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Kongres Magazine talked to Nadin Kenderesy, Director of Public Relations & Event Management at Turizmus Ltd., who was recently named among the top 10 Most Influential Meeting Innovators in 2021. Nadin 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?

It was a great honour and important feedback to be at the top of the list in the Top Meeting Innovator category. The pleasure is mine but the glory is shared. The meetings industry is a team sport; you cannot achieve anything alone. This is a great recognition not only for me but also for my team and the whole Hungarian meetings industry. I also believe that awards such as this can help to raise the awareness of Budapest as a potential meetings destination.

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

Newcomer? That is almost flattering :) I have been active in the Hungarian tourism sector for more than 20 years. As the communications director of the national tourism marketing agency, I was involved in the organisation of several major national and international B2B and B2C events. I have now been working for ten years at Turizmus Ltd. as the head of the PR&Events division. My team and I organise the biggest and most important B2B events of the sector. These include Hungary’s first and only regional B2B workshop, MICE Business Day Budapest, and the yearly Tourism Season Opening Gala with more than 1200 decision-makers of the sector.

Turizmus Ltd. is the leading publishing house and B2B communication agency of the Hungarian travel industry. Our main mission is to bring the industry’s most important news to tourism professionals and to create opportunities for them to communicate and network through B2B events. I am proud that all players in the industry appreciate the work we do for them and value the role we play in the industry. It is very inspiring and helps me move forward in my daily work.

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

Together with my colleagues, eight years ago, we dreamed up, planned and launched Hungary’s number one boutique trade show, the MICE Business Day. The event brings together top-quality suppliers and buyers of the region for one intensive day of networking, knowledge-sharing and socialising. The one-to-one workshop is combined with a conference and accompanied by a fam trip for hosted buyers. MICE Business Day became a valuable and recognised brand of the region and the key networking event of the Hungarian meetings industry. This event could not have succeeded without the cooperation of the key players of the sector. That is why we consider it important to have the Hungarian Convention Bureau and the Hungarian Tourism Association as strategic partners.

The biggest challenge came in 2020 when we had to move this live event to the virtual space. It was tough yet exciting and inspiring work, and we learned a lot from it. The event consisted of three parts: a virtual opening reception, a conference and a one-to-one workshop. Based on the feedback from over 300 online participants, we managed to organise a successful virtual MICE Business Day. I consider this one of the greatest achievements of recent years.

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“The positive aspects of online events should not be overlooked – easy access, carbon footprint reduction and more efficient time management.”

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

Above all, I wish for a more stable environment for the meetings industry: no virus, no war. After webinars, online meetings and virtual conferences, I would like to see and organise many more live events, with lots of opportunities to meet in person. Yet, we must not forget and ignore what the pandemic has taught us. We must incorporate the lessons learned and the experience gained into the organisation of future events. We have to recognise that this is a very sensitive sector and that we need to put in place solutions that will allow us to react immediately to a changed situation. The positive aspects of online events should not be overlooked – easy access, carbon footprint reduction and more efficient time management. These can be crucial for a more sustainable meetings industry.

Let’s take the valuable experiences and lessons of the last two years into 2022! I wish the meetings industry a more intense, vibrant and successful year than ever!

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

It is undeniable that live events and face-to-face meetings will always be needed. Major international conferences, congresses, as well as trade fairs, exhibitions, workshops, business meetings will continue to play a key role in strengthening economic, cultural and political relations between countries, thus bringing people together. I am confident that we will be able to organise predominantly live events in 2022, but we should not be afraid of virtual solutions. Communication and knowledge sharing is also possible through virtual channels. The key challenge of the future is hybridisation – the smart and effective combination of online and offline elements in the organisation of events.

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

Over the past two years, I have learned a lot from my young colleagues, who are much more confident in the virtual space and familiar with new technologies. That was of great help when we had to convert live events into virtual ones. Young colleagues who started their careers in this period will be able to adapt much more easily to unforeseen situations. With their innovative solutions, creative thinking and virtual vision, they will find it easier to cope with new obstacles and react more quickly and effectively to unexpected situations. The sector is in desperate need of young professionals committed to the meetings industry, who can make a major contribution to its success with their flexibility, proactive approach and creative ideas.

My biggest concern is the labour shortage. Many professionals have left the sector, and young people are afraid to join because of the uncertain future. That is why I consider it a priority to encourage the young ones and convince them that it is a profession worth choosing. Thus, I have agreed to join the protégé mentoring program as a mentor, which aims to enable young people to build a career in the tourism and meetings industry by presenting a positive career model.

“I consider it a priority to encourage the young ones and convince them that it is a profession worth choosing.”

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?

It is a privilege to be in the same league as top event professionals. I received many congratulations, which I passed on to my team members. I am also proud that many of my fellow Hungarians have also been recognised. Awards like these play a major role in highlighting the importance of the meetings industry at both a national and international level.

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

I can only congratulate Kongres Magazine for setting up such a professional evaluation and voting system. You created a “Who is Who” list in the meetings industry with this selection. Both the nominees and the winners are outstanding players in New Europe’s meetings market. I would be happy to meet all of them, to share knowledge and ideas, as I believe we could learn a lot from each other.

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

I honestly think that any winner would be worthy of this title. In my opinion, though, the greatest credit goes to the Kongres Magazine team, who put a lot of effort into bringing together the key players of the European meetings industry. This network of contacts is a huge asset. The cooperation and joint thinking of these professionals can help the sector through even the biggest crises.

Nadin Kenderesy

Nadin is an experienced and passionate PR and event expert with over 20 years of experience in the field of tourism. Nadin has an extended relationship with the key players of the Hungarian travel trade. As the communications director of the Hungarian National Tourist Office, she was responsible for developing and implementing the company’s national and international marketing communication and was involved in the organisation of major national and international B2B and B2C events. Since 2011, she has been working at Turizmus Ltd., where she is the head of the PR and events division – she is responsible for the organisation of the most important B2B events of the Hungarian tourism sector. Their company is the official tourism PR agency of the Slovenian Tourist Board in Hungary. As an associate editor, she edits the weekly travel and tourism radio program of Budapest based radio station, Trend FM. Nadin is active in women leadership programs and mentor programs aimed at attracting young people into the tourism sector.