“There is an increase in interest for quality in the Spanish congress sector, and it is being considered as an indispensible tool from the sales and marketing point of view”, as assured Julio C. Abreu, President of the PCO Madrid (OPC Madrid y Centro), and Vice-President of EFAPCO, who participated last week at the Expoeventos 2004, the first congress tradeshow for meetings in Portugal.
Abreu also said that “what it must have is a more profound vision of the concept and philosophy of quality, such as the way to improve the results of the companies”.
The President of the PCO Madrid was invited by the Congress Centre Estoril, organiser of the event with the Portuguese Professional Congress Organisers Association and with the collaboration of the PCO Portugal, for a presentation on the Quality applied to the meetings sector.
It is difficult to be precise about the criteria to determine the excellence in the congress sector, given that “the parameters and the existing regulations such as ISO 9000 are not always applicable to the services that PCOs give to companies. It is true that some of the members of our association have obtained quality certifications according to ISO regulations and others, according to parameters of brands such as Madrid Excelente, but they are all more polarised to do the documentation of the productive processes than on the services itself”, said Abreu.
Currently, “the situation is not ideal”, and to unify criterias, Abreu considers that “it will have to separate quality on the infrastructures from the facilities and equipment and lastly, from the joint services given by the companies related to the congresses; hotels, congress halls, transportation companies, tradeshow venues, and not PCO”. In this sense, “the PCOs are already trying for some time, not to integrate themselves in the Spanish tourism quality system (SCTE) and are hoping to fulfil the promises that have been made to be part of this already, very important collective”, he added. Up to this moment, explained Abreu, “it can be considered as a quality mark or if not, as a reference of the profession, the fact of being accepted as a member of the PCO Spain. The statues of our associations determine what needs to be done to fulfil the range of requirements”.
In any case, the future is bright as “it is already producing, by many clients of conventions and product presentations, the demand for quality certifications of the providers, and this will make it such that in a relatively short time, we will all want our certification”. The presentation offered by Abreu is a open forum between the PCO Portugal and PCO Spain, and is known as the “Iberian section of PCO”.