With nearly 30 years of industry experience, Alain Pittet is an IAPCO Council member, and also served on the Marketing Committee of the UFI (the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry). He is also Executive Director of Ega worldwide congresses & events, the newest member of the World PCO Alliance.
What drew you to the meetings industry?
I started in 1993 in the exhibition industry. My hometown of Basel boasts the biggest exhibition and conference centre in Switzerland. As a young project manager, I gained insights into different industries and met decisionmakers, entrepreneurs and representatives of institutions and governments.
Name a few career highlights.
I started my career as product manager with a cigar and tobacco importer. Then I worked for 16 years at the exhibition organiser MCH Group in Basel, of which the last few years I served as Director, Trade Fairs and Exhibitions, overlooking 15 trade shows and 10 teams with a total of 33 employees in Basel and Zurich. In 2009 I joined Congrex Switzerland as Managing Director, and finally in 2018 I joined Ega worldwide as Executive Director to advise and support them in their next level of internationalisation.
What is your favourite part of your client relationships?
Advising our clients, proposing tailor-made solutions, and creating partnerships with them that go beyond standard client-supplier relationships.
What do you bring to a client in terms of his/her event?
We at Ega worldwide have a consultative approach and a creative, enthusiastic, motivated and multilingual staff who care about the client. This leads to a service-oriented working attitude, commitment and attention to details. And, let’s not forget, Italian passion and flexibility!
What is one inaccurate myth about your country that you’re amazed still exists? What’s the reality?
As a Swiss working for an Italian company, I think the main myth is that Italy stands only for Food and Culture … and, in my opinion, Italians tend to emphasize both strengths a little too much.
Italy has so much more to offer: Italy is the world’s 8th largest economy. The country has an excellent fast train network—Rome-Milan in a little over 3 hours. Rome's Leonardo da Vinci Airport, better known as Rome Fiumicino, has been rated Europe's best airport for the second consecutive year by Airports Council International (ACI). The list of what Italy has to offer goes on!
What is one thing an organization needs to know to hold a successful meeting?
There are two factors: the local PCO and the destination:
The local PCO because of its unique connections to government, institutions, associations and local sponsors, but also because of its knowledge of the local business culture. For example, an Italian PCO is best equipped to negotiate prices with Italian suppliers.
The destination due to its excellent accessibility, its image, its history, its price-performance ratio and due to the increasing number of participants. As a good example, since the inauguration of the new Conference Centre “La Nuvola” in 2016, we have an average 23.5% more participants at international meetings held in Rome!
Ega worldwide offers the best of both worlds: Our team is highly specialised in institutional and governmental meetings, international association conferences, and corporate events. With our accreditation by IAPCO, the several ISO certifications (9001, 14001 and 20121) as well as the MedTech Europe Trusted Partner certification, we are able to guarantee highest quality standards, reliability, and efficiency. We really know the local market: The members of the Ega board are members of the Board of Unindustria - Tourism sector (association of industrialists in Rome) and of the Board of the Convention Bureau Roma & Lazio. This means we have excellent ties to all the important institutions and companies in Rome and the rest of Italy.
What are your professional goals for the future?
I would like to work in the post Covid-19 meeting industry for a few more years and help to improve the quality and image of our PCO industry worldwide. Why do I say that? “PCO” is not a protected term. Everyone can brand his/her company as a Professional Congress Organiser. As a result, certain so-called PCOs are unfortunately only able to offer isolated services instead of a comprehensive range of services, and the quality of those isolated services is often insufficient. This harms all other qualified PCOs which offer a wide range of services with the latest know-how and technologies.
When you aren’t organizing events, you are…:
Drinking a good glass of wine and smoking a cigar 😊. My wife and I have a small vineyard in Sardinia (where my wife was born) and I try to be there two to three times a year. Hopefully in a few years I will be able to stay several months a year.
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what is one thing you would want to have with you?
If you had to wear one set of clothes for the rest of your life, what would you wear?
Polo shirt, chinos, and sneakers
You are the newest partner to join the World PCO Alliance. What drew your organization to join?
One of the appealing factors of applying to the World PCO Alliance was the fact that partnership is limited to one PCO per country, and that there is a preference to agencies which primarily are active in their home market. This fit perfectly with Ega worldwide.
What has your WPCOA membership meant to you? What makes it so unique and valuable to both its members and to organization clients?
I strongly believe in the power of a global network of partners, which together provide high quality local solutions for clients. Sharing insights regarding clients’ needs and developments on the different continents is another important valuable advantage for a PCO of our size.
Click here to read the interview with Christophe Painvin of Colloquium.