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Paul Bulencea

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Paul Bulencea
BornPaul Bogdan Bulencea
(1988-10-03) October 3, 1988 (age 32)
Brașov, Romania
🏳️ Nationality
🎓 Alma materTransilvania University of Brașov (2007–2010)
Salzburg University of Applied Sciences (2011–2013)
💼 Occupation
Notable workGamification in Tourism: Designing Memorable Experiences

Paul Bogdan Bulencea (b. October 3, 1988, Brașov) is a Romanian award-winning author, educator, entrepreneur and keynote speaker. He is the co-founder of the College of Extraordinary Experiences[1] (an immersive conference about experience design) and the chief experience officer of Dziobak Larp Studios (a LARP design collective),[2] as well as the co-author of the book Gamification in Tourism: Designing Memorable Experiences.[3] Since the publication of his first book, Paul Bulencea has lectured about designed or implemented memorable experiences in more than ten countries around the globe.[4]

Early life and studies[edit]

Born in Brașov, Romania, Paul Bulencea studied Communication and Public Relations at Transilvania University of Brașov where he was also an active exchange member of AIESEC. While volunteering at AIESEC, Bulencea was a trainer for an international high school project in Lviv, Ukraine. Subsequently, he did a one-year internship as Junior Marketing Manager in Paderborn, Germany. Between 2011 and 2013, Paul studied at Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, where he received his master's degree in Innovation and Management in Tourism.[5] Here, Paul was awarded the Best University Graduate by the Salzburg Chamber of Commerce.[6] During his studies in Salzburg, he founded WISIT (Worldwide Innovative Students in Tourism),[7] a students' association that focuses on using experience design to create memorable experiences for students.


Soon after graduating, his professor Roman Egger offered Bulencea a grant to start a book project together. From 2013 to 2015 Bulencea co-founded and co-lead Sideview, a photo-journaling app for iPhone,[8] with American blogger Steven Klimek and 3S Studio.[9] The app got some initial traction but the project failed due to the lack of funding. While he was writing, Bulencea was also giving talks on the topic of experience design and gamification[10] at events such as the World Travel Market in London.[11]

In 2015, the book Gamification in Tourism: Designing Memorable Experiences, written together with Roman Egger, was published. Soon afterwards, Bulencea started touring, giving talks worldwide and offering consulting on "how to design experiences"[12] to governments, big retail companies and to the tourism industry. He was chosen as one of the "100 Faces of Innovation" in a publication by Nemira,[13] in collaboration with Financial Times.

At the end of 2015, Bulencea met Claus Raasted at a Gamification in Tourism conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia, organized by Žiga Novak.[14] They were both speakers at the conference.[15] Bulencea started a collaboration with Raasted after experiencing College of Wizardry, a LARP event Raasted and his team were running.[16] The first collaboration between Bulencea and Raasted's company was on the project Legends of Arabia: The Quest of the Pearl Tribes, UAE's first live action role play event,[17] held at Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi.[18] Following his vision to help organizations to step into experience-based economy, in 2016 he co-founded the College of Extraordinary Experiences,[19] together with Claus Raasted (founder of the College of Wizardry), Mark Ordesky (executive producer of the Oscar winning The Lord of the Rings), Jane Fleming (film producer at Court Five) and B. Joseph Pine II (author of The Experience Economy).[20] At the first edition of the event, held on November 10–13, 2016 at Czocha Castle in Lower Silesia, Poland, Bulencea was also a mentor for the participants.[21] He helped IKEA Centers implement its strategic shift from a shopping center format to a more experiential model.[22]

After closely collaborating with Raasted on the Legends of Arabia, the College of Extraordinary Experiences and many other projects about turning a service into an experience,[23] such as the Extraordinary Center, Bulencea became a co-owner of Dziobak Larp Studios and is now the chief experience officer of the company.[22] In February 2018, Raasted and Bulencea launched the Experience Design Podcast.[24] Also in 2018, he was invited by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to speak at the 10th World Congress on Snow and Mountain Tourism.[4] In April 2018 he had been selected in 30 Under 30 list for Forbes Romania.[25]


  • Paul Bulencea, Roman Egger (2013). "Facebook it: Evaluation of Facebook's Search Engine for Travel Related Information Retrieval". In Zheng Xiang, Iis Tussyadiah. Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2014. Cham: Springer. p. 467. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-03973-2_34. ISBN 978-3-319-03973-2. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  • Paul Bulencea, Roman Egger (2015). Gamification in Tourism: Designing Memorable Experiences. Norderstedt: BoD. ISBN 9783734759673. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png


  1. "Podcast: Inside the Event Where the Most Creative Minds Go to Refresh". BizBash. December 19, 2016.
  2. "About us". Dziobak Larp Studios.
  3. Paul Bulencea, Roman Egger (2015). Gamification in Tourism: Designing Memorable Experiences. Norderstedt: BoD. ISBN 9783734759673. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  4. 4.0 4.1 "List of speakers participating in the 10th World Congress on Snow and Mountain Tourism". UNWTO.
  5. "Paul Bogdan Bulencea". Salzburg University of Applied Sciences.
  6. "WKS kürt beste FH-AbsolventInnen". Salzburg University of Applied Sciences (in German). November 25, 2014.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
  7. Excerpt from an audio podcast with Florin Roșoga. September 14, 2017. "am decis să înființez o asociație de studenți care să creeze o schimbare pozitivă. Ea se numește WISIT (Worldwide Innovative Students in Tourism)." [I decided to establish a students' association to create a positive change. It's called WISIT (Worldwide Innovative Students in Tourism).]
  8. "212 Paul Bulencea despre gamificare și alegerile pe care le facem zilnic". Antreprenori care inspiră (in Romanian). Interview by Florin Roșoga. September 14, 2017. "mă bucur că am reușit să lansăm aplicația Sideview pentru iPhone, este acum disponibilă în App Store." [I'm glad we were able to launch Sideview for iPhone, it's now available in the App Store.]
  9. "O aplicație creată de trei români face concurență Facebook". Digi 24 (in Romanian). January 22, 2015.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
  10. "Paul Bulencea". MPI Academy.
  11. An Coppens (November 7, 2013). "Tourism industry is looking into games and gamification". Gamification Nation.
  12. Kevin Van der Straeten (May 8, 2017). "How to Build Extraordinary Experiences". eventplanner.tv.
  13. Mihaela Nicola, Marius Stoian (June 22, 2016). "100 de fețe ale inovației". Nemira. ISBN 978-606-758-684-8.
  14. Žiga Novak (July 1, 2015). "Gamification in tourism: Designing memorable experiences (a book review)".
  15. Andrew Lacanienta (August 8, 2017). "The Birth of the College of Extraordinary Experiences". College of Extraordinary Experiences.
  16. Katie Forster (March 6, 2016). "Harry Potter role-playing at real-life Hogwarts". The Guardian.
  17. Rob Garratt (November 2, 2016). "Abu Dhabi's Yas Waterworld hosts first live action role play event". The National.
  18. "Legends of Arabia: Quest of the Pearl Tribes". Yas Island.
  19. Tom Anstey (October 16, 2016). "College of Extraordinary Experiences offers hands-on training in the art of immersive design". CLAD News.
  20. Teodora Nicolae (March 20, 2018). "Paul Bulencea, creatorul de experiențe memorabile în colaborare cu Lego, Disney, Google, Blizzard". BizBrașov (in Romanian).CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
  21. "Partnerstwo z College of Extraordinary Experiences". GAMEDEC: Game Studies & Design (in Polish). Kazimierz Wielki University. July 23, 2016.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Paul Bulencea". TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference.
  23. Marina Terteryan. "Turning a Service into an Experience with Paul Bulencea". Why Service Design Thinking.
  24. "Experience Design Podcast". SoundCloud.
  25. Raluca Juncu (April 30, 2018). "30 sub 30- ediția 2018: Designerul de experiențe". Forbes Romania.

External links[edit]

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