The ninth selection of influencers by Kongres Magazine concluded with the award ceremony hosted in Cankarjev dom. The selected influencers are pioneers 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: In times of crisis, we tend to draw parallels with the past. What have we learned so far to make our industry better and more responsible to attendees and the environment in the future?
There is a huge step towards sustainable events in all the regional countries. That includes reusable glass, no plastic straws, waste management programmes etc. Also, I can see improvements in ticket sales going 100% digital and cashless payment systems on events being a usual concept. As far as covid is concerned, I am trying not to think about it anymore. It is frustrating that it is still big and alive. But, all jokes aside, we have to be prepared for any crises as we learned that every ten years, we have some big shake in the economy. Unfortunately, we saw that the event industry is the first to take a blow.
Q2: What should we stop doing in regard to in-person events? Vice versa, what element should we not abandon at all costs?
We should not be afraid and overanalyse every step or stop doing what we do best – live events. If covid did not kill us, we can look into the future with confidence. We should not stop being creative and pushing event organisations further through technologies and personal experiences.
Q3: What is your take on the various event types, some invented during the corona crisis (live, digital, hybrid, metaverse)? How will we transition in the future?
I am an old-school guy, so I decided not to do digital events. I can see a future in digital and hybrid events with the expansion of technologies that emerge from crises. Metaverse is undoubtedly the future, but new generations will develop it as they grow with different technologies. They understand it better than me. Hybrid events are something that became normal and usual in post covid event industry. It became standard, and all of us should incorporate it into our event concepts.
Q4: How do different event types address the topical problem of human interaction, which is at the core of our industry and a basis for learning?
Nothing can beat human touch and one-to-one communication. That is 100% the truth, and that is what we learned from covid. The frustration of bad software solutions, pure internet connection, and an unprofessional environment for work is well known to us all. But, sometimes, it is inevitable to continue working. We, humans, are adapting to everything, and now we will adapt to communicating and doing events in new ways. It will be much easier for the new generations growing up in an interactive and 3D gaming world.
Q5: What are your priorities to reach the goal of creating a carbon-neutral meetings industry? How environmentally aware is your organisation? How do your clients see sustainability? Can you illustrate with case studies?
As I said in the beginning, this is an area seeing a huge improvement, but there are so many areas not covered, and we still need to find solutions to, for example, waste management on huge events. There is no remote waste management system that you can hire. Digital registration is still too expensive to replace printed banners and cutouts. Clients are all for sustainability, but sometimes we cannot meet their expectations and provide high-level service. For example, a reusable carpet for events is more than four times the price of a disposable one. Yes, it is hard to organise an event using the right and sustainable solutions and keeping creativity high and a high-end look and feel a level of the event.
Q6: How do you imagine an ideal meetings industry? What should be its core value?
The ideal meetings industry should be achieved by mixing technology and humanity the right way. We are a human-related industry, and we cannot forget that. Every event should be inspiring, and you should take that experience home or to your office. That is the core of the magic we are trying to create.
Q7: What is your advice for younger colleagues starting their careers in the meetings industry?
Go to events, concerts, and festivals even if the theme is not interesting to you. Watch movies and listen to music as much as you can. Learn about classic and pop culture. Keep up with technologies. Travel as much as you can. Keep your mind and eyes open.
Q8: Who do you believe deserves the title of the TOP influencer if you had to select them from the list of finalists?
It is hard to say as I haven’t met or gone to events done by finalists. There are so many talented people, and I will leave that hard job for you guys from Kongres Magazine as you have done it so great so far!!