Ahead of Conventa 2022, Kongres Magazine chatted with the stars of the Meetings Star influencer selection. Pioneers and trailblazers, these influencers facilitate the meetings industry’s development. Orestis Aristides, Managing Director at Drakos DMC, discussed what challenges lie ahead and why he is an aficionado of hybrid events.

Last year’s selection of influencers by Kongres Magazine marked the eighth year of the distinguished project. The selected influencers are trailblazers in their respective fields and help co-create the regional meetings industry. Kongres Magazine’s selection is, in a way, an overview of who is who in the industry.

Q1: Live meetings are coming back. What is your take on the current situation, and what is your prediction for this year?

We have come a long way from Spring 2020, even 2021, and we are back to where one could say things are back to “normal” for travel, meetings & global events. Nonetheless, the geopolitical situation, and the inflation it is causing, are delaying the full economic recovery of the industry or even future planning. It seems another summer wave of Covid in many parts of Europe is coming, but I do not expect this to cause further “large-scale” disturbances. We are cautiously optimistic for the remainder of 2022 and 2023.

Q2: How do you see the future of digital, hybrid and metaverse events?

Digital and hybrid are here to stay. The cost-benefit of digital meetings is nowhere near the alternatives for strictly educational/informative projects. Nevertheless, people still need to connect on a personal level. Hybrid is the way to go, as it offers the best of both.

Photo Credit: Drakos DMC Cyprus

“Two of the key takeaways from the past two years are: cash is king, and patience is a virtue.”

Q3: We are living in uncertain times; in the past two years, we have learned how to cope with a crisis caused by the spread of the coronavirus, and we have found ourselves amid a war recently. How do you face such crisis situations?

I think two of the key takeaways from the past two years are:

1. Cash is king – event companies need to be ready for “dry” periods.
2. Patience is a virtue – whatever happens, even at the darkest of times, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Q4: What does the future bring for the meetings industry in the next decade? Which challenges should we address immediately?

To meet is part of human nature, so the industry, in the long run, will rebound to 2017-2019 levels when it overcomes its current challenges. Currently, inflation is the biggest issue as price volatility makes future planning harder. The major driver of this inflation is energy prices, but I am sure the demand and supply will balance in the medium term. Unless there are major wars or geopolitical events, the situation should balance by early 2023.

Q5: How do you keep up with the changes transforming the business world, particularly in event organising? What is your advice for our readers?

When it comes to events, especially from our end as a DMC working with a global clientele, it is important to review the situation globally and stay up to date. What affects our clients will affect our earnings estimates and business development activities.

Q6: Will corporate social responsibility continue to be discussed as a priority at events instead of topical issues, such as climate change or organising events sustainably?

Yes and no. But climate change and sustainability are on the agenda to stay.

Photo Credit: Drakos DMC Cyprus

“Not all technological developments are here to stay; remember 3D Cinema?”

Q7: What perils do new technologies adopted during the corona crisis hide?

No peril can come from technology. The pandemic made tech adoption of some tech services speed up, but that will stabilise to a new normal such as hybrid events. Not all technological developments are here to stay, however (remember 3D Cinema?).

Q8: Have you noticed that work within the industry is not as desired among the younger generations? What could be the reason behind a significant shortage of staff?

Yes, young people starting their careers will want a sense of security that the industry currently lacks. Hence, other industries will be more attractive.

Q9: What should the meetings industry do to attract talented individuals among its ranks?

There is no easy way about it – staff earnings will need to increase to attract talent. With that, prices for the consumer will increase, but this is part of the post-pandemic recovery. Because it lasted so long, it will take just as long to recover.

Q10: What is your recommendation for young colleagues starting their professional path?

Find a mentor, stay informed, stay focused, and learn to give first before you receive.

Find out more about Drakos DMC’s services here

Conventa Week 2022