Photo Iztok Dimc

Aircraft pilots are subjected to regular tests of their capabilities, since they are in addition to extremely expensive vessels also entrusted with our lives. The principle of total quality management in aviation goes without saying, but when we look at the organization of events, this area is often underestimated.

The only internationally comparable and standardized method for professional congress organizer evaluation is the accreditation system established by the International Association IAPCO. Association of PCO – Professional Congress Organizers swears by orderly, transparent and reliable management of congress projects, based on certification and accreditation of its members. The strict certification criteria has been met by 171 members from 14 countries.


The process of annual accreditation of members is a two stage one:

1. Every year they check two upcoming congresses of each member. They analyze them by using the “Congress Checklist”. Eligible are only international congresses with at least 400 participants. IAPCO integrates key PCO activities into 16 segments and each member is required to successfully complete at least 10 of them.

2. Each member makes a self-assessment using the form “Self-Assessment Checklist”. This evaluates and gives members information on the areas where improvements are needed. A special feature is the program, which ranks the individual providers and at the end of the evaluation process automatically sends the results and recommendations to its members.

Both documents are checked by a special accreditation committee. The results are published publicly on the website of the association and by doing so IAPCO each year produces a scale with an overview of operational excellence.

IAPCO states that orderly, transparently and reliably run business inspires confidence and trust, while trust of the meetings industry players creates new business opportunities.

What does this mean for professional organizations looking to organize a conference?

The key purpose of such standardization is to facilitate buyer service and shorten the process of finding a suitable professional organizer. At the same time to obtain an overview of the quality of service offered by a given provider.

In Slovenia, the only member of IAPCO is the CD Congress Centre, which is the largest congress organizer in Slovenia. PCO agency of the CD can be compared to the largest congress organizers in the world. About their experience speaks also the fact that they realized more than 200 events and in scope of those also more than 1,000 smaller events per year. The majority of them in their own venue, the CD Congress Centre.

IAPCO members will meet at their Annual Meeting & General Assembly in Dubai. Around 100 participants are expected to attend the event.

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