Europe is our playground, being different is our story
With 15 Kompas Offices around Europe and with over 60 employees, who speak at least 11 world languages, we like to think that our team is an international and multicultural society sharing one major goal – to push the limits of our business operations further and further. Being different is a strong motivation factor for us and a rewarding formula for our clients and partners. Also, this is the only way a company in the DMC sector can remain a vigorous and tireless player in this huge and spectacular playground that is Europe.
One single year and a new chapter of a bestselling novel began
Back in 1991, Kompas had to refocus from its established market of former Yugoslavia with only 24 million people on a new, much more developed and technologically as well as demographically sophisticated business arena with more than 740 million potential customers. And that was a major step! When Yugoslavia as we all knew it no longer existed, all of the Company’s knowledge had to be instantly recycled into something very new, challenging and powerful. Kompas started opening branch offices all around Europe and offered DMC services to its partners from Europe and Overseas. With the new business platform, new possibilities and also responsibilities arose. Since Kompas was a market leader from 1951 to 1991, every single team member had to step on road well-paved, but also had to relearn every single task in the process of connecting with clients and satisfying their needs. No matter whether it was a foreign partner or a group of individuals. After just a short period of time at the very beginning of the new century, a well-trained team with impressively extensive knowledge and experience was established, and more that 15 branch offices became fully operational.
We care and dare to be different – it is in our nature
After 65 years of company’s long run and after 24 years of this steady and firm growth under the brand Kompas DMC (internally, it is referred to it as ‘Kompas Incoming’), the department grew from a business initially worth EUR 2 million to today’s revenue of 45-million Euros. It has indeed been a long and winding road, but the DMC team is the one who walked every step of it and got to overcome every single obstacle on the way. Therefore, it is no coincidence that Kompas DMC’s motto today is – Dare to be different. Because this is what they are and what they will always be.
TOP TALK WITH MATEJA SUŠNIK, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF KOMPAS DMC
Q: How and why did you decide to specialise in the meetings industry?
I like to think of our business as one where we continuously have to be searching for something different, something new, something out of range, and something that has not been done yet. Business feeds itself on this philosophy. New opportunities come; new markets open and new clients are reached. The DMC and meeting industry is taking this philosophy even further, exponentially. Even though I have been working in tourism for over 20 years and even though I have grown up, so to say, as a developer of new markets and projects, I have fallen in love with meeting industry the moment I was assigned to the position of Incoming Director of Kompas Slovenia. I remember that day so vividly. I spoke with my colleagues, have been in touch with our branch offices and I really looked at the numbers – only then did I finally comprehend the vastness and depth of our business. When it comes to the various sectors of the travel industry, it is precisely DMC where things must be done differently, innovatively and boldly. I like that (smile).
Q: Your team is your biggest asset…
Day in and day out, our highly skilled individuals have to come up with tons of creative suggestions, and take care of thousands of clients (in 2005-2015, over 40,000 in Slovenia and Croatia alone, and in 2015, over 110,000 all around Europe). We have so many talented people in the team, coming from over 15 different countries and speaking over 11 world languages – they really are the strongest possible foundation that a travel company could imagine. And Kompas DMC can offer its clients just that! Step by step, year after year, the team is able to conjure up many new, stunning and attractive programmes for the DMC professional public. It is simple – if you want to assume leadership in the travel business of today, especially in meetings industry, you have to be an innovator before anything else.
Q: What are you the most proud of?
Except from my family (at home and at work), I am most proud of our continuously growing business figures from year to year, which confirms that we are doing something very right.
Q: What is your vision of a successful DMC/PCO?
A successful DMC/PCO is like a state-of-the-art satellite – always observing what is going on in the world and predicting the possibilities. A successful DMC/PCO has to be a bit of a business prophet as well. With not too many words, good work counts! When you organise an entire protocol of the official visit of the Deputy Mayor of Shanghai (who landed in Vienna, was hosted by the Mayor of Ljubljana and then travelled to Zagreb), or host a distinguished group at Michelin-starred restaurant in Nice, or handle over 2500 groups per year in all European countries, or even set up an exhibition for a Government Delegation at the City Hall, etc. I could go on and on – just then does one realise that whatever the vision, it is knowledge, innovation, professionalism and unsurpassable teamwork that are key. Good work and setting new trends, nothing else.
One could be prompted to say that we are an ‘Executive Ladies’ Club’, but it is not true. In our team of over 60 employees, we have somewhere between 3 and 5 strong male individuals as well
MEET THE 5 KOMPAS DMC STARS
IRENA SMRKOLJ, Meetings & Incentives Manager
The famous screenwriter of Kompas’ MICE promo film is a creative spirit who adores reading everything that has a content related to journeys. New cultures, uniqueness of the people across the globe, fabulous architectural masterpieces, ancient civilisations and natural wonders have always been her passion and motivation to work in tourism. During her undergraduate years, she became familiar with tourism and acquired basic skills working as a hotel receptionist, and shortly after got her first assignments as a very promising project manager in a travel company. She joined the Kompas DMC team five years ago and is now working excitedly in the MICE department, as it offers her a huge range of possibilities to be creative and where her imagination can come to its full potential. She specialises in large groups consisting of a few hundreds of participants – just because it is a challenging task demanding solution oriented thinking and perfect organisational skills. This and being in contact with so many different markets and partners gives her the opportunity to evolve as a flexible, knowledgeable, intuitive and highly understanding business partner.
BARBARA KLADNIK, Meetings & Incentives Manager
Slightly mysterious, very prudent and intuitive perfectionist, Barbara has grown up in Kompas – and clearly reflects in her projects, communication and results – she performs brilliantly. Maybe her restless nature and soul longing for the beauties of the world help. Barbara is one of our most dynamic team members as she is always in motion. She loves little getaways with her family in their lovely camper van, as often as possible, just to stay in touch with the magic of exploring and discovering the unknown, in Slovenia and its region. And yes, she has travelled the world, with a map in her hand and a backpack on her shoulders; she has touched the ground of many breathtaking places on Earth – travelling around Asia or to the heart of Africa, enjoying extraordinary landscapes in South America and numerous fun-filled breaks in almost every European country. When she talks to her partners and creates programmes, she is a perfectionist, very meticulous yet flexible, who knows exactly what detail to point out and what to advise. She then adds a pinch of creativity and innovation and does not stop polishing the programme until she ends up with the ultimate product. This is the exact reason why she loves her job so very much. She is a talented lady and comes up with really brilliant ideas and solutions for the DMC industry. It is little wonder really – she has been with the team for quite some time and worked in all MICE segments. Those are simply priceless experiences. In her career, she dealt with many extraordinary projects. As she is a very approachable person and connects with her clients intuitively and instantly, many of her incentives have resulted in wonderful feedback – here are just a few “of her favourites”:
KSENIJA STERLE, Meetings & Incentives Manager
Ksenija has felt a true passion for all things related to tourism since her early days at primary school when she began to discover the beauties of Slovenia. Her very rich career portfolio includes working for companies and organisations closely associated to the world of tourism. She was the Assistant to the Head of Marketing and Sales of the Slovenian Tourist Board, as well as Project Manager at the Research and Development Department, which organised the most demanding of events such as UNWTO and ETC Meetings in Slovenia. When she finally joined the Kompas Team, she was fully equipped and ready for even bigger stories and higher stakes. Her varied practical knowledge and skills enable her to react and adjust quickly to any challenges the DMC team faces every day. Also, being an environmentally conscious person, she does her best to interlace aspects of sustainable tourism with the essential elements of her programmes. She has an amazing talent for coordination and organisation, and fulfils her responsibilities with reliability and precision. But she is a kind soul full of enthusiasm, who uses an H2H approach to advising her B2B clients.
MILENA ČIŽMEK, Head of Business Travel and Fairs
Working with business clients in Slovenia is something Milena has been committed to for the past 24 years of her career at Kompas. The first few years in the Company, she spent going from one department to another in order to learn all of the aspects of the business and to develop that special Kompas touch as she puts it. She says that working in the B2B sector, you feel a special drive because the stakes are so high and the liabilities twofold: at one level, Kompas answers to its B2B client it handles, while at another level, that same client also bears responsibility towards its own clients, participants, travellers or attendees. And to embrace this role, the said client, whom Kompas considers its partner, has to be absolutely, hundred percent sure that the programme offered is perfect down to every single detail. In Kompas, Milena is the doyenne of special programmes, able to sensitively manage the needs of the Company’s most important clients in Slovenia. The quality of performance is something she believes in and that is why so many clients have stayed with her for a decade, travelling under her guidance all around the world, year after year.
JURE URANJEK, Head of the Sports Department
When a person finishes school and starts working immediately for a travel company, stays in the industry for 17 long years while still being pretty young, then you know that travelling is this person’s true passion. When a man has been actively involved in sports such as swimming, volleyball, basketball, football and baseball for many years, you know that all things athletic but especially the ball are the trademark and foundation of his lifestyle. Jure is the guy! A unique and strong individual, always paving his own way, Jure is a master of thinking out-of-the-box and it is exactly thanks to his original approach to work that so many spectacular sports events were made possible, where Kompas was partner to Slovenia’s most renowned sports organisations. He has been building his career starting off as a destination rep, then creating programmes and mastering extensive projects in a sports travel agency, working, travelling and guiding around exotic countries, never letting go of his passion for sports or missing an international sports event or match. Having him in the team is like having a personal TV station and the best possible reporter by your side. His knowledge of sports and events in the world of sports is enormous. That’s why his partnership with the clients – sports institutions is very natural and easy going. With his profound insight, Jure always becomes a sort of a member of the team. When it comes to his business performance, he keeps up-to-date with all future notable sports events and prepares special travel packages to the countries where they are to be held. On one hand, he is the master of travel ceremonies for Slovenian teams, clubs, organizations, athletes and sponsors, and on the other hand, he is able to offer exciting programmes to fans and supporters. When a really big event is held in Europe, Jure also creates programmes for Kompas’ partners from all over the world.