Kongres Magazine chatted with the trendsetters of the Meetings Star influencers selection. Innovating and sustainably-oriented stars of the meetings industry shared their thoughts on sustainable transformation in the meetings industry. Maja Babic, Head of Production at Bagi Communications, discussed what we have learned from previous crises and why incorporating young talents into the meetings industry is imperative.

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?

The crisis has affected the event industry on several levels: economic, health and environmental crises. Due to the impact on various aspects of the event industry, radical changes need to be made. It is necessary to improve the perception of the need to increase the responsibility of the community for events related to environmental problems. It is crucial to prepare the industry for future health crises. We need to plan and create events within budgets that are affordable for a wide range of clients, including small and start-up businesses. Also, the public image of the industry should be improved by increasing humanitarian events and including as many humanitarian aspects as possible.

Q2: What should we stop doing in regard to in-person events? Vice versa, what element should we not abandon at all costs?

Thanks to all the new technologies, in-person events have lost their significance in sharing vital information and creating networks. These elements should be decreased or even abandoned in general. What we must insist on regarding in-person events is face-to-face interaction, as the human aspect of events is something that modern methods of communication cannot provide. The real payoff of in-person events is meeting with people opportunistically and being introduced to them by others.


“It is important to choose places that already implement green solutions.”

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?

The future of events should follow the positive experiences we experienced with technologies during the covid crisis. Some of these technologies, such as digital or hybrid, showed very successful not only in prevailing the inability of social gatherings but also in reaching a broad audience and decreasing the events’ cost. Those, supplemented with the experience from before the covid crisis, could be an excellent base for the creation of new events concepts and strategies.

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?

Virtual and hybrid events must maintain a high level of interpersonal interactivity among the participants, which can be achieved with in-person events. That could be achieved by using trusting and modern virtual platforms that can provide the possibility for everyone in the event to talk to anyone else in the event and to do this anytime they want, and the possibility of event attendants to communicate with the presenter or the event host. Regarding education in events, one of the main benefits is freeing students from the high expenses of classic education and connecting to students with the same interest globally.

“More value should be placed on face-to-face meetings, emphasizing core values such as building trust, creating strong business relations and improving communication.”

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?

Our priorities in creating a carbon-neutral meetings industry are the use of electric vehicles for both the event team and event attendees. Also, using carbon-neutral recipes in catering events, such as plant-based, local and no-meat menus and choosing venues with sustainable elements, such as internal recycling and energy-efficient systems. Choosing places that already practice green practices, such as green tourism, is also very important.

In the last few years, the public, including our customers’ awareness of sustainability has increased. More clients are looking to incorporate elements of sustainability into their work, including events. However, this process is not satisfactory and should be supported by various public and internal activities.

Q6: How do you imagine an ideal meetings industry? What should be its core value?

The ideal meeting industry should follow the changes in the event industry in general. It must place special attention on sustainability, virtual reality, mobile technology, live streaming, new promotional tools and security. It also has to promote new social values, such as value experience over goods and higher technology literacy. But more value should be placed on face-to-face meetings, emphasizing core values such as building trust, creating strong business relations and improving communication. And not to forget that travelling to and from can be a real advantage.

Q7: What is your advice for younger colleagues starting their careers in the meetings industry?

To be aware that this is a very difficult but, at the same time, one of the most beautiful professions. And that learning never stops. I want to tell them to be open to new technologies and to learn about the meta-universe and AI. But at the same time, never forget the power of live events and live communications. It takes patience, a lot of love and creativity.

When they feel the adrenaline, and if it suits them, they have chosen the right profession.

Q8: Who do you believe deserves the title of the TOP influencer if you had to select them from the list of finalists?

I want to congratulate all the nominees this year. I think that everyone who was nominated deserves the title. After two uncertain and difficult years, all of us who are still driven by the excitement and creativity of making events are somehow winners. I want to take this opportunity to highlight Gorazd for the exceptional work that he has been doing with Meetings Star Awards and Kongres Magazine all these years. You have a big thank you from me.

Learn more about Bagi Communications here.

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