Mr. Romano, what is the mission of Bologna Congressi?
We manage the main conference facilities of Bologna: the Palazzo dei Congressi, located in the trade fair district, and the Palazzo Re Enzo in Piazza Maggiore, the historical venue used for all extra events related to conferences. Inside the Palazzo dei Congressi there also is the largest theater in Bologna, with 1380 seats and an intense activity of 80 shows a year, and this highlights our vocation as a multipurpose organization. We are able to provide a 360-degrees service that is not limited to the conference venue. In fact, one of our departments is dedicated to the Event management, while the other, the Travel department, fulfills our customers’ needs for the whole duration of the conference, providing the same services of a travel agency but taking also care of their contacts and relationships with the city. In the last few months, we have also created Bologna Welcome, a spin-off company of Bologna Congressi, which acts as a Convention & Visitors Bureau, taking care of the promotion and reception in the Metropolitan City of Bologna.
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What is your strategy to compete on the international market?
We rely on all the traditional instruments, such as attendance at trade fairs, contacts with the leading international PCOs and scouting activities. Bologna can be a real center of gravity, not only for its central position in Italy, but also for what concerns culture and science. People have always met here to share knowledge, our porticoes were designed to give everyone the opportunity to walk, talk and exchange information. These are all elements that contribute to a positive image of Bologna abroad. What is more, Marconi Airport ensures many connections with the main European cities. Our task is to systematize all these resources and enhance our cultural exchange.
How do you develop your collaboration with the Emilia-Romagna region?
Growth is essential, and it is possible to optimize connections with the high-speed rail line.
We need to keep believing in our airport and to improve transport connections to our conference facilities.
Could you mention a couple of successful case histories?
I would like to mention the main international conferences organized with European PCOs. To use a football metaphor, I would say that it was like playing in the Champions League. An experience that put us to the test, giving us different points of view and pushing us to work better and to care more for details.
How do you imagine Bologna in the future?
Bologna is and will be a major conference destination and the city is investing in this direction. The creation of Bologna Welcome proves it; the main stakeholders of the city are joining the project because they believe in the conference segment. A global renewal of the conference facility within the fair trade district is under consideration. In addition, the airport, the high-speed rail, the University, the hospitals, together with an administration that pays attention to these issues, make Bologna a very attractive destination. Conference participants appreciate it and our job is precisely to let people know this city and its great potential.