End of last year I e-met on Twitter Pauline Kwasniak, the Ireland based founder of TurnedSee and we naturally started chatting about the industry. Being active in the digital space myself, I immediately felt that Pauline also “gets it”, and perhaps that’s why quickly we found a common language. She is one of the leading industry vloggers, and vlogs weekly on Facebook. The first video that I saw and caught my attention was called “If you are not visible to your potential clients on SOCIAL MEDIA you are ultimately INVISIBLE”. Since then I enjoy following her entrepreneurial journey and delighted to share it also with you here. This boss lady walks the talk and puts out an enormous amount of B2B content, on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and interacts with her community on a daily basis. I want to give her a big applause for her hustle online and offline.
Let’s start from the beginning, how did you get into the events industry?
I have been involved in events, since I was a little girl. Back in Poland, I was involved in various charity and local events. When I moved over to Ireland at 16, I did the same in school and college. After my graduation, I started to work with various events and corporate clients, before launching my own venues sourcing and groups hosting agency hotel4meetings.com. However, having worked with many corporate clients, I found it problematic to research unique venues and quickly match them with the client’s needs. Together with my team I have developed TurnedSee – which using our proprietary software can match the right buyer, to the right venues at the right time.
How many days/ months per year do you travel for business?
Oh my – I did not count but A LOT. Half of my working time is spent on technology/innovation, and the other half on travel.
What do you love the most about business travel and what excites you the most when visiting a foreign country?
I love other cultures and people and truly appreciate learning about another way of life – getting inspiration and ideas from others. I observed that our habits and traditions depend largely from our environmental conditions and climate. If you live in a warm country, you are used to a snooze during the afternoon, in Ireland we serve food on really hot plates, and so on and so forth. IT IS FASCINATING HOW MUCH NATURE AND CLIMATE have to do with our so called “nationalistic” traditions and habits.
You must be very busy, how do you set priorities which trade show to attend?
It is hard to choose, because I believe that each trade show can benefit me and I can make new contacts and learn something new, but I have a few which I prioritise year by year- IMEX and IBTM Barcelona amongst them. Sometimes however, the smaller shows can be of a huge benefit as well.
You are in the process of launching your new business. Can you tell more about the problem it solves?
At the moment there is no automated and personalised solution that relieves planners from the pain of researching and comparing the unique venues. On the other side, hotels and venues lack an online solution for personalised marketing and engagement of high-value corporate clients within the MICE industry. Venue souring agencies are more interested in higher value commissions, rather than supplying unique ideas to their clients. TurnedSee makes the venue research and booking process effective for all players in the MICE industry. Our solution learns from the preferences and behaviour of our buyers. We are able to make them aware of unique event hotels, that match their event objectives and brand’s culture. TurnedSee puts the right properties in front of the right buyers at the right time, becoming a hugely powerful marketing tool for hotels. We are providing a personalised service to corporate clients, which also benefits venues.
What are the challenges you face launching a new business and how do you overcome them?
MICE industry is harder to enter for new players, than any other travel business (luxury or leisure) – so barriers of entry are higher. Deep level of knowledge and experience is needed, so I spent many years learning – talking to people – listening to their problems – observing – connecting. You have to solve a concrete problem – maybe then you have a chance.
You are the queen of video on Facebook. How do you see the current state of industry media? Is it all shifting to online?
I absolutely think so. Video content is king – hotels, venues should be using it on constant basis to promote their unique selling points. What we have to understand is that times are changing – young buyers are enjoying the video content. Video is a quick and savvy communication tool that can provide a lot of information in an entertaining way. Video content remains in our memory for longer rather than a boring article and a static photograph.
You conducted an online research to find out what’s the best way to get into the events industry – academic education or industry experience. Can you tell briefly about the results and what’s your view on it?
Yes – that was fun. We spoke to approx. 200 event professionals. With many new event management courses, degrees and colleges, we wanted to see if we needed one to succeed in our industry. What traits were important and if personality had something to do with it. A majority of professionals said that DEGREE IS NOT NEEDED – but hard work, experience, passion for this industry is CRUCIAL. However, events degrees are relatively a new thing and a new generation of professionals who studied events are appreciative of the contacts, experiences and opportunities that their school has created for them.
Work life balance or integration? Why?
INTEGRATION all the way. Bring your work home and bring your personal life into your work. Integrate – that is what a true balance means.
How do you keep up to date with industry trends?
I am constantly ON LINE! Reading – viewing – searching – listening. However, I also think our industry trade shows are hugely important just to meet with people from all over the world and simply talk. Listen to other peoples’ problem- ideas- trends in their country. People will tell you a lot if you are willing to listen.
What’s your favourite business book?
I know this might seems silly but “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho – each business is a journey.
What one thing will you change in our industry?
Eliminate the venue souring agents who are more interested in higher commission bookings rather than suggesting great ideas to their clients. Instead, introduce a new platform, such as ours, to personalise the venue research and booking process to put the right venues in front of the right buyer at the right time, and connect the buyers to the venues/hotels direct.