„We should get rid of complexes”

Mrs. Krystyna Hartenberger-Pater, General Manager of Pomorskie Tourist Board in interview for meeting.pl talks about maturity of the Polish event industry, its willingness to cooperate with regions, and conference infrastructure development.

1. What the cooperation between tourist organization and event industry is based on?

We live in times, when unique emotions, experiences, impressions are the most valuable. There is nothing worst than routine, that is why we cooperate with event industry trying to provide only positive experiences. We care for program to be built individually for every client and to refer to the local elements of the region’s identity. This is the only way we can guarantee ourselves place in memories and build permanent, attractive picture of the region. The event industry will get a chance to highlight the company’s brand.

2. How do you evaluate the cooperation with event agencies in Poland? Do you always meet professionals or sometimes you have to cooperate with people who, for example, don’t know the MICE terminology. What kind of difficulties appear during the cooperation with agencies most often?

It all depends on the company’s policy and people’s approach. The cooperation brings mutual advantages that is why we try to be flexible. We expect the same from our partners. Communication is not the toughest element, but a preservation and lack of conviction of introducing something new to the offer is. Experience shows that it is not the cost, it is investment and this is how we should treat new solutions’ implementation. On the other side, Polish event industry is mature enough to come up with the propositions which are compact with marketing strategy of the region.

3. Comparing native market to the foreign – do you see any differences? What should
we improve?

We should get rid of complexes as fast as possible. We are the fully professional industry. The quality of our work or services is at the same level as work and services of our foreign colleagues. Polish companies more often work with foreign clients – and this is not only a matter of competitiveness of prices. Our honesty, reliability, accuracy, individual customer approach are valued a lot. This is very good prognosis not only in business aspect but also
for public relations of Poland.

4. How does Pomeranian District look like in comparison with other states based on conference and events infrastructure?

All rankings are important and we like healthy competition. Gdańsk and Pomerania are right now number 3 MICE destination in Poland. Nevertheless, we focus on what we have to offer. We also try to figure out how to use our potential more efficiently and increase our market share. It might sound trivial but every year there is more and more conference venues, that build a unique event space. It is not only hotel infrastructure or professional trade fair complexes, but also new venues connected to region’s legacy as European Solidarity Centre
or Shakespeare Theatre.

5. How do you assess the image of hotels in Poland in general?

Really good. For long years we were trying to catch up on backlogs. We not only caught up with Europe and the world but also chased some of them away. If this is a matter of getting rid of Polish national complexes, we only gain from them. We have very high requirements concerning venue categorization. Besides, we are fully aware that our hotels standards and very common solutions are higher than the ones abroad. And again – the most reliable recommendation are opinions of our foreign guests. They underline clearness, attention to details, modern designed interiors. They also notice more simple things like free Wi-Fi, parking lots, additional amenities, and, as always – Polish hospitality.

6. Can we speak about vogue for Poland? Do you find satisfying the frequency of choosing Poland as a business destination by foreigners?

I am convinced that today we can speak about vogue new destinations and so called „Eastern Europe”. We should not be afraid of this term because just right now such a location is our asset. Foreign tourists are extremely mobile. They travel much more often than we do. This is why they look for new places, still not discovered, not popular. We really outstand from this part of Europe. Comfortable communication connections, diversified, good quality offer, price competition plus gigantic culturally output cause that Poland is discovered from anew. Tourists feel the „wow” effect that intensify impressions and influences on positive form of recommendations. This is our moment and our chance, that we will not lose.

7. What conferences’ venues are the most popular among foreigners in your opinion? Do they mostly choose hotels or they rather look for original interiors and maverick solutions?

It all depends on the group and a theme. Nevertheless, the more common becomes a factor of regional identity. It is vital for all elements to be a coherent with one, strongly selected, leitmotiv, based on the one we want to create a history of a town or a region.

8. How foreigners find Polish conference infrastructure, in your opinion? Do we have enough big congress’ venues?

Once you start, you can’t stop. The same is here. We are ambitious and motivated nation. It is not about building an enormous venue and outdistance each other in cubature of buildings. We have to remember that every infrastructure must bring profits throughout the year. We also have to answer ourselves a question whether we want to be a lifeless congress factory or a destination with a unique atmosphere and a unique spirit.  In my opinion Pomeranian Region has got a balance and right rationing, but it still has a place for infrastructural development.

9. How do you evaluate Polish event industry paying special attention to the meeting innovations?

We should appreciate creativity and productivity. Companies design more and more interesting and engaging incentive programs. I am really happy that they are opening for cooperation with regions. We have a common goal but different effects to achieve, that is why we do not compete with each other. Partnership can only make us stronger.