AN INTERVIEW WITH
CEO of Toleranca Marketing and Founder of Conventa Crossover
A long time congress tourism addict, Gorazd has many years’ experience in organizing large congress projects in cooperation with some of the most respected institutions in the region. He is an accomplished advisor for marketing success and the owner of Toleranca marketing agency. Gorazd has established himself as the founder and editor of Kongres Magazine and the co-creator of Conventa Trade Show.
Q: What has inspired you to create Crossover conference?
For quite some time now, I’ve been witnessing a shift in habits of events and meetings participants. I’ve also spent a lot of my time at boring meetings, where I concluded that we need to change the way we organize meetings – otherwise, future generations won’t even dream of attending them. Their lack of interactivity and dynamics is what makes them boring. After getting to know the Danish concept called “Meetovation”, we decided to test our ideas and to think of our model, adapted to the needs of our environment. What sprouted was a unique event organization methodology under the slogan Power to the meetings, which led to Conventa Crossover conference.
Q: How do you see the difference between Conventa Crossover and other MICE conferences or events?
Firstly, we thoroughly examined and analysed results of last year’s Crossover and tailored the programme to the needs of our participants. We envisioned the event as a two-day festival, a meeting point for everyone, who wants to learn new things, have fun and exchange ideas in the field of marketing, tourism and event organisation in an informal, festival-like atmosphere. What’s special about the conference is how we create the space. This year it will be an interlacement of festival spirit, jungle vibes and a living room set-up that makes for a relaxed atmosphere. In addition to that we use innovative and efficient presentation methods and formats, such as PechaKucha, TEDx, Elevator Pitch and others. All of it is tied together by an expert host, who gives the event a rhythm and creates a special energy among participants. We are the most excited about participants opinions, as they are usually the victims of boring and senseless meetings. The main goal of this entire project is to change the way people attend meetings through an innovative event format.
Q: You base your events on the “Power to the meetings” methodology. How will that transfer to Crossover?
Instead of the term methodology, I rather use the word toolbox. Through ten segments of different tools for meeting planners, we create the right event format and content. The secret and the main ingredient to successful events are good stories that exceed participants’ expectations and teach them new values and findings. We try to tie them into a holistic experience, an experience that requires all six of your senses. The main ingredients will be music, cuisine, and a special atmosphere, actualized by a space arrangement, decoration, furniture and the element of surprise. We are certain that through our experience of all senses we will get the energy between organizers, participants, speakers and the audience flowing.
Q: This year’s theme is surviving the marketing jungle. What are your survival strategies?
We are creating opportunities and enthusiasm is nowadays mostly achieved through digital platforms. These digital platforms are hungry for good stories and quality content marketing. I like to explain it with the story of the digital beast that is always hungry for good content. If you want to survive the marketing jungle, you need to be feeding the beast with quality content, as it is the only way to achieve success in sales and all marketing activities. Most importantly, we need to be educating ourselves and growing. It is what Crossover is all about. I tell all my colleagues to travel more and stroll the world with open eyes and heart. We live in an age where everything can be measured and analysed and the same thing goes for marketing. It is the only way to improve, and that’s where a lot of people go wrong. They are certain in their proven models and refuse to learn new things and make progress. The power of modern content marketing is that it can side with your clients – meeting planners, understanding them and giving them the right solutions at the right time.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most at the event?
My biggest wish is to enthral the participants, since they are the future ambassadors of this new way of event organisation. The industry needs a revolution, as new generations will probably just swap boring meetings for virtual reality and a virtual future altogether. I am also excited about the fact that we will give answers to most of the questions that are stirring up the Slovenian tourist scene right now. Furthermore, we will shine the light on how to make your events more interesting, different and efficient. We’ve prepared an interesting program and invited representatives of some of the biggest international “live experience” agencies, influential hoteliers and representatives of different tourist agencies and venues.
Q: Crossover is basically Conventa’s baby. How do both events relate to each other?
From the very beginning, Conventa has been presenting a professional platform for creating business opportunities and exchanging expert knowledge in a fun way through numerous different activities. In all our years of organising the event, we have realized that we need to separate the educational and trade show segments of events. Both events are fuelled by our creative minds, quality execution and professionalism. User experience, based on perfectionism and new knowledge is at the forefront of both events. Crossover is a new platform that is extending Conventa’s reputation as a high-quality trade show. A lot of thinking goes into making the buyers and exhibitors pleased, so we spend a lot of time figuring out what their needs and expectations are. We believe that Crossover is a tool that allows partners to develop their competitiveness on the market. I even dare say that partners who aren’t part of the story will face a serious crisis in a matter of five years.