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60 seconds with… cievents’ Basia Dudziak

“My innate love of travel and adventure made a career in the meetings and events industry a natural choice for me. Although, like many of my industry colleagues, I initially ‘fell into’ it, I quickly realised this was the right path for me,” says Basia Dudziak, Key Account Manager at cievents.

Basia Dudziak, cievents

Basia joined the global full-service meetings and event management agency in 2018, having previously held project manager and client relationship roles in major UK and global agencies. Her current role is primarily to develop and nurture client relationships across different client sectors. “I share cievents’ passion for creating experiences that engage and inspire, which alongside a vibrant company culture made it a great fit for me,” she adds.

Brand promise…
Creating a unique brand experience is our main focus. We are now servicing clients from office locations spanning from Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, UK, to Mexico City and New York, but all of the global operations are still driven by the fundamental passion for engaging and connecting customers with each other in this fast-paced and ever-changing world.

What’s #trending in 2019?
With the predicted increase in event volumes and the tightening of clients’ belts, destination trends are likely to favour ‘value for money’ locations. However, a desire for ‘out of the box’ programmes and unique venues, with a spotlight on the local experience will go hand in hand with that. There is still a notable trend for ‘festivalisation’ of events, which may well be reflecting the changing nature and demographic of the corporate market audience and a stronger demand for a fun, celebratory element and a creative environment alongside the educational component of a meeting, all for a richer delegate experience.

That diversification will continue to encompass well-being and sustainability, as the corporate world recognises the growing need to promote health and philanthropic efforts. There is also a lot of excitement around the direction and potential uses of creative technologies, such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence, which are likely to have more applications to the meetings & events space in the coming years.

Lastly, I do anticipate that even the more reticent clients will embrace social media and the huge PR opportunity in driving their messaging and guest participation the right way, which also feeds into the essential requirement of finding new ways to track the metrics of engagement and a better grasp of the ever-indefinable event ROI.

Luxury is…
Luxury is not simply lavish accommodations and sumptuous dining, or at least no longer in a world where those comforts are accessible to many of our clients. One way to define luxury in my view is a well-balanced fusion of unique high-end boutique venues which exude the sense of destination, offering all the expected frills and an exceptional, personalised level of service which is attentive and warm, without a sense of pompousness, and anticipates your every need before you even begin to envisage it.

Townhouse or treehouse?
Both! I love an authentic experience everywhere I go and throughout my work and private travels I have enjoyed all sorts of accommodations, from stunning luxury hotels in the UAE to straw covered tree huts deep in the Colombian coffee plantation region, and a shared family homestay overlooking the rice fields of Sapa in Vietnam…the key is to get that distinctive sense of the destination.

The bucket list
Wow – where do I start? That list is very long, but to name a few…. horseback riding on a remote beach in Bali, trekking through Patagonia, hot-air balloon ride over the dreamy Cappadocia, diving with whales off the Mexican coast, African Safari and spotting the Big Five. For me it’s all about the adventure and an insatiable wanderlust!

Cappadocia, Turkey

Old fave
A few wonderful hotels where I had an amazing experience were the Waldorf Astoria Trianon Palace Versailles, The Four Seasons Resort in Marrakesh and Belmond Hotels in Cusco. These are the type of properties that provide a sense of arrival and immerse you in the destination.

Proud moment
Dealing with a crisis on site when as a Project Manager at the time, I was looking after a group of 300+ delegates and found myself in a bomb threat situation. Trying to remain calm and collected I managed to get the group out of the location without anyone even realising (with the exception of the client) what was happening. It was one of those testing moments, when you never know how you are going to behave until you are put in that position. The client’s feedback following the event reassured me that I was ‘born to be in the events industry’. Hopefully I will not have to repeat that again! 

Basia in The Grand Canyon

Bragging rights
We are incredibly fortunate to be a part of an industry where sometimes we get to experience the most unbelievable moments. For me a few of these included a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the rolling hills of Tuscany and site inspecting the grounds on horseback; flying an aeroplane over Paris (I was technically a pilot for a whole 20 minutes!); a helicopter arrival to the glamorous Monte Carlo  and also a helicopter flight into the Grand Canyon with stop-off for lunch at the bottom; last but not least travelling to Machu Picchu on board of the fabulous Belmond Hiram Bingham Train…

However, it’s important to stress to any new colleagues thinking of joining the industry who may possibly be under the impression that it is all ‘glitz and glamour’ – all is earned by long hours of hard work and facing some very challenging and character forming moments when many people crack under the pressure. So first and foremost, put in the work, always stay humble and be grateful for those perks that you may be lucky to experience, do not take them for granted!

It’s all in the detail…
It always is…but it is vital to listen to your clients and try to understand what the details that make them tick are, get under the skin of their brief and really identify what is important to them. You would be surprised with the final outcome as often it turns out to be quite different to what they initially thought they wanted. Also, don’t share all the detail…the element of mystery and building excitement and suspense remains a big factor in the success of the event such as incentive travel, likewise, not to be overlooked in the planning of meetings and conferences, where withholding some information about your event, whether it is the venue, surprise guest speaker or entertainment will make it more memorable.

What inspires you?
Meeting people all around the world who have zest for life and are passionate about what they do, people who are kind, humble and rich in spirit no matter what walk of life they come from…that without fail helps me revive my faith in humanity.

Aperol or agua?
Bubbles all the way!

Final word…
I feel privileged to be a part of this industry and am one of those lucky people who can say ‘I love my job’. It definitely keeps me on my toes and no day is the same, but it pushes me to evolve as it evolves and to constantly challenge myself. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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