Other activities included a meeting with the Department of Trade & Industry about an EC Directive on Tourism and Travel on the TOMS scheme and how it affected conferences. As far as the government was concerned conferences came under the heading of Travel & Tourism and therefore merited no exclusion from administering TOMS.
There were many meetings with the administrators of the major London venues and hotels to discuss payment of deposits and commission (numerous discussions took place on the ethics of fee earning PCOs taking commission from suppliers;). With regard to hotel accommodation, it has to be remembered that hotels did not look upon conference organisers as a separate species; as far as they were concerned they were all part of the travel industry and worked in the same way, ie that they would take an allocation of rooms for a certain period and pay for the whole period up front, whereas in fact PCOs would usually only take a deposit of the first night’s stay and put the onus onto the client to pay the balance on departure. It took months of negotiation to persuade hotels that conference organisers operated differently from tour operators. With most hotels ABPCO was eventually successful in retaining their preferred method of practice and did achieve the same level of commission.