consigli per congresso vincente

How to organize a congress in 5 steps: GAYA Events’ Advices

Congresses are one of the most important challenges for event organizers and more. To organize a successful congress, follow these simple tips. 

In the age of the internet and digital communication, participation in professional events knows no decline: the “real” aggregation event – such as a congress or a convention – is still considered the most effective means of transmitting and sharing knowledge, building professional relationships, start collaborative relationships and stimulate new ideas.

The success of the event format lies in the power of face-to-face meeting between people, capable, much more than an email or a videoconference, of building trust, inspiring innovative thinking and generating opportunities. 

What are the differences between congress and convention

Congress is defined as a formal gathering of many professionals who come together to discuss ideas or issues related to a specific academic discipline, professional field, or topic.

It differs from a Conference and a Convention for several reasons:

  • it is periodic, it renews its invitation usually once a year;
  • is aimed at specific professional categories;
  • it is an opportunity to get certified and update yourself for specific groups of professionals;
  • in 80% of cases in Italy it is part of the ECM programme;
  • Almost all of the Congresses organized are residential events of at least 2-3 days.
  • The vast majority of Congresses organized at international and national level pertain to the medical-scientific world.

1) First step: CME yes or no?

come organizzare congresso scientifico epcm

The first evaluation to make if you are thinking of organizing a congress in the medical-scientific field is the choice of enrolling it in the Continuing Medical Education program or not.


  • The participant will be more encouraged to register because he will obtain the CME credits necessary for his training;
  • Recognition by the scientific community of the value of the initiative;
  • Major echo in the reference professional category.


  • Less freedom of promotion for sponsors;
  • Greater bureaucratic constraints;
  • No possibility to show equipment with visible branding.

Of course, the question also and above all concerns the funds destined for the organization of a Congress and the sponsors who want to get involved.

If accreditation is decided, it is necessary to rely on an CME provider who is the only subject that the Ministry of Health and AGENAS recognize and enable by law to provide training activities and accredit them to the program.

The CME provider is responsible and guarantor of the quality and independence of the training as well as compliance with the standards of the methods of delivery of the same. It is in fact responsible for appointing the scientific committee which has the task of validating the training plan proposed by the provider itself and of identifying, for each event, a scientific manager who guarantees the quality of the contents provided and is responsible for taking care of the recruitment of teachers/tutors/trainer.

The more specializations the provider wants to include in its basket, the wider and more varied the composition of its committee of specialists will have to be.

Who sponsors the congress?

2) Rules for sponsors: what can and cannot be done

The rules that companies have given themselves to support training events in the health field touch on various aspects, let’s see them together.


The sponsor must send the invitation to the healthcare facility at least 60 days before the event, which indicates the professional who will participate in the event.


the transfer of value is both the company’s economic contribution to finance training events organized by third parties and the expense that the company supports in favor of a healthcare professional who participates in the training it organizes.

The code of ethics obliges companies to disclose the amount of transfers of value in favor of healthcare organizations and direct or indirect funding for events carried out through healthcare facilities or third parties.

Transfers of value to healthcare professionals must also be disclosed on the company website.


Companies can only sponsor congresses on subjects connected to their field of activity and invite doctors if there is a connection between the theme of the event and the doctor’s specialization.


The participation of companies in the events must be based on ethical, scientific and cost-effective criteria. Therefore, only economy class travel and accommodation in hotels with a maximum of four stars can be offered. Furthermore, companies cannot organize or sponsor events that take place in tourist destinations during the high season.


Companies cannot organize or sponsor social, cultural or tourist initiatives in the context of congresses. Only social dinners organized by the congress for all participants are permitted. Hospitality for companions in any form is excluded.

The hospitality offered by the companies must be limited to travel, accommodation and payment of the registration fee and any fee for meals must not exceed 60 euros per operator.

Who are the professionals who can help you organize?

gaya events pco congressi

3) Professional Congress Organizers: who they are and why you need a professional for your congress.

The specialized figure who deals with the organization of the congress is the “Professional Congress Organizer”, PCO.

The planning, implementation and financial and administrative management of a congress cannot be handled by inadequately trained personnel; these are aspects that require the specific skills of a professional organizer.

The most beneficial aspects of contracting the organization to a PCO agency such as GAYA Events are primarily:

  • Knowledge of the market and trends;
  • The closest relationship with the technical and service suppliers with consequent greater possibility of negotiation;
  • The habit of very tight schedules, resulting in efficient time management skills;
  • Logistics management of the event, coordination of suppliers, set-up and finalization operations

And not only!

Another crucial aspect is the communication of the event: born as the sole operational right arm of the congress secretariats, the PCO agencies have expanded their areas of expertise up to the development of marketing and event design themes, intended as the discipline that allows you to find the most suitable format and content to increase the effectiveness of meetings and improve the experience of the participants.

Very often, moreover, PCO agencies also work with companies, organizing their conventions, product launches, motivational and marketing events: a contamination of skills that leads us to be all-round consultants.

What you absolutely need to know before organizing a Congress

4) The “Must Haves” to consider for the organization of a Congress

There are many aspects to consider in organizing a Congress, let’s see a detailed list of the crucial aspects to which the agency you rely on to organize the event must pay attention.

  • Event Management:
    • Assistance in drafting the application
    • Strategic planning of the event
    • Economic-financial plan of the event
    • or Insurance
    • Program development
    • Research and management of speakers
    • Sponsor search and management
    • Sales and exhibition area management
    • Research, selection and negotiation of the venue for the event
    • Management of invitations and registrations
    • Congress management software (if any).
    • Management of abstracts
    • Negotiation and coordination of suppliers (builders, technical services, etc.)
    • Onsite event management
  • Hospitality
    • Accommodation research, booking and management
    • Food&beverage management
    • Booking flights and trains
    • Transport and transfer management
    • Organization of dinners and social activities
    • Organization of any accompanying program
  • Communication:
    • Creation and management of the website and/or landing page dedicated to the event
    • Event app
    • Social Media Management
    • Online and offline communication and marketing campaigns
    • Press Office activities
    • Creation of press and communication materials
    • Posters and signage.

Economic planning of the event

5) The economic planning of the event: keeping costs and revenues under control with a functional budget

pianificazione evento budget congresso

Once the project, objectives and times of the congress have been finalized, it is necessary to draw up the budget, i.e. to draw up a cost planning document that shows which economic resources are available and which expenses to bear to carry out the event.

The preliminary budget – different from the final balance drawn up at the end of the event – is the tool that guides all the economic decisions related to the event.

The economic sustainability of the congress is a central theme: based on the efficiency of this strategic choice, nasty surprises are avoided during and at the end of the event.

A well-made budget contains all the expenditure items: in addition to the more obvious aspects, such as the location or the cost of catering, it is advisable to rely on a specialized agency because the PCO’s job is above all to try to imagine any unexpected events and allocate a quota more or less considerable also on the basis of what could potentially happen.

The budget takes shape as the organization progresses and is generally built and updated by analyzing all the components of the event: a well-set budget takes into account fixed and variable, direct and indirect costs and is inclusive of all expenditure items.

The advantage of working with an agency in the long term is the management of this aspect too, especially administratively, because it allows you to use any remaining budget on other event or communication initiatives relevant to the company.

Do you want to organize a winning congress? We are here to help you

We at GAYA Events have been doing this job since 2004, with passion and rigor, with an eye always attentive to organizational and administrative procedures. Our staff even got certified at Feder Congressi no later than last year, keeping themselves constantly updated on the new rules and procedures.

Don’t leave anything to chance! Write to for a free quote!