Have you always wanted to work in the meeting industry?
Not really. When I was kid I wanted to be a fireman or football player, but when I got poisoned with hospitality business, the story was as it shoud be: first working as a guide, than as tour leader, than as representative for a big tou operator on destination – it means transfer, luggage transportaton, driving, guiding and ironing my shirts, sleeping two hours a night, partying, earning some money (and of course speinding it immediately)… something completely different tha thoery, which we were absorbin at the university. But a must-do for everyone who wants to work in the hospitality business.
Experiences with the meeting industry came in the late 90’s when the situation in the Adriatic region calmed down and when the first meetings and incentives started to be organised in the region. Now I am happy to be part of this special »movement«, because I am sure it’s the most complex, interesting, challenging and demanding segment of the hospitality business.
Why is your destination/country the best in the world?
It offers a huge variety of high level services in a small area, value for money is good, it’s still new and an undiscovered destination. A big positive surprise for most of people from our business who come for the first time.
What would be the first thing you would show every visitor to your country?
Depending on time and preferences, Ljubljana and the vibrant atmosphere along the river banks is unique. A world top class wine and culinary experience in the Brda wine growing region or the Vipava valley is also something special, even for the most “spoiled” visitors. Canyoning in the river Soča valley is something to remember – because of the adrenalin, the natural beauty and an after party with the local guys.
What has been your star moment so far and your favourite project with which you would praise yourself?
The biggest one was a world press launch of a new car model – we did a great job and we got lots of compliments for creativity, more than professional services and excellent prepared routes. And journalists were also so happy that finally they were invited to a new, small, quiet, picturesque destination, because most of them are already fed up with traditional car launching locations like Spain, France or Portugal.
It also feels good when experienced incentive planners and participants after the event honestly say to you that for them this was best ever experience so far, knowing that in previous years they visited some top world destinations. It happened this year on the island of Hvar and it shows that also less expensive events on less known destinations can be a big success. It’s all in the creativity, the passion, the right feeling and fair communication.
What motivates you the most at work?
It’s the passion to convince the agent or client that our destination could offer better value for money and more intense experiences than competitive destinations, that participants will go home happy and full of positive impressions and that the client will definitely fulfill his mission. Of course, another issue is putting together a really interesting program, using all the local expertise we have.
Nevertheless, working in and for the meeting industry means also getting in contact with so many different and interesting people from all over the world, which gives you a chance to learn from case to case and to gain skills and experiences which no university can offer.
In what way do you deal with stress?
Sport is the best stress killer. Many times also culture fills my brains with positive energy. And family and kids, now both sons are already at an age when they could be together than the toughest business partners.
When were you last angry / disappointed and why?
This spring, when a client did not recognise the benefits offered to them. But later participants rewarded our efforts.
What will be new in your business in year 2013?
New markets showing an interest for our region, new approaches from the operational side.
What have you learned last week?
Weather cannot be regulated – stay calm and think positive even in pouring rain and hurricane winds. At the end it’s all about good experience.
Where will you spend this year’s holiday and why
On an island, in a small village with no hotels, with two small local inns, with a different way of life. And with crystal clear sea, a totally relaxed atmosphere and enough time and opportunity to do nothing but enjoy genuine food and have fun with kids and friends.
If there were no time and financial constraints, where would you go?
Not to Shanghai or Dubai, but for heli-skiing to Alaska or Canada. Perhaps also exploring New Zealand, or trekking at Kamchatka, or for a true Photo Safari. Back to the roots.
What would be the title of your life autobiography?
Indeed, working within the meeting industry means a very “intense” way of life. I got enough memories and experiences to write a very interesting book, “titles are given after books are written, so no title yet.”