During the past five years, the Combis Conference repeatedly confirmed its significance and specificity, being designated exclusively for the users of ICT services and solutions, Croatian and regional companies, mainly operating in the field of finance, technology, state administration and industry. Today, the Conference represents an unavoidable ICT event in the region, with more than 300 participants from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo and Macedonia, and beyond.
In order to present the Combis Conference 2012, we had the opportunity to talk to Mrs. Renée Saboti Slovenc, Marketing and Communication Manager in Combis d.o.o.
1. Now when the Combis Conference 2012 is finished, could you share your impressions with us? Are you satisfied with the organization of the conference and reactions of the participants?
Each year, in organization of the Combis conference, we aspire to develop and prepare the most interesting and the top quality event. So naturally, year after year, the expectations which we have as organizers rise and deal exclusively with the satisfaction of our participants. Namely, we are of the opinion that our success is proportionate to the success of our clients, so we direct the Combis conference exclusively towards them. Thus, if we manage to offer and present something new, something which they can apply in improvement and expanding of their business, than we can say that the Combis conference met our expectations. As for this year, we obviously managed to do it, because this year’s Conference, the sixth one, was declared the best of all which we organized up to now, according to the participants. These results really make us happy, especially because, on one hand, we had the peak number of participants that filled-in the Enquiry on Satisfaction; on the other hand, when you see that 98% of participants expressed a wish to visit the next Combis conference, that really is the best award for all the efforts and diligence required for organization of such an event.
2. This year’s conference was the sixed one. What is your experience in finding the reliable partner for the organization?
First of all, I must point out that the organization of the Combis conference is certainly one of the dearest, but definitely the most demanding tasks. Namely, apart from the task relating organization of the conference contents and/or main topics which will be presented, there are other quite tempting tasks, such as finding an adequate location, taking into consideration all the qualities required – from accommodation, conference capacities and other facilities, to the infrastructural connection with other parts of our country.
What we have been encountering on the market for the past several years is a disproportion in number and quality of accommodation capacities, in relation to conference facilities. Namely, the market offers good examples of hotel complexes, which include well furnished and fashionably equipped congress halls, but which do not provide enough accommodation capacity, or, on the other hand, provide enough accommodation capacity, but small capacity congress hall. The larger number of conference participants and contents, the bigger is the challenge of the organization.
So Combis, and I believe the other companies that communicate with their clients and partners in the similar way, stand in front of a great creative challenge, so each year, we are trying, together with the agencies and hotels, to solve mentioned disproportion.
One of the positive things which make us believe that the conditions will be improved is certainly the enthusiasm of people involved in organization of conferences and similar events. That is exactly why it is important to choose a good agency to cooperate with, so Combis, in organization of the Combis conference, has been working in association with agency Spektar putovanja, for the third year now. One thing that we can notice is that we are certainly growing and developing together in this field. Together we meet the challenges, anticipate potential problems, and try to avoid them. Of course, there are always some unexpected situations on our way, and which cannot influence, from good and bad weather conditions to the traffic inconveniences, or something third. However, it is always important to have the quality plan B, so that our participants do not feel the negative influence of such unexpected circumstances.
Outside and by appearance, everything must be “functioning”, which imposes additional requests for us, involved in organization. Yet, all those efforts can be easily overcome if finally and in general, participants are satisfied with the conference. This year, the satisfaction of our participants was certainly increased through an excellent cooperation with agency Spektar putovanja, that was, among the other tasks, in charge of accommodation, transport of one group of participants and communication with the hotel.
3. All the conferences held so far, took place in Croatia. Have you ever been considering extending the conference to some other country in the region?
The Combis conference already is the conference of the regional character, so we are glad to notice that the number of participants from the neighbouring countries is increasing. Namely, Combis is continually expanding their business, so we have been active in the region for several years now; our central office is in Sarajevo, in two service locations in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Central office for Serbia is in Belgrade, and it covers the market of Montenegro, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. So, during the past several years, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in Serbia, we have been organizing one-day events, in which we presented specific ICT solutions for some particular sector.
We have not yet organized, out of Croatia, anything that would be in the level of the Combis conference. Shall we do it in future? We have not had similar plans so far, but if there is a need and interest, why not? Namely, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in Serbia as well, there are many attractive meeting destinations and I believe that it would certainly be a very nice experience.
1. Agency Spektar putovanja has a long-standing experience in organization of events. What is it that makes Combis conference organization different in comparison with other events that you organize?
Combis is a prestigious company, with an accent on excellence of the provided services and innovative business. Each year, they are trying to introduce some novelty, and to enrich and expand the conference, which we go through together during the conference on site. This year, that was the introduction of QR codes, which was given to all participants before they arrived to Opatija. The registration was performed through the scanning of QR codes. Apart from registration, the code was used in the lectures, via the smart phone, for filling-in of the survey about satisfaction with the conference, and for participation in the prize game.
2. Which segment of the conference organization was, according to you, the most demanding?
There is no conference segment which we could not characterize as the most demanding. We would say that absolutely each segment is demanding, and that a good preparation and organization of all segments leads to the successful conference. That means that it is necessary to ensure the quality accommodation, halls, good and interesting conference program and agenda, supreme technical equipment, side events, registration and info desk. Perhaps in this moment, because of the crisis, the most demanding issue is to try to balance the desires and the abilities of the conference organizers.
The conference is organized as a two-day event. In selection of the location, taking into consideration the duration of the conference, one of the main criteria is the distance. Opatija has good connections with Zagreb, Istria, Dalmatia, so, from that reason, it is the second year that the town welcomed the conference participants. Milenij hotels are prestigious conference hotels, and the hotel Milenij Grand 4 Opatijska Cvijeta is ideal for the Combis conference. It has sufficient accommodation capacity and modern halls. Congress centre offers, apart from modern halls, supreme technical equipment and organization of side events.