Following the relaxation of the measures, event companies are seeing a higher demand for traditional conferences, as people lack personal contact and companies want to unite their work teams. The last two years of the pandemic have taught people not to meet and avoid any risky contact. Thus, difficult times have arisen for sectors where human interaction is essential. One of the areas that the urgent times almost brought to its knees was the meetings industry.
“Two years ago, we were hit by a pandemic that affected each of us. Event organisers suddenly had to deal with a completely new reality,” said Vladimír Grežo, chairman of the board of the Bratislava Tourist Board at the beginning of the event. MICE DAY is organised with the financial support of the Ministry of Transport and Construction. Its main purpose is education and networking.
The event was attended by experts of the regional meetings industry, including Štefan Kozák, founder and CEO of CREATIVE PRO group, Miroslav Marko, Corporate Communications of Slovenská sporiteľňa, Marek Farkaš, CEO of ENJOY SLOVAKIA DMC, Matej Drlička, CEO of the Slovak National Theater, Jozef Pukalovič, director of BECOOL, and Peter Petrovič from GUARANT International.
From zero to hero
Even before the pandemic, companies that organised such meetings enjoyed economic growth. “We grew from zero to hero. However, in February 2020, we fell freely from hero to zero. The daily fight started, but the decision was made that we wanted to organise hybrid events,” Kozák explained the situation two years ago.
The reaction of clients who could not imagine similar meetings at the beginning was also different. Some of them waited for the possibility of a physical reunion. Others, though, began to see online conferencing as a valuable chance to learn everything they need in a reasonable amount of time and often from home, thus setting a new trend.
Hybrid events are not cheaper
Event virtualisation eventually came swiftly but required high costs in terms of technological investments. “We had to explain to all clients that, despite the dropping off of some items, the ones that were aimed at paying people and technology grew,” Kozák said.
Growing demand for in-person events
“The online version of events lacks emotion and a combination of all the senses. You need to go to the theatre because it is an experience; people simply need to see, feel or taste everything around,” added Miroslav Marko.
The Second Panel included Jozef Pukalovic, the organiser of the CSOB Marathon that will take place next week. The panel was also joined by Marek Farkas from Enjoy Slovakia DMC, who talked about new formats of online teambuilding and online tastings, and Mr Drlicka from Slovak National Theatre, who shared insight into how the pandemic influenced culture. The panellists shared their views on how the pandemic changed the events sector.