You lived in Switzerland for a while. How does this help you to understand the German market?
Bernarda: I was born in Split and raised on Croatian traditions and mentality, but I grew up and spent my childhood in Switzerland. When it comes to my nature, my way of thinking and my work ethics I do like to describe myself as being half Dalmatian and half Swiss. This of course makes a good balance when working with Croatian suppliers and agents from the German market. I do think that my childhood in Switzerland and my constant interaction with the German world from faculty throughout all my jobs till the present day have helped me to understand the German market and the »German way of thinking« much better.
Since you work mostly with German market, you understand their perception of Croatia very well. Has this perception changed in the last 5 years?
Bernarda: From my first incentive eight years ago till today, so many things have changed. Perception of Croatia changed from being a new incentive destination to a destination, that is already known as an incentive region. Expectations of experienced clients have grown and new hotels, restaurants, locations are opening every year. This makes my job very interesting – the constant demand for new experiences and the German demand for perfection in every aspect.
What is the most exciting thing about Croatia for the German market?
Bernarda: There are quite a few exciting things about Croatia for the German market; from unknown, unexplored regions, our mentality, the highly praised Croatian kitchen and not so known but excellent wines.
You are working with multinational companies and some very demanding clients. Can you give us an example when you had to be very creative to make a demanding client satisfied?
Bernarda: The most demanding part in this job is to offer new and memorable experiences to already well-travelled and experienced clients. It has been a challenge sometimes to convince them that very simple encounters with locals, the stories behind some local traditions connected to food and wine can bring a whole new aspect that they have not experienced anywhere else. Making a very demanding client satisfied is always the goal, and to achieve this we have been creative on many levels, from creating completely new venues, even accommodation, to getting permissions from authorities that seem impossible to get …
What is the biggest compliment you receive from a client so far?
Bernarda: There have been quite a few throughout the years working in this business, some professional, some personal, some during the event that have touched me (even to tears haha) and some in writing, maybe to mention one of the most favourite groups I did, a German insurance company 45 people in Dubrovnik - I was told after the event that Intours has been the best DMC they have worked with so far, that we have delivered everything to the point which was discussed before the event, and on spot we have always managed to make the changes they wished, we were praised for our high service mentality. I have been described as being thoughtful and detail-oriented. The biggest compliment for me is when clients smile and say »thank you Bernarda« and »you really love this job«.
If you personally would attend an incentive event in Croatia or Slovenia, where would you go and why?
Bernarda: If I would attend an incentive event in Croatia or Slovenia I would go to Hvar and have dinner in the abandoned village of Malo Grablje, I would also take part in any activity or program on the island of Lokrum in front of Dubrovnik, and enjoy a spectacular view from one of the famous forts in the old town of Dubrovnik while attending a gala dinner.