Kongres Magazine talked to Brigitta Balsai, Regional Sales Manager, Hungary & South-East Europe at Marriott International, who was recently named among the top 10 Most Influential Hoteliers in 2021. Brigitta shared her advice for newcomers in the meetings industry and expressed her opinion on the future of events.

Q1: What does the title of the industry’s most influential individual in the region mean to you?

We all know that the meetings industry is teamwork. To be selected by Kongres Magazine and get all these votes from my colleagues and friends led me to the 4th position in the Top Hoteliers 2021 category. I am really grateful that I gained their trust during the years, and this title is very honourable.

Q2: Can we say that you are a newcomer in the meetings industry? What inspires you?

I am not a newcomer in the meetings industry, even though only four years ago, I started to work in Global Sales, which was totally different from my previous roles. To be honest, the endless networking possibilities that the meetings industry offers inspires me the most.

Q3: You have contributed a lot to the development of the meetings industry. What would you say was your greatest achievement so far?

The greatest achievement is never just coming up with good ideas or being creative, but instead is feeling confident enough to stand behind those ideas. During the pandemic, we were all faced with problems within the meetings industry. In my SE region, I turned the focus on sports (mainly E-sport), entertainment (film industry) and diplomatic segments, and I digitalized my meetings.

Photo Credit: Budapest Marriott Hotel

“I hope despite challenges, the industry continues to reflect progress and optimism for 2022.”

Q4: What changes would you like to see in the meetings industry in 2022?

1. Optimism: I hope despite challenges, the industry continues to reflect progress and optimism for 2022.
2. International policy to continue to hinder return for the global business travel and meetings industry.
3. Business travel volume: much higher in 2022 than in 2021.

Q5: What is your prediction for the future of meetings?

1. The event business model will change ( hybrid events + live events)
2. Digitalization will be more important
3. Travel behaviour will change:
– Need for short term decision
– Length of stay will expand

Q6: What is your advice for young colleagues making their way in the meetings industry?

I would say network, network, network. In the process, remember you are always selling yourself. If you own the customer, trust you will get the business. Be a team player and always stay positive!

Photo Credit: Marriott International

“Remember you are always selling yourself. If you own the customer, trust you will get the business.”

Q7: Were you more exposed in public after being placed on our list? Do you see this as an opportunity to reinforce the prominence of our industry in general?


Q8: What are your thoughts on our selection of the influencers?

I think this is a great initiative, and I like the selection of international influencers.

Q9: In your opinion, who deserves the title of the TOP influencer if you had to choose from the finalists yourself?

Unfortunately, I do not know all of the selected influencers personally, so I would need more background information to give my opinion and vote for the TOP influencer.

About Brigitta Balsai

Brigitta is in charge of representing Marriott International’s global hotel portfolio to customers in the South-East Europe region (11 countries) and is responsible for account management and new customer acquisition in the special corporate, leisure and MICE segments. She ensures that the targeted number of room nights are booked and targeted revenue is met through the proper distribution channels for those accounts.

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