“Empathy beats space.”

Interview with the director of Kongresskultur Bregenz, Gerhard Stübe.

“Empathy beats space.”

Space availability is high by international standards, but not everyone has a festival opera house for hire. How do you deal with that privilege?

I’m very glad to be able to offer our centre with its great atmospheric versatility to my clients for their conferences, symposiums, meetings and weddings. We have rooms and spaces that can be filled with emotions and stories and made magical by people. I am aware of that advantage.


It seems the idea of simply hiring space is still firmly rooted in the minds of many people, including industry leaders. What’s your response to that?

I think when we talk with our clients, it shouldn’t primarily be about space. The fact is, in our industry we are really privileged. We have the unique opportunity of helping others to become better known, more successful or more experienced. A melting pot for happiness hormones!


And how are these happiness hormones released?

By listening closely during the initial discussions, by creative thinking, by developing a sense for what the customer wants to achieve with an event. And by the enthusiastic commitment of everybody taking part. When we’re preparing an event for a client, we have to read in their eyes what it is they’re after, and give them the feeling they’re in capable hands. That means: empathy beats space.


That sounds like the perfect service.

Yes, because service isn’t an activity – it’s an attitude. An attitude towards yourself, towards your responsibilities and your customers. Either I go into it, heart and soul, or I don’t bother.


Can that attitude be kept up?

If you really dedicate yourself to it, it’s a wonderful nutritional system that benefits everyone involved – and what’s more, on a fair trade basis and extremely healthily, both for those providing the service and for those receiving it.


Thanks for the interview.


The interview was conducted by Wolfgang Mörth. 

Photo: Anja Köhler

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