single seamless solution, as well as being responsible for the professional organisation of your conference. The key to a successful conference is teamwork- it is the strength of this partnership between the city and the PCO that delivers an unforgettable experience.


Conference Partners International:

The local Convention Bureau is the main source of information in relation to venues, accommodation and destination information. The Convention Bureau (CVB) will typically work with you at the beginning of the process and provide information on the destination for Bid purposes. Once a PCO is appointed (the earlier the better), the PCO would work with the CVB to liaise with venues and hotels on behalf of the client in order to provide the optimum solution for all requirements.

The PCO brings all pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together, from finance, logistics, technical, programme design, marketing and social to ensure each delegate has an optimum experience in Edinburgh.


How much does a PCO cost?



Typically you might expect to pay a mix of fixed professional management fees for a standard range of services and variable management fees for services such as delegate and abstract management. It is not unusual for PCO’s to charge commission for sponsorship acquisition services. Importantly, you will want to discuss and agree contractual terms in advance with your PCO and at the proposal stage.

Please note: whilst there are fees involved in the work of a PCO, some administrative advice and support in the preparation of bids may be offered free of charge provided that the PCO involved is shortlisted or awarded the contract if the bid is successful.

Conference Partners International: 

The pricing model will depend on the level of support required. However, typically a PCO will charge a variable per person cost for on-line registration and abstract management. A fixed cost is often charged for project management and revenue generation through sponsorship is often based on a fixed commission structure. Due to the purchasing power of PCOs, they can deliver value in the negotiation of competitive prices with third party suppliers. The bidding stage is considered as a partnership, so many PCOs do not charge for this service.

For more information about the role of a PCO when bringing a conference to Edinburgh, please visit /organising-a-conference/resource-centre/professional-conference-organisers/

To find out more about MCI UK, visit

To find out more about Conference Partners International, visit



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