Just one day after my bachelor's examination I travelled to Lech am Arlberg to work as a receptionist over the summer season and to gain experience in this area of the tourism industry. This was followed by a three months voluntary service at the Austrian UNESCO Commission, before I travelled the world for several months. After my return, I started my master's degree in "World Heritage Studies" in Birmingham.
Job confirmation on graduation day
Five minutes before my graduation, I was accepted for the job at the Vienna Convention Bureau, which I started the following week. The main task of the Vienna Convention Bureau is to promote Vienna as a meeting destination nationally and internationally and to bring congresses, corporate meetings, conferences etc. to Vienna. We support meeting planners in their search for the right service providers, advise on the right venue and actively support professors in the bidding process for conferences and congresses, be it with the preparation of application and presentation documents or simply with information. My areas of responsibility include: Marketing of Vienna as a Meeting Destination for Associations, Green Meetings & Sustainability, and the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS Index).
Successful in the meetings industry with the right set-up
In relation to my current job, I have been able to benefit most from the lectures in Meeting Industry Management and the Event Management course. These classes provided me with a very good basis for the Meetings Industry, which made the learning process much easier. The language skills in Spanish and Russian are also an advantage, and the Cultural Tourism lecture provided a great start for my master's degree in 'World Heritage Studies'.
I decided to study "World Heritage Studies" in Birmingham, because this MA programme is only offered at two universities, Birmingham and Cottbus. I choose the more "exotic" city, which was absolutely the right choice for me.I have chosen this MA degree based on my interest in art history, the protection of cultural heritage as well as my interest for the work of UNESCO. However, I quickly realized that there are very few vacancies in this field, so I returned to tourism. I have not regretted this decision at any point and am very happy to have found my true passion for the Meetings Industry.
Future trend: Green & Hybrid Meetings
What drives me the most is the love and enthusiasm for my job. As well as my passion for the meetings industry and a fantastic team to work with, which is always encouraging and supportive. Sustainability also plays an important role in my private life, which is why I am very happy to combine this with my job. In my profession we try to motivate event organisers to certify their events as Green Meetings, and we also support clients in this respect in an advisory role. Vienna joined the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDSI) in 2019, and I am responsible for this project. The GDSI, which is constantly growing (currently it has 60+ members), is a great opportunity to present the sustainability of a destination and to position Vienna as a sustainable meeting destination internationally. In addition, it is a driving factor to advance sustainability goals and agendas in Vienna. Also, the associated Global Destination Sustainability Movement offers a great platform to exchange ideas and experiences on sustainability with other destinations worldwide.
Combination of real and virtual meetings
Due to the Corona crisis and digitalisation, hybrid meetings are without doubt the future of the meetings industry, which is also the general tenor in the industry. Hybrid meetings are a combination of real and virtual meetings, where part of the audience joins at the live event whereas the other part joins virtually. Experts and guest speakers can hold and join sessions individually and flexibly, and various live connection tools allow interactive sessions. Despite this trend, however, personal meetings will remain relevant, as people need the human connection. Many companies are currently rethinking their strategies as a consequence of Covid19. There will almost certainly be some changes in the meetings industry, both nationally and internationally, towards more hybrid meetings, less travelling and (hopefully) more sustainability.
My tip for IMC students and alumni
“Try different places and work areas! Sometimes it can take a while to find the right area about which you are really passionate, but in the end, every single experience is worth it.”