David Pobjecky comes from the hotel business. After obtaining an education in Business Administration, David took on the role of Senior Sales Manager at the Jacob Fleming Group. After 4 years he transitioned into the hotel industry, as the Director of Sales for Austria Trend Hotel Bratislava and later as Director of Sales and Marketing at the Crown Plaza Bratislava. Since 2016 he is part of the x-bionic sphere family and has been in the current role of Director of Sales for the past 4 years.
Among many other achievements, David Pobjecky has made it on Kongres Magazine’s list of the most influential hoteliers in the New Europe region. He was awarded the title for successfully running X-bionic Sphere, a top-notch resort and special venue that meets no match in this part of Europe and has hosted numerous important events.
DAVID POBJECKY'S INTERVIEW WITH KONGRES MAGAZINE
Q: You have taken on the leading role in the Bratislava Convention Bureau in very challenging times. How has the coronacrisis affected Bratislava’s meetings industry? Will the pandemic affect key Convention Bureau members?
Definitely. Bratislava´s meeting industry is negatively affected as any other city in the world. Due to global pandemic situation and government restrictions, most of the event organizers cancelled or moved their planned event since March. Some of our members are still closed. Considering all the operational costs and no revenues is forcing them to think about if to open or when.
Q: What was Bratislava Convention Bureau’s response to the crisis?
Well, we never experienced a similar situation as now. However, we have to be strong and keep all the government´s health and safety regulations to avoid spreading of the virus. Slovakia is one of the safest countries in the world to travel and this is a very optimistic view for future events in the country. Therefore, we are focusing and continuing in our set up MICE strategy and hoping that we will get back soon in normal.
Q: They say every crisis is an opportunity. Are there any opportunities for Bratislava’s meetings industry in these times?
I absolutely agree. First, there will be more opportunities for organizing local events from domestic corporate offices and event agencies based on our market and surrounding countries. Second, comparing to other countries, Slovakia has less Covid-19 cases, that could be our advantage in meeting industry community to consider Bratislava as a safe place to meet in the upcoming period.
Q: How do you see the future of events in Bratislava. Which things will change for the better and which for the worst?
I am always an optimistic person. It is not going to be easy but Bratislava Convention Bureau together with its members is eager to see the bright future. I think that some events from other European cities could move to Bratislava in 2021. The worst scenario would be if the number of positive Covid 19 cases will go up for the next couple of month, and new restrictions will come up.
Q: The coronacrisis will affect the way Convention Bureaus operate in the future. Why should destinations strive to keep CVB’s alive and active?
The fact is, Covid 19 pandemic brought to the event industry restrictions and some events organized virtually. However, the main role of CVB is to provide information, resources and support for tourism and hospitality. I hope that virtual events are the option for organizers now, but hereafter they are looking forward to hosting face to face conferences and events again. People want to meet face to face because it creates a memorable experience and builds trust, therefore, I assume that CVB will stay active but they have to innovate and digitalize.
Q: Would you support the construction of a new congress centre in Bratislava? What would a new modern centre bring for the city?
Absolutely. Bratislava has a great location but no congress centre. Once having modern centre will help us to attract the MICE organizers to come. Moreover, we could have the opportunity to actively participate in many biddings that are currently not sufficient. The new centre will bring more events, more delegates, more opportunities for presentation and definitely the economic growth of the destination.
Q: Do you believe in the potential of regional events or should we focus on international markets right away? How important will regional cooperation be in the future?
Both regional and international markets are important. I assume that more regional or local players will consider to organize events in the domestic market rather than to go abroad. However, we will focus also international markets that are important for us due to the size of the event and economic impact for the country.
Q: Could you tell us one interesting thing about organising events in Bratislava that would surely surprise meeting planners?
I would say the accessibility and tasty Slovak wine. The atmosphere of the city is relaxed, authentic and intimate and delegates can walk and get easily to the city. In general, Bratislava stands for the essence of Central Europe that connects cultural heritage with modern innovative features with a green backdrop.
Q: Why do you love the meetings industry?
Well, I realized that I love and enjoy the meeting industry was sometimes 15 years ago when I attended a very prestigious CEE Chemical & Petrochemical Strategic Conference in Budapest. The company I used to work for was the organizer and I had the chance to participate in all the presentations, networking and gala. This experience leaves me stronger that the meeting industry is one of the most important aspects of delegate interaction and I strongly believe in the power of meetings. Moreover, it´s motivating to see people how they inspire each other, coming with the new ideas, changing their opinions and create new experiences.
Q: Did the coronacrisis change the way you personally look at the world?
I had to cancel some business trips and private travel as well. Therefore, I was very disappointed when the first cases appeared and later become pandemic. I experience many restrictions on daily basis and due to these limitations, we act differently like we used to. I am more careful whatever I am doing but I hope that we will get back to the normal sooner or later.