Igor Kovačević, CEO Serbian Convention Bureau

Successfully combining academic and business careers, Igor Kovacević has been part of the Serbia journey from “no destination” to the leader in the region and TOP 50 in the world. In the last 10 years, he has been mainly focusing on working closely with international associations. Igor holds an MA degree and is currently working on his PhD thesis. During his lectures as teaching assistant at the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade, in the field of Tourism and Hospitality, he is doing his best in presenting the latest applicable knowledge to his students. He has been successfully managing over 80 bids for international congresses.


Winning strategies for a successful congress bid

Q: How do you prepare a successful bid?

Research, details and a positive attitude are the focal points. Crucial is to understand the congress and the client. No two bids are the same. Respect the competition. Learn from previous lost bids and go beyond the economic effects. Know your destination. It takes time.

Q: Who should be involved in the preparation of a successful bid?

CVB leads the process and coordinates venues, hotels and PCOs. All gathered needs to be customized according the Q1. CVB with LOC coordinates various supporting institutions. For destination with no CVBs, I see venues/hotels leading the process.

Q: What is the role of a PCO agency in the bidding process?

Budgeting for the congress, explanations how certain organization aspects will work. To explain their added value to the congress. Local PCO needs to know their limits and that local congress is not the same as international congress.

Q: Who should cover financial investments in the bidding process?

CVB (75 %), PCO (10 %), LOC (5 %), local industry (10 %). Depending on the situation, CVB should request stronger industry support, while the % covered by LOC should be downed to the minimum.

Q: Latest stories of success?

In 2016, we have submitted 40 bids for international association event. We won 18, lost 2, 20 are still in process. Currently the biggest bids we are working is APIMONDIA for 2021. Over 9,000 Serbian beekeepers are eager to welcome the same number of colleagues from around the world. From the medical field, it is absolute professional pleasure to work on SICOT, EANS and EANM. ISWA World Congress 2016 took place in Novi Sad with 1,500 participants, we won the bid 5 years ago, and scored maximum points in relation to competitors in UK and Netherlands, only because we completely followed Q1.

Q: What always makes you smile?

Business wise: pushing a standard and rising the bars.
Academic wise: making theory practical, and giving practice theoretic framework.
Life wise: enjoying the sunny walks along the Danube river with my loving one.