A Day In The Life Of A PCO

Working as part of a team of Professional Conference Organisers provides a different perspective on running events. Laura Rayyan from Meet Cambridge spent a day with the team from Opening Doors & Venues – one of Meet Cambridge’s PCO partners – at the International Organization For The Study Of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IOIBD) and shares her experience.

Once we had changed into our PCO uniforms so that guests could identify us easily and knew we were there to help, we got on with the task of filling the goodie bags with gifts including an umbrella and Cambridge-themed book.


Welcoming delegates

I worked at the registration desk, directing delegates to the hotel reception, the meeting room and providing information on where the other venues were, as well as giving them all the conference ‘tools’ they needed such as a lanyard, ticket to the King’s College dinner and scientific programme. If they were accompanied by a partner they were given an umbrella and partner programme outlining the range of social activities that had been arranged. Some delegates were also doing a fun run so they were given a special T-shirt.

Once the conference was underway, I attended the first lecture to help with the Q&A session, bringing a microphone to members of the audience asking questions so all the attendees could hear.

Providing support

One of the most interesting things about working alongside Opening Doors & Venues, who are one of our designated PCOs and provide a service to clients needing organization support, was seeing all the planning of the event come to life. It was also good to see the PCO team treat every attendee as an individual – not just another delegate –  and to admire how organised and calm they were, ensuring everything ran smoothly. They made it look so easy!

I was also surprised by how interactive the attendees were with the speakers and organisers: everyone really wanted to be there, share their knowledge and be involved. It was like 120 friends coming together.

Working as a team

All members of the team worked well together and were happy to assist each other when needed, putting forward suggestions and giving helpful advice. We all understood the importance of each of our roles and were enthusiastic in carrying them out.

All the delegates I spoke with, were delighted to be present, excited for the next few days and often thanked me for my assistance and local knowledge.

Possibly the greatest compliment was when one guest from another destination asked me if we work across the UK or just in Cambridge. The reason she explained was if she won the bid to host the next event in her destination, she’d definitely want us to help organise that event too, to ensure it runs as smoothly as this one. As an event organiser, that’s the best feedback you can get!


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