A Unique Venue In A Unique City
Zenia Kerasodiu studied at Surrey University, UK at the Department of Linguistics and International Studies. She holds 20 years of experience in senior management positions in the conference and meetings industry. She worked as Director of Sales and Marketing in Mamidakis Group of Companies- Athinais Conference Centre, Arina Sand Hotel and Minos Palace Hotel & Suites in Crete and previously in Andromeda Athens Hotel. Zenia also worked in travel agencies in managerial positions and was recently elected as Vice President of HAPCO (Hellenic Association of Professional Congress Organizers). Since 2005 she has been working as Director of Sales & Conferences at Megaron the Athens Concert Hall & Conference Centre, dealing with concerts, cultural events, meetings, incentives, and conferences.
Q: What can meeting planners look forward to when hosting an event in your convention centre?
Megaron is the finest and most technologically advanced conference venue in Athens. It offers a stunning environment, exceptional aesthetics, cutting edge technology and an unrivaled client service. The meeting planners, even in the first stages of organising the event, work closely with all of the Megaron departments and they feel secure that their production ideas will be fully materialized. Our professionalism and experienced staff is a guarantee for success and meeting planners really enjoy preparing their events at our facility. The building boasts impressive architecture and the effective MAICC team during the organisation makes everything run smoothly. I think that Megaron is a unique venue, in a unique city, offering a unique experience.
Q: Does your company have an internal PCO?
We have an internal department, but it’s not really a PCO, as we only deal with the services that we provide within Megaron. That includes the meeting space and all of the technological equipment we offer. We also have hostesses, so we have a full package of services for our clients. I think that creates a higher level of satisfaction, as people usually aren’t aware of everything we can offer.
Q: What sets you apart from other venues in the city?
It is definitely our excellent event support, which at the end results in a seamless experience. We assist clients with technical support, house management, and banking. If you are planning an event in MAICC you will be assigned your own event manager planner who will help you with whatever you might need. The technical team at Megaron is highly experienced, with over 20 years of experience in managing technical systems at theatres and operas. We also take security and safety very seriously here at Megaron, as we believe it is one of the most important things when choosing a venue. Having hosted a considerable number of famous figures we have substantial experience in this area, and we maintain 24h full-time security throughout the building. When you visit the building you really don’t see how complex the whole story behind it is; everything works in sync, like a pair of invisible hands.
Q: What is your typical kind of client and what kind of events do you mostly attract?
Mainly international and local corporate clients, who keep returning to our venue to organise product launches, different presentations and internal meetings of all sizes. We are also in close cooperation with all the major PCOs and international associations worldwide, hosting their conferences and exhibitions in our venue. Currently, the medical market is the biggest, with its huge exhibitions and international participants that we can host across 18 of our meeting spaces.
Q: How have clients responded to your convention centre?
Client feedback has been nothing but positive, supportive of the facility from the beginning of our cooperation. We have gained trust over the years and established a strong position in the meetings industry. We have successfully hosted a large number of international European conferences, from 1,000 up to 7,000 participants.
Q: What is your cooperation with the city like? Are you satisfied with the promotion?
The main goal of all the parties involved is to promote the city of Athens and in order to promote the city in the best possible way we work closely with the ACVB, the Mayor of Athens, the ministry of tourism, the national tourist organisation, hotel associations and the airlines. The competition is quite fierce and it’s not easy to bring a congress or a major event into your city. A lot of effort and professionalism is required in order to achieve your goal. We are all on the same page and we work very hard when preparing the bids, but we all still believe that Athens needs to be further promoted with more targeted campaigns. Athens is slowly but surely making a name for itself on the world congress scene.
Q: In the meetings industry what are the biggest opportunities for the city of Athens?
The main issue all over the world is still safety, but I believe Athens can rely on the stability of the country, as we haven’t had any incidents during this period. This is very important for meeting planners when choosing their venue and I believe it creates a good opportunity to attract new businesses.
Q: Where are you positioning your marketing efforts this year and next, and how are you promoting your convention centre?
We want MAICC to play a key role as a congress venue, so we are planning to focus on targeted advertisement, participating in travel trade shows and exhibitions, and using all the available marketing tools. We believe in word of mouth, which is the best medium of them all.
Q: Where do you see MAICC in five years time?
Highly ranked and positioned among the very best congress venues in Europe. This is something that we want to achieve and we are very proud of the venue.
Q: Can you tell of an unmissable event in 2017?
There is a huge exhibition that takes place in the German city of Kassel called Documenta and the ministry of culture has arranged to bring it to Athens, where we will host a segment of the exhibition. From a cultural standpoint the event is of great value for our city and it will actually be the first time that another city is the host.