Exhibition News May 2019 - Page 13

Debate Should associations partner with organisers? EN attended the Associations World Congress in Gothenburg, Sweden last month. We asked a selection of association event profs: what are the benefits and disadvantages of organising your association events internally, versus getting help from an external agency? Rodney Cox, events director, International Gas Union Focusing on the revenue side, if your association strategically wants to expand its exhibition to engage with the broadest group of industry stakeholders (for example outside your membership base) then a professional organiser may drive this process better, and you can probably move some commercial risk to them. But you may need to broaden your visitor base too, such as non-delegate trade visitors. If your objectives require that your exhibitor universe is limited, such as by association policy, membership, a sponsor benefit only, or a size and style of venue factor, then you will probably already have those company relationships inside your association. Jose Zuniga, president/CEO, International Association of Providers of AIDS Care Aslaug Skuladottir, senior advisor, Norwegian Physiotherapist Association The benefit of organising our medical education conferences internally is the ability to directly and continuously link our in- house meeting planner expertise with subject matter expertise. The disadvantage is that there are not enough hours in the day for our small team of meeting planners, which we cannot expand because granters limit logistics fees in the grant support they provide for educational conferences. Our association has been getting help from an external agency in various degrees for our association events. There are some competences for organising big events that are not relevant for the association to have in- house, since we don’t organise annual events. My experience is that we can buy help with some services, but we have to have internal resources (time and expertise to order) to follow-up the external agency. We have to stay in charge from planning to evaluation of the event. Brian Campbell, community manager, Ex Ordo From our perspective being in the tech industry, we work with external agencies and associations regularly. One thing we experience is that when you’re organising large events, knowledge is power and external agencies certainly bring that to the table. Whether it is the event social media, the destination or the tech you should be using, external agencies are experts. This does depend on the size of your event, if you’re organising a smaller event with a lower budget using an external agency may be outside of your budget. May — 13