The following definitions come from Event Planner:
DMC, Destination Management Company, is a professional organization that provides services locally. It is mainly responsible for the arrangement of various activities and coordination among all involved parties in the destination where the event takes place.
PCO, Professional Conference Organizer, is a company which gains profits through the organization and management of conferences for clients.
Event Planner explained the difference between PCO and DMC: PCO takes advantage of professional proficiency to undertake business; DMC takes advantage of local familiarity to undertake business.
Explanation in plain English: If a foreign PCO comes to China to provide services for an international association conference, it will have no difficulty as it specializes in organizing conferences. The services required for international conferences include site and venue selection, registration, paper review, schedule making, financial management, media promotion, commercial sponsorship and other related matters. All of them are among the scope of PCO's work and are regular service items, which will not change no matter the meeting destination. However, foreign PCOs are not familiar with China. As each country has its own national conditions and regulations, there are many uncertainties such as security approvals, event permit, public relations coordination, services for offsite events, airport shuttles, transportation, tours and material production. These services related to local resources are all part of DMC's work. Therefore, if a foreign PCO comes to China to undertake an international conference, it will cooperate with a local DMC. In China, due to language barriers and China’s national conditions, the cost for communication is quite high, thus the importance of a DMC cannot be ignored.
PCO is a company specializing in the organization of conferences and congresses. Normally, if a PCO discusses meeting services with a DMC, it’s easy to get disagreeable and divergent. Vice versa, if a DMC talks incentive travel services with a PCO, it will have the same result.
The boundaries of PCO and DMC may sometimes be blurred and their functions may overlap, but the basic division of responsibility is clear.
China Star has the advantage of having two independent companies: a PCO and a DMC. In terms of personnel training, it focuses on cultivating fully-developed “amphibious” talents: the goal is to make everyone be professional and capable to handle both conferences and incentive travel groups. Although there is a relative division of labor, we try to make everyone well-prepared and be able to plunge into work immediately when needed.
In addition, international conferences have relatively fixed procedures, while incentive travel programs emphasize creativity, innovation, exciting moments, once in a lifetime experiences and adventures. Therefore, if a company, especially a small and medium-sized enterprise, has the dual functions of PCO and DMC, both will bring out their best and complement each other.