Rafaela Rica: “Nothing beats the importance of face to face events”

During the pandemic, Kongres Magazine conducted a series of interviews with regional meetings industry professionals, who shared their thoughts on the future of events, if hybrid events will replace live events and how the pandemic has changed the industry irrevocably. The question that sparked debate was: High Tech or High Touch?

Below is one of the most-read interviews with Rafaela Rica, the Founder and CEO of Iceberg Communication Ltd in Albania, since the start of the pandemic, published on the Kongres Magazine website.

Q: What do you desire the most at the moment?
That the virus disappears and that we go back to normal life – hugging, shaking hands, travelling, going to the theatre, gathering with friends etc.
Q: Why do you love organising events?
I love organising events primarily because with events, we bring people together, secondly because events are never the same, so it keeps you always creative and you are never bored with what you do. Thirdly and the most important is to make clients happy by transforming an atmosphere into a dream place and turn the night/day into the most memorable day of their life (in case of a wedding or a birthday?).
Q: Can you present the tool or app you use the most during the corona crisis?


Q: How would you explain to a client why organising events is essential?
Organising events is really important for companies because you have better touch with your invitees, an engaging experience that can create a lasting impression. Nothing beats the importance of face to face events. You will always remember a special event you have been to. Thus, it’s a very good way to raise brand awareness.
Q: Is it easier to organise digital or live events?
I personally prefer live events. I think the passion you put into organising a live event is incomparable to an online event; however, the technology now enables many facilities in organising digital events, so I call it easier.
Q: Is organising digital events cheaper than organising classic events?
It always depends on the type of event. If we are talking about simple events, all you need is an internet connection, and one of the virtual platforms, but if you need over 2000 people online in breakout rooms, then, obviously, it costs more. However, I think live events cost more with travels, venues, food, accommodation, technology etc.


Q: If the future of the meetings industry will be green, where do we start?
We should work first to build a culture and raise awareness among event managers on the importance of the environment. By doing so, we as event managers can think and create new models of event organising that we can get out of event venues. Use eco-friendly and recycled material, remove plastics completely, use technology to replace the material, save energy, less travelling and use other ways with which we can create a lasting environmental impact.
Q: What will be the key trait of a great event organiser after the corona crisis?
Adopt to the new world of events, embrace the change and learn more about technology and virtual events. Have the vision to see where the trends of events will go in 10- 20 years. We might not like it, but the truth is that COVID-19 has reshaped our social networks.
Q: What is your view of the future? Where is the meetings industry headed?
I think COVID-19 will go away, things will go back to normal, but the event industry will not be the same. Our lifestyle will never be the same. As I mentioned above, we need to be agile also in the event industry and adapt our business models to new ways of organising events. Moreover, we should embrace technology and innovation in the sector, think and act fast and think and act tech.
Q: What is the most surprising fact about organising events?
You can have virtual events, and still, they are real events.


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