Historic Backdrops Inspire Forward-Thinking Events in Croatia

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Attendee using Google cardboard VR tech

To spark creativity and innovation among attendees, the Projektil team moved the conference away from hotel conference rooms in favor of Dubrovnik’s cultural venues.

Dubrovnik’s historic Old Town served as the stomping grounds for two back-to-back Google events in Croatia past spring: the Google LCS Learning Summit and Google Think Travel. The Think Travel event hosted 250 attendees from more than 20 countries in Europe, Asia and India to discuss how Google’s latest technologies can influence tourism strategies.

“The event gave attendees the opportunity to hear about the future of travel, new communication strategies and how to build a travel brand online,” explains Vedran Blumensajn, project manager with Projektil, the local company that helped organize both Google events. “Success stories of growing online tourism and using tools such as Google Street View highlighted ways to attract potential travelers and how to bring a destination ‘closer’ to an online audience.”

The event had a typical techy feel—from Google Cardboard virtual reality to top-notch speakers—with networking opportunities amid colorful beanbag chairs and sailor-themed photo opps in an on-site booth. The event also had a variety of travel experts such as Doug Lansky from International Travel Expert, Filipa Cardoso of the Portuguese Tourism Board, and Artur Waliszewski, Google Poland’s regional business director in Central and Eastern Europe—all of whom were available during meeting breaks for brainstorming sessions.

To spark creativity and innovation among attendees, the Projektil team moved the conference away from hotel conference rooms in favor of Dubrovnik’s cultural venues. The Revelin Fortress, built in the 1400s outside the city walls to protect the harbor and the eastern part of the city, was the team’s top choice because of its proximity to Old Town. “During our attendees’ short stay, we wanted to make them feel the spirit of Dubrovnik, and being in a fortress overlooking famous Old Town was definitely part of it,” Blumensajn says.

Google chose to meet in Dubrovnik due to its reputation of being one of the best-known Croatian tourism destinations. Blumensajn says the fact that Old Town is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site offered yet another dimension to the venue. “It was the perfect place to talk about tourism because Dubrovnik has become a travel brand in itself.”

While hosting the event in the Revelin fortress helped emphasize the city’s rich heritage and culture, the Projektil team also used local cuisine and wines to enhance the attendee experience of the destination. Small bites of local Dalmatian ham, cheese and olives; octopus polpette; cod fish in bianco (essentially cod fish stew); baked shells and fried scampi with almonds were served alongside local red and white wines from nearby islands. Projektil also planned a sunset cocktail reception on the rooftop terrace overlooking Old Town.

“This event was innovative already,” Blumensajn says, “because of the content Google representatives and their guest speakers provided, but it was especially memorable and special because of the Revelin location. The beautiful fortress was unique and designed to highlight what they were presenting with the Think Travel event.”

The Think Travel event was followed by Google’s LCS Learning Summit, an internal educational session that was highlighted by a treasure hunt through Old Town. As attendees completed imaginative and educational tasks in the challenge, attendees visited must-see parts of the Old Town. No surprise to anyone, the Google team was very good at solving clues and challenges throughout the city.

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