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Interview with Rozalina Kreissl, Founder & CEO of Mercury-97 Ltd, Conferences & Events. Rozalina established her company 18 years ago and was inspired by the idea to organize high-quality events corporative and individual clients. Rozalina is responsible for the overall strategic planning, organization and direction of her company and delegates the day-to-day management to the managers. Her philosophy is that seeing smiles on my clients’ faces means a successful business.

“The event industry as we know it has been brought to its knees by COVID-19”

Q: What do you desire the most at the moment?

With social distancing still being practised and restrictions on the number of individuals from different households that can be together in the same place, the event industry as we know it has been brought to its knees by COVID-19. The thriving and bustling industry has been put on pause, with uncertainty around when it will return to ‘normal’.

I want to do several things at the moment- to travel and meet with people, to communicate and network, to share ideas, to dance and enjoy the time. I miss exhibition shows and appointments with potential clients, meetings with my colleagues and the nice moments we had.

Q: Why do you love organising events?

During my studies, I worked as a volunteer at a conference and that experience made me realise I had a passion for the operational aspects related to the business tourism industry. I still enjoy the planning of business events and the satisfaction I derive from their execution.
The organisation of events is in my heart, and it can be a fantastic adrenaline rush when you get what you want.

Q: Can you present the tool or app you use the most during the corona crisis?

To host an effective event, you need to determine what content or programming to present to your attendees. To host an effective virtual event, you need to evaluate the technology needed to execute the desired programming. As your content priorities grow, so will your technology needs. We in my company decided to use Cvent Virtual Attendee Hub to reach and engage virtual audiences as much as possible. The solution includes fully integrated, enterprise-class webcasting technology that allows planners and marketers to confidently deliver immersive, interactive content to any device, anywhere in the world.

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Varna, Bulgaria (Photo: Shutterstock)

Q: How would you explain to a client why organising events is essential?

Our first successes helped the team to discover new possibilities of how to bring values to our customers and this helped us to boost our own confidence in our product-organising events. We are passionate and believe in the value of our product and convince customers to buy it.

Q: Is it easier to organise digital or live events?

Webinars, digital conferences and virtual markets have dramatically increased in popularity. As the global pandemic took hold, virtual events were embraced as a way for organisations to continue to engage their prospects and customers even when they couldn’t meet in-person, face to face. Before organising my first online event, I had been training a lot in virtual event management, but in the end, it was stressful. I felt dependent on technology, and I could not control everything, as usual. I cannot put a border between online and live events, but communication, in reality, cannot be substituted.

The crucial question is: how will business events co-exist with the expanding digital world?

Q: Is organising digital events cheaper than organising classic events?

As technology advances, the struggle of replicating face-to-face human interactions gets easier. Video conferencing services allow you to see and interact with event attendees in real-time, keeping everybody safe while doing so. Without physical venue hire, you can also expect to see lower running costs for your event, which can make them extremely profitable to run and even more accessible to your customers.

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“The key is to bridge the gap between experiences”

Q: If the future of the meetings industry will be green, where do we start?

I expect this moment so much, and we have to be prepared for it. Online conferencing platforms are showing both their advantages and their limitations, and we have to look for new ideas and strategies to combat the tedium of virtual meetings. We are craving for human connection and the magic of in-person events, so the steady trickle of briefs for live events later in the year has us all feeling hopeful and excited.

Q: What will be the key trait of a great event organiser after the corona crisis?

The key is to bridge the gap between experiences. Networking is a key goal of any event, so finding ways to connect in-person and virtual attendees is critical. Never forget that the content is important and always take personal care of the client!

Q: What is your view of the future? Where is the meetings industry headed?

I think that there must be meetings – we cannot live without it. There is a great interest in having physical meetings again as soon as it can be safely done, and hybrid meetings will play the role of the catalyst. Globally, I expect small and simple meetings in local or regional locations until worldwide meetings will be possible later on.

Q: What is the most surprising fact about organising events?

I think that we have positively surprised our clients all the time. The conference organiser or event planner is likely to undertake numerous different roles during the organisation of an event. The creative vision or idea has to be turned into reality, from concept to execution.

EXTRA QUESTION FOR ROZALINA

Q: High Tech or High Touch?

High Touch!