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/ 06 / EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW NEW HOTEL OPENING IN 2017 Mr. Živorad Vasić, Delta Holding Vice President, Crowne Plaza General Manager Mr. Rashad Rasullu, Executive Director of Portonovi Resort Management / 16 / EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW AFTER 16 YEARS SLOVENIA'S BIGGEST CAR INDUSTRY FAIR IS COMING BACK TO LJUBLJANA Interview with Iztok Bricl, MS c, Director, GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre

/ 21 / HOW TO WIN CONGRESS BIDS Views from major destinations Apimondia Case studie

/ 50 / MEETOLOGUE Granada, Spain

/ 36 / CREATIVE VENUE AND EVENT DESIGN The ICC Katowice winning architecture by Jems Architects Urban Opera “Décrocher la Lune VI” by Luc Petit Creation




SLOVENIA MEETINGS Feel the people. Taste fresh ideas.



Page 40 Quick Talk

Quick Talk with Meetings Star Winners 2016

Page 56

GORAZD ČAD Editor of the magazine is in his profession a geographer and historian. He united his professional education and love of discovering new lesser-known convention destinations with love and passion for the meetings industry. In meetologues he will try to share his enthusiasm with the readers.


Karmen Klučar, Cankarjev dom Cultural and Congress Centre Ljubljana Technical Director / Director General Assistant Meeting Journal

Page 58 Klagenfurt Page 74 Bratislava Kongres Face2Face

Page 87 GLASGOW vs EDINBURGH Page 99 GRANADA vs MARIBOR Page 88 Hidden Congress Guest

Parkhotel Portschaach Hotel Brdo Seepark Hotel Congress and Spa Hotel Triglav Bled W Istanbul

NINA PRAPROTNIK A talkative perfectionist, intrigued with details and a bigger picture in all the things around her. A big hedonist, especially in terms of culinary treats, amazing Slovenian vines, travelling and life in general enjoys in creating beautiful stories for Kongres magazine, Conventa and taking care of other clients regarding content marketing. She believes in personal connection and touch in all aspects, in private and professional life. NIKA PIRNAR Passionately curious, in love with the daily roller coasters rides, interested in anything and everyone (especially fascinated by old people, since they have so many stories to share) and attracted to the unknown and unpredicted days. Otherwise highly organised on regular basis. An old soul trapped in a young body, wearing different colour socks and secretly wishing to be a Red Nose Clown Doctor. Questioning everything and then turning it inside out. NATALIJA BAH ČAD An unforgettable member in the editorial board of travelogues, who at each destination adds her icing on the cake. She has insight into the soul of destinations based on many years of practical experience with the organisation of events. She is interested in everything from the history, geography and destination marketing to care for the tiny little things that make the big events.

Page 94 Been There


POLONA SIMŠIČ The knowledge and experience she accumulated with organisation of advertising festivals and conferences, she successfully transfers to the meetings industry. She tells stories of the project Conventa and takes care that they are always up to date and fresh.

Page 96 Young

Tina Bricelj

Page 100

ROBERT COTTER Alongside his work for Kongres, Rob is a regular contributor to MPI’s One+ magazine as well as MICENET Asia and Eventbiz Japan. He attends international MICE events to seek out best practice and share this with the international meetings community.



Page 102 Inside Ljubljana

Monthly Unique Visitors


Yearly Page Views


Followers on Social Networks

G Editor in Chief Gorazd Čad Assistant to the Editor in Chief Nina Praprotnik Design Mateja Gale, NUIT d.o.o. DTP and Prepress NUIT d.o.o. Proofreading Rob Cotter ISSN Number 1855-8615 Photo credits: archive of Kongres magazine and partners destinations The Kongres magazine is entered into the media register under sequence number 1423. Magazine issued in January; March; May; July; September; November Publisher, Production and Marketing Toleranca Marketing d.o.o., Štihova 4, SI1000 Ljubljana, t: +386 (0)1 430 51 03 f: +386 (0)1 430 51 04 v e: Issue date March 2017 For the content reproduction it is required to get the written editorial consigment.

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POPULAR KONGRES MAGAZINE CONTENTS Stories you won’t find in any other media …





BEHIND THE SCENES Editorial look behind the scenes of the most exciting congress hotels in the region.

OFF THE BEATEN MICE TRACK Introducing new innovative congress products that surprise with aesthetics and creativity.



Unique evaluation of hotels by hidden congress guests using more than 400 criteria.

Overview of interesting congress providers through experiences and special offers.





Busting or confirming 10 meetings destination myths you always wondered about.

Meeting organizers golden guide that has been since 2010 revealing fresh and interesting European meetings destinations.

Secrets about Un-European meetings destinations through the editorial word of the brilliant Robert Cotter.

Fresh news, experts articles and trends from Croatia written by the lovely Daniela Kos, editor of the Croatia Addendum.





Exclusive interviews with meetings industry experts on the current challenges of the meetings industry.

Interviews with meetings industry professionals that reveal their stories of success.

Generation Next- young talents that will shape the future of the meetings industry.

In each of us lies a little enfant terrible. The editorial board chooses the most interesting ones.





Examples of good practice cases of events and meetings industry projects presented with concrete results.

The most comprehensive collection of incentive ideas that already includes 270 programmes and is being up-dated weekly.

Examples of good practice in the field of marketing of meetings destinations, hotels and events.

Presentation of the most interesting destinations through the TOP 10 column. We are rating convention hotels, car launch destinations, special venues …


A word from the editor


Gorazd Čad, Editor, Kongres magazine



s is usual on entering the new year, my colleagues ask me what innovations and trends will affect the meetings industry in 2017. Over the last decade we have witnessed the rapid progress of different technologies that have driven a transformation in business meetings. The winners of the coming decade will be those who can intelligently connect creativity with innovation and the use of technology, as the latter is mainly an aid rather than a lever for change in business meetings.

for others. Therefore, a good event organiser will be the researcher who is interested in the various professional fields and is not simply yielding to the stereotyped, predictable solutions of yesteryear. You will read some stories outside of the box in this year's first issue. We continue to heartily wish you “Power to the meetings” in 2017!

According to the views of our readers, we must be particularly attentive to change and especially to generational change. Below are the 5 trends we have selected for 2017 on the basis of interviews and in-depth analysis:

1 2

Niche destinations and products: Niche congress destinations with a specific product are more and more coming under the spotlight because of their unique competitive advantages. Given its unique green story, this also includes Slovenia. The power of quality content marketing: To exploit the full potential of digital media, it will be essential to better understand the habits of business meeting participants and the kinds of stories that inspire them. Using and understanding content marketing will therefore be key to success.

3 4

More value for event participants: We live in an era when every link in the business meetings chain must offer better value. Thinking in the new framework is focused on the participant and his or her needs, i.e. the "customer journey". Architecture of meetings and new event formats: Successful meetings are those that allow more interactivity between presenters and participants, and between the participants themselves. Meeting architecture is therefore becoming more important than event logistics and there are notable developments towards the creation of a new profession of congress architect.


Millennials on the move: Millennials have excellent knowledge of technology, do not believe in institutions, and confidently want to change the world for the better. Soon they will be the largest target group of participants at events. Do we really know how best to listen to them? And how well do we really know their habits? In the world of the new economy, whether shared or disrupted, changes don’t take place within existing structures, but on a completely new platform. If we continue to consider the MICE industry under the same set of generalizations and models as twenty years ago, it is highly likely that we will no longer be deciding on our own business and the doors will open


Exclusive interview

Živorad Vasić is the General Manager of Crowne Plaza Belgrade, and Manager of the hotel and business premises of the Delta Real Estate Group. Mr. Vasić finished high school and university in Boston, USA. At Boston University he took degrees in both Hotel Management and Finance. After 17 years in the USA, he returned to Serbia and began working in the Continental Hotel Belgrade. He was head of the team in charge of opening the new Crowne Plaza Belgrade, which today belongs to the InterContinental Hotels Group, the world’s largest hotel group. He has been running the hotel successfully since its opening and is the winner of the Manager of the Year Award granted by the Serbian Association of Managers.


Exclusive interview

THE LIGHTS IN A HOTEL NEVER GET SWITCHED OFF Mr. Zivorad Vasic, Delta Holding Vice President, Crowne Plaza General Manager Interview by Polona Simšič / Photo credit Crowne Plaza Belgrade

Q: The Intercontinental Ljubljana will be open in summer 2017. What is the overall development and design vision for that property? Intercontinental Ljubljana will indeed open in the summer of 2017. We have put a lot of thought into this property, but I think that the most important thing is to explain that this will be a managed hotel – a hotel that has a management agreement with IHG, where Delta holding is a 100 % investor and IHG will manage that property. This will be basically the tallest building in Ljubljana, its first five-star international property. It is important to say that IHG has many brands: Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, Indigo, Intercontinental, Staybridge Suites and Kimpton – all of those are InterContinental brands and so the visibility in Ljubljana will be amazing. It will be great for the city of Ljubljana to have InterContinental back again, as a long time ago there were both the InterContinental and Holiday Inn hotels there. On the 24th floor of the hotel there will be a Michelin-star restaurant and a famous chef coming from Italy. Mr Russo will be the consultant to the restaurant and will position it – I think Ljubljana is in need of another great restaurant where people can really enjoy the view, enjoy the city of Ljubljana and the location, but also enjoy the food. It is also important to say that the Intercontinental Hotel in Ljubljana has 165 rooms and a ballroom, and we are primarily trying to capture MICE* business, group business, but also be a destination for weekend travellers, because we can see that Ljubljana has more and more of this type of visitor that are basically coming to enjoy the city. I think that the city has grown in the past few years to really become the centre of an area where everything is really close - you have the mountains half an hour away, you can go to the seaside in half an hour too. In March the Planica ski jumps are the big thing and Portorož is also something that you can perfectly enjoy, but then also Italy, Austria, Hungary – all of those destinations are very close. So we are really looking to position Ljubljana as a growing tourist destination during the weekends, but also have quite a lot of groups and group business during the week.

Q: Where has the bulk of your business success in Belgrade come from in the last year? Last year the bulk of the business in Belgrade came from corporate travellers, so Delta likes to stay and position itself in the hotels in the major cities where we work on group business, so for us the most important thing is to really capture all these businesses that are in need of not just overnight accommodation, but also breakfast, lunch, dinner, a coffee break, the meeting room and the ballroom etc. We therefore try to capture all of that group business during the week, but then we can also become a place not only for tourists, but also an event location for big local corporate parties, for weddings, for birthday celebrations and anything else that a major city might need.

Delta Group is now finishing Ljubljana Intercontinental and already has a hotel in Belgrade, so I think generally the next destination should be Zagreb, because Ljubljana, Belgrade and Zagreb are quite connected. Q: All of the big hotel groups are trying to figure out how to drive more direct bookings. What is The Crowne Plaza doing in that regard? Like many others, we are also trying to figure out how to drive more direct bookings, but what is most important for us is to have high occupancy and a good rate. We understand that we live in a digital world, so we can’t expect to always be the ones for booking things directly. We try to offer a best price guarantee, but, of course, a lot of bookings come from, and 7

other third parties, and this is a trend that will continue, especially in less developed cities like Belgrade. So again, yes, it is important to drive direct bookings, but more important for us is to drive business to the hotel. Q: How do you view the Southeast Europe meetings industry scene? Southeast Europe is a good meetings industry region; more and more hotels have been opened in recent years. I think that the advantage of cities like Belgrade, Zagreb and Ljubljana is that these are undiscovered gems. People are tired of going to Budapest and Vienna over and over again and they want to discover different cities. For that, however, it is crucial to have infrastructure, to have airports, to have low cost companies, to have hotels etc. and I think that a lot of this is already happening. When I say hotels, I mean international hotels, so I think that is the secret of successful MICE destinations and future cities like Belgrade, Ljubljana and Zagreb. I think that these cities can “drive” MICE business quite a lot, I think they are already driving it. If you look at Belgrade right now, it has Crowne Plaza, Falkensteiner, Radisson Blue, Hyatt, Metropol, Hilton being built, Mariott also opened last year, so I think that the secret of successful MICE destinations is a lot of international hotels, a good airport, a good hub company like Belgrade has (which is Etihad Air Serbia) and then also the tourist organisations of the city that can position the city within the country so that they can drive the MICE destinations. Q: What do you think the hotels could be doing better to improve the customer experience? In order to improve the customer experience, I think hotels have to be like their cities: hospitable, true to themselves. They obviously need to have the standards that an international brand brings, but it is also important to have your own ‘flavour’. I think that CP Belgrade is a success story and basically the number one of all the Crowne Plaza hotels in Europe in terms of overall guest satisfaction, but also in problem-handling, because we mix the corporate culture that we trade on with the local flavour that we have.

Exclusive interview

Southeast Europe is a good meetings industry region; more and more hotels have been opened in recent years. I think that the advantage of cities like Belgrade, Zagreb and Ljubljana is that these are undiscovered gems. People are tired of going to Budapest and Vienna over and over again and they want to discover different cities. For that, however, it is crucial to have infrastructure, to have airports, to have low cost companies, to have hotels etc. and I think that a lot of this is already happening. When I say hotels, I mean international hotels, so I think that is the secret of successful MICE destinations and future cities like Belgrade, Ljubljana and Zagreb. Q: Where do you position the cities of Ljubljana, Belgrade and Zagreb? Delta Group is now finishing Ljubljana Intercontinental and already has a hotel in Belgrade, so I think generally the next destination should be Zagreb, because Ljubljana, Belgrade and Zagreb are quite connected. We are also interested in positioning ourselves in Albania and we think that it can potentially be the future. We are planning to build Indigo Hotel in Belgrade, which is also one of the brands of IHG, and we are waiting for final permits so that we can start building InterContinental Belgrade. Our partner IHG and we are trying to deliver as many hotels as we can and, of course, it will be in the region, but it won’t be a surprise if we also look elsewhere in Europe, because we really look for potential projects that we can make successful, as we believe that real estate is one of the futures of Delta. Our core businesses are therefore agriculture and real estate, but also the fast-growing business that is distribution.

Q: In terms of digital communications and marketing, is there anything that keeps you up at night? When it comes to digital communications and marketing, we strongly believe that it is the future. We believe that newspapers, TV ads and all of that belong to the past and that the best way to really position yourself is through different digital channels. We see how millennials and new generations are connected. We see how much FB, Twitter, Instagram and all those other digital communicators are playing an important role in the success of each hotel, and I think when you look at Crowne Plaza, for example, you can see how we started off with FB and the figures can bear it out. We ended the year with about 90,000 fans and the monthly reach of our posts was over 2.5 million people. The number of monthly impressions for Crown Plaza FB, Instagram and Twitter content is over 5 million people. Over 50,000 people made check-in at the FB Instagram location of Crown Plaza and the organic growth of our twitter accounts is 45%.


Exclusive interview

ONE-ON-ONE WITH ŽIVORAD VASIĆ Q: What inspired you to decide on a career in the hotel industry? When I talk about my inspiration to decide on a career in the hotel industry, I was in boarding school in the USA in 1993 and my host parents had a son who was studying a hotel management major at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. My uncle also used to tell me how hotels are always fun, and so the combination of these two moments persuaded me as a 17-year-old for a summer internship at Longboard Hilton Beach Resort in Florida, Sarasota. Back in 1993 I was a bellman there for three months and I used to make a lot of money, and that mix of tasks – dealing with people, learning about different cultures, but also being able to provide for myself – were key for me when deciding to join the hotel industry. Q: The best advice you have received? The best advice I have received…well, there are two parts to that advice – the first is that it’s not greener on the other side, meaning that sometimes when you are not happy with current goings on, a change doesn’t mean that it will immediately get better, so patience is a virtue. The second part is the one that I received from a very wise man that the lights in hotels never get switched off. The lights are always on, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so you have to take it day by day and try to make your hotel better. Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world for a month, where would you go and why? There are so many places I would like to visit, but my travels would depend on whether I was tired or not. If I was tired, then I would look for a destination where I could spend a month just lying on the beach and if I had a sponsor then it would definitely be St. Barts. Were I to look for a more active vacation, then I would take a trip to Asia and visit all the Asian countries and go to all the major cities, because I think that Asia is moving quite ahead of the rest of the world and there are so many things you can learn from them and things that will come from there to Europe in a few years. Q: What is your favourite place in South East Europe? It’s definitely Belgrade as a city and Serbia as a country. I take pride in being Serbian, living in Serbia and working in Serbia.


Exclusive interview

MR. RASHAD RASULLU, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF PORTONOVI RESORT MANAGEMENT COMPANY AND BOARD MEMBER OF AZMONT INVESTMENTS Mr. Rashad Rasullu is the Executive Director of Portonovi Resort Management Company and a Board Member of Azmont Investments. He is the Deputy CEO of AtaHolding, a member of the Board of Directors at AtaInsurance OJSC, Member of the Supervisory Board of VTB Bank Azerbaijan, as well as Board Member at Azerbaijan Turkey Business Association and Montenegro Foreign Investment Council. Mr. Rasullu is actively engaged in Montenegro and Azerbaijan. Following his role as the Deputy ED of Azmont Investments, from 2016 he has been the Advisor to the Chairman of Azmont Investments and Executive Director of Portonovi Resort Management Company. At the same time, he has been the Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of AtaHolding OJSC since October 2012. He manages the marketing, communications, human resources, quality of management and corporate governance areas at the "AtaHolding" Group of Companies.


Exclusive interview

OUR AMBITION IS TO SET NEW STANDARDS NOT ONLY WITHIN MONTENEGRO, BUT ALSO ACROSS THE ENTIRE MEDITERRANEAN Portonovi Resort Montenegro Mr. Rashad Rasullu, Executive Director of Portonovi Resort Management Company and Board Member of Azmont Investments Interview by Nina praprotnik / Photo credit Portonovi Resort Montenegro Q: Tell us more about new Portonovi Resort in Montenegro? Envisioned as the perfect home away from home, Portonovi aspires to be Inspiringly Different. We are creating a destination which will exceed expectations, providing some of today’s most enriching experiences that will become tomorrow’s benchmarks. The 26-hectare resort will comprise of 275 properties, from luxurious, spacious town houses and apartments set in the heart of its Mediterranean-style village, stylish villas in its landscaped gardens, to sleek penthouse apartments and sky villas with infinity pools overlooking the marina. At the same time, it will be the home of the first One&Only Resort in Europe. What is unique about Portonovi is its concept: it is a mixed-used kind of a resort where each property imparts its own distinctive sense of place with life and energy. Portonovi will additionally offer a unique spa and dining, with innovative and tailored experiences for adults and families with children and unique sandy beaches in Boka Bay. Q: What will make Portonovi a destination worth visiting? Montenegro is one of the last places in Southern Europe that retains the beauty that the Venetians left behind at the end of the 18th century. The English poet Lord Byron called Montenegro the most beautiful merging of land and sea, and everything that we do at Portonovi is designed to capture this beauty. Around Portonovi, there are charming cobbled villages, breathtaking national parks and fascinating landmarks, like Our Lady of the Rocks (an artificial island built on top of shipwrecks) and Ostrog Monastery, which is built into a cliff face. There is something for everyone to enjoy. As well as a host of amazing international restaurants, sophisticated bars and luxury boutiques, Portonovi will also be home to Europe’s first One&Only resort and a luxurious Henri Chenot Spa. Neighbouring Portonovi is Herceg Novi. Built along a steep incline, the town was established in 1382 as a fortress, developing into a pulsing marine hub. Its ancient citadels and ramparts still enhance its shoreline

today. Extensive influence from all parts of the Mediterranean has made Herceg Novi a meeting place of various cultures. These were assimilated into its own indigenous culture and infused with the spirit of the local people, which has created a unique cultural identity.

“The 26-hectare Portonovi Resort will comprise of 275 properties, from luxurious, spacious town houses and apartments set in the heart of its Mediterraneanstyle village, stylish villas in its landscaped gardens, to sleek penthouse apartments and sky villas with infinity pools overlooking the marina.” Q: Tell us about the opening of One&Only within the project, and are there any similar hotel brands that will also open there? Talking about Portonovi, it is a huge complex and One&Only is just one, but a valuable part of it. One&Only is an amazing collection of 9 resorts around the world that are sited in exceptional destinations, with always the best locations. It is known for a warm and exceptional service delivered by an incredible team. That Europe’s first One&Only settled in Portonovi, like all other One&Only resorts around the world it will reflect the beauty and the culture of the destination. We believe that together we will provide amazing, authentic experiences for our guests who will create memories that will truly last a lifetime. 11

With 140 rooms and villas, residences, restaurants (run) by award-winning chefs and world-renowned boutiques, the new One&Only resort in Montenegro will be One&Only’s first resort in Europe. Guests will be able to look out from exquisitely appointed balconies to breath-taking vistas across the majestic pool stretching into the Adriatic coastline and immerse themselves in the wellness therapies of Espace Chenot Health Wellness Spa Montenegro and emerge with a new-found sense of health and well-being. Q: What are your expectations from the project? Also, what do you identify as the most disruptive force, or the biggest threats or challenges, to the hospitality industry? Portonovi is already perceived as a new Montenegrin gem. This is a huge responsibility for us, but also an impetus to make it as envisioned and ensure its growth and quality in the long run. We are looking into the opening next year and much more to come after that. Our sales started in July this year, and we have every reason to expect ‎strong sales from the outset. Our ambition is to set new standards not only within Montenegro, but also across the entire Mediterranean. Furthermore, this will make a change and a significant contribution to Montenegro as a country, while putting us and our resort on the world map. Portonovi is a project where we invest, create and develop. As such, it has its own dynamic and changes in order to meet the needs and what we predict will be attractive for people to come and discover, while exploring the beauty of Montenegro. Q: Can you give us a quick overview about Azmont Investment and its expansion in the region? Azmont Investments embarked on its journey in Montenegro in 2012. As a company, we are well known as the investor of Portonovi – a lifestyle destination that we are building on the stunning shores of Montenegro’s Boka Bay. For us, however, being in Montenegro means much more – we are here to support and contribute to

Exclusive interview

“With 140 rooms and villas, residences, restaurants (run) by award-winning chefs and world-renowned boutiques, the new One&Only resort in Montenegro will be One&Only’s first resort in Europe.� the community as a responsible corporate citizen as well. In the long run, our intention is to be here throughout growing Portonovi Resort and other business we might think about. Not that long ago, we also initiated and supported an establishment of the International Hospitality and Management Studies at the Faculty of Culture and Tourism of the University of Donja Gorica. This also represents a new chapter for highend tourism in Montenegro and for this reason Azmont Investments created a special scholarship programme in order to support young professionals who want to develop in the field of hospitality. All this is done with the aim of creat-

ing human resources as a most valuable asset, but also of becoming competitive on the European and global markets. For now, Portonovi is our main project and we do look for additional opportunities to invest even more in the future, not only in Montenegro, but in other countries as well. Q: How do you keep your project unique and what are the special services that Portonovi will offer to attract tourists and yacht owners? As already mentioned above, Portonovi is a mixed-use kind of a resort. Our Portonovi is built around an entirely new, state-of-the-art mega-yacht Marina. It is created in such a way that it will offer the highest level of services accompanied by very attractive pricing. The best quality infrastructure will guarantee that Portonovi is a safe and secure place for all of the yachts and their owners. The total capacity of Portonovi marina is around 240 berths. The majority of berths are those reserved for the middle segment, ranging from 12m to 30m, but there is also a significant number of berths reserved for mega-yachts. Therefore, we have the possibility to offer a premiere summer berth for yachts that are more than 100m in length. Our intention is to become the safe haven and home port for all yachts. Our prime goal will be the delivery of the best possible service to a select group of boat owners gathered here in the Portonovi Marina.


About Portonovi Resort:

Portonovi is developed by Azmont Investments, a Montenegro-based company whose corporate parent is Azerbaijan Global Investments (AGI), a consortium of three leading Azerbaijani Investment Holding companies. Together with their respective partners they aim to create a world-class Portonovi resort. Among those partners are: Impressa Pizzarotti, an Italianbased contractor as the main contractor on their project; Kerzner International Holdings Limited, which through its subsidiaries is a leading international developer and operator of destination resorts, casinos and luxury hotels, and has entered into an agreement with Azmont Investments to develop and operate the Europe’s first One&Only. Also, they cooperate closely with Henri Chenot, Harrods Interiors, Winch Design and many others.Portonovi is the new 650 million, 26-hectare luxury development and is set to make Montenegro the next hot destination for the discerning global traveller and property investor. The opening will be carried out in several phases, starting in 2017 and with a further roll out aiming to have everything completed by 2020.


GR Briefing

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Every event in the acoustically renovated hall Kocka will sound even more fantastic! All together GR comprises 20 multifunctional halls that occupy a surface area of 12,323 m² and Kocka Hall with 2456 m² is its largest space. In January and February, GR technical team intensively worked on improving the acoustic of Kocka Hall, to meet the demands of concert events with accompanied TV recordings. The sound parameter is very important in the acoustics of halls for music and other kind of events, such as using the hall as TV studio for advertising and other commercial purposes, fiction etc. The modern architecture with cultural heritage topped with great technical solutions, will provide GR even better chances for best events that need quality sound system - concerts, congresses, conferences, plenary sessions, etc.

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GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre has with a variety of slogans, such as “365 days of events”, “In the midst of happening” and “Everything possible”, deserved the highest position as the venue provider for various events in Slovenia. In 2016, GR organized and hosted 18 exhibitions, 8 international congresses, 10 large concerts, numerous corporate and gala events, national conferences and much more. Their slogan 365 days of events continues in 2017, as the number of confirmed events by this time of the year already exceeds the number of last year events.


jubljana Exhi b it

The 24th Slovenian Motor Car Show is after 16 years coming back to GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre This year, the GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre proudly announced that the biggest car industry fair in Slovenia is coming back to GR after 16 years and back to Slovenia after 10 years. The 24th Slovenian Motor Car Show will attract more than 80,000 visitors and present the best of automobile industry at 12,000 m² GR halls plus 3 additional assembly halls 6,000 m² from 27th March to 2nd April 2017. This will be a new challenge for the GR team and 2017 will certainly be marked by glamor recent trends in automotive. Photo credit: Archive GR


Contact our amazing event team: +386 1 386 308 1198,

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Exclusive interview

AFTER 16 YEARS SLOVENIA'S BIGGEST CAR INDUSTRY FAIR IS COMING BACK TO LJUBLJANA Iztok Bricl, MSc Director GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre Interview by Nina Praprotnik / Photo credit Archive GR, Milan Simčič

As the leading convention centre in Slovenia, GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre events are visited by 400,000 people every year. It is internationally recognized as a contemporary, mid-sized convention centre with a tradition stretching back more than 60 years. After 16 years in Ljubljana and 10 years in Slovenia the centre was this year proud to announce that the 24th Slovenian Motor Car Show, the biggest car industry fair in Slovenia, was making its way back to the GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. From 27th March to 2nd April 2017 the event is expected to attract between 80,000 and 100,000 visitors and present the best of the automobile industry over 12,000 m2 across all the halls, as well as three additional assembly halls, of GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. Q: What does hosting the 24th Slovenian Motor Car Show mean for GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre? Car sales in Slovenia have been growing for the last two years, which is great for the Slovenian economy. The number 24 of this show, meaning the continuity of these events, is also significant. In our country, motor car shows are traditional. The GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention centre has been recording such international events from 1957 onwards, so from just a few years after its establishment. As the organisers, we are confident that people want to see new cars and that we have to prepare interesting presentations for them and show them the innovations at the Ljubljana Motor Car Show immediately after the Motor Show in Geneva. Raising the recognition of exhibitors and presenting new models and sales promotion are, of course, some of the key missions of the fair activities. The Motor Car Show Slovenia is no exception. However, we have also fully dedicated our forces into the show content and the implementation of attractive accompanying programme activities.  Q: The Company Celjski sejem was also competing for the organisation of this event - what turned it in your favour?

In the Section for Passenger Motor Vehicles of the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce they were unanimous that the motor car show must be held in Ljubljana, at GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre, where it is going to be

“As the organisers, we are confident that people want to see new cars and that we have to prepare interesting presentations for them and show them the innovations at the Ljubljana Motor Car Show immediately after the Motor Show in Geneva.” accessible to the largest possible audience. The show will be carried out immediately after the Home Fair, so additional exhibition space will be available in three assembly halls that have been updated for this occasion. Compared to some other locations, such as Geneva, Frankfurt, Belgrade, Zagreb, etc., we can see that this sort of fair event is being held in the major economic centres or capitals, where the flow of people is significantly higher than elsewhere. Q: What precisely is behind the organisation of Slovenia’s biggest automobile industry event? First and foremost, to bring almost every major automobile brand to the show and basically to ensure that at the GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre a glittering parade of recent trends continues, and that the event will be heralded and repeated again in two years’ time. It is simultaneously necessary to satisfy the modern customer – in the sense of why he or


she needs the show and what he or she expects of it. We believe that the purchase of a car still drives the need for a direct, physical and even sensual contact with the product. And yet when buying a car amidst a flood of offers, more and more questions come to surface, such as “how to choose the right one”, “what kind of drive most meets the personal needs of the potential buyer”, “what kind of funding is available”, “what size is car is best”, “which is the appropriate safety equipment” and so on. Q: Which brands have already confirmed their participation at the Motor Car Show in Ljubljana? The Motor Car Show will present the brands that are members of the Section for Passenger Motor Vehicles of the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and also some other brands. Visitors will therefore see all the latest innovation from Alfa Romeo, Audi, Citroen DS Automobiles, Dacia, Ford, Hyundai, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Mini, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot, Porsche, Renault, Seat, Skoda, Smart, Suzuki, Toyota, Volvo and VW (Volkswagen). Within the other exhibitors’ offer there will also be on display the BMW and Tesla electric car models, as well as the prestigious brand Lamborghini,

“Unlike the motor car shows in Zagreb or Belgrade, the Ljubljana motor car show is not a sales type show, its main mission is educational. We orientate towards the customers and their dilemmas.”

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American Fisker Automotive and number of others. In the motorcycle section Piaggio, Aprilia and Moto Guzzi will be presented. Q: Last year Zagreb (Zagrebački velesajam) hosted the Auto Salon for the first time since 2008. What can you tell us about the revival of these events in this part of Europe? Unlike the motor car shows in Zagreb or Belgrade, the Ljubljana motor car show is not a sales type show; its main mission is educational. We orientate towards the customer and their dilemmas. I would also like to mention that on the first day, the Motor Car show will be closed to the public until 3 p.m. and will focus on a business audience and the media, followed by press conferences at the brands’ exhibition spaces. That is to say, there is the chance to be informed first hand, compare the offer and report about the advantages of individual brands. We want to ensure the event is reported on as much as possible and that its educational professional note reaches the greatest number of people. With the exception of the first day, the fair will be open to the public from the 28th to 30th March, from 9AM to 8PM, and from Friday to Sunday (from 31st March to 2nd April it will close an hour later, at 9PM).

“The Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and the Section for Passenger Motor Vehicles were unanimous that the motor car show is held this spring at GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre, where it is going to be accessible to the largest possible audience.” Q: What will the 24th Motor Car Show in Ljubljana present to its visitors? First of all, visitors will get an overview of the latest automotive offers at the exhibitors’ stands. They will also get a guide through the most common issues regarding the purchase and use of cars, which will be offered to visitors in the dedicated Technological Pavilion, which we


are preparing together with the Automobility RTV SLO (Slovenian Public Television) media partner. In the Technological Pavilion visitors, will get an insight into the latest technological development policies in the automotive world, where with the help of independent experts they can become acquainted with modern safety systems, determine which type of fuel best suits their needs, what are traps of different types of financing when buying a car, and what to become most familiar with and attentive about when buying a car, and other such issues. We are confident that, with this kind of additional offer, visitors and exhibitors alike will be brought together even more closely, as the buyers will be able to know precisely what they are looking for and the vendors who will be offering them the most appropriate features will be able to sell easier later in the process.

Anja Project Manager: Panic is not her middle name. Not at work and not at crime books that she loves.

Tina Head of Department: Mother of three. Yes, three. Tidiness, organisation, discipline, overview and energy. At work and at home.

GR-LJUBLJANA Exhibition and Convention Centre

Mojca Project Manager: Smile, action, smile. At events and at the tennis court‌ always a challenge never an obstacle.

Ana Sales Manager: Always on the run. Always smiling. Between international trade shows and kindergarten. Plane or bike‌ catch her if you can.

Amela Project Manager: Architecture, design. Planing events and their concepts in the empty hall. With pleasure, good will and creative solutions.

Miha Project Manager: Man of tactics and strategy. Using them thoroughly at work and while playing games.

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CONVENTA CROSSOVER Conference will again look into the future of MICE and tourism marketing. It is the first event, dedicated to marketing in tourism and will focus on the areas of content, social, digital and experience marketing. Participants will have an amazing opportunity to hear about latest digital trends and successful stories in tourism and meet some of the best experts in the area of marketing and tourism.


THE CONFERENCE IS INTENDED FOR Event organizers, providers of congress services, congress venues, all in the Alpe Adria region, who are closely related to working in marketing and tourism or are interested in working in this field. CREATIVE AND FRESH CONFERENCE FORMAT The “out of the box� conference will ensure a deepened personal engagement, a more authentic experience and live interaction with speaker by offering different programme formats.

28. - 29. August 2017 Hotel Lev, Ljubljana






Q: How do you prepare a successful bid? It isn’t just graphical design that matters. We need, not only to have all possible support for the city and the state authorities, but also from the scientific community. This is very important and it is something that makes the difference and increases the chance to win. We are daily in competition with all other European congress destination and in the entire world. Therefore, we also need to concentrate on lobbying among all involved parties. Q: Who should be involved in the preparation of a successful bid? To prepare a successful bid is not a one-manshow. We must always create a team of all involved: Sales manager, client, city, venue, AV supplier, caterer, social media specialist, scientific programme specialist and many others. With more people in the team, we increase our chances to win. Q: What is the role of a PCO agency in the bidding process? The role of PCO is crucial. What we like to tell our clients is: please concentrate on the scientific programme and its added values for the participants, we will take care of all aspects related to the organization of the event. Clients are not always very experienced in organizational part Petr Brincil is Director of sales at Guarant International with direct Sales, operations management, sales management, marketing strategy and people development skills and experiences. Guarant International is the leading provider of congress and conference services in Slovakia, Czech Republic and Central Europe. He has gained extensive experience in the preparation and organization of large and small, national and international congresses, conferences, seminars and other similar events. Annually organizes from 60 to 80 events. PERSONAL Q: What always makes you smile? Success and progress of people in my team. 22

of the events and therefore our role is to guarantee the success, regardless the specifics of the event. Not all events are alike, on contrary – every single event is very special case and very specific. Q: Who should cover financial investments in the bidding process? My believe is that in general the PCO shall cover the costs related to the bidding process. Of course, support from the state authorities in form of grants for bidding is necessary. The role of local DMO and a functional national convention bureau is irreplaceable, in co-financing as well as in networking and the patronage … Q: Latest stories of success? Successful bid for organization of the Eurorox 2017, 53rd Congress of European Societies of Toxicology (1,200 participants) to be held in Bratislava this September. It was a bidding process that took almost 4 years and costed 20,000 EUR in total. The expectation of the client and the international society was extremely high. Thanks to unusual involvement of client, very professional lobbying, very high quality of bidding materials, the attractiveness of city as a congress destination and team spirit within the company, we have succeeded to beat much larger congress destinations.



Nina Praprotnik / Photo credits Edinburgh Convention Bureau

Q: How do you prepare a successful bid? • Research into the association or organisation and prepare relevant content to meet their goals and objectives. • Make sure to answer the questions on the brief and tailor the bid to suit the organisation, and exclude any irrelevant information. • Outline clearly the values and benefits of using your destination. • Include a professional yet personal tone. • Make sure it is visually attractive and grammatically correct. • Think outside the box! • Highlight what differentiates you from the competition. Elaine Miller manages the successful and award winning Edinburgh Ambassador Programme for academic and business professionals who are experts in their industry sector and, with the support provided by Convention Edinburgh, are willing to lead on a bid to host their association conference in Edinburgh and promote the city as a leading conference destination. PERSONAL Q: What always makes you smile? As a keen walker, it has to be a fantastic Scottish vista at the top of a mountain or hill.

Q: Who should be involved in the preparation of a successful bid? It is important to have a city-wide approach which is coordinated by the DMO. Q: What is the role of a PCO agency in the bidding process? It is useful to have PCO involved in pre-bid as they can help, for example, with budget details and guidance on sponsorship.


Q: Who should cover financial investments in the bidding process? Some cities have access to funds and if they can support the conference bid financially it is an advantage. Those who don’t have access to funds provide investment in time and effort as well as collateral for the bids. Q: Latest stories of success? The sixth International Symposium on Paediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease 2021 (PIBD2021) which is expected to attract 800 delegates, generating over £1.3million over the fourday event for the city. And the Eurocities 2018 which is expecting 500 delegates and generating £610K in economic impact for Edinburgh.



Nina Praprotnik / Photo credits Glasgow Convention Bureau

Q: How do you prepare a successful bid? Every bid is individual and requires a strategy that aligns with the vision and mission of the society. In Glasgow, we have an experienced team at both the Convention Bureau and SEC conference center to offer advice and guidance to our clients when preparing a successful bid. Q: Who should be involved in the preparation of a successful bid? This is the million dollar question! Every bid is different and this is where the guidelines from the association headquarters is very important as the guide to ensure the bid is led by the most appropriate person, institution or national member society. The role of a city Convention Bureau should be to support all the partners in preparing the bid.

Aileen Crawford has worked in the meetings industry for 20 years. Initially in venue sales for Glasgow Museums, then in a variety of roles within the Conventions team at the Tourist Board, Glasgow City Marketing Bureau and in 2011 she took over the position as Head of Conventions at Glasgow Convention Bureau (GCMB), following 5 years as Deputy. The team focus on association research, conference sales, the Glasgow Conference Ambassador Programme, accommodation booking and client support to position Glasgow as one of the best cities in the world to host a meeting. In 2016 GCMB was voted ‘Best UK Convention Bureau’ for a record breaking 10 years by readers of Meetings & Incentive Travel and were winners of the ABPCO Chairmen’s Award for their work on conference legacy and impact.

Q: What is the role of a PCO agency in the bidding process? The PCO can be a super support and key partner in a bid, should the client ask for the local hosts to nominate a PCO. It is important to be clear with the headquarters of the association when bidding whether they have their own in-house PCO, or whether the local hosts are expected to work with their own PCO. This will avoid duplication or confusion. Q: Who should cover financial investments in the bidding process? In Glasgow we believe that clients coming to our city are our guests and we work with our city partners to be able to host accommodation and all the hospitality. If an association is interested in your destination it is usually the case that those coming on a site visit pay for their own flights but all ‘on site’ costs are hosted by the city, congress center and city partners.

PERSONAL Q: What always makes you smile? When clients come to Glasgow for the first time and are impressed by the welcome, the architecture, the beautiful countryside and the way the city all works together for their benefit. When our clients smile, it makes me smile! 24

Q: Latest stories of success? The Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science has chosen Glasgow as the location of its first conference to be held in Scotland. The event, which will be held at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) from 7th to 10th July 2021, is expected to attract 3,000 delegates and contribute an estimated £4.8 million to the city’s economy. As part of the city’s award winning Conference Ambassador Programme, Professor Craig Mahoney - the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West of Scotland - led the ECSS bid alongside the university’s School of Science and Sport. It was supported by Visit Scotland’s National Conference Bid Fund and secured through close collaboration between the University, Glasgow’s Conventions team, the SEC, Visit Scotland and Visit Britain. The conference will follow on from a number of major sporting events programmed to take place in the city, including the inaugural European Championships which will be co-hosted with Berlin next year, the European Indoor Athletics Championships in 2019 and the UEFA Euro 2020 football championships.



Nina Praprotnik / Photo credits Istanbul Convention Bureau

Q: How do you prepare a successful bid? By collaborating with the local affiliates and bringing all the industry stakeholders while bidding for an important and large congresses. Addressing and deeply understanding what is required in the RFP, rather than preparing a standard bid document is crucial point. Q: Who should be involved in the preparation of a successful bid? Airline partner, local authorities like municipality, ministries, governorship, scientific committees, meeting industry stakeholders like PCOs & DMCs, Convention & Accommodation Venues should all be included in the preparation of successful and exclusive bid.

Hicran Özbük graduated in Geophysical Engineering from Istanbul University and took her masters’ degree both in Contemporary Management Techniques from Marmara University and European Integration from the Middle East Technical University (METU). She started her work life in 1995 and has been working in different sectors in management positions such as textile-fashion, pharmaceutical, logistics and tourism. She has also worked abroad in places such as New York and Tashkent.

Q: What is the role of a PCO agency in the bidding process? PCOs play a significant role in the bidding process, especially in supporting the bid with the other stakeholders. As we are a non-profit

PERSONAL Q: What always makes you smile? Questions like this of course and winning a bid for Istanbul is guaranteed to get a smile out of me. Seeing happy people, especially couples in love, makes me happy. I always smile at them on the street. Cat videos make me smile too. Actually, I can always find a reason to smile.


organization, we can also see their vital role as preparing the budget and other financial arrangements. We are confident with all our member PCOs as they are all well experienced. Q: Who should cover financial investments in the bidding process? There should be a minimum percentage of the costs that the related association need to recover in case of any negative result. If the bidding process ends with a successful story, local committee and public authorities must share the costs. Q: Latest stories of success? Recently, we have won the bid for CICE – International Conference on FRP Composites in Civil Engineering 2020 by collaborating with Istanbul Technical University headed by Prof. Alper Ilki. And World Marketing Summit will be held in Istanbul in 2017 & onwards thanks to efforts spent by ICVB and local representatives.



Q: How do you prepare a successful bid? The key to a successful bid is to understand the needs of the Association. It’s not just about finding the right venue and the right accommodation, it’s showing the client how the city can add value to their event, through its expertise, its connections and the support it can provide. London & Partners works with hundreds of companies, venues and hotels across the city in order to guarantee that every client will find what they are looking for. London is also a world-leading centre for technology, finance, life sciences and the creative industries, and can facilitate links with local experts. Q: Who should be involved in the preparation of a successful bid? A collaboration between the Convention Bureau Team, venues and local ambassadors across the city, brings together knowledge and expertise, which can be combined to create a compelling bid for the city. Q: What is the role of a PCO agency in the bidding process? The role of the PCO is dependent on the bid criteria. In some instances, usually where budgetary planning and scientific content is required, the PCO works in collaboration with the city Suzanne Singleton took over as Head of Associations at London & Partners in September 2016. Her background is in the hotel hospitality sector and she was formerly part of the MICE sales team at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge and The Grove, home of the 2016 British Masters golf. London & Partners is the official promotional company for London, the official London Convention Bureau. In recent years, London has risen from 19th to 5th place in the ICCA rankings, having attracted big medical congresses. PERSONAL Q: What always makes you smile? Looking out of the window from our office and seeing the wonderful Tower Bridge. It’s a constant reminder of how lucky we are to promote such an extraordinary city. 26

and local society to bid for the conference. In other cases, the PCO is appointed after the bid has taken place and the city has been awarded. Q: Who should cover financial investments in the bidding process? London does not, as a rule, offer financial support for congresses, however London & Partners does invest resources to help unlock the city, working in collaboration with venues, businesses and stakeholders to produce the bid. We also offer city support where needed and help deliver activations, and value added services, such as negotiating delegate rates for activities outside the congress. If financial investment is required, we are happy to make connections between relevant partners and gather local sponsors in support of the congress. Q: Latest stories of success? London recently won the bid to bring the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) back to England for the first time since 1975, after IPA initially approached London & Partners in 2013. With support from the QEII Centre, London secured the 51st congress, which will take place in July 2019, bringing more than 2,000 international delegates to the city.



Nina Praprotnik / Photo credits Prague Convention Bureau

Q: How do you prepare a successful bid? To put together a successful bid is a lot about communication and cooperation among various parties. Since 2010, the Prague Convention Bureau runs so called Ambassador Program with aim to educate potential congress ambassadors (local representatives of international associations) about the benefits of cooperation with the CVB and a PCO, in terms of putting together a competitive bid. Q: Who should be involved in the preparation of a successful bid? In ideal case, this should be the cooperation of the local scientific community representatives, which is a must for at least 80 % of international association congresses, together with the local CVB as a guarantor representing the destination and the stakeholders representing commercial sector like a congress venue, hoteliers and possibly also a PCO, if the client is willing to involve the PCO from the beginning.

Roman Muška studied at College of management skills and business development in Prague, he started his career in MICE segment in 1996 working as Project Manager for the Austrian based company AHR (Agentur für Hotels und Reisen). Afterwards, he moved to the finances and administration with the new established branch of AIMS International in Prague. In 2004 he returned back to the project management, working for congress department at AIMS International where he got to the position of the Head of Congress Department. After the fusion of companies AIMS International and AIM Group which was finished in 2011, besides the Congress Department he was responsible also for Prague overall office as the Country Manager. In 2013, he became a member of the PCB Board of Directors.

Q: What is the role of a PCO agency in the bidding process? The role of a PCO in the bidding process differs case by case. As mentioned, some clients are not open to cooperate with PCOs at the stage of

PERSONAL Q: What always makes you smile? Very often, my colleagues in the office, but always Daisy - our company dog 27

the candidacy, and involve the PCO only when the congress is already confirmed for the destination. At our educational seminars, we try to encourage the “congress ambassadors” to use the PCO services from the early beginning, as involving all the stakeholders could only be beneficial for a strong bid. Q: Who should cover financial investments in the bidding process? This really depends on the project specification and stakeholders involved. Q: Latest stories of success? It is not the latest story of a successful bid, but a very good example of cooperation of various stakeholders from the public and private sector with aim to put together a strong candidacy. There is probably no better example than the upcoming ICCA Congress 2017, which Prague will host in November 12-15th. The initiative of the local ICCA members has been supported not only by other industry stakeholders, the government, and the City of Prague, but also other countries from the CEE region. The personal participation of the Mayor of Prague at the bid presentation also played an important role.



Nina Praprotnik / Photo credits Salzburg Convention Bureau

Q: How do you prepare a successful bid? First of all, we identify the requirements of the congress so that we can clearly meet their goals. We contact the national society and find out what level of expertise is represented in our country. When creating the bidding document, we make sure that it includes all relevant information, required from the association. The most important thing is that we act in a partnership way with the association. Q: Who should be involved in the preparation of a successful bid? This depends on the bidding process, but should consist of our local partners such as conference venues, hotels, locations and maybe DMCs, but the main contact person for the association should be the CVB. With certain bids, it is also required to involve the national society and we try to ensure that we also act in their aim.

Elisabeth Pfoess started her career in tourism first and finished her master studies in “Innovation and Management in Tourism”, after several studying and working experience in Hong Kong and London, where she started her career in the Meetings Industry. She works at the Salzburg Convention Bureau for 2 years now and is proud to support associations with their bidding process and inviting them to host their event in beautiful city of Salzburg. PERSONAL Q: What always makes you smile? That every new bidding process is different and it is impressive how much you can learn personally about different research fields. Whenever we welcome association executives to a site visit in Salzburg, it is great to see them smile when they walk through the old town and immediately feel welcomed. 28

Q: What is the role of a PCO agency in the bidding process? Depending on the association, a PCO can have different roles - ranging from assisting the association in the selection process as well as acting as an AMC and attending the site inspection together with the society representative. Q: Who should cover financial investments in the bidding process? We, as a CVB are covering the costs for the site inspection, as well our experienced team which is overlooking and organizing the creation of the bid. Q: Latest stories of success? Recently we won the bid to host the GNC Conference 2017 in Salzburg. Together with our partners and the support of the CVB we could convince the organizers (ESA) during the bidding and site inspection process, to choose Salzburg as their next destination.



Nina Praprotnik / Photo credits Serbia Convention Bureau

Igor Kovačević, successfully combining academic and business careers, has been part of the Serbia journey from “no destination” to the leader in the region and TOP 50 in the world. In the last 10 years, he has been mainly focusing on working closely with international associations. Igor holds an MA degree and is currently working on his PhD thesis. During his lectures as teaching assistant at the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade, in the field of Tourism and Hospitality, he is doing his best in presenting the latest applicable knowledge to his students. He has been successfully managing over 80 bids for international congresses.

Q: How do you prepare a successful bid? Research, details and positive attitude are focal points. Crucial is to understand the congress and the client. No two bids are the same. Respect the competition. Learn from previous lost bids. Go beyond the economic effects. Know your destination. It takes time.

Q: Who should cover financial investments in the bidding process? CVB (75 %), PCO (10 %), LOC (5 %), local industry (10 %). Depending on the situation, CVB should request stronger industry support, while the % covered by LOC should be downed to the minimum.

Q: Who should be involved in the preparation of a successful bid? CVB leads the process and coordinates venues, hotels and PCOs. All gathered needs to be customized according the Q1. CVB with LOC coordinates various supporting institutions. For destination with no CVBs, I see venues/hotels leading the process.

Q: Latest stories of success? In 2016, we have submitted 40 bids for international association event. We won 18, lost 2, 20 are still in process. Currently the biggest bids we are working is APIMONDIA for 2021. Over 9,000 Serbian beekeepers are eager to welcome the same number of colleagues from around the world. From the medical field, it is absolute professional pleasure to work on SICOT, EANS and EANM. ISWA World Congress 2016 took place in Novi Sad with 1,500 participants, we won the bid 5 years ago, and scored maximum points in relation to competitors in UK and Netherlands, only because we completely followed Q1.

Q: What is the role of a PCO agency in the bidding process? Budgeting for the congress, explanations how certain organization aspects will work. To explain their added value to the congress. Local PCO needs to know their limits and that local congress is not the same as international congress.

PERSONAL Q: What always makes you smile? Business wise: pushing a standard and rising the bars. Academic wise: making theory practical, and giving practice theoretic framework. Life wise: enjoying the sunny walks along the Danube river with my loving one. 29



Nina Praprotnik / Photo credits Vienna Convention Bureau

Q: How do you prepare a successful bid? The key is to carefully analyze the RFP. And very often a direct contact with the association is necessary to find out the answers to open questions which you discover when reading the RFP. The most important thing then is to follow exactly the guidelines in the RFP how the bid should be structured and what should be included and also what should not be included. Q: Who should be involved in the preparation of a successful bid? There is a trend on the market that associations ask the local Convention Bureau to prepare the bid. Key elements are that you have a 1st option date in a venue, a proper offer, including very often also the catering services, but also the requested number of hotel rooms should be blocked and guarantied with the bid proposed to the association. Q: What is the role of a PCO agency in the bidding process?

Christian Mutschlechner is Director of the Vienna Convention Bureau, established in 1969. He has more than 30 years of experiences in the meeting industry, first as a PCO then with the Vienna CB. He is living and experiencing a lot of dramatic changes, adapting the strategy of the Vienna CB to upcoming new technologies and to the changing market place. Excellent congress infrastructure, high standard of conference support services and the cultural attractions of the city, make Vienna one of the top destinations for international conferences worldwide. PERSONAL Q: What always makes you smile? When a bid was won! 30

It depends, very often the PCO comes in after the bid has been won as there are more PCO’s around to handle the business. Sometimes it is also the CORE PCO taking over the winning bid or being already in one way or another involved in the bidding process. Q: Who should cover financial investments in the bidding process? Bids very often need working hours and technical resources and we see it as the role of the Convention Bureau to run the bid and cover the costs related to it. In case there is no Convention Bureau then unfortunately the venue has to take the lead or a local PCO. Q: Latest stories of success? We were winning the congress of the European Society of Pediatric Endocrinology, 3,000 participants – and surprisingly there was no other candidate city. Something which never happened before to us.



Text by Gorazd Čad Photo credits Kongres Archive


like to divide my career into 5 year cuts, which are usually marked by a big congress project. For me a millenial transition was marked by the organisation of Apimondia congress in 2003. It represented the crown of my work in Cankarjev Dom, where I learned the trade and sharpened my congress industry knife. When the grand opening of the 38th international beekeeping congress Apimondia was taking place in the Gallus Hall in Cankarjev Dom I knew that we have made it. The congress brought more than 1.100 scientist and experts in apiculture to Ljubljana. We were astonished by the turnout and interest in beekeeping tourim and most of all the response to the slogan "Beekeeping as a way of life", which was a timeless statement for a more respectful attitude towards nature. This kind of aproach is now encompassed best by the words green and sustainable tourism. Looking back, the congress was a success because of three key factors:


Immense energy from the former president of the Beekeeping Association of Slovenia Lojze Peterle, who knew how to connect the experts, economy and politics into a well working organisational comitee. By my side was Franc Šivic, who had mastered the ways of the international beekeeping community and the late dr. Janez Poklukar. Janez was a renowned expert in apiculture, a researcher and a passionate beekeeper at heart, who went all out to make this event a sucess. From todays perspective a trio like that was unstoppable.


Apimondia was looking for a location, which would allow a connection point for the biggest beekeeping myriad in Europe. At that time Slovenia was geostrategically a great option, which was later on confirmed by excelent attendance and financial result of the congress.


The entire congress team of proffessionals at Cankarjev Dom was behind the project. In those days it was a "dream team" of the Slovenian congress industry, which connected the very best in the field of finances, congress

logistics and project management. Without a team like that, a wide aray of different knowledge and attention to detail the project would never have been carried out on such a high quality level. Today I got a call from one of my colleagues from the former "dream team", who let me know that the Beekeeping Association together with Celje Showground are candidating for the Apimondia World Congress in 2021. The main competition is the Russian Ufa, which has been extensively promoting the destination with its campaign. The recipient of the congress will be known at the 45th Apimondia in September of this year in Istanbul. Both bids can be viewed on the following links: I was excited about the bid, as every effort of this sort needs to be supported. Creating a congress bid is a very challenging job, which connects experts in marketing, communication, lobbying and finance. On this occasion I wanted to give some of my own tips, which convinced the international beekeeping community to trust their congress to Slovenia. 1. Understanding the terms and conditions of a bid An organisation like Apimondia has congress bid's worked out inside out. In the roman secretariat this field is handled by one of the legendary Janonni brothers, who understands the global congress industry and knows its trends. At that time our bid managed to fulfill all of the conditions Apimondia had listed. Going through rules and creating plans on how to meet them is a process which includes exchange of knowledge and good practice cases from the previous successful candidates. 2. Potential of growth and influence Apiculture is an industry with strong export routes with China, Argentina, Mexico, Turkey and strong production inside Europe in countries like Germany, France, Spain, Greece, Italy and countires of Eastern Europe. Apimondia


represents the interests of all the members, but is also influenced by the interest of the strongest countires in the industry. When our bid was filed the potential of growth and long term effects of the congress were very important. The 2003 congress allowed Apimondia to access markets in Eastern Europe and the Balkans representing an ultimate win-win situation. 3. Benefits vs features Our bid had very clearly pointed out the benefits of the congress for the beekeepers, science and Apimondia in general. From my experience this point is where many candidates fail, as they all start listing the technical details of their destination from important achievements of the local industry to square meters of exhibiton space and the number of beekeepers in their country. What matters most is listing the things that participants and the association will actually benefit from. Things like business potential, gaining new knowledge, participating at excursions, socialising with colleagues, learning about new technology etc. 4. Financial pre-calculation Conservative financial precalculation was the key for our projects success. Our strict policy and control of expenses was also appreciated by Apimondia, as it was a waranty for a well carried out event. Some turning factors were also good references at Cankarjev Dom and membership in the IAPCO and ICCA associations. Seka Per, who ran all the finances had lots of experience in projects of this size and with her attention to detail we managed to close the project with a big profit. 5. Differentiation from the competetion Every bid should differ from its competetion in an innovative way. The mastermind behind our story "Beekeeping as a way of life" was the cosmopolitan Franc Štivic, who well understood the true meaning of beekeeping for the human race. Our sustainable paradigm was the thing that departed us from the competetion and amazed the world beekeeping scene. Mr Šivic backed up his statement with true stories and topmost photography, which was the icing on top of his creative congress cake.


6. Logistics and capacity Apimondia congress falls among the bigger congresses today and not every destination can handle the large number of participants and accompanying exhibitions. After Ljubljana the congress was hosted by large cities and capitals like Dublin, Melbourne, Montpellier, Buenos Aires, Kiev, Dajjeon and this year Istanbul. At the time Ljubljana represented the perfect ratio between congress centre size, airline connectivity, hotel accomodation and additional offer in the city, which is always a high priority on Apimondia's list.

all the members of the Executive Board at Apimondia really played an imortant role and many of them became very fond of Slovenia. Philip McCabe from Ireland is one of the people I still meet on the congress scene across the world.

7. Local tourist industry support The local tourist industry is usually merged into a convention bureau, which makes a congress bid much easier. Tourism Ljubljana played a key role in preparing the project and also helped in all of the previous congresses from Durban to Vancouver. Excelent branding of Ljubljana also helped the cause.

During our bid, conditions in Europe played to our advantage. We were driven by a feel for community and comradeship, which is hard to find these days. Our team's wish for Slovenia and its beekeeping scene to win recognition on the global market was stronger than one individual. Our enthusiasm and determination couldn't be paid with just money.

8. X-faktor: Networking and lobbying The fact that the project was run by ex president of the Slovenian government Lojze Peterle opened many doors. I can't imagine how the project would have went if it wasn't for his help in the field of networking and lobbying. He also took the burden of promotion in previous events. He knew how to aproach, convince and impress his beekeeping colleagues. From todays perspective this was also one of the key factor to our success.

If the applicants of the Slovenian bid for 2021 have positive answers and solutions to all the points written above I am without a shadow of doubt that they will succeed. I wish them all the best in Istanbul and hope that Apimondia returns to Slovenia once more.

Experience has shown that a shoe too small is hard to stretch and when we have a big desire for an event we put on ones that are too big. Cases like that are not hard to find in Slovenia. The most typical being the bid for the Universiada Championship in Maribor.

9. Professional team at Cankarjev Dom The excelent team at Cankarjev Dom has years of experience in congress events and handled the project with great professionalism. They connected experts in the field of marketing, finance and strategical organisation of events. There was a direct cooperation with Tourism Ljubljana who helped create a first class story. 10. Apimondia politics Dr. Janez Poklukar and Franc Ĺ ivic both had great relationships with the managment of Apimondia, especially the secretary Riccardo Jannoni. We invited him to Slovenia on numerous occasions and showed him our strenghts. Personal touch and a positive attitude towards 33


Lake Bled and Grand Hotel Toplice hosted the 6th Bled Winter Swimming Cup Bled, one of the most famous Slovenian tourist and congress destination, was named as the “Best Sport Tourism town” for 2017 by the distinguished Global Sport Tourism Award. One of the first sport events in Bled this year was the Bled Winter Swimming Cup in February 2017, welcoming lovers of winter swimming from all around the world at the lake shore private lido of the most renowned Grand Hotel Toplice*****, amazing location on the shore of lake Bled. The event was just for the bold and courage’s - average February temperature Bled is -0,2°C and average water temperature only 5°C. This was the first of many sport events at Bled, which is delivering an integrated sport tourism town destination approach.

Team building events at Grand Hotel Primus, Ptuj Grand Hotel Primus, one of Sava Hotels & Resorts MICE venue, is known for organizing many corporative events and two of their latest were the Hyundai Serbia team building and Slovenian business centre Pegasus team event called “Grinding axes”. GH Primus and Ptuj region offers amazing scenery and amazing possibilities to discover the nature, culinary offer and hospitality of local people. Known for organizing meetings with character, the whole programme and Ptuj as the location proved to be the top choice for all the needs and wishes of participants.

Take care of your health also at business events in Radenci Radenci Health Resort emphasizes that business always needs a balance and that is why the series of their programmes to improve and maintain the health of MICE events participants emphasize healthy mind in a healthy body. The speciality of their team successfully integrating with diverse health and wellness programme in business events is just ideal. They magically combine their experienced congress and spa activities with their health programmes and use the most of their advantages of famous Radenska mineral water. A healthy mind in a healthy body is the motto of their events and when you go on a business event in Radenci, you return home with a bag of health! Photo: Nea Culpa,


Case Study


Photo credits Slovenian Tourist Board


uring the 34th World Congress of Sports Medicine (FIMS 2016) held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on September 2016, Slovenia successfully won a bid for the European Congress of Sports Medicine, (EFSMA 2019) to be held in Portorož, Slovenia. The upcoming congress will strongly contribute to the international profile of Slovenia and is, at the same time, a great recognition of the Slovenian sports medicine profession. 

The whole bidding process was very complex. A “behind-the-scenes” look unveils the important role of the Slovenian Convention Bureau, which provided the whole support free of charge to the Slovenian Institute for Medicine and Sport.

 The bidding went through the following phases:


Analysis of Bidding Procedure In the first phase, the Slovenian Convention Bureau went through the research of key criteria and the procedure of decision-making. It also acquired information from the PCO that organised the previous congress.


Evaluation of Project Delivery In the second phase, two PCOs, both certified members of the Slovenian Convention Bureau, were included in the process. They prepared a financial evaluation of the project and based on the positive financial estimation the process was officially begun.


Business Network in Support of the Bid Based on the demands of the association, the Slovenian Convention Bureau provided the complete professional support of their members. After a sudden change of congress venue, Slovenian Convention Bureau promptly provided the partner network an alternative location.


Preparation of the Bid The chosen PCO prepared a bid in cooperation with the Slovenian Institute of Medicine and Sport. The bid was presented at the World Congress of Sports Medicine in Ljubljana.

7 8

Marketing Support for the Bid Preparation of promotional material and cooperation at the bid presentation.

Analysis of the bid Slovenian Convention Bureau prepares an analysis of each bidding party, which is also the foundation for the next round of successful bidding. Special attention is given to the competitive destination activities and the knowledge acquired is implemented into future bidding.


Selection of a PCO The Slovenian Convention Bureau carried out a tender for an official PCO, which was chosen based on the decision of the Slovenian Institute of Medicine and Sport with the support of EFSMA Executive Board.


Strategic plan The Slovenian Convention Bureau collaborated in the phase of competitive destinations analysis and provided significant information from the results. Based on the information gathered, a strategic plan of congress preparation was drafted.


For a successful bid, there are various contributing factors: a suitable destination, the trust of the professional association, the strategy of the convention bureau, the support of local members, a great balance of cost and quality, the attractiveness of the destination, etc. We believe that in this case the professional and systematic approach of the Slovenian Convention Bureau was one of the key contributors. 

In the realm of bidding, the Slovenian Convention Bureau provides complete solutions in cooperation with their partners. Each client is treated individually with special attention given to individual details.

The Slovenian Convention Bureau is the independent and confidential counsellor of the professional association, which represents the whole Slovenian meetings industry. For any further information on congress bidding support, please get in touch with: Ms. Azra BOTONJIĆ Head of Marketing E: T: +386 (0)1 569 1260

How to

Creative venue design:

THE ICC KATOWICE WINNING ARCHITECTURE by Jems Architects Jerzy Szczepanik Dzikowski & Jacek Mroczkowski Interview by Nina praprotnik / Photo credits Jems Architects

About ICC Katowice: International Congress Centre Katowice Design: 2009-2011 Construction: 2012-2015 Architect: JEMS, Poland Client: The City of Katowice Total area: 37,902m2 Basic functions of ICC Katowice: Multifunctional hall - 8,000m2, up to 12,000 people. Banquet hall - 1,200m2, up to 1,000 people. Auditorium - 600m2, 600 seats. Conference rooms - 18 rooms, 1,650m2 total, up to 1,200 people.


How to

Q: In your opinion, what worked in your favour in winning the commission to design ICC Katowice? The ICC is located in the immediate vicinity of Spodek, an entertainment arena dating back to the 1960s, reminiscent in shape of a UFO. The structure has a powerful spatial impact and it has rightly become an icon and symbol of Katowice. Hence our unequivocal design decision: stand back, build in the background, create a natural context, build “geologically”, using landform “bumps”. What commanded our attention was an architectural relationship between the green, soft, natural valley impressed in the geometrical, hard and angular massing of the building, and a corresponding impression of the main foyer – soft and natural – in the structure of functions arranged around it as if it were a spine. Q: From an architectural point of view what is the main speciality of the ICC Katowice project? What seems to be the most prominent feature is the green valley stretching over the ICC roof, which symbolically represents the old route from Katowice to Bogucice, the oldest settlement in the area. The valley has become a public place with a vantage point frequented by hundreds of visitors every day. The essence of the project exists, as it were, outside architecture – in the public life that unfolds in parallel to the operation of the ICC.  But what we find most important and characteristic, from the architec-

tural point of view, is the discipline of form and material, the uniformity that provides a setting for events. Q: What were the project’s main challenges and obstacles? Budget, as usual. For the competition design – the size of the board into which we had to fit a plan to the required scale. Really. But, seriously speaking, the urban context, the neighbourhood of Spodek, the functional requirements to be made, location on a former mine site, foundation issues – all these added up, as is the case with any design project, into a complex set that required a comprehensive approach. Architecture is a holistic discipline.   Q: How important is the design of such an institution as a convention centre? Design concept work seems to be of prime importance to the functioning of the facility, apart from other obvious benefits, such as easy access or delivery. How to measure a user’s positive mood arising from the fact that they simply feel good in the environment? How to test how many users remember the facility and want to come back to it with their own event? It seems that in addition to the functional offering, the ICC provides users with a range of added values: clarity of the functional structure, but also surprising spatial arrangements where intimate, even cosy, pockets and recesses are embedded in large-scale, large-sized indoor areas, in addition to integration with the “green valley”.  


Q: What is the role of creative design and how can it help in city revitalization? Creation is not the only, and perhaps not even the most important, condition for successful revitalization. Revitalization requires a variety of investment measures, stimulation of human activity, and social actions. It requires smart, longterm planning, and money. Good and creative design may enhance it, while poor design may ruin it. In the case of Katowice, it was decided to develop what came to be called Culture Axis, which comprises the existing Spodek arena, the Silesian Museum, the premises of the Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra, and the ICC. Importantly, the designs for those facilities (including Spodek) have all been selected through architectural competitions. The axis is not completed – a further action programme is needed for life to flourish there for good. Q: For ICC Katowice you have also received an award for Poland’s best architectural development - how important is this for you? We have received many awards for the ICC building. It’s a great pleasure to be appreciated. But the best award for any architect is the public acceptance of their work. This is why we have the most fun looking at the tours flocking in, youth groups, pairs of lovers – thousands of people who mark their presence there by taking selfies or carving their names or words of affection in a bench.

How to

creative event design:

URBAN OPERA “DÉCROCHER LA LUNE VI” by Luc Petit Creation Interview by Nika pirnar / Photo credits Luc Petit Creation

URBAN OPERA: “DÉCROCHER LA LUNE” La Louvière is an industrial city in Belgium. Three decades ago it was one of the country’s most successful places because of its coalmines. After years of prosperity, however, the mines began to close down, but the city wanted to find a way to move forward and make the people happy to keep living there. The authorities therefore decided to contact one of the best-known show directors in the world, Franco Dragone, to make a popular free show for all of the townsfolk. He jumped at the project and with the valuable assistance of Luc Petit, who is now responsible for the artistic direction, created an urban opera called “Décrocher la Lune”. Importantly, the idea here was to include citizens in the show whilst not making it a one-off event. Every three years, a “Décrocher la Lune” takes place in the town centre of La Louvière. Many of the townsfolk take part in a lot of different workshops and meet professional artists. And finally, during a night in September, the city becomes the most joyful place on earth. In terms of stats, this event is particularly huge: 35,000 spectators and many thousands more of television viewers, 200 technicians, 650 volunteers, 8 workshops, a one kilometre stage and the full mobilization of citizens.


How to

Every three years, the challenges are bigger and the people are there to take them up. Each “Décrocher la Lune” succeeds his gamble: making a show with people, for people and helping them to have a better image of their own city.

Luc PETIT, Artistic Director, Show Creator & President of the executive board at Luc Petit CREATION Q: To refresh our readers’ memory and enlighten those who mightn’t yet know of you, what does the Luc Petit Creation agency do? The Luc Petit CREATION group is able to offer its clients both the design and the implementation of tailor-made shows and events, such as creations of general public or company shows, product launches, inaugurations, parades, heritage-oriented and street operas, fashion shows… Thanks to a truly cinematographic approach, each piece of entertainment that it designs is an original creation intended to leave the public with a strong image, illustrating the values or themes that are dear to the client’s heart. Having a platform of exceptional acts and performers, Luc Petit CREATION produces events that are presented all over the world. Q: In your opinion what is the best creative event brought together by your agency? For us, the best event that we made is “Décrocher la Lune VI” in 2015 and for which we received 4 awards at the EUBEA Festival 2016. After years, this show remains and becomes a key element in the cultural landscape of the region. Each edition moves forward in the creation process, but also in citizen mobilizations.

wants to have visuals, inspiration mood boards, 3-D renderings to understand clearly what they really want... The most important thing for us is to always keep humans central to the process, because it’s one of the few factors that can make the difference. Nothing can replace a clown in an audience, for example. So, in a world full of new technologies and multimedia communications, bringing the human to shows still remains our mission - people need to be surprised, and that’s the main goal of our job.

Q: From a creative point of view what was the real specialty of the event? It’s a 3-year creation process that includes all of the citizens, professional artists and crew... Over three years a great Mixing professionals piece of social work has Q: You have received and citizens gives birth been made with all of numerous awards for its associated life. This creativity and your to strong links between edition was also espeoriginality - how imcially taking care of the portant is this for you people and draws European feeling, with and do you have a basic memories - people know a direct collaboration recipe for success? with seven foreign cities In 2015 and 2016, we what they have made that had made giant were awarded a lot (4 puppets for acting in the awards at the EUBEA and they are proud of show. All of those citi2016, 1 award at the BEA what they create. zens have been coached festival 2016, 8 awards and helped in their tasks at the EUBEA 2015…). by professional artists. I don’t think there is a recipe for success; people see a lot of new things Q: What were the project’s major challenges thanks to YouTube, Facebook, the Internet… and obstacles? The client continues to ask for unseen perforAs everybody may already know the main crux mances, WOW effects… The challenges remain of that matter is always the budget, but in the bigger and for us, as a creative company, the Décrocher la Lune show this budget becomes main goal is to carry straight on with surprisa real challenge for everybody who’s jumping ing people and bringing emotion. Every day, we into the project and those types of limits can work hard to make life a better show to see. become a new impulse in the creation process. The challenge is also to match citizens, profes- Q: In your opinion what is the best event of sional artists and crewmembers to make 800 all time? costumes in a couple of weeks and ultimately For me, the best event I have seen remains delight 35,000 people. The challenge in this “The Wall” by Roger Waters. The design of this project remains huge, but gives hope. concert, but also the video clip, the music and, above all, the message, have changed my percepQ: How important is the design of each event tion and bring me the will to surprise people and and how do we measure a good event design? give them emotions. The stage was so huge, the What are the key criteria for this? effects so unbelievable at that time. Yet just one Nowadays, the design of an event is a key guy, Roger Waters, remained alone on the stage to element in the creative process. Every client bring people to another dimension. What a talent!


Meeting Star Winners 2016

MOTIVATIONAL FACTORS ARE IMPORTANT FOR CAREER SUCCESS AND PERSONAL HAPPINESS GEORG UNTERKIRCHER, GENERAL MANAGER Falkensteiner Punta Skala Resort Interview by Nika pirnar / Photo credits Falkensteiner Punta Skala Resort Georg gathered work experience in different positions and departments across F&B, Rooms Division and Sales & Marketing in Italy (South Tyrol and Sardegna), Spain (Mallorca), Czech Republic (Prague) and Austria (Tyrol, Carinthia, Vienna) before moving up to F&B Manager and later Resident Manager, then becoming Assistant General Manager of 2 Hotels in Vienna with his first pre-opening experience. Since 2008 he has been General Manager of Punta Skala Resort with the properties Hotel & Spa Iadera***** (opened 2011), Family Hotel Diadora****S (opened 2009), Senia Residences****(*) (opened 2010) with Premium Living Services and Apartments Petrcane**** (opened 2013), a grand total of 781 units with approximately 500 employees during the summer months. In 2013, Georg was also made Interim General Manager for Schlosshotel Velden***** on Woerther Lake. Q: What does it take to be a meetings star winner? Certainly great operations and a great sales team, and knowledge in banquets, meetings and events as well as proactive staff who are always on the lookout for new meeting opportunities. Good infrastructure helps as well, but I would also say that team effort and enthusiasm in making a client’s meeting great is essential. Q: What are your biggest challenges? For the meeting industry the biggest challenge in Punta Skala is connectivity in the shoulder months. As you know, Zadar is connected with different charter flights and low cost flights from April to October, and in the off-season our only connection is via Zagreb. This makes international meetings hard to get.

Q: How do you use social media? Luckily, we have an extremely motivated and enthusiastic social media team in Punta Skala and we get all the support from our corporate office when it comes to new tools and trends. We believe that with the use of social media we are able to communicate our product and services in real time to our guests. In addition, social media is providing many opportunities for communication with users in video or other formats. This is very valuable for us when we are promoting events like Falkensteiner Punta Skala Triathlon. Q: How do you best motivate your staff? We give the utmost attention in Punta Skala to team spirit and developing opportunities for our employees to grow. Our company has its own Falkensteiner Academy with a selection of programmes aimed at developing and strengthening skills in all areas: front desk, sales, food and beverages, SPA... One of the core values in Falkensteiner is ‘Family’, and in Punta Skala we try to live up to that value by providing an environment in which our people feel respected, safe and valuable. I personally believe that intrinsic motivational factors are far more important for career success and personal happiness. Q: Which other hotels do you admire? It is of upmost importance to have clear positioning and to work continuously on product development in order to create the “WOW” effect on a regular basis for our customers, and this can be independent of the location, concept or star rating of any relevant property. I would therefore not reference any specific hotel, although I am always observing those hotels where I can see that they never go into a comfort zone, but are always thinking what they can do in order to get better in the sense of operational excellence and high customer satisfaction, also by “thinking out of the box” and moving towards new and creative techniques. Just being “normal” is no longer enough and at the end of the day the financial figures also have to bring a satisfactory ROI. Last but not least, without satisfied employees it will be hard to satisfy our clients, so it is already (and will be even more so in future) of the upmost importance to keep yourself also attractive as an employment company. Therefore, I admire those hotels/ properties who can combine those few requirements the best.


Meeting Star Winners 2016

HOTEL WITH THE MOST STUNNING VIEWS DENISE KUNISCH, DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING Falkensteiner Schlosshotel Velden Interview by Nika pirnar / Photo credits Falkensteiner Schlosshotel Velden

Q: What does it take to be a meetings star winner? Schlosshotel Velden is the ideal setting for celebrations and meetings, with its luxurious, modern, and perfectly equipped rooms, complemented by a panoramic terrace with spectacular views over the lake. We offer an appealing meeting area covering 800m² and including one boardroom (dividable), one chairman's room as well as a ballroom (also dividable). In addition to that, natural light, free WiFi, air conditioning, a lectern and stateof-the-art conference equipment is also available. Moreover, our cuisine offers international and national culinary delights, with the stylish Seespitz restaurant on the shore of the lake, the exclusive gourmet Schlossstern restaurant and the cosy Bartholomäus restaurant offering magnificent views over Lake Woerth. In addition, our service team seeks to fulfil all of our guests’ expectations. Furthermore, we provide 104 rooms and suites in ten different categories, blending historical ambiance with the modernity of the 21st Century. After an intense meeting day, our Acquapura Spa is the ideal place to relax and forget the stresses of the daily demands.

Denise started her career in 2005, when she started out at a travel agency (L´Tur Tourismus AG). She then moved on to for the Hotel Group, where she and started to work as Banquet Coordinator at NH Wien Airport, later she worked as Telesales Executive, Sales Manager and last but not least as Global Account Handler, remaining with them for seven years. Since May 2015 she has been employed at Falkensteiner Schlosshotel Velden, where she subsequently took up the position of Director of Sales and Marketing in March 2016.

Q: What are your biggest challenges? Probably the biggest challenge is to attract people in the winter season, as even at that time of the year Velden is a beautiful destination and the Falkensteiner Schlosshotel Velden is also offering a wide programme during the off-season in order to address our customers e.g. Yoga Retreats and classes, Fascia Workshops, the 3,600m² wellness area as well as our restaurants that are as varied as the taste of its guests.

Q: How do you best motivate your staff? Falkensteiner offers its staff various possibilities to broaden their horizons at a personal and professional level in the form of the Falkensteiner Academy. Moreover, the possibilty of being promoted within the company is offered. And furthermore, Falkensteiner offers special staff conditions in terms of room rates covering all of the Falkensteiner hotels and residences.
Besides all of these benefits, we motivate our staff with the most beautiful office and its stunning views!

Q: How do you use social media? To attract as many potential guests as possible, we are trying to boost our social media activities through various actions e.g. Schlosshotel Velden having its own Facebook page and the entire Falkensteiner group having a separate Facebook page as well as an Instagram, Google+, Twitter and YouTube channel communicating offers and news of all the hotels.


Q: Which other hotels do you admire? Nowadays the luxury hotel industry segment is a demanding business and guest expectations constantly increase, therefore each hotel has its own challenges to deal with. It is tough to highlight one in particular, as all of them are outrageous in their own specific way for offering quality at the very highest level.

Meeting Star Winners 2016

ENCOURAGING INITIATIVE AND INDEPENDENCE, APPRECIATING PROACTIVITY AND FLEXIBILITY IZTOK BRICL, MSc, DIRECTOR Gospodarsko razstavišče - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre Interview by Nika pirnar / Photo credits GR Iztok Bricl, MSc (ISCED 6) started working in MICE in 2010 when he was appointed Director of the GR – Ljubljana Convention and Exhibition Centre. Prior to that, he excelled in his work at the most senior positions where he demonstrated excellent managerial and organisational skills in the Slovenian food industry. As the director of a leading event centre in Slovenia, for a second term, he has been successfully leading the company with its 28 employees. Among his greatest achievements are the modernisation of infrastructure of the centre and the introduction of new fair events, in particular the development of congress activities. Q: What does it take to be a meetings star winner? Once more, thank you very much for the award. The GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre is the event centre with the most varied events in Slovenia. About 400,000 people visit us each year. In the role of the organiser we stand out mainly in the exhibition area, but we also host diverse cultural and entertainment events, for example the Kurzschluss, this year’s EMA and some other events of RTV Slovenia, as well as about 150 assorted business meetings, international conferences and other kinds of event. With a longstanding tradition of trade fairs in our organisation and we have become renowned, mainly as an exhibition venue, over the sixty years since being established. Last year we registered almost thirty trade fairs and we have noticed that recently the interest for trade shows has been increasing, in both the number of exhibitors and the quantity of visitors.We have also been developing the congress segment more and more intensively and thoroughly. Here we are also making external connections – with Ljubljana Tourism and the Slovenian Convention Bureau – for better recognition in international competition. Just last year we hosted eight bigger international congresses, half of them in the medicine field. Among this year's congresses, the following are worth highlighting: EUROSON 2017, 29th Congress of the European Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, the 16th World Congress in Fetal Medicine, and The Eurocities Annual General Meeting 2017. Q: What are your biggest challenges? At the moment, the biggest challenge for us is the revival of the 24th Slovenian Motor Show Slovenia, which is coming back to Slovenia after ten years away, and to the capital Ljubljana after a hiatus of sixteen years. The show is going to be held from the 27th March to the 2nd April, jointly organised by the Slovenian Automobile Dealers section of the Slovenian Chamber

of Commerce and GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. The 24th Motor Show Slovenia will be opened just after our biggest exhibition, the Home Fair, hence additional exhibiting areas are going to be available in the prefabricated halls. We are planning to present the latest car industry trends over 12,000m2 of exhibition space and at this show we are expecting anything from 80,000 to 100,000 visitors. Cars sales in Slovenia have been on the rise for the last two years, which is great for our economy. We, the organisers, agree that people want to see new cars and we must prepare an interesting exhibition for them, showing them the latest cars coming on the market here, in Ljubljana, just after the show in Geneva. For the visitors, together with the exhibitors and partners, we are preparing an interesting accompanying programme. In cooperation with media partner Automobility RTV Slovenia, we will introduce some original extra show content: the technical pavilion, thematically guided tours of individual exhibition halls, and expert discussions on various areas of the motor industry and mobility. On the first day, the show is intended for the business public and media, the rest of the time being for the general public. We are planning for this, the biggest exhibition show of the motor industry in Slovenia, to happen every two years. We are also planning important strategic changes in organising congresses that we are already going to start implementing this spring. Q: How do you use social media? We are active on Facebook – we have developed a home page as well as individual sites for the Natour-Health Fair, Vino Ljubljana, Ambient Ljubljana, Natour Alpe-Adria and the Home Fair. With accurate publishing, promotional campaigns and quick response in connecting with partners of our events we are achieving very good results. In regards to the promotion of congress organising, we work with Toleranca Marketing agency, Ljubljana Tourism and the Slovenian Convention Bureau. Q: How do you best motivate your staff? We invest in the company's good organisation, the management, in where the responsibilities and competencies of employees are clear and consistent, and for all of this transparent communication is important. We hold weekly board meetings and if necessary I also participate in online meetings of teams or external partners. I encourage initiative and independence, and I appreciate proactivity and flexibility. I find personal communication with employees important, as well as when we meet in an informal occasion. Therefore, twice a year we organise teambuilding events, which are an opportunity for business growth, good mutual relations and for relaxation. Q: Which other hotels do you admire? 
We usually admire the centres that are bigger and better than our own. It is true, the halls of GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre are multifunctional and flexible, but just look at The Swiss Tech Convention Centre – EPFEL, with its breath-taking technology...exceptional! You can just imagine that the personal contact with different target groups is also as 42 perfect. Good stories are still created by people.

Meeting Star Winners 2016

AMBITIOUS GOALS ARE THE MOST MOTIVATING ONES IZABELA HELBIN, KRAKOW FESTIVAL OFFICE DIRECTOR ICE Krakow Interview by Nika pirnar / Photo credits ICE Krakow Q: What does it take to be a meetings star winner? First of all, I am proud, but also surprised - positively surprised, of course, since as far as I know, no venue in history had received the Meetings Star Award two years in a row! This is something out of ordinary...and we managed to do it! This is why I am proud – my team has been keeping the operations of the venue at the highest level for at least two years now, and I would like to remind you that ICE Kraków officially opened in October 2014. The award for our venue, as well as for Kraków, means that we are a significant player on the market. We have a complete infrastructure, technical facilities, professional companies, excellent access with a developing airport, and we are relatively cheap as well. Poland is a safe location, sought after by our potential clients. This is why we are also developing a unique initiative bringing together representatives of restaurants, hotels, transportation services, contractors, Krakow Convention Bureau and other venues in our city. The KRAKÓW NETWORK project aims at creating a true network for collaboration, as well as exchange of business contacts and experience. Thanks to the project, we can shape the market and set the direction of its development. Being a star of the meetings industry is also a pure and unadulterated joy. I learned about the award from my team, who just rushed into my office and brought me the news. I regret that nobody recorded my initial reaction! Q: What are your biggest challenges? I have always said that our operations should be innovative and our events safe for their participants. The market is very competitive, with many multi-functional venues opening in Poland – they can potentially become our competitors, which is why we keep following the market and constantly innovating. There are many perfect locations in the world, but somehow we manage to attract more and more prestigious events to Krakow. This year we will be organising the UNESCO meeting and next year we will also organise the annual meeting of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network together with Katowice. There are clients who appreciate our venue, our team and our city – and they want to come back. Our goal is to maintain the highest level in Poland. We are the leaders of the domestic market, I am quite sure of it, and in Krakow we make up a kind of a meeting industry ecosystem – this was also the big idea of our new spot – ICE Kraków is an ecosystem, and we invite everyone to join in. However, we are not resting on our laurels and, as of now, we will start implementing our new sales strategy, and the communication strategy implemented since mid-2016 is already bringing some significant results. So, the biggest challenge? Maintaining the leading position in 2017-2020! It is an ambitious goal, sure – but such goals are the most motivating ones! Q: How do you use social media? I certainly do not want to brag, but I can say that we have mastered the art of using Social Media. We have already received several distinctions and awards for our SM activities. Even before opening, we knew that we had to show everyone how to do it well. The meetings industry in Poland missed the boom 43 for social media, but today I can see other venues in Poland following our example – live broadcasts from events on Facebook,

A graduate of the Krakow University of Economics (Administration and Marketing programme, majoring in Business Administration), Izabela also studied Journalism and Media Communication at the Institute of Journalism, Media and Social Communication of the Jagiellonian University, as well as European Studies at the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow. A cultural manager, producer, co-producer and coordinator of many international cultural and TV projects, she is a jury member of the prestigious EFFIE Awards competition, holds a seat on the Expert Council THINKTANK and lectures at the Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University. Since January 1, 2011, she has also been the Director of the Krakow Festival Office.

educational materials, Twitter (something we are focusing on right now) and...Instagram! This is the cherry on top; we are the first venue in the world with a sales folder on Instagram. @icekrakowFOLDER is a marketing masterpiece, a sales tool for our team (as we know the whole world is moving towards mobile), but also a way for us to extend the contact of our guests with ICE Kraków (over 250,000 guests visited the venue in 2016 during 180 events) – there are photographs, films, technical details and descriptions, with everything provided in two languages. This is something unique in the meetings industry. Q: How do you best motivate your staff? The Krakow Festival Office, operator of the venue, is a large team. We are responsible for carrying out some of the largest cultural events in Krakow (Krakow Film Music Festival, Sacrum Profanum, Misteria Paschalia, Opera Rara and many others). We are also in charge of the Krakow Film Commission and the official network of city information points – InfoKraków. Therefore, our motivation system needs to work on many levels, since the activities of ICE Kraków are tied in with other activities of the Office. Because of that, I have the opportunity to motivate our employees not only financially, but also at an emotional level. Apart from that...ICE Kraków is like a family. We are a cutting-edge venue focused on organising cultural and business events, but... we simply like each other! Maintaining a great atmosphere is also one of the most crucial elements in motivating our people. Q: Which other hotels do you admire? As I mentioned earlier, we carefully observe and follow the market. SwissTech CC in Lausanne is very impressive, but we did not have an opportunity to compete yet. For many years, we have been admiring HARPA Reykjavik and treating them as a benchmark – despite their “difficult” location on the European map they are doing great! We have also been observing the Parc des Expositions of the Porte de Versailles with growing interest – the concept blew our minds and showed us where the industry is heading. However, I am also well aware that many venues – in Poland and abroad – treat ICE Kraków as their benchmark. This is great news, but also a great responsibility. We just know we have to do everything we can to remain on top. New markets are awaiting, and we are ready for them.

Meeting Star Winners 2016

TRANSLATING THE LOCATION INTO A BENEFIT ALENA SPISIAKOVA, DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING Kempinski Hotels - Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras Interview by Nika pirnar / Photo credits GH Kempinski High Tatras

Alena Spisiakova took over as Director of Sales and Marketing at Kempinski Hotels, Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tratas, in July 2015. Her background is in the marketing, PR and E-commerce sectors and she was formerly part of the team at Tatry Mountain Resorts. Founded in Germany in 1897, Kempinski Hotels has long reflected the finest traditions of European hospitality. Today, as ever, Kempinski is synonymous with distinctive luxury. Q: What does it take to be a meetings star winner? Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras considers it a great honour to be the meetings star winner. Our everyday task is to exceed our clients' expectations that are naturally growing with every stay and over time. At the same time, we are striving to remain the market leader with an innovative approach. Our beautiful location in the High Tatras national park has destined us for incentives and team-building sessions, but also high-level state visits due to our service and reputation. There is always some more you can do for the clients and event organisers, and we aim to make the life and work of all the event colleagues that little bit more easy, not only by giving them the support with event organisation and the reassurance of quality, but also with straightforward communication and extra benefits to relax while on the property. Q: What are your biggest challenges? As a destination High Tatras is still a mystery for international companies. Even Slovakia as a country often gets confused with Slovenia. The biggest challenge therefore remains destination marketing and transport possibilities. On the other hand, there is a demand for new destinations and especially for destinations considered to be "safe". Here our challenge turns into an opportunity and we are already seeing new markets discovering our location. Our task is also to translate the location into a benefit. We are living in a fast-paced world, but to take meetings out of the rush of the city may actually greatly benefit the purpose of the event. Relationships get strengthened when the teams and participants are taken away from their everyday environment and clear their minds in the fresh mountain air.

Q: How do you use social media? Social media is a powerful tool nowadays, but has to be managed with care. Each channel has to be approached with a different strategy and looked at in terms of how users are consuming it. Through imagery we can broadcast the picturesque surroundings of our hotel and develop a desire to experience its beauty, as such experiences are highly valued, especially by the younger generation. Therefore Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram all have their worth. For example, through LinkedIn you can target professionals more, although the audience is smaller. In Slovakia still not every option for advertising and targeting are available, and we do have some guidelines set from the Kempinski corporate office even for social media, so daily monitoring is the key for interaction with guests. Q: How do you best motivate your staff? Our hotel was also awarded the Best Employer in the hospitality industry in Slovakia for the second year in a row. We are very proud to have employees still within our team who started with us when the hotel was opened in 2009. At the same time it is great to see many successful stories where colleagues have moved up and across different departments. This is one of the advantages with our hotel and Kempinski - the learning path. Specialised training is developed by the corporate office and some is designed for the property. Kempinski offers the opportunity to transfer to different hotels in the portfolio, but also to travel at special rates. Internally we like to celebrate our successes and positive feedback from our clients. We organise staff parties and this strengthens the team spirit. We believe in leading by example, straightforward communication, an entrepreneurial approach, being people oriented and creating traditions together. Q: Which other hotels do you admire? Great examples of best practice can be found in most hotels. It is important to find and implement the right ones for your property. We like to share success stories within the Kempinski hotels and learn from our colleagues. We do like to look at properties like St. Moritz or Hotel Adlon that share a long history of European luxury and that became legends over time.


Meeting Star Winners 2016

GOOD TEAM IS THE KEY FOR SUCCESS ROMAN MUŠKA, MANAGING DIRECTOR Prague Convention Bureau Interview by Nika pirnar / Photo credits Prague Convention Bureau

Q: What does it take to be a meetings star winner? The expert jury evaluates various criteria, so it is especially about the collaboration of various local bodies that work together to create the most suitable infrastructure for meeting organisers, for example the excellent development of Prague Airport in the last years that has helped our destination a lot. It is long-term job and I am proud that Prague has also been among the finalists in the past, which proves that we are going in a good direction. Q: What are your biggest challenges? Prague is well known as a wonderful and historic city with a very well preserved historic city centre, but this fact alone would not be enough for meeting organisers who are considering bringing their meetings to our city. It is sometimes challenging to come up with updates in our destination with regards to new openings of hotels and venues, but I am happy that Prague is also developing in this respect and we will be able to publish some interesting news in upcoming months. Q: How do you use social media? We are currently using several social channels to address different groups of people with different topics that are interesting or important for them. For us the key thing is not only to share our updates, news from our members or Prague news, but also to start the discussion, join the conversation and help meeting planners find the right information or promote events in Prague. For example, last year we launched a social media competition for ICCA members (#BridgetoPrague) with the aim of promoting the next ICCA Congress in Prague, and it is still live. Q: How do you best motivate your staff? I think that the most important thing is that people like what they are doing. My goal is to create a good working environment for my team, especially considering the fact that you very often spend more time in the office with your colleagues than with your family. It is also about having fun within the team. My view is that a good team is the key for success! Q: Which other hotels do you admire? Certainly, I do admire all the members’ hotels of the Prague Convention Bureau.


Roman Muška has been the Managing Director of the Prague Convention Bureau since January 1, 2016. Working in the MICE field since 1996, he has gained extensive experience in tourism and has taken on the role of Managing Director with the objective of meeting the PCB long-term strategic plans, such as attracting a larger number of international meetings in Prague, building a positive image of Prague as an attractive convention destination abroad and, last but not least, raising the awareness of the congress industry and its economic and non-economic impacts in the Czech Republic.

Meeting Star Winners 2016

MY AIM IS TO LEAD BY EXAMPLE – TO SHOW DEDICATION, PASSION, AND A POSITIVE, CAN-DO ATTITUDE EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR SAŠA ZOR, DIRECTOR OF SALES - MEETINGS, CONGRESSES, EVENTS Sava Hotels Interview by Nika pirnar / Photo credits Sava Hotels Saša Zor is an expert in the field of hotel management, congress tourism and sales, with years of experience in both domestic and foreign markets. She was appointed as a member of a supervisory board of the Slovenian Convention Bureau and to the Association of Slovenian hoteliers. Furthermore, she is an active member of management clubs and mentors students of postgraduate programmes. She is employed at Sava Tourism d.d., the largest tourism company in Slovenia, as Director of Sales with responsibility for meetings, congresses, and events. Q: What does it take to be a meetings star winner? To receive a meetings star award is another confirmation that our efforts are in the right direction. Although Sava Turizem gets the majority of its MICE business in its properties in Bled, we are extremely proud that our thermal spa hotels in the northeastern part of the country are also boosting recognition and delivering high performance. It is much harder to establish MICE infrastructure and offerings in destinations with a purely leisure focus than in the most renowned and developed Slovenian locations such as Ljubljana, Bled and Portorož, which is why these awards are even sweeter for us. We were able to connect local partners in Ptuj and Prekmurje with the aim of creating integral destination products and incentives that enrich our hotel offer. Clients who decide to host their events in thermal spa resorts do not search for conventional formats; they are open to our suggestions on how the surrounding countryside, cultural heritage and environmental specifics can work for them with the goal of attracting a large number of satisfied delegates to their event. It took some time, but now we are proud to offer such a wide spectrum of choices on how a single event can turn into an unforgettable story of success. Q: What are your biggest challenges? The Grand Hotel Primus and Livada Prestige are both located in thermal spa destinations and mainly attract leisure guests who come with their families for a holiday or to treat a specific medical condition. Combining different guest structures in a single property is a huge challenge that exists in hotels like this all over the world. With lower recognition, there also comes a lower understanding of the MICE business, which means that a single impulse would require more time to develop into action. On the other hand, such a non-commercialized position always

leads to the most genuine experiences and I can say from the heart that there are no better hosts than those from Prekmurje, where you are treated as a friend rather than a guest. Q: How do you use social media? A presence on social media is not a choice anymore – it has become a must. Besides, it is the least expensive way to interact with acquaintances, colleagues in the field and even business partners if you use it smartly and with caution. Sava Hotels & Resorts as an umbrella brand has a profile on Facebook, Instagram, twitter and LinkedIn. Besides this, we run separate communication for our strong sub-brands – the ones dedicated to specific hotels. We also operate within the brand “Meetings with character” with a focus on the MICE segment, where our followers can keep track of current events, our marketing activities, special offers etc. Q: How do you best motivate your staff? Firstly, my aim is to lead by example – to show dedication, inspiration, passion, professionalism and a positive, can-do attitude every day of the year. I also strive for constant, fluid and sincere communication, not avoiding being personable. Micromanagement is definitely not my style - I trust my team 100% and if a mistake is made, we take responsibility, learn from it and move on. I also find transparency crucial, as it establishes a stronger level of trust. The strongest motivation trigger and creativity booster within our team is a visit to some good practice - be it a hotel or a restaurant, locally or abroad, where we can enjoy each other's company from an educational and networking point of view. Q: Which other hotels do you admire? I basically admire every hotel that succeeds in making a personalised, tailor-made experience, providing its guests with the highest quality service possible. Attention to detail matters most in the hospitality industry, and although it is the infrastructure that makes the first impression, it is a hospitable service that delivers the last. I like hotels with a soul, where you can feel the stories etched behind the walls. To be more specific, I am extremely passionate about world-renowned luxurious hotel brands, especially those focusing on a business clientele. Wherever I go, I seize the chance to inspect the latest trendy hotels or those with a special concept, attracting certain niches, possessing a signature infrastructure or following unconventional communication tactics. In two words, my guarantee for the perfect holiday retreat is always “Four Seasons”, while Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts provides the highest quality standards.


Meeting Star Winners 2016

INNOVATION, FLEXIBILITY AND PERFECTION ARE OF VITAL IMPORTANCE NATAŠA MIHAJLOVIĆ, MICE - SALES Terme Krka, Balnea Hotel, Terme Dolenjske Toplice Interview by Nika pirnar / Photo credits Terme Krka

Q: What does it take to be a meetings star winner? We are very proud of the award. It serves as confirmation of our work and efforts so far in the congress tourism area, but it also provides us with the opportunity for further development. All Terme Krka hotels offer lots of option for seminars, congresses, meetings, courses, events, press conferences and business meetings. Terme Krka is mainly involved in spa and relaxation tourism and these services represent added value in business tourism as well. Our main advantage is that we offer a complete service, approach each client individually and work in a calm and pleasant environment that has a positive effect on the work atmosphere. Q: What are your biggest challenges? Ensuring quality and fulfilling our clients' wishes. Here at Terme Krka, we believe that innovation, flexibility and perfection are of vital importance in every phase of business tourism. Our guests' and clients' expectations are key when we decide what services to offer, which is why we aim to please them as much as we can (we also employ the services of other contractors if needed). However, quality always comes first. When it comes to congress tourism, we will strive to improve our services in the future as well. Our individual approach policy will continue to ensure our guests always come first and we will adapt our wellness and health programmes to our clients' needs. Q: How do you use social media? Social media is a very important tool nowadays if you want to inform and get to know your potential guests, but mostly to keep up and strengthen your relationship with existing partners and to maintain their trust in what you do. Q: How do you best motivate your staff? By being in a good mood, trusting their ideas, work, professional


Nataša Mihajlovič is the expert associate for congress tourism in the department of sales and marketing in Terme Krka. approach and company loyalty, by constantly being optimistic and grateful. Our guests spend an increasing amount of time taking care of themselves and their wellbeing, which is why we complement our business tourism programmes with relaxing services and programmes (massages, baths, vitality and health programmes) in our relax centres, a wide array of sports activities, with a golf course at Otočec (one of the most beautiful golf courses in Slovenia), preventive diagnostic check-ups and amazing cuisine. Q: Which other hotels do you admire? The Relais & Chateaux hotels, one of them being the only river hotel in Slovenia, Grad Otočec. The members of this international chateau and hotel association are all dedicated to their main “five C” motto: Courtoisie (courtesy), Charme (charm), Charactere (character), Calme (calm) and Cuisine (cuisine). The association's goal is to improve their member's situation from a cultural and financial point of view. Their members include unique hotels and restaurants all over the world and they respect the heritage and spirit of each individual member. Every year, the association releases a guide describing each of their members, who are very esteemed and appreciated by connoisseurs.

Hotel Lev Briefing

Modern, Funky and Fresh. Let's meet at Hotel Lev! In renovating Hotel Lev, the first step was to renovate The Karantanija conference hall. By the end of August, when Union Hotels started out with their vision of creating perfect conditions for productive and creative conferences and meetings, this part of the dream finally came true – the new meeting concept was presented last year and it took everyone's breath away.
The second step was for Hotel Lev's so-called public areas to be in line for a complete refurbishment – the lobby bar, the breakfast room and the gym, which are located in the hotel’s mezzanine. Last but not the least, a brand new ‘Wine Corner’ was also created! At Hotel Lev they are ready to take meetings to a higher level with a new meeting concept, inspired by a modern and innovative approach.

The London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed in Ljubljana On 9th of February Grand Hotel Union and Festival Ljubljana hosted one of the most prestigious philharmonic orchestras in the world – the London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. They captivated the audience with a Beethoven programme at the majestic Grand Hotel Union Hall.The concert was presented as a gift to Slovenia on the occasion of celebration of the Slovenian Cultural Holiday and at the same time as an introduction to renowned Festival Ljubljana, which attracts many foreign and domestic visitors to the Ljubljana city centre during the summer months. The majority of Royal Philharmonic Orchestra concerts have been sold out during their 70 years of tradition, and for this latest sell-out event they played Beethoven's programme to the Ljubljana audience under the baton of conductor and violinist Pinchasa Zukerman.

Union Hotels group proposed a toast to a fruitful business year Mixing business with pleasure is how they do it best in Union Hotels – networking and socializing with more than 100 partners in a renovated conference hall to express acknowledgment of all past collaborations and toasting the new ones that lie ahead. Presenting new plans are the business part to which we are always looking forward and there are new investments planned for year 2017: the Grand Hotel Union and the Grand Hotel Union Business will unite as one hotel, followed by the renovation of Hotel Lev with a new lobby and a lounge area. Grand Hotel Union's new chef de cuisine, Mr. Zdravko Perić, and his culinary delights were revealed at the event for the first time, as well as maestro di pasta, Andrea 48 Lippi, who has joined the Hotel Lev cuisine team and its chef de cuisine Uroš Hribernik.



Explore the emerging destinations of Europe over a cup of coffee

THE BOUTIQUE MEETINGS MARKET IS BACK AND THIS TIME IT’S PERSONAL Once you’ve seen what CONVENTA can do for you in two days you’ll never want anything else.


10 years. Explore. Meet. Create. 49

24-25 JANUARY 2018, Ljubljana, Slovenia


GRANADA INDIVIDUAL GRADES 2017 Natural and cultural factors: 


General and transport infrastructure:  4.26 Tourist infrastructure:


Meeting infrastructure:


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Numbeo Quality of Life Index:


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ities packed with buzzing groups of tourists might be considered quite difficult from a congress perspective, having the risk that participants could be absorbed into the hustle and bustle of the city before the last plenary session has delivered its closing remarks. I have to confess to suddenly finding myself in the midst of the heavenly garden at the summer mansion with the name Generalife. The garden was just as the writers of children novels had depicted it to me, and the same as I had imagined it whilst reading the cult novel Alamut. Indeed, the writer Vladimir Barol was supposedly inspired by this very self same ‘Alhambra’. Granada really has been marked by history. Over the centuries the traces of three great cultures have been engraved in the city: Muslim, Catholic and Jewish. The longest era saw the city used as a base for the Moors, and the Arabic temperament still defines the character of the city. It’s hard to find a street that doesn’t have some building with Arabic elements in it – it feels as if you have walked into the heart of the Arabic world. 
In the Middle Ages Granada was famous for its grand bazaar, where merchants from the Islamic and Christian worlds would gather. The bazaars were famous for their silk, which was mostly produced at Granada, and the culture of the bazaar is still palpable in the city and enthuses many congress guests who come to the city for the congress meetings alongside the extraordinary history. With that in mind the city’s historical monuments can also be a special venue for your event reception – there are plenty of special venues, the hard part being to pick just one of them for a reception. ALHAMBRA One of the most beautiful and mighty palaces in Europe, the Alhambra will undoubtedly leave you speechless. Built in the 14th century during the reign of the Moors, the Alhambra is simultaneously palace and fortress, and its majestic architectural play with rock, colour and carved wooden artefact combine to frame a palace of architectural achievement that it is simply not possible to put into words. The Alhambra entrances with its typically Arabic symmetrical patterns on the walls, ceiling and pillars, all of which creates a majestic architectural ensemble. The Alhambra was home, fortress and palace to all of the ministerial officials and Sultans in the time of the Nasrid dynasty. Nowadays it is sieged with hoards of tourists – they sometimes even need to restrict visitor numbers. IBAYZIN Across from the Alhambra can be found the old Moor ‘Kasbah’, or ‘Medina’, with just the narrow River Darro valley separating them. Its beguiling maze of narrow streets and white-painted houses is the main reason that congress guests might be looking forward to escaping the congress centre a bit 51

early... The friendly tapas bars and diverse restaurants in this area are some of the most important elements of experiencing the city and its tradition and the offer here is diverse, reaching all the way to restaurants with Michelin stars. Despite these heady culinary achievements we simply couldn’t get enough of the high quality prosciutto and other meat products that are excellent even in the most hidden-away bistro. In this part of the town there is even a gypsy suburb called El Sacramonte, where gypsies used to live in the underground caves.

 Alongside Granada's rich historical heritage, the city is also known for its Spanish university, University of Granada, which is a highly important institution and with its more than 60,000 students lends a youthful appearance to the city. The first university in the city, which was famous for its wealthy library, was established in 1349 by Nasrid sultan Jusuf I. When the catholic King Fernando and Queen Izabela conquered Granada in 1492, they allowed the university to carry on teaching, a reminder of its long and rich history visible in the La Madraza building that has been entirely restored. Nowadays, the university has 122 departments with more than 5,100 employees, who cover more than 80 different study programmes. The exceptional academic potential of the city is a generator for numerous congresses, so for this reason the foray into the international field of association congresses is not in any way surprising.
 TEMPERAMENT AND FLAMENCO In Granada you simply can’t avoid Flamenco; even a quite gimmicky Flamenco sightseeing tour in the underground caves isn’t a disappointment. The gypsies, who have an amazing sense for music, rhythm and dancing, dominate this part of the city’s scene, not to forget this part of the city’s business too, of course, as it is visited by so many tourists. Flamenco is actually a combination of three elements – singing, dancing and playing instruments. The vocals take care of the melody and storyline, the guitar the rhythm and harmony, with the dance adding the visual element. The dance should symbolize both passion and pain, and in it you can feel the influence of Jewish, Arab, Greek, South American and Gypsy music. Granada is known as a cradle of Flamenco, and with a little bit of luck you will be able to socialize with gypsies until the early hours. This really is an unforgettable experience. CONGRESS VOICE OF THE PEOPLE Granada is one of the medium-sized convention destinations where local Spanish competition is most pronounced. Research from 2008 showed the city to be dominated by regional and local meetings, with the proportion of international events notably smaller. The Palacio de Congresos congress centre, built in 1992 and the heart of the city’s congress hardware, is still very competitive and appreciated by event organisers for its excellent location practically right in the city centre, despite it also being comparatively relatively old. The main hall shaped as an auditorium can accommodate


2,000 event participants, which is also the limit of scientific conventions in the city. In addition to the convention centre, conference facilities are also available at the Fermasa exhibition centre, where the largest hall can accommodate 4,000 participants. Furthermore, multifunctional space is available at Kinepolis Granada, with its 15 halls and exceptional technical equipment. In addition to the above there are many extremely large special venues in the city, and the Carmen De Isabela is one of the city’s most avant-garde venues with a large garden suitable for receptions. Among meeting planners, El Capricho is one of the most popular venues, with a maximum area for 4,000 participants and a wide variety of conference rooms, including the attractive garden. Cortijo Alameda is designed primarily for corporate events and is famous for its excellent cuisine. In the vicinity of the city you can also find many “haciendas”, such as Hacienda Señorío de Nevada, which is surrounded by vineyards and offers wine tastings. There are then so many other palaces, medieval castles and other special venues that we simply don’t have the space to list them all.
 Supporting all of the above, congress facilities are also offered by many hotels, especially those of 4 or 5 stars and


LG'S www.kongres-m

among them all the important Spanish hotel chains, such as Barcelo, Eurostars, NG, Melia and a litany of local hotels with a diverse and complementary offer.
 Another huge benefit of the destination is its sheer number of restaurants, with some data suggesting there are around 1,200 in the city and with many of a size meaning you wouldn’t have any problems organising dinner for groups larger than 100 participants. There are also plenty of catering providers, such as Abades Catering, Alameda Catering, Catering Jam and others, all ready to supply good services for larger groups.
 The list of DMCs, PCOs and teambuilding agencies also doesn’t come up short; in fact, the entire chain of suppliers is well developed and connected within the Granada Convention Bureau. It has been operating since 2014 as a public-private partnership, within which time the city of Granada has managed to connect the entire meetings industry, something that one could also sense during the EMEC 2016 conference, which was held at the beginning of March.
 To completely understand the city of Granada, however, one has to make the effort to understand its famous and popular poet, Federica Garcia Lorca, who lived in the city. His tragic death echoed and marked the bloody period of Spanish history, yet despite the fact that his life ended so suddenly and violently, his glamorous poetry has remained as a precious spiritual legacy of Spain and the whole world. The famous Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias is a poetic masterpiece, the reading of which I recommend to all congress guests who come to this beautiful city. With the poetry of Lorca you will sense the deepest impulses of the Spanish soul. Lorca was excited by the complexity of human nature, passion, the cruel world of Andalusian Gypsies, and all of these themes raise childlike sense of wonder over the city even today.




Meetologue Destination grade: QUALITY MEETING DESTINATION Grades: 5 excellent convention destination 4 quality convention destination 3 recommendable convention destination 2 average convention destination 1 so so


INDIVIDUAL GRADES: A. Natural and cultural factors:  4.76 With its picturesque architecture, culture and hospitality of the locals, the city is a rich combination that leaves an impression of exceptional adventure on its guests. 
 It is complemented by the highest mountain in Spain, the Sierra Nevada and its famous ski resort, and the legendary Costa del Sol, both of which are just a short bus ride away. Add to this a pleasant climate, excellent gastronomy and buzzing nightlife and you will begin to understand why UNESCO put the city on their list way back in 1984. B. General and transport infrastructure: 4.26 Granada is known nowadays as a modern city with well-organised infrastructure. The public transportation works perfectly and the city seems to be the perfect option for the place to live – also going by the locals’ opinion. The only drawback is not the best air accessibility, although to some degree this is compensated by an excellent bus and rail network. To Andalusia’s central airport in Malaga it takes an hour and a half of admittedly comfortable bus ride.

F. Marketing buzz:  4.25 Granada’s tourist brand of is one of the iconic Spanish tourist brands, which is positive for the development of congress tourism, although the dominant communication is aimed at leisure tourists. For the young and positive team of the Convention Bureau, therefore, lots of work is waiting for them in terms of content, digital marketing and social media networks. The competition inside Spain is also extremely tough, so with its positive urban spirit Granada is a new, friendly destination for all congress guests, which is not reflected in the current communication. COMPARISONS WITH THE REGION This might come across as something of an exaggeration, but such a rich combination of natural and historical experiences and contrasts are difficult to find in the otherwise attraction-loaded Spain. Granada is nestled between the largest Spanish ski resort of Sierra Nevada and the nearby Costa del Tropico. This creates an unprecedented combination of experiences that attracts both incentive organisers as well as organisers of professional associations.In our view, the number of events would increase with better airline accessibility - the city has great potential in the fields of science and new technologies that are not yet able to be fully exploited.

C. Tourist infrastructure:  4.78 Tourism is an important industry in Granada that creates many jobs. Over the last few years a lot of tourist and transport infrastructure was built; almost 400 hotels in the city have been adapted to all types of tourists and specifically for the needs of congress guests 108 hotels of a category higher than 3 stars, among them 36% of all hotels in the classic 4-star congress category, are available. The ratio between hotels and meeting facilities is excellent and the high added value of the location is the possibility of entertainment and an exceptional gastronomic offer. D. Meetings infrastructure:  4.63 Meetings industry in Granada represents Granada Convention Bureau, which works under the principle of public-private partnership. The generator of its development is their congress center, complemented by about 4,000 hotel rooms in the vicinity. A whole chain of suppliers is available – from PCOs, DMCs and event agencies. The destination operates as a well-organized totality and is an excellent choice for incentive events and international congresses of medium size. E. Subjective grade:  4.61 It is fair to say that Granada is a very user-friendly convention destination, as the majority of tourist attractions can be visited on foot and the feeling of security in the city is highly rated. The main advantage is the excellent relationship between quality and price, which is complemented by the hospitality of the locals. The personal experience was very positive, despite the relatively complicated accessibility. Photo credit Granada Convention Bureau



WHAT‘S HOT 2017 1. EMEC 2017 / March 2017 The annual European Meetings & Event Conference (EMEC) in one of the main conference centres of Spain, the Palacio de Congresos in Granada. The 3-day conference features relevant education, networking and business exchange for the meeting industry. 2. 2017 Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships / March 2017 The 2017 Sierra Nevada Freestyle Ski and Snowboarding World Championships was held from 7th-19th March with almost two weeks of competitions covering a total of thirteen finals (seven snowboarding and six freestyle ski), including four of them held at night. 3. IWWBIO 2017 / April 2017 5th International Work-Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedical Engineering with a discussion forum for scientists, engineers, educators and students of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research encompassing disciplines of computer science, mathematics, statistics, biology, bioinformatics, and biomedicine. 4. EDSI 2017 / May 2017 8th Annual Conference of the European Decision Sciences Institute (EDSI 2017). EDSI is the European division of the Decision Sciences Institute (DSI) ( 5. EASP 2017 / July 2017 18th General Meeting of the European Association of Social Psychology. The General Meeting of the European Association of Social Psychology is one of the largest and most important meetings of social psychologists that takes place in Europe every 3 years.

BEST INCENTIVE IDEA Rhythm, Team and Flamenco fun Wood, glass and cane: everything is a musical instrument in the Andalusian Percussion Team Building, a teamwork activity that submerges you in the magic of Flamenco music. Fun and entertainment. Folklore and group. The spirit of Andalusia in the service of a collective aim: composing your own melody. All that’s needed is a musical ear and the right attitude. More info:

DID YOU KNOW The pomegranate, or Punica granatum, is “granada” in Spanish and is the official motif, or “heraldic symbol”, of the city. Everywhere you go in Granada you see pomegranate imagery: in drawings and paintings, on signs, pottery, as statues, fountains and embedded into pavements and roads. COOL MEETINGS Jamón de Trevelez: Trevélez ham is a kind of spanish ham that is produced and processed in the southeast province of Granada. The village is famous for the quality of its Trevélez ham, attributable to its climate, which turns the Granada town into a 'pantry' where the hams are naturally cured. WHO TO CONTACT GRANADA CONVENTION BUREAU Virgen Blanca 9. 18071 Granada Tel: (+34) 958 53 57 61 E: 55


EVERYTHING CONNECTED TO THEATRE AND EVENTS IS OBVIOUSLY THE ONE PLACE THAT MAKES ME HAPPY Karmen Klučar, Cankarjev dom Cultural and Congress Centre Ljubljana Technical Director / Director General Assistant Interview by Nina Praprotnik / Photo credits Tina Ramujkić

Karmen finished her postgraduate studies (Master of Arts) at Middlesex University (London) in the field of stage production / technology and event management. Employed at Cankarjev dom since 1992, from 2007 she was engaged as head of the technical implementation for the programme and more recently, from 2014, in the role of technical director. In addition to the tasks of technical director, she also leads the most demanding in-house projects in terms of organisation and logistics, as well as technical and operative terms. On projects she cooperates with external creators and performers right through from concept to content and the design idea process. In her long-standing practice of managing theatre, dance and music projects she has worked with some of the world’s most prominent artists and artistic groups. From 2007 to 2013 (end of the programme) she was a lecturer at the Institute and Academy for Multimedia (IAM) and from 2009 to 2012 also at the Academy of Visual Arts (AVA).

Q: Did you always want to work in stage production / technology and event management? I have always been attracted to the world of theatre; it seemed to me very mysterious and this probably made it even more attractive for me. My early career in Cankarjev dom was developed through different working duties, so by becoming a technical director I did not want to give up the direct contact with the theatre. The areas of technical theatre interact mutually, simultaneously and interdependently on each other. Thus, the successful operation of individual areas of technical performance depends on teamwork and mutual communication. Each new show or event triggers this and knowing and exploring the possibilities of implementing individual areas provides a great deal of creativity and ingenuity, and here is where you find all of the job’s charm. How good you then feel when you come up with the answer for the technical implementation of an artistic concept! Q: What has been your star moment so far and your favourite project at Cankarjev dom with which you would praise yourself most highly? Taking on the role of the technical director was my long-time desire, the fulfilment of which represented the pinnacle of my career, at least until now. Of course, the realization of the vision and goals makes me happy every day, brings joy and gives me new strength to achieve my objectives. In all of the years working here there have been so many big projects and performances...but of all these I would like to highlight the Iliad by director Jernej Lorenci and, of course, our latest co-production, War and Peace. Q: What gives you the most motivation at your work? Work in a cultural-congress centre really doesn’t have particular time parameters, so work can be set back until late at night and might continue bright and early the next morning, and yet all of this is of minor importance against the joy that this job offers. Of course it therefore requires a substantial level of self-organisation and I can honestly say, for myself, that organisation is



really my virtue, both in my private as well as my I think that the desire to use as many segprofessional life. I'm always ready for new chal- ments of stage technology as possible and their lenges and broadening my horizons, because I seamless operation is the biggest challenge, am aware that my newly acquired knowledge of course in terms of technical and operative makes my work easier and of a better quality. performance. For me, working with the set I am deeply committed to my work and it is also designer Dragos Buhagiar has been one of the very often the necessary priority in my life. The high points of my professional life. We started strategy of my work is based on setting a specific looking at implementing options at the end of goal and then realising that goal as soon as possi- September 2016 and I must say that he has been ble. I work with different groups of people all the extremely receptive to all of the proposed solutime and often lead these groups, so the ability to tions and the suggestions on how to carry out plan, coordinate and monitor the work is neces- individual scenographic-directed moments. It is sary. The theatre and everything connected to it with certainty that I can say that this is the show is obviously the one place that makes me happy, of the decade. The performing images are stunwhere my life begins and ends, so to speak. It is ning and will require a certain time and level here that I feel home, and where every new day of reflection to fully comprehend them in all of is different to the previous one. their magnificence. Taking responsibility for assignments, searching for and implementing good solutions, Q: What would be the first thing you would working with experts in the technical field and show every visitor to your country? with artists in the performing arts are, in short, I would try to present to them the sights of our my challenges and the country that are not driving force behind all the brochures, “I'm always ready for new in the implementation of those pearls that are my goals. challenges and broadening often overlooked. In addition to this I my horizons, because I Q: Working in the would want to show event industry is one them and let them feel am aware that my newly of the most stressful the pulse of life, bejobs one can do. In nevolence and openacquired knowledge what way do you deal ness of Slovenians. makes my work easier with the stress? And, of course, I could It seems to me that not look up the chance and of a better quality.” most of the stress to let them visit the caused by my work is only cultural and cona positive form of stress. I actually work best gress centre in the country with an exclusive when I'm full of adrenaline - I need it for my opportunity to peek behind the scenes, which work! When I find myself already jogging down guests to our events otherwise don’t get to see. the hall (and no longer walking), I achieve the highest level of excitement and this initiates real, creative work. Otherwise in my spare time, I enjoy reading and different sport activities. Q: What will be new in 2017 in your area and what are your main challenges for 2017? My main challenge will be the staging of the theatrical performance War and Peace in co-production with SNG Drama Ljubljana and Ljubljana City Theatre. Then there is achieving our annual challenge of implementing our programme at the highest level of professionalism and the on-going concern for the functioning of every vital part of our house. I am especially looking forward to new purchases of technical equipment, which will lift the level of performance of various events. Q: You have mentioned that you are currently co-producing Leo Tolstoy’s great novel War and Peace. This is a huge project for you, so what are the main challenges involved and how important is this work for Cankarjev dom? 57

“How good you then feel when you come up with the answer for the technical implementation of an artistic concept!”

The most important tasks of the Technical director position are planning, organising, managing, coordinating and supervising work in the technical sector. Alongside this is the coordination of work with other sectors and organisational units, which can include the planning and implementation of financial plans, investment programme and personnel policy in the sector. One also has to have an up-to date awareness for the technological development of the institute, which helps in the preparation of a strategy for the working area.

Insider’s In Focus Guide


Text by Nina Praprotnik / Photo credit Carintia Convention Bureau

Capital of the Carinthia region, Klagenfurt is situated in southern Austria, near the border with Slovenia. Located on Lake Wörthersee, the city lures visitors with its fine art, its good food and the picturesque scenery that allows for numerous invigorating outdoor activities and MICE possibilities, all based on their wonderful hospitality and superb congress offer. With its centre in Klagenfurt, Carinthia’s goal is to become the third most important meeting destination in Austria (the first two being Vienna and Salzburg), and the sunny region certainly has a good strategy in place for that, notably so with Association Carinthia Convention that has been operating since 2006 and working to bring together more than 50 Carinthian partners. The partnership and the healthy competitiveness in the region have in recent years proved to be very successful in promoting the convention and meetings industry offer of Carinthia.


In Focus

Why Klagenfurt is Cool for Meetings? • A fairy tale like environment • Unusual event locations – near famous lakes and surrounded by amazing peaks • First class conference centres, a quality offer and the professionalism of suppliers • Proximity to the border – advantage and opportunity for meeting planners and suppliers • A truly successful mix of business and pleasure

STEP OUTSIDE Discover the magnificent Lake Wörthersee: Whether you choose to stroll along its shores or bike the 40km circuit of the lake, you will be amazed at how many things you will stumble across along the way. And should all that fresh air make you hungry, there are plenty of culinary spots en route that also offer amazing sunsets. The turquoise-blue water reaches temperatures of up to 27 degrees, so in the summer it becomes a popular swimming spot for many locals and tourists. Carinthia, Austria’s sunny region: the Carinthian region is known for the many lakes and mountains surrounding it, including the famous Grossglockner, Austria’s highest mountain. About 200 lakes, 60 healing spring waters, 43 glaciers and 8,000 kilometres of rivers all go towards making Carinthia a unique and attractive destination for many different types of events.

Klagenfurt in numbers • Klagenfurt am Wörthersee is a more than 800-year-old renaissance city • The Landhaus town hall (one of the most beautiful Renaissance buildings in Austria) was built in 1582 • The tower of the St. Egyd church is 92 metres high and offers amazing panoramic views of the city • The turquoise Lake Wörthersee is 17km long


The most romantic journey from the heart of nature to the city centre: The Lendkanal, a 4km man-made waterway, leads you from Wörthersee to Klagenfurt centre. Built in the 16th century to channel water to the city moat, as well as transport building and heating materials, it today serves as an excellent recreation area. It is definitely the most romantic way to get from the city to the amazing nature surrounding Klagenfurt.

In Focus

BE ACTIVE Bike tours: Discover the wonderful environment of Klagenfurt on two wheels, as Klagenfurt offers a 120km network of safe and beautifully maintained bike paths. Bike rides can also be enjoyed in combination with various sightseeing tours in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee... Hovercraft ride at Lake Wörthersee: A truly special and exclusive hovercraft ride that is faithful to the original reproduction of the world’s first hovercraft built before 1915. If hovering doesn’t float your boat, then you can always try paddling or SUP on the lake, as one of Europe’s largest and warmest Alpine lakes offers numerous activities in both winter and summer time. Ice skating: For the ultimate winter sensation, in especially cold winters Lake Wörthersee becomes transformed into Carinthia’s biggest outdoor skating rink. Winter is a special time of the year and offers amazing conditions for winter sports, so Carinthia comes alive to host many sporting events.


Days of German-speaking literature: Once a year Klagenfurt becomes the centre of German literature, when in June the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, the most prestigious Austrian literary distinction, is awarded.

Open Air Cinema at Burghof: Every summer, since its maiden outing in the year 2000, the impressive backdrop of the Burghof in the city centre of Klagenfurt, with a wonderful atmosphere, huge screen (140m²) and the carefully selected programme make this 5-week event one of the highlights of the Klagenfurt Culture Summer. 60

Altstadtzauber: Klagenfurt’s big city festival! Illusionists, stilt walkers and jugglers perform along the streets as live bands play on the plazas and thousands of people loll around, experiencing the countless surprises of this magical spectacle in Klagenfurt’s historical district.

In Focus



Klagenfurt Culinary tour: A walking culinary tour through the tastes and history of Klagenfurt. The best way to really get to know the rich history of the city is to take a big bite of it – and starting out with a sparkling prosecco in front of the theatre (Stadttheater Klagenfurt) is not a bad beginning.

Seepark Hotel: perfectly positioned on the fringe of the city centre, in the lagoon of Lake Wörthersee, this 4* hotel’s motto is “Meet & relax”. Hotel Sandwirth: Traditional hotel in the city centre offers stylish rooms and excellent event infrastructure.

Schloss Maria Loretto: Their chef and manager Adolf Kulterer creates amazing culinary treats in the middle of a setting that looks like something from a film set. One of the most idyllic locations on the shores of lake Wörthersee, it provides the perfect setting for a dinner, networking session or a private luxurious gathering. Klagenfurt’s Benedictine Market: Located in downtown Klagenfurt, the market offers everything your heart could possibly wish for. Farmers from Carinthia and the surrounding regions fill their stands with a marvellous selection of their home-grown and home-made products.


Schleppe Brewery Events Hall: Based on 400 years of brewing tradition, this special venue offers one-of-a-kind event halls (6 different halls over 3 levels) for events that really want to stand out.

Schloss Maria Loretto: The tastefully restored Maria Loretto castle invites guests with its stylish atmosphere, being perfect for weddings, lively celebrations, parties and conferences for up to 400 guests.


KUNSTHAUS : KOLLITSCH: A perfect combination of business and art at a high level. Their seven conference rooms in a unique historical building can host up to 70 guests.

In Focus

GREEN MEETINGS With its amazing and diverse natural beauty, the entire Carinthia Region, also called the ‘province of mountain and lakes’, focuses on maintaining the pristine beauty of its nature. Klagenfurt builds its meetings offer on sustainable development and with its main types of tourism based on natural wealth and experiential diversity. Their meetings offer proudly includes their natural advantages, softly incorporated into many of their incentives, team building sessions, conferences and other events. They undoubtedly make the most of their natural treasures and in the round Klagenfurt offers a sustainable and unforgettable meeting destination that will bedazzle you with all of its beauty. Since 2012 Carinthia Convention has been authorized to certify events as green meetings or green events, and in the meantime Carinthia Convention has become the focal point for the Green Meetings region of Carinthia.

DRIVING FORCES Carinthia Convention is a central and independent service centre for all kinds of events in Carinthia. From congress centres, conference hotels and locations, to event agencies and transfer partners – their alliance offer includes 49 best hotels and service providers that Austria’s southern and sunny province has to offer. Their experienced partners were all selected based on meeting high criteria and standing for top quality, a customised service and genuine hospitality.


At your service Carinthia Convention Andreas Griessler T: +43 (0) 463 3000 96

Climb aboard and travel back to the days of the good old street car with the Vintage tram & “Klagenfurt in former times”. This special tour allows you to be transported back to a time when trams trundled through the streets of Klagenfurt. What better way to connect the past with the present?

Tourism Region Klagenfurt am Wörthersee GmbH T: +43 463 287 463 – 0


Quick Talk

Talk to Us Andreas Griessler Kärnten Convention & Mitgesellschafter GesbR


Quick Talk

EVERY MEETING DESTINATION IS MORE OR LESS INTERCHANGEABLE – EXCEPT FOR ITS STORIES HELMUT MICHELER, Head of Klagenfurt Tourism Bureau Interview by Nina Praprotnik / Photo credits Klagenfurt Tourism Bureau Q: You have become the new head of Klagenfurt Tourism Bureau – what are your main challenges, goals and activities? One of the main challenges is to optimize our online selling activities. We are currently working on a new website with a flexible shopping cart system. Our visitors can choose what pieces they want to pack, pay online and get a voucher including for all the services for their stay. The second main challenge is to create new offers for our guests, such as historical or culinary tours through the city. The third project is everything about cycling: we are implementing an autonomic bike rental system and trying to enhance the bike infrastructure of the city. Q: In your opinion, what makes Klagenfurt special? It’s the combination of the old town and the nearby lake Wörthersee. We are a very green city with beautiful parks, such as the Europapark, and we offer hiking or running areas like the Helmuth Micheler was born in Lienz (Eastern Tyrol) and grew up in the heart of the Dolomites, Helmuth studied German studies and Public relations at the Alpe Adria University in Klagenfurt. He started his career as project manager for two hotel cooperations of the Austrian tourism board before later working for the Carinthia Tourism Board, the Eastern Tyrol Tourism Board, the destination Klopeiner See – Südkärnten and, since September 2016, for the Klagenfurt Tourism bureau. PERSONAL Q: What makes you smile? My two sons – when we act as Star Wars figures. Or watching Kung Fu Panda 1-3… Q: What is your best receipt for your off days? I enjoy staying in nature, hiking, hunting, or helping my brother in law in the forest. Q: What are the 3 things you cannot live without? The excellent meals of my beloved wife :-), good books and sunny days. Q: What inspires you and gives you energy?Good films, art exhibitions and success in work.


Kreuzbergl. We have also the Alps very close to Klagenfurt; it takes no more than 30 minutes by car to the Karawanks. Q: What are Klagenfurt’s advantages compared to the wider region? The advantages of Klagenfurt are the short distances, the really good sports infrastructure, the southern lifestyle and a good range of traditional restaurants. Q: How important is the MICE sector for Klagenfurt? Actually, it’s not as big as I would want it to be, but we are trying to increase the number of meetings and congresses. This year we are hosting the first Austrian homeopathy congress in September and then the presentation of an important automotive manufacturer in October. The event sector is quite big, with the most important ones in Carinthia, such as the Ironman, United World Games, World Bodypainting Festival or the Starnacht, one of the most important German pop events.

Quick Talk

Q: What can you tell us about Klagenfurt’s of the region between Carinthia, Slovenia and tourism infrastructure specifically regard- Friuli. ing the meeting industry? I have a few incentive ideas: a guided e-bicycle We have really good infrastructure for fairs tour along the river Glan to the medieval town and meetings for up of Friesach. There you to 500 persons. For can visit a castle and "We have really good that we can offer see how it is built. Or several cool locations a guided culinary tour infrastructure for fairs – for example our through Klagenfurt Schleppe brewery, the and its famous market. and meetings for up to Lakeside technology Or a trip on a histori500 persons. For that we park, the concert hall, cal speedboat of the the Wörthersee footAustrian navy (yes – can offer several cool ball stadium with its we formerly had one!) sports park, or even locations – for example our fair in the heart of Q: In your opinion, our Schleppe brewery, the city. how important is content marketing the Lakeside technology Q: Where would for Klagenfurt as you take someone meeting destination? park, the concert hall, to “feel” the vibe of It will be one of the the Wörthersee football Klagenfurt and what most important issues. is your best incentive Every meeting destistadium with its sports idea in Klagenfurt? nation is more or less There are two places interchangeable – park, or even our fair in that represent the ‘feel’ except for its stories. the heart of the city." of Klagenfurt: firstly We work on finding there is the marina at interesting, funny, the Wörthersee, with thrilling or even hisall the boats and ships and the restaurants di- torical stories to tell and make them come alive rectly on the lake, as well as the biggest lakeside in our programmes. beach in Europe. Secondly is the Benedictine market, which offers all the tastes and smells


"Content marketing will be one of the most important issues. Every meeting destination is more or less interchangeable – except for its stories. We work on finding interesting, funny, thrilling or even historical stories to tell and make them come alive in our programmes."

Quick Talk

THE KEY TO SUCCESS ARE ALWAYS THE EMPLOYEES! KERSTIN FRITZ, New General Manager, Holiday Inn Villach & Congress Center Villach Interview by Nina Praprotnik / Photo credits Congress Center Villach Q: On 1st March 2017, you have been appoint- Q: Best event in 2016? ed as new General Manager of Holiday Inn We had a couple of big and noteworthy events Villach & Congress Centre Villach – what in 2016 and we are really looking forward to the events 2017. The best event of 2016 was Ringana will be your goals, challenges? There are a couple of goals, but you have to set Spring Academy with 1,000 participants. priorities and keep on working on the constelQ: Why is Holiday Inn lation of Holiday Inn and Villach & Congress Congress Center as one Center Villach perfect unity and represent it even "Living-Meetingfor business guests? more in the congress and Relaxing-Enjoying It’s the combination event sector. Another goal as well as the location. is to persuade the locals to – all under one roof, Living-Meeting-Relaxingvisit our bar DIVINO and Enjoying – all under one the gourmet restaurant that’s the moto roof, that’s the moto of our LAGANA more often. They of our house." house. The location at the should be proud of having river Drau directly located such a house in Villach. in the city centre, with a Q: What have been the keys to success of view of the mountains, this is something very Congress Center Villach as a meeting & event special what you can’t easily find somewhere else. destination? The key to success are always the employees! Without motivated staff there won’t be any success.

Kerstin Fritz was born on 2nd September 1986 in Villach. After working for two hotels in Tyrol, for Falkensteiner and 6 years as Sales & Marketing Manager at the Holiday Inn Villach she moved to Graz and was successfully running the Hotel Daniel as a Director for 1,5 years. Since 1st March 2017 she is back in her hometown as the new General Manager of Holiday Inn Villach. PERSONAL Q: What makes you smile? Motivated staff and satisfied customers. Q: What is your best receipt for your off days? A combination of sport and relaxation. Q: What are the 3 things you cannot live without? I definitely can't live without my family, friends and I love to visit new places.


Quick Talk

Q: What are your advantages as the only combined Hotel and Congress Centre in Austria? The advantage for our clients is that we are under one roof and they can get everything out of one hand, which means that they have only one contact-person regarding meeting-rooms, rooms for overnight stay as well as catering or technical issues. Q: What trends do you think we will see in meetings and events in your city in 2017? The demand of congresses and meetings is still growing and green events are getting more important for our clients. Q: What are your goals/plans for 2017, how will you try to be even more successful regarding meetings & events? Our goal is to bring even more congresses and events to the city, as there still is potential, although we already had about 400 events with more than 110,000 visitors in 2016. It is really important for us to offer an excellent service to our clients. We are

trying to give more to them and to fulfil their expectations of our main slogan, which is “... you get more”. Q: What advantages does Villach have for meetings comparing the region? You have lots of possibilities in this region because of the mountains and lakes, offering team building activities, sightseeing and much more. It’s also because of the geographical position bordering on Italy and Slovenia which you can easily reach within a few minutes by car. The cuisine here is excellent too, due to the Mediterranean influence.

"The advantage for our clients is that we are under one roof and they can get everything out of one hand, which means that they have only one contactperson regarding meetingrooms, rooms for overnight stay as well as catering or technical issues. "


Q: Where in Villach would you take someone to “feel” the best vibe of the city? It depends on the time of the year and the weather. You can “feel” Villach at different places. The best vibe of the city you will definitely get in the old town where the different cultures of Austria, Slovenia and Italy meet each other. Another place to be is our hotel-ter-

race directly at the river Drau with a stunning view of the surrounding mountains while enjoying the delicacies of our menu. If you are planning to visit Villach in summer, you should do that during the first week of August when our famous “Villacher Kirchtag” – the largest traditional event in Austria, takes place. We promise, it will be unforgettable.

"The key to success are always the employees! Without motivated staff, there won’t be any success."

Behind the Scenes

SCHLEPPE EVENT HALL, Klagenfurt, Austria Unique ambience amidst the copper brewing kettles Text by Nina Praprotnik / Photo credits Schleppe Brewery

Let the magic world of brewery convince you and take over your senses at the Schleppe Eventhall!

Schleppe Event Hall in Klagenfurt is truly a boutique and special venue with rich brewing history and a unique setting for various kind of events, in sense of congresses and conference especially suitable for the afterparty events, gala events and other corporative events.

Regarded as the center, both of Carinthia’s brewing and distilling industries, with Pfau Distillery also joining their roof, it is becoming more and more famous for brewing craft beers. The brewery marks over 400 years of brewing tradition and ever since the beginning in 1607, Schleppe Brewery has been known for their quality beers. In recent years, some big moments marked the development and vision of the brewery, including Pfau Distiller moving under the same roof, starting the craft beer production in 2014, joined logistics with Villacher Brewery and becoming a part of the famous Heineken Group. 400 YEARS OF BREWING TRADITION INCLUDED IN SCHLEPPE EVENT HALL EVENTS Directly located in the Schleppe Brewery and Distillery, the Schleppe Event hall offers ideal surroundings for events up to 800 people as an exclusive venue with unique ambiance in 3 levels with 6 different halls, together comprising 1,030 m²:top floor with 447 m² and direct access to 68

outside area (that can be also used as additional event spot), medium floor with 156 m² and tasting spot with shop,bottom level floor with 424 m² which includes beer cellar and Phau distillery cellar. Schleppe EventHall is suitable for various kind of events with approximately 120 events hosting a year, from large to smaller events, seminars, product presentations, etc. You can rent one hall or the complete hall. SPECIAL FEATURES Schleppe tour: Offered from 15nd May until 15th September (at 10.30 a.m.), Monday through Friday. Tours are available to groups of 20 or more year-round. The tour takes visitors through the brewery with an opportunity to try 2 sorts of refreshing beer and relax a little bit at the end of tour. The famous Pfau Distillery can be also included in the tour if you want – of course, again with some tastings. Flexibility of the venue: 3 levels and 6 different halls can be combined and used for perfect event and you can rent on hall or even the complete

Behind the Scenes hall – just name it and they will provide you the best atmosphere for your event. And let’s not forget also the outside area, even the part of a parking lot can be included as the event area if needed. Access to venue Schleppe Brewery and Distillery is easy accessible, from A2 motorway take the exit “KlagenfurtNord” and after 2 kilometres you will find the brewery, you cannot miss the signs on the road. Coming by bus, the bus stop is located directly at the entrance of the brewery. Klagenfurt airport is only 5 kilometres away. Parking Just a step outside the venue, a great parking lot for around 200 cars is available. The parking is also used sometimes as additional spot for hosting events with setting of additional tents, etc. Other Incentive ideas Craft beer movement – since 2014, the Schleppe Brewery has joined the craft beer revolution, taking place all over the world. Craft beers with their unique, unfiltered structure and new, light aromas are also bringing new consumers and traditional beer drinker is not exclusively male, woman are also enjoying the world of craft beer. Craft beer, combined with the traditional Austrian culinary, a glimpse of heaven on earth! ☺ Catering services Company provides different level of catering services, hand in hand with their established catering partners.

“What makes our location so special is, that it is a living brewery. During daytime, we are rolling our barrels, it is loud and everything smells from malt and hop. And only a few hours later, when the lights go on, you have a perfect location with a very special atmosphere.” Roman Schrott, Event & tour manager

Closest accommodation Seepark Hotel Closest meeting facilities Seepark Hotel Tourist attractions (within a radius of 1 km) Worthersee Lake in vicinity is a postcard perfect scenery that offers many outdoor activities and hosts many prestigious events during whole year – from Iron Man to Harley Davidson events, etc. VENUE ADVANTAGES: Unique, 3 level venue with 6 halls offers many options to provide the best event in the centre of 400-year brewery history. TECHNICAL SUPPORT: Chairs, sound system, lights, electricity, beamer, screen, overhead flip chart – everything needed for amazing events. BANQUET: 250 people on the first floor, 100 on the middle floor and 80 on the lowest floor

Schleppe Brewery and Distillery Hall Schleppeplatz 1, Klagenfurt, Austria T: + 43(0) 463/42700 E:

THEATER : 400 people on the first floor, 150 on the middle floor and 100 on the lowest floor 69

Off The Beaten Mice Track

CARINTHIA’S MOST Whether you are a petrol head, car launch organizer or just looking for your next incentive idea, the Carinthia region in Austria is definetely worth paying a visit. It offers some of the most scenic and fascinating driving roads in the world, which also served as magnificent backdrops for many popular movies. Twisty bends between green mountain meadows, panoramic views of the Alps, healthy mountain air and roads to die for make it an unforgetable experience for both motorists and cyclists. Here is our pick of the "must drive" roads in Carinthia: • THE GROSSGLOCKNER HIGH ALPINE ROAD • ONE OF AUSTRIA’S TOP 3 DESTINATIONS AMIDST THE ALPS 48 kilometers long, 36 hairpin bends and an artistically planned-out route distinguish this beatiful scenic road in the Caritnhia region in Austria. The Grossglockner High Alpine Road is like an ornament of ribbons located between green mountain pastures, colourful flower meadows, rocky rubble, ice and show. It nestles up against hills, follows the course of the natural ground and fits the mountains like a glove.Located at the foot of Austria's tallest mountain, the High Alpine Road takes you up as high as 2,571 meters above sea level. The end point is the Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe high above the Pasterze, the longest glacier in the Eastern Alps. Whooshing waterfalls, the shrill whistling of marmots and the howling wind in the summit regions create an unforgettable high alpine soundscape. More information on: • THE VILLACH ALPINE ROAD • SPECTACULAR MOUNTAIN ROAD UP TO THE DOBRATSCH There is no doubt that the panoramic road up to the Villach Alp is one of the most beautiful in all of Austria. It offers fantastic views of the city of Villach, the Julian Alps and the prominent south-flank of the Dobratsch, the largest landslide region in the eastern Alps. The reward of conquering 1,200 altitude metres from Villach-Möltschach up to the Rosstratte car park at 1,732 m above sea level are sensational views of the karst summits in the neighbouring countries Slovenia and Italy. Look forward to 16.5 adventurous kilometres amidst Carinthia’s oldest preservation area while breathing healthy mountain air.Tip: the bikers’ point on the Rosstratte and numerous car parks along the Villach Alpine Road offer the most varied views of the Dobratsch and its surroundings. More information on: 70

Off The Beaten Mice Track

SCENIC ROADS • THE NOCKALM ROAD • GENTLE MOUNTAIN ROAD WITH NUMEROUS ATTRACTIONS Inviting, unhurried and overwhelmingly beautiful: soft green mountain pastures, pink alpine rose in bloom, sparse larch forests, rustic cabins and easy hiking trails line the 35 kilometer Nockalm Road. The road located between Innerkrems in the north and Ebene Reichenau in the south is, without a doubt, one of the most varied and beautiful alpine roads you can experience by car, motorbike or bus. The panoramic road winds up and down between the “Nock’n” through 52 bends and numerous turns with gentle incline. Numerous free exhibitions can be discovered in the Nockalmhof Biosphere Park Center and hiking in the habitat of the treasured spike lavender plant is just as much fun as visiting the numerous alpine huts and mountain inns. More information on: • THE GOLDECK PANORAMIC ROAD • FANTASTIC VIEW OF THE SOUTHERN SIDE OF THE ALPS The Goldeck Panorama Road, with a length of 14.5 km runs from Zlan to "Seetal" Goldeck terminal parking area at an altitude of 1,895m. It offers the perfect mix of driving entertainment and hiking fun. The road leads to a viewpoint with a particularly beautiful panorama of the Millstatt Alpine Meadow and Lake Millstatt, the Nockbergs, the Gail Valley, Karawanken and the Drau Valley. It can also be the starting point of many walks, hut hikes and mountain tours. More information on:



56th ICCA Congress 12 – 15 November 2017 Find your bridge to Prague and win valuable prizes!



Take a photo or shoot a video with the element of a bridge. Use your imagination, let´s be creative! Share your photos and videos on Twitter or Instagram under hashtags #ICCAworld and #BridgetoPrague until 30th April 2017. Looking forward to see you in Prague! In the town where the first stone of the famous Charles Bridge was placed 660 years ago. Let´s celebrate together! More on Twitter via #BridgetoPrague.


CD Briefing

One of the Slovenian biggest congress events of 2018 will be held in CD Congress Centre Ljubljana CD Congress Centre Ljubljana announced that they successfully bid and won for organization of the ESSM Congress 2019 and now they can add also another success to their great congress story. They have officially gained the organization of the European Congress of thoracic surgeon (ESTS) 2018 which will be held from 27th to 30th May 2018 in Ljubljana.

CD Congress Centre Ljubljana the only Slovenian PCO among 120 participants of IAPCO 2017

CD shows great technical skill in co-producing the amazing War and Peace Cankarjev dom Ljubljana, home to CD Congress Centre, has started 2017 with a truly magnificent production, the staging of Leo Tolstoy’s famous novel War and Peace. Adapted and directed by Silvio Purcărete, co-produced by the Slovenian National Theatre, SNG Drama Ljubljana, Ljubljana City Theatre and Cankarjev dom. A special way of interpretation of the famous work and all the complexity was possible to conceive and realize only due to the remarkable technical capacity of CD Congress Centre’s versatile Gallus Hall stage.

Dubai presented itself at best as the host of this year IAPCO annual meeting. Among this year record number of 120 participants was also CD Congress Centre Ljubljana which as one of the IAPCO members and the Slovenian leading congress centre acknowledges the importance of membership that brings many advantages, new connections, knowledge, sharing a pool of experience in terms of worldwide destinations, professional competency and technical know-how, etc.


In Focus

Bratislava Meeting Journal BRATISLAVA SMART MEETINGS Text by Gorazd Čad / Photo credits Bratislava Convention Bureau The image of the Slovak capital is forged by the mighty Danube running through it and a city centre with welcoming streets and attractive bars generating a feeling of youthful urbanism that can be felt everywhere throughout it. The positive atmosphere of Bratislava also draws many congress organisers, all of whom have the chance to get impressed by the excellent congress facilities as much as by the many urban legends, none more so than the story of "Čumil", a bronze statue of a man emerging from a manhole. The direct translation of the name "Čumil" is 'observer' and there are two explanations for that - the first, quite decent one, sets out that the statue represents a communist worker who isn't overly bothered by the demands of his line of work. The second, rather less decent one, has it that he just likes to spend his day looking up women's skirts. Whichever way it swings, Čumil is one of the most photographed statues in the old town and legend has it that he might even grant you a wish if you touch his head. Bratislava's overall infrastructure is suited to medium-sized congresses and the city is known as a guest friendly one - you can easily master it on foot and thereby enjoy the historical heritage and energy that greets you with full heart and soul.

NEW SPACES X-BIONIC SPHERE A sport-congress hybrid that has no match in Europe The imposing building that is the brainchild of Slovak billionaire Mario Hoffmann and Prof. Dr. Bodo Lambertz is sure to make an impression on any visitor. Luxury materials and a deliberate practicality, but all with a taste of modernity, are the key elements of the interior design at X-Bionic. Both interior and exterior spaces form an incredible experience and the designers have taken especial care of every minor detail. A prime advantage of the centre is its sport offer, which will wow the more active congress participants, as it does the professional athletes in training there for the Olympics. We believe that the story of this facility will bring a fresh new wind to the already very dynamic congress industry of Bratislava.


In Focus

Why Bratislava is Cool for Meetings? Bratislava in numbers • The world's tallest statue of a horse is located in the Sport and Congress Centre in Samorín-Cilistov. Made entirely of stainless steel, it rises to a height of almost nine metres and weighs in at 20 tonnes. • Petrzalka is the biggest housing estate in Bratislava and the most densely populated housing district in Central Europe. The name, which first appeared at the beginning of the 20th century, refers to vegetables grown in the area. • According to data from Google, people in Slovakia enjoy the world’s fastest internet browsing experience, taking on average about three seconds for a website to be displayed on a monitor in Slovakia, the shortest time globally, as reported by the Sme Daily. • Slovak capital Bratislava lies on the borders with Austria and Hungary, making it the only capital city in the world that borders two independent countries. Moreover, Austrian capital Vienna is just 60km away and both cities lie on the banks of the Danube river, with a boat cruise between them taking just 90 minutes. • According to U City Guides, Slovakia ranks in the top three countries with the most beautiful women in the world. They even argue that the country can be especially proud of the grace the Slovak blondes were born with. It would be difficult to visit Slovakia and not get a little bit entranced by the natural charm of Slovak women.

STEP OUTSIDE The Iron Well A popular recreational centre with numerous hiking trails amidst picturesque lakes - perfect for picnics and with just a little bit of imagination also an excellent event space. Janko Kral Garden The oldest public park in Europe is a popular location for organising events and concerts near the Gothic Tower. The climb to Kamzik TV tower If you are a hiker at heart the route to the TV tower can easily be scaled on foot, but if you don't feel like walking there are also road connections to get there. On a clear day the tower offers amazing views of Bratislava and you can also enjoy a nice meal in the restaurant. 75

1. Accessibilty: The route to Bratislava is quick and easy, whether you decide to arrive by air, road or train connections, or even the watery option of arriving by the beautiful blue Danube. The city airport works in conjunction with Vienna airport, which is only about 50km from the centre of Vienna. 2. A smart and innovative city: As a university town Bratislava is home to many students and consequently there are the use of new technologies at every turn. It is also why they have one of the fastest internet connections in Europe, letting you to surf at 17 Mbps. 3. Start-up city: The young and vigorous start-up scene that connects young talent and attracts international investors is booming in Bratislava. Did you know that the award winning start-up Slido was born in Bratislava? The sheer size of the market and a population of five million people makes Slovakia a perfect breeding ground for new ideas, ideas that could potentially be helping you in the future. 4. Safety: Bratislava exudes a feeling of safety, backed up by one of the highest safety indexes in Europe and also a very high quality of life according to Numbeo standards. 5. Value for money: In our opinion, Bratislava is the 'best bang for your buck' destination in Europe, and that gives it an advantage over its rather more expensive neighbour of Vienna. Yet at the same time the quality of congress services is very high and completely comparable to those in Vienna.

In Focus

BE ACTIVE White Water Sport Resort: The Water Sports Resort in Čunovo is 20km from the centre of Bratislava. Besides water sports the resort offers you the possibility to try various adrenaline activities, such as hydrospeed, water scooters or paintball. There is an off-road track 1km from the resort, where visitors can take a ride on buggies or four-wheelers. Slovakia Ring: Designed by Hans Roth, this is an attractive destination for both local and international events. It offers exclusive rental of the longest road race track, with all the technical support, infrastructure and rent of race cars with special sports tuning, to let you test out your driving skills. Touareg Offroad Experience: This purposebuilt off-road driving track was created by the Volkswagen plant in Bratislava, where the company's flagship off-road SUV the Volkswagen Touareg is produced. The 1,488-metre-long circuit, with its 26 distinct features, challenges each driver's skills as well as provides the opportunity to fully experience the Touareg's performance in extreme situations.


The Cultural Summer and Castle Festival: The city's biggest festival, the Cultural Summer and Bratislava Castle Celebrations will be delivering its 42nd edition in 2017. As with last year it again plans to create a spectacular in Bratislava full of multi-genre programmes for residents, but also for summer visitors to the capital.

Bratislava Design Week: This is Slovakia’s hottest international design event covering the field of contemporary design. Founded in 2009 as Designweek, it was later renamed Bratislava Design Week.

Uprising Festival 2017: The largest reggae festival in Central Europe has since 2008 taken place annually in Bratislava. The area around the Zlate Piesky (Golden Sands) lake at the edge of Bratislava is ideal for it and as more and more people have kept coming Uprising has broadened its genre spectrum to include others deemed acceptable by the reggae community, such as dancehall, ska, latino, hip-hop, dub, dubstep, ragga-jungle and dnb.

Slovak Food Festival: For the eighth time this will be the largest picnic in the city! The event, loaded with great food, drinks, live shows, com76

petitions and discussions, will again be held in Bratislava Castle’s outdoor spaces. With the motif “fresh and playful” the Slovak food festival this year again brings Thursday wine evening to Bratislava Castle, a media competition in cooking and a children’s playground. Coronation Ceremonies: One of the largest cultural events in Slovakia this one presents in a very experiential way the 18 coronations of kings and queens that have taken place in the city. It takes place annually over the last weekend in June to commemorate the coronation of Maria Theresa, who was crowned in Bratislava on 25 June, 1741.

In Focus

FOOD & DRINK Fach Bratislava: After years of acquiring experience and knowledge in Michelin-starred restaurants like Gastrologik, Mathias Dahlgren and Fotografiska, LukĂĄĹĄ Hesko is now returning home to redefine Slovak cuisine. His restaurant at Fach is all about simple dishes that are full of strong flavours. UFO Bratislava: An iconic symbol of Bratislava, the alien spaceship-like building on the MOST Bridge is home to restaurant and cocktail bar sitting 95 metres above the Danube and with a beautiful panorama of the capital.

Slovak Pub: This 500-seat pub next to the university - the largest bar in Bratislava, as well as one of the most popular - is divided into eleven rooms, each dedicated to a certain stage of Slovakia's history, including an original 200-yearold wooden shepherd's hut that was taken apart and then put back together using 80% of the original materials. Urban House: If hipster bars and restaurants are your thing, you will love the Urban House. Craft beer and innovative cuisine are just a part of its offer and the space can also be rented for parties or as a special venue.

GREEN MEETINGS Similiar to Ljubljana, Bratislava is also without a subway system, so instead you will find a well developed system of trams, trolleybuses and buses. In any case, as the old city centre is quite small you won't have any problems making it around on foot.


Grand Hotel River Park This former Kempinski hotel is consistently setting a high bar for hotel and congress services and has won numerous awards for being best hotel in Slovakia. With 231 rooms and a congress centre for 300 participants it is the perfect balance for corporate events. Its location by the Danube, which is also the main city promenade, is another big asset. Sheraton Bratislava The hotel was opened in 2010 alongside the Eurovea business-shopping centre. The large congress hall is one of the most capacious in town, able to accommodate 380 guests. An added benefit is the historical and recently renovated Warehouse No. 7, which complements the hotel offer.

Radisson Blu Carlton Hotel The hotel makes an impression with its functionality and elegance, and with its own story and sophisticated details it is definitely a venue that combines the classic and timeless with a contemporary functionality suitable for a variety of purposes. It is ideal for those who wish to opt for a legendary hotel story, as here is one that testifies to the rich history of Bratislava and to thst of the hotel building itself. Double Tree by Hilton Bratislava Located near the Ondrej Nepal hockey stadium, the Double Tree by Hilton is a modern hotel with a 1,200m2 congress centre. The biggest hall has space for 624 participants, putting it among Bratislava's largest congress hotels.


X-Bionic Convention Sphere The Congress Centre currently includes 12 congress halls, the largest of which can accommodate up to 600 participants and has the added benefit of a high ceiling. Event organisers will also love many of the external surfaces: zen-style atriums and delicately hidden corners to which in good weather you can migrate elements of an event.

In Focus



Slovakia is becoming the »European Detroit«, attracting more and more car manufacturers due to national initiatives, low working and living costs and its favourable logistical location. The country's powerful car production represents 43% of its entire industry and Slovaia now has the world's highest car production per capita. In addition to Kia, Slovakia also managed to attract Volkswagen, Peugeot and Citroen, and has recently celebrated the start of construction for a new Jaguar and Land Rover factory in Nitra, which won the investment against competition from Poland, Hungary and Mexico. The automotive sector also generates a lot of events and is helping Bratislava become more interesting for car launches.

Danubiana: Along with interesting exhibitions and a permanent collection featuring the most renowned artists from Slovakia and abroad, allow yourself to be surprised by this park with its 60 sculptures. The rooftop terrace that offers a unique view of the expansive Danube River and the surrounding countryside is one of the best special venues in Bratislava.

»Detroit of Europe«

Ride along the Iron Curtain Incentive: Ride along remains of the Iron curtain is a 1.5-hour guided tour covering the history of Czechoslovakia from the perspective of border guards on top of an authentic GAZ 69. This heavy duty Russian vehicle served border patrols just on the edge of Bratislava during the Cold war, when any trespasser cmightould have been arrested or killed. Along the road you will also explore massive bunkers built by the democratic Czechoslovakia, prepared to push back Hitler's army in 1938.3 Bratislava Post-Socialist City Tour: A funky retro tour in a legendary 70s Czechoslovak Škoda car (or a jalopy 8-seater Škoda 1203 van). The journey will take you through the off-thebeaten-track places of the communist past as well as recent transformations in Bratislava. You will visit a vast concrete housing estate zone, the monumental Soviet Slavín, abandoned factories, riverside developments, a 1930s bunker line, the former Iron Curtain border zone and lots of communist architecture. Local insight guaranteed.

Brainteaselava City Game: Discover Bratislava city centre in an amusing and unconvential way! In a team of up to 6 people complete missions and encounter a lot of entertaining and original tasks. You will enjoy some nice scenery whilst you find picturesque hidden spots. As a bonus you will learn some interesting facts and myths about places en route. It is possible to play from a solo group up to 60 people in 10 teams at once.

PAST AND PRESENT Bratislava is a smorgasbord of historical heritage and modern venues that cry out for you to capture them on your devices. Whether it's presentations of new cars or monuments from the socialist past, Bratislava's contrasts attract professional and amateur photographers alike from all over the world. If you are looking for a modern backdrop the ideal locations are the Digital Park, Euroeva centre, Danubiana Art Musem or the Elesko-Zoya Museum (in a town called Modra, which is 40km from Bratislava). For classics lover list is endless; some iconic locations are Bratislava Castle, the Presidental Palace, Reduta, the Slovak National Theatre and many other castles in the vicinity of town. Bratislava has all the right scenery, photogenic locations, romantic nature and contrasts between the old/rural and modern to make it ideal for many different kinds of events.

At your service Mgr. Jana Mičeková MICE specialist BRATISLAVA TOURIST BOARD BRATISLAVSKÁ ORGANIZÁCIA CESTOVNÉHO RUCHU Šafárikovo námestie 3, SK- 811 02 Bratislava mob: +421 905 449 168 e-mail: web:


Quick Talk

MEET AND GREET WITH BRATISLAVA CONVENTION BUREAU Ms. Alžbeta Melicharová, Chairman of Bratislava CVB Text by Nika Pirnar / Photo credits Bratislava Convention Bureau

Bratislava Convention Bureau (BCB) was established in 2012 as a department of the official destination management organisation of Bratislava Tourist Board. The Convention Bureau was tasked with the main objective of promoting the destination and its members and serving as a platform for tourism development in the city.

"Bratislava is unique because of its atmosphere and unexpected experiences. In one day, you can manage to visit robotic car assembly lines, drive electric cars through the city, ride speedboats on the Danube River, raft the wild water canal, host a welcome cocktail on a rooftop and enjoy vineyard located venues for local culinary treats. You cannot imagine how many experiences Bratislava can offer in less than 12 hours."

It is a common perception that Bratislava is still regarded as an undiscovered European congress capital, yet it is becoming more and more popular among the meeting industry. For that reason, we locked heads with Ms. Alžbeta Melicharová, Chairman of Bratislava CVB, to get to know their work in the city a bit better. “[The] awareness of Bratislava as a modern and safe metropolis is increasing,” she told us. “Anyone who has visited Bratislava is positively surprised. Meeting organisers state that we are good value for money with hyper accessibility and perceived as an innovative destination. From the pulsating downtown, you can reach the Carpathian forests and Danube meadows in just 20 minutes.”

 In her opinion, the most important values of Bratislava in attracting people from the MICE industry is its accessibility via air, road and river, its uncompromising innovative force present in the fast-growing start-up ecosystem and its world-class research and development. Added to that, of course, is its excellence in execution, all key factors that make it a suitable place for the MICE industry - Bratislava is definitely a destination to attract high-end business meetings.

and bring together all the stakeholders, including the Municipality representatives, DMCs, PCOs, hotels and non-tourism influencers and opinion makers. They also had to unify on how to communicate Bratislava as a MICE destination - to be relevant, targeted and consistent. Despite all of these challenges, they are proud to say that today this platform exists and communicates widely according to set principles. Bratislava has since then experienced a multiple increase in incoming guests, they are aware of creative campaigns and have successfully implemented new branding pillars of Bratislava as a MICE destination: “ACCESSIBILITY | INNOVATION | EXECUTION” along with the tagline “Surprisingly close, exceptionally smart”. Despite the achievements to date they would still wish to have even greater support from the city representatives who acknowledge the benefits of MICE industry for a city. Their common wish is to develop a dedicated and modern centre in Bratislava. 
 As has already been noted, the key benefit of organising MICE events in Bratislava is accessibility. The city enables the hosting of smaller or larger events but still offers a touch of the local spirit. For example, in hosting a European car launch event planners can even get to have Bratislava all to their own, while booking out the major venues and hotels.

The Bratislava convention bureau is also cooperating with the Slovak Convention Bureau, as Melicharová noted: “The role of the Slovak CVB for any MICE-related matters is absolutely essential. We all need their national brand to promote ourselves, to bid for congresses, and also their financial support. We work very closely together and we believe we will in the future. Without them we would not be viable.”

The CVB is also well aware that MICE events are not only about business, so they also have a wide range of incentive offers that will create a truly memorable experience. “Bratislava is unique because of its atmosphere and unexpected experiences. In one day you can manage to visit robotic car assembly lines, drive electric cars through the city, ride speedboats on the Danube river, raft the wild water canal, host a welcome cocktail on a rooftop and enjoy vineyard located venues for local culinary treats. You can’t imagine how many experiences Bratislava can offer in less than 12 hours," explained Melicharová.

The most difficult challenge for the Bratislava Convention Bureau is the vision to position Bratislava as a relevant MICE destination in Central Europe - which was, and still is, a challenge for their convention bureau. Initially they had to establish a MICE platform to address

Alongside all the business we also wanted to get a bit more personal and get some ideas on what to see and do in the “undiscovered city”. We got some great tips from Melicharová on what to visit on a business trip to Bratislava, if you’ve only got 24 hours. In her opinion, one should


Quick Talk

wander around the picturesque and narrow streets of Bratislava to get a feel of the green environment and the relaxing atmosphere. Then it would be on to Bratislava Castle, where one could enjoy great panoramic views over the city, followed up by a post-socialistic city tour or a speedboat ride on the Danube River to explore the city from another angle. For a cultural experience, one shouldn’t miss a unique gallery called Nedbalka, featuring modern fine arts, and for great local cuisine one should visit Savoy or Zylinder Restaurant with its local “Pressburg cuisine”.

When choosing the perfect meeting destination, a bit of a hint from Melicharová’s favourite meeting spot might come in quite handy: “UFO restaurant overlooking the Danube, as well as many other fine dining restaurants are truly worth exploring. There is a range of trendy and authentic places with local treats, home-made bread and spreads (typical for our local day-to-day nutrition), craft beers and fantastic local wines.” Discover the “undiscovered”, and meet in Bratislava – “Surprisingly close, exceptionally smart”.

“THERE IS NOTHING OLDER THAN THE SUCCESS OF YESTERDAY” Stefan Kozák: founder, managing director at CREATIVE PRO group Interview by Nika Pirnar / Photo credits Creative PRO

Stefan Kozák obtained a degree in theatre & film production management at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, Slovakia and has widened the scope of his studies by attending an MBA course at Brno International Business School in the Czech Republic. In 2003, he founded a company focused on live & event marketing, CREATIVE PRO, and subsequently built a diversified group of companies called the CREATIVE PRO group, with its business base mainly on the Slovak, Czech, Hungarian and Polish markets. Aside from managing the group and its organisations he is also in charge of business development, strategic acquisition of new business as well as specific “live marketing“ projects in Slovakia, the Czech republic, Hungary and Poland. PERSONAL Q: What did you learn last week? Believe strongly in your intuition. It almost always reveals more than all kinds of thinking and consideration. Q: What makes you smile? I am a happy man. People and many other things make me smile - the smile of my two great sons, clients, colleagues, winning pitches…

Q: Could you tell us something surprising in the whole event process (pre-event, event, about the city of Bratislava that might amaze post-event)... These approaches and effectivemeeting planners? ness rule almost everywhere, I guess. The focus There are two different views: firstly, Bratislava, is becoming more on the long term results - not the capital city of Slovakia, is a growing and just on event management, but more on the very dynamic city, I would say a pro-event and whole live marketing strategy, content usage pro-congresses oriented small/big city. A few and fulfilled KPIs.
 weeks ago our partners from the biggest Q: Recently your own Venues are the key and co- Creative PRO agency European event agencies connected creators of the whole event; joined the 27 Names through 27NAMES association. Do you synergy is the right name, already have some provisited the city and its surroundings and jects that will bring between the concept and they were amazed new and interesting the venue. A good venue is events to the city of with the level of our event locations (eg. Bratislava? like a good or great bread X-BIONICS ev- ent Our agency headquar- you can have the best centre or Red Stone ters joined 27NAMES castle) and hospitality. marmalade, butter or ham, two years ago and as our Secondly, from the is currently the but it will never taste great agency event planners point only Central European of view, Bratislava is live marketing agency with poor quality bread. on the Danube River with offices in Slovakia and in the middle of (Bratislava, Kosice), the the “Vienna – Prague – Budapest crossroad”, so Czech Republic (Prague), Poland (Warsaw) and it has the ideal location and position in connec- Hungary (Budapest) we have already brought tion with international airports - it´s 50km from many excellent projects to all of our markets Vienna, Austria, 280km from Prague, the Czech thanks to the cooperation with 27NAMES. Republic and 180km from Budapest, Hungary.
 Q: What is your recipe for a creative and sucQ: What are the current trends in the Slovak cessful event? events market? We have it in the name of our agency CREATIVE I think the below mentioned trends are the ones PRO: spreading all over central & Eastern Europe. 1. Be CREATIVE (inspirational, innovative), Creativity in location and innovation (Analyst become a trendsetter and share your ideas and Relations, digital...) search, concept uniqueness thoughts with the market, educate. 80

Quick Talk

2. Be PRO-active and manage the client expectations. 3.Be PRO-cess oriented, focus on a high level of project management (project plans, meeting minutes, production plans etc.). 4.Be “PRO-sitive” and always look and offer solutions on how to execute and deliver, not on finding reasons why something not possible. 5.Be PRO-fessional in the completely executive phase (lead and let the client rely on your expertise) by a systematic approach and followed by a PDCA (plan – do – check – act) event model. Q: How can venues contribute even more to the success of an event? Venues are the key and co-creators of the whole event; ‘synergy’ is the right name, between the concept and the venue. A good venue is like a good or great bread - you can have the best marmalade, butter or ham, but it will never taste great with poor quality bread.

BMW GROUP SLOVAKIA, The Art of 7, Best product launch, Eventex 2017

Q: In terms of live marketing, event management and production services what, if anything, keeps you up at night? The combination of trying to act as the trendsetter and market influencer and the daily commitment to the best solutions delivery for our best clients. And on time. Q: Tell us about the toughest event you have organised. Well, many, many have been super hard and difficult, but we have always managed well, no less so because of our principles of being “humble” and a “learning by doing” approach.

BMW GROUP SLOVAKIA, The Art of 7, Best product launch, Eventex 2017

Q: How would you describe your job in five words? CREATIVE PRO. PASSION FOR MOMENTS. Q: What has been your star moment to date and your favourite project with which you would praise yourself most strongly? I have this feeling very often, after every single project, when I see a happy client or audience, really, but on the other hand there is nothing older than the success of yesterday... For example 2014 was a great year, when we won four categories on EUBEA (European Best Events Awards) thanks to our client Microsoft and we became the second best event agency in Europe. Also 2017, when we’ve already won the best launch event category at Eventex in Dublin for the BMW 7-series Launch Event for our client BMW Slovakia. I am also very thankful for the local awards in Slovakia (Zlaty Klinec) or in the Czech Republic (CEA).

TALKS – inspirational speakres event



X-BIONIC SPHERE Incomparable Sports-Congress hybrid Text by Gorazd Čad / Photo Credits X-Bionic Sphere

EQUESTRIAN MECCA OF CENTRAL EUROPE Horseback riding is a demanding sport, where both horse and horserider must be in complete harmony. It was probably the idea of this perfect harmony that was the unique inspiration for Slovak billionaire Mario Hoffmann when he wanted to create the ideal environment for the most prestigious of equestrian competitions. The FEI World Endurance Championship, held in Bratislava, thus very quickly established itself as one of the most prestigious championships, to such an extent that it welcomed to Samorin, a suburb of Bratislava, no less than Dubai's Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Makoutma, an ardent enthusiast on horses and recognised worldwide for his horseriding prowess. The horses in Samorin have clearly got it made; the quality of facilities is at the very highest level. Experts concur that such well-conceived and thoughtfully designed equestrian centre is not to be found anywhere else in Europe. In addition to everything else it offers, the view over the race horses and the feel of their presence is a real eye catcher!
 When Mario Hoffmann and Prof. Dr. Bodo Lambertz, founder of the sports equipment factory X-Bionic, joined forces, the initial idea evolved into an enormous business and sports

resort, where training and competition for the 27 Olympic sports can be performed. On top of all that, top quality business meetings can also be carried out here, as the X-Bionic Sphere offers absolutely splendid conditions for the most demanding events and congresses, being located just 20 kilometres from Bratislava.
Bratislava has consequently taken on an important role for hosting business events and at the same time offer an entirely new concept, which is a kind of hybrid between a sports centre, a hotel resort and a prestigious convention centere. On first visiting the centre, one gets to understand its futuristic name, as the feeling you get there is akin to landing on another planet – albeit the kind of planet to which you will want to return on a leisure trip because of its varied offer of sports and entertainment activities. TRAINING FOR SUCCESS Mario Hoffmann is himself a former athlete and former Czechoslovakian canoe champion. His detailed knowledge and understanding of sports training is of great value and he wanted that Slovak athletes could complete their full training at home. 
Last year, the centre acquired its official status as the Slovak Olympic training centre. Its location close to Bratislava, Vienna and Budapest is also quite handy for X-Bionic Sphere. What makes it particularly interesting is that sports teams from Central Europe tend 82

to migrate to the warmer regions through the winter, but those from warmer climes tend to come to Europe, as it corresponds to a different climate. At the moment training regimes are possible for 27 Olympic disciplines, among them being all of the equestrian disciplines, as well as swimming, football, athletics, cycling and others. A new multifunctional sports stadium will soon be added to the mix, built to the size of three handball courts and able to accommodate up to 5,000 spectators. MODERN HOTEL There are currently 282 rooms in the complex, all tastefully and elegantly furnished to a fourstar category standard and suitable for the longer stays required by congress guests and athletes. In the lobby is a reception, bar, shop with top X-Bionic sports equipment and a buffet-style main restaurant. For the most demanding guests a special area of the hotel has been reserved and has been symbolically called the X-Bionic Strato Sphere. It is of a superb design, with precious materials and a butler service part of an exceptional experience, making it the preserve of sheiks, presidents and other ultimate-demanding of guests. For these guests there are 12 suites available, all with terraces overlooking the Danube and the mighty sport-tourist complex at their disposal.

Behind the Scenes


 Tulikino cinema, which translated from Slovak means “cinema for making out”, is impressively innovative. Rather than the old and quite often uncomfortable chairs of regular cinemas it has been equipped with sitting bags - as the owners have said, they want the viewers to be as comfortable as if they were home when they enjoy a movie. Designer Michal Staško, responsible for both x-bionic® spheres, has designed an innovative multiplex cinema which, besides it comfort, makes a further impression with its colourful room that will delight everyone who are open to a slightly different cinematic experience. This hall also takes care of congress guests, which we managed to check out at the time of the 27 Names event that was taking place in it.

X-BIONIC CONVENTION SPHERE The Congress Centre currently includes 12 congress halls, the largest of which can accommodate up to 600 participants and has the added benefit of a high ceiling. This hall is suitable for the most demanding event productions. Event organisers will also love many of the external surfaces: zen-style atriums and delicately

hidden corners to which in good weather you can migrate elements of an event. The centre has very quickly gained in popularity, a huge advantage being the proximity of Bratislava and vast free parking available. There are also numerous options for entertainment and recreation, a bowling centre, four different types of restaurants and two hotel bars being quite noteworthy. Among the restaurants there is the particularly popular Apani‬慢敳 This is unquestionably an impressive facility, one where in particular the concept of the visitor response to it can not leave you feeling in any way indifferent. Luxury materials and thoughtful functionality are key elements of the interior design, all with a touch of the modern. The designers have also taken great care with all the little details, both inside and outside the centre, all of which guarantees the quality execution of events. One of the major advantages here is certainly the sports facilities that will appeal to the more active participants, with another being the strong sustainability of the facility, which is important to the management - it is heated with biomass and they take great care of the recycling of water and energy savings with advanced systems. We believe that the whole story of this facility has put the wind in the sails of a now dynamic MICE industry in Bratislava. The x-bionic® sphere represents a whole universe of sports, leisure and innovation, brought to you in partnership with the global premium sport brand X-BIONIC®.
 x-bionic® sphere
 Dubová ulica 33
 931 01 Šamorín
 Web: 83

QUICK FACTS GENERAL • Resort are of more than 1,000,000m2 
 • Professional conditions for 27 Olympic sports 
 • More than 16,000 grandstand seats for spectators • 4 types of restaurants and 2 bars X-BIONIC® HOTEL • 282 high standard rooms 
 • 12 exclusive roof suites X-BIONIC® CONVENTION SPHERE • 12 conference rooms which includes 2 large congress halls, 3 medium congress rooms, 7 small meeting rooms
 • 120 pax capacity within Tuli Cinema
 • 2 outdoor atriums and 500 pax capacity within spacious foyer
 • Largest conference room in the region for 600 people X-BIONIC® WELLNESS SPHERE • 7 different types of saunas 
 • Salt cave 
 • Turkish bath
 • Facial and body procedures 

 X-BIONIC® SPHERE • 379,167m2 area dedicated to equestrian sport
 • 50m Olympic outdoor pool with tribune for 1,500 visitors
 • 8-lane track and field athletic oval with IAAF certification
 • Football stadium to FIFA standards

Off The Beaten Mice Track

URBAN SPACE Modern design with retro elements. This venue will astound you. Text by Nika Pirnar / Photo credits Urban Space

• OUT THERE • Meet your friends, come for a delicious light meal, try one of their homemade lemonades or just relax on a big sofa. This is a coffee shop that also serves as a bookshop and has a particular atmosphere for which it has become so popular among the locals as well as tourists. You will find the Urban Space at Namestie SNP (SNP square), which is just a few minutes from Bratislava city centre. At the entrance you will see the big sign of »« - you're in the right place. If you’re wondering why is written on the entrance, it’s the title of the online bookshop that was founded there before they launched a coffee shop under the Urban Space name. • STAY • Close to the Urban Space there are numerous boutique hotels, but one really grabbed our attention - Mama's Boutique Hotel, hidden away on a peaceful, leafy residential street behind

Bratislava’s prettiest park. The perfect description for Mama's would be boutique, dignified and offbeat; the hotel consists of 15 rooms and suites and, as an extra bonus, there is a cute terrace out front and a summertime rooftop whirlpool tub that is often devoid of guests. There is also a meeting room with a capacity of 12 people, and among the hotel’s more singular features are a complimentary laptop and the availability of bicycle rental. Whilst most of the restaurants offer Frenchthemed cuisine, at Mama's a pan-Asian food is the speciality - it wowed us! • MEET IN STYLE • One of the owners always wanted to have a coffee shop and as he is a very good (amateur) interior designer, keen on travelling and visiting bars and restaurants around the globe, he decided to create one to his own taste. Following from that, each event held in Urban House will naturally be special and exciting, as 84

the venue has its own unique and personal vibe. Urban Space has hosted various events in the past, from concerts and press conferences to movie nights. They have even had an event for BMW, when the new Mini model was launched. Every two months they host a talk show in the style of »The Late Night Show«, when around 130 people gather there. Any kind of event you will might wish to up with, they will go for. However, in line with their interior design it will need to be creative, different and relaxed. Any great idea or event can be presented at their coffee shop. They can hold events for 130-150 people (depending on the setup), but if you are looking for the space being a bit more personal, Urban Space can accommodate around 80 people. • OFF THE EATEN TRACK • In Urban Space they serve breakfast, main dishes, and various kinds of nibbles. Their staff would highly recommend an Egg Benedict for

Off The Beaten Mice Track

breakfast, the Pulled Pork burger for lunch and their cheesecake at pretty much any time of the day. Their menu is in general quite healthy - try the hummus with pitta bread and olives, which is completely mouth-watering! Otherwise you can find salads, toast and other snacks, all of which are good options for a quick lunch or dinner. Moreover, we can’t overlook their lemonades – our recommendation is to try the elderberry & ginger one with mint and lemon. And for anyone with a sweet tooth there can’t be a day without trying a cake. Thankfully, they have temptingly light and super-tasty cheesecakes! • LOCALISM • Whether you prefer to be sitting at a table, on the sofa or by the bar, you'll find your favourite spot in Urban House, which in also serving as a book store means you can pick up a book from the shelves and have a read, and, if you like it, purchase it as well. They have quite a wide range

of English books, so it is easy to spend hours just reading and chilling out. Their concept of a coffee shop inside a bookstore is the latest addition to Bratislava’s café scene, and walk through the aisles at the very back where you will find many other funny things to buy besides just the books. And whether you prefer older or newer movies there is always something that will catch your eye, as they also have a wide range of nicely displayed DVDs. • GETTING THERE • Urban Space is located at Namestie SNP (SNP square), just a few minutes away from Bratislava city centre. The venue is located in the pedestrian area near Stara tržnica. • DID YOU KNOW • Urban Space has also a »little sister«, named Urban House. As Urban Space became so crowded and visited by all age groups, partly because they come to buy a book and end up 85

staying quite a while longer, they saw the opportunity to create another hip place, which turned out as another »boon« of the venue. Urban House is also located in the city centre, so you always have a choice in case one of the venues is packed (as it often is) to try the other one, or vice versa. The only difference between Urban Space and Urban House is that the latter does not serve as a bookstore, but just(!) as an amazingly furnished coffee shop. • CONTACTS • Urban Space Nam. SNP 30, 81 101 Bratislava W: E: T: 00421 903 908 857

Briefing Ljubljana Tourism

Great start of the year for Ljubljana Tourism



e th

2017 in the sign of the Plečnik Year

u a li t y M a r

t shops and s e re b

nts a ur


st a

Ljubljana had another record year - in statistical terms as well as in terms of content. In 2016 the city was distinguished with the prestigious title of European Green Capital, a period during which a number of new products and experiences were created and unveiled. The boundary line of a million overnight stays was also achieved in September – guests to Ljubljana made 1.306.854 overnight stays, which was a 12% increase on 2015 – and the year was rounded off with a litany of record numbers and new challenges.

In 2017, Ljubljana will commemorate an important anniversary of Plečnik's life (1872-1957). Standing on effectively any corner of Ljubljana’s city streets means coming face to face with the great master’s work.
 Jože Plečnik was a native and a lifelong resident of Ljubljana, and is undoubtedly one of the world's most important pioneers of modern architecture, who left a significant impact by his masterpieces in three European cities – Vienna, Prague and in our own city of Ljubljana. Some like to claim his creations are some of the 20th century's most important complete works of art – we cannot add anything further but to fully agree with the statement.


017 -

r e w a rd i n g

For the 8th year in a row, Ljubljana Tourism has bestowed the Ljubljana Quality Mark 2017 upon the best shops, restaurants, coffee shops and confectioneries in Ljubljana and in the Region of Central Slovenia. This year’s new initiative is the Ljubljana Quality Local Mark, which was awarded to those who provide more than 50% of products of Slovenian origin as part of their offer.



GLASGOW vs. EDINBURGH A current comparison of the closest competitors on the 2015 ICCA scale following the Kongres travelogue methodology – meetologues.

Quality of Life Index (higher is better) is an estimation of overall quality of life by using empirical formula which takes into account purchasing power index (higher is better), pollution index (lower is better), house price to income ratio (lower is better), cost of living index (lower is better), safety index (higher is better), health care index (higher is better), traffic commute time index (lower is better) and climate index (higher is better). e.g. Vienna index for 2016 is 195.97

GLASGOW EDINBURGH *Numbeo Quality of Life Index 2017 4,12/ 173,64

Population: 606.340

Sunshine hours: 1.265 per year

ICCA Country and City rankings 2015 49 place - 54 meetings Global peace index: 3,01 / 53,92

Population: 492.680

Numbeo Quality of Life Index 2017* 4,36 / 196,51

ICCA Country and City rankings 2015 35 place - 67 meetings

Sunshine hours: 1.380 per year

Global peace index: 3,51 / 69,94

✚ Glasgow has realised an urban transformation and has become the congress city in which people want to organise events. This is supported by excellent infrastructure and the connectivity of all players. In the field of infrastructure the King is the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre. It is an events hub that can’t be compared to any other venue in Europe, as it combines a comprehensive range of hotels, special venues and excellent accessibility. It is not surprising that on the ICCA scale last year, Glasgow surpassed destinations such as New York, Munich, Washington, Dublin and Beijing. Looking at the number of events, Glasgow is even ahead of cities such as Melbourne, Geneva, Chicago, Florence, Cape Town and Los Angeles (of 400 cities, Glasgow was ranked in 28th place in 2015). Within the UK, only London has surpassed Glasgow.

✚ Edinburgh is a top destination, which is blessed with outstanding cultural and historical heritage. The destination is in its mature phase, with a fully developed congress infrastructure and excellent destination management. Four universities and numerous centers of excellence in science and art related to the Edinburgh Science Triangle are a guarantee for further successful development of the destination. Congresses and events are a part of a scientific breakthrough and further development of the city, as it stimulates numerous multiplier effects. The key stakeholders in Edinburgh are aware of this and this message should also be transmitted as an example of best practice in new European destinations.

Glasgow meetings flashpoints: 1. The Scottish Exhibition + Conference Centre (SECC) – UKs largest integrated conference and exhibition Centre. 2. Drygate brewery - the UK’s first experiential craft brewery, restaurant, bar and event space 3. Merchant Square - home to an eclectic mix of bars and restaurants set within a covered courtyard. Available for private hire events for up to 1810 people. 4. The Lighthouse - one of Europe’s most visited and renowned architecture and design centres, represents one of Glasgow’s premier and best-equipped conference venues 5. Riverside Museum - unusual, yet authentic venue where memories have been captured to create nostalgic experience

Edinburgh meetings flashpoints: 1. EICC - Edinburgh International Conference Centre – located in the city centre annually hosts more than 200,000 congress guests 2. The Caves – a truly unique venue that makes up the sub-structure of the 18th Century South Bridge 3. The Royal Yacht Britanniay – Berthed in the historic port of Leith, she is now one of the world’s most prestigious corporate event venues 4. The Scotch Malt Whisky Society – it offers rare and exclusive single cask, single malt whiskies from 132 Distilleries. Private function suites can accommodate up to 50 guests. 5. World Best Cities Global Alliance – Edinburgh is a founding member and the only city from United Kingdom in the association.

STAY: Village Hotel Glasgow

STAY: Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa

4.39 / 5

4.44 / 5



Hidden Congress Guest


The Hotel with a Protocol Spirit


Photo credit HOTEL BRDO CATEGORY ★★★★ OPEN SINCE 1975 MEETINGS STAR Resort Hotel STANDARD Hotel with Conference Facilities NUMBER OF ROOMS 78 rooms and suites INTERNET PRICE 75 - 88 EUR (March 2017, Trivago) ADDRESS HOTEL BRDO Predoslje 39, 4000 Kranj, Slovenia T: 00 386 (0)4 260 10 00 E: FACILITIES The Brdo Congress Centre, Wellness centre Vrelec Brdo, Fitness Studio, Golf Brdo, Restaurant of the Brdo Hotel, Complete offer of Brdo Estate EXTRAS The beautiful natural surroundings of Brdo Estate creates a natural environment that you will be part of as a guest of Brdo Hotel.

RESULTS OF ANALYSIS Location Accessibility First impression Lobby Employee attitude Reception Hotel room Hotel bed Bathroom and restroom Hotel breakfast Bars and restaurants Congress hall Additional offer TOTAL:   FINAL GRADE Premium Resort Meeting Hotel


Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

4.85 4.42 4.06 4.39 4.71 4.61 4.32 4.15 4.21 4.71 4.52 4.41 4.75 4.47

Final Score

LOCATION Within the Brdo protocol area and adjoining the Brdo Castle, a nicely decorated park with ponds, sports fields and the Brdo hippodrome, you will find Hotel Brdo along with its restaurant. The hotel is located in one of the most beautiful and carefully landscaped Slovenian protocol sites, which is an extremely popular venue for congress events of the highest level. In addition to its diverse offer a modern convention centre, which is considered one of the best in Slovenia, is sure to leave an impression. Forests, lakes, pieces of sculpture and also the latest addition to the football centre of Slovenia are all stretched out over more than four hundred hectares. The ensemble forms an extremely diverse congress and incentive offer, which is without rival in Slovenia. ACCESSIBILITY The advantage of Hotel Brdo is the proximity of Ljubljana Airport, which is located just 10 kilometres from the hotel, and the city, being 30 kilometres away from Ljubljana. To get to the hotel you will be dependent on your own transport by car, but for hotel guests a free car park near the hotel is at their disposal. As a hotel guest you will be enchanted by the fact that the park is entirely closed to traffic, so your recreation in one of the most beautiful Slovenian parks will be unsullied by traffic noise or pollution. COLD APPETISER – Architecture and aesthetics The architecture of Hotel Brdo is not impressive or heralded, unlike for the nearby convention centre. It is built in a functional architectural style that prevailed in the 1970s, set in a space with a strong identity and framed by the surrounding mountains and pattern of settlement, which the designers tried to follow. The building is perfectly maintained and shows no traces of the ravages of time. The interior of the hotel is much more innovative, epitomised by the entrance hall and pleasant reception following renovation. This fresh new space invites you to stop for a coffee and is largely credited with making a good first impression, which then continues in the rooms and the other areas of the hotel. WARM APPETISER – Staff and Food  The hotel staff is highly qualified and master their work in a way that befits a protocol facility. The breakfast is rich and varied with an impressive selection of different breads and rolls. The most surprising thing of all is the restaurant, which reflects a high level of cuisine at the proper88

ty. The basis of the cuisine is strongly linked to both the Gorenjska region and the seasons (game, trout, dumplings), although you can also find some dishes from the broader Slovenian area (Piran sea bass, prosciutto, stuffed dumplings). The wine list has the best Slovenian wines at very reasonable prices and you will find all of them there - from Brda, Vipava, Karst, Dolenjska and Styria. A superior wine list! MAIN COURSE – The hotel's congress services The rooms are spacious and comfortable, but for guests used to modern design hotels they are possibly a bit outdated. A more pampered guest might wish for slightly more luxurious toiletries and some more hotel gadgets. However, the rooms are suited the hotel category and particularly the structure of the guests, among which congress guests dominate. A strong part of the offer is the four conference halls, two meeting rooms and a VIP lounge. In the vicinity of Hotel Brdo there is the modern Congress Centre Brdo, which with about 9,000m2 of usable space can host all kinds of events. DESSERT – Additional offer Brdo Congress Centre nicely rounds off the offer of the hotel facilities and is considered as one of the most modern convention centres in the region. It received a certificate of excellence in 2014 and was ranked one of the three best conference centres in South-Eastern Europe, selected by the editorial board of Kongres magazine.


FLOP – negative surprises Public transport to the hotel is not available – you get there with your own transport or a taxi.


TOP – positive surprises The friendliness and professionalism of the staff will ensure your well-being with a friendly smile. Overall impression and credibility Hotel Brdo, located in one of the most prestigious locations in Slovenia, is a pleasant surprise, primarily because of its great value for money, excellent restaurant and the varied offer at the estate. High scores on reservation systems bear this out, as on they have recently received an evaluation score of a very high 9.1.

Hidden Congress Guest

PARKHOTEL PÖRTSCHACH ★★★★★ LUXURY Retro view of Lake Wörthersee



CATEGORY ★★★★ OPENED SINCE 1963 MEETINGS STAR Resort Hotel STANDARD Hotel with Conference Facilities NUMBER OF ROOMS 195 hotel rooms and suites INTERNET PRICE 112 - 206 EUR (March 2017, Trivago) ADDRESS PARKHOTEL PÖRTSCHACH Hans Pruscha Weg 5 9210 Pörtschach am Wörthersee, Austria T: +43 4272 2621-0 E: FACILITIES Private beach, Wellness, Tennis Courts
, Putting green, Winery

The HIDDEN CONGRESS GUEST section is not paid for. The selection of hotels, which are evaluated by the hidden congress guest, is left to the editorial board. The hidden guest visits the hotels without prior notice.

EXTRAS Hotel park stretching over a luxurious 40,000m2, with various recreation offer and numerous spots for outside events.

RESULTS OF ANALYSIS Location Accessibility First impression Lobby Employee attitude Reception Hotel room Hotel bed Bathroom and restroom Hotel breakfast Bars and restaurants Congress hall Extras TOTAL:

4.95 4.05 4.49 4.58 4.89 4.79 4.68 4.62 4.73 4.80 4.54 4.59 4.73 4.65

FINAL GRADE Luxury Resort Meeting Hotel


Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

LOCATION A typical Alpine image of Carinthia with its glacial lakes and numerous mountain peaks sets the scene for one of the most beautiful images right in the heart of Pörtschach, the location of the legendary Parkhotel. The view of the turquoise lake with its peninsula is the key reason why this hotel has been attracting so many visitors and events since 1963. The lake could easily be “replaced” with a sea view and you can just as easily imagine spending your summer holidays here as much as an off-season sojourn. With turquoise blue waters, prestigious boats moored, grand villas and plush hotels, a comparison with the French Côte d'Azur draws a lot of similarities. ACCESSIBILITY Villach, just a stone's throw from Lake Wörthersee, is practically a hub of automotive, rail and other routes into Carinthia. The lake lies along one of the most important transport hubs in the Alps and access to the hotel is both scenic and easy. Flight connectivity is improving from year to year; very close by are the neighbour airports of Ljubljana, Venice and Graz. COLD APPETIZER - Architecture and Aesthetics The picturesque location already saw the opening of its first hotel way back in 1872, when the Viennese industrialist, Carl Ernst David Wahliss, developed the first tourist facilities in the city. After a turbulent history, in 1959 a construction of the hotel began, designed by the architect Kurt Köfer. The minimalistic, cubist architecture has become a trademark of the peninsula that today still attracts many architectural enthusiasts. An integral part of the story is a park design that follows the Corbusier concept of open space. Many details of interior design, lighting design and logo design are carefully maintained and create a space of innumerable perspectives and surprises. WARM APPETIZER - Staff and Food Thanks to their chef, you will eat very well in the hotel and there is no fear of being hungry. He pursues the important culinary commandments of the traceability of food and also being regional. The enjoyable cuisine is another part of the hotel story and you will have a smile on your face when you see the breakfast to start your day off. The focus is on local cuisine, presented in a modern way and complemented by an interior design with patina and picturesque views from the hotel restaurant. The wine cellar is also rich and to a high level. As for the waiter service and a personal approach to guests, there is no need to discuss this further – it is excellent and in line with the highest of expectations. 89

Final Score

MAIN COURSE – The hotel's congress services Rooms at the hotel are divided into two categories: Superior and Standard. The former have been renewed in a modern minimalist style, although those not yet renovated are still in excellent condition and have their own charm, albeit that some design lovers may find them a bit outdated. The advantage of the peninsula location is the lake view from every room. The hotel has four conference rooms with a maximum capacity of 450 participants. All the conference rooms have natural daylight and access to the terrace, where you can organise coffee breaks. The hotel’s retro style really grabs you in the halls, especially in combination with the high-tech equipment that is available for events. DESSERT - Additional offer A la carte restaurant with lakeside terrace: you can reserve the restaurant with a view over the turquoise lake for your event. In the summer this is the perfect beach party location.


FLOP – negative surprises The hotel's 60s style will not leave you without an opinion, as you will either be thrilled or dejected by it. In this context, the hotel has the potential to either impress or disappoint guests, which, of course, will be a purely subjective assessment.


TOP – positive surprises The exceptional staff fully dedicated to guests and their comfort. It seems that this has somehow become the standard of Carinthia, then further refined in this hotel. Overall impression and credibility A hotel set in one of the most picturesque locations on Lake Wörthersee. The excellent location offers many different options for organising events and organisers appreciate the outdoor spaces and the capacious exclusivity of the location. Altogether this gives the hotel a specific character and an excellent environment for the organisation of events, making it a hotel with a strong character and an excellent congress offer.

Hidden Congress Guest

SEEPARK HOTEL CONGRESS & SPA ★★★★ PREMIUM View platform above the lake



CATEGORY ★★★★ OPEN SINCE 2012 MEETINGS STAR City Hotel STANDARD Hotel with Conference Facilities NUMBER OF ROOMS 142 hotel rooms INTERNET PRICE 100 - 128 EUR (March 2017, Trivago) ADDRESS MP Seepark Hotel GmbH Universitaetsstrasse 104 9020 Klagenfurt am Woerthersee, Austria T: +43 463 204499 0 E: FACILITIES Restaurant Laguna, Seepark Spa, Bicycle rental, Cafeteria EXTRAS One of the few hotels in the city that can also be reached by boat directly from Lake Wörthersee, or by taking a walk from the picturesque Loretta Castle after dinner, from which the hotel is just a few steps away. RESULTS OF ANALYSIS Location Accessibility First impression Lobby Employee attitude Reception Hotel room Hotel bed Bathroom and restroom Hotel breakfast Bars and restaurants Congress hall Additional offer TOTAL:   FINAL GRADE Premium City Meeting Hotel Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

4.89 4.05 4.57 4.42 4.59 4.34 4.67 4.59 4.81 4.79 4,42 4.48 4.69 4.56


★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

LOCATION Located in a prime location on the edge of Lake Wörthersee and by the central city park, the hotel is at the same time practically in the city centre, which is just 4-5km away and connected by the canal, allowing access for smaller boats. This part of town, where both the University of Klagenfurt and the Lakeside Science and Technology Park can be found, is also a recreation zone for the city, with many programmes that you can take advantage of during your stay. The picturesque beauty of the location is further illustrated by the fact that the hotel is a popular location for weddings and important congress meetings. ACCESSIBILITY Most guests arrive at the hotel by car and are especially appreciative of the large, free car park available. For fans of electric vehicles the hotel's garage also offers 3 charging station. Road access to this part of Klagenfurt is very easy, as the main A2 highway is just a few kilometres away. Klagenfurt Airport is only about 10 minutes away, with flight connectivity to the city gradually improving. Klagenfurt is a congress guest-friendly city, where public transport works very well and taxi prices are quite reasonable. COLD APPETISER – Architecture and aesthetics If you're a fan of modern architecture, then the hotel will not disappoint you. Klagenfurt’s own Architecture Bureau Trecolore has provided an attractive, curved façade that inspires architecture lovers. It seems that they wanted to successfully make an organic link with the picturesque landscape surrounding the hotel; a large glass wall in the wellness centre and conference halls also allows for constant contact with the all-embracing nature. Overall, the hotel works very freshly and in an innovative way, and also with an intelligent interior colour palette and an exterior example of quality architecture. It is also extremely functional and thoughtful for the needs of congress guests. WARM APPETISER – Staff and Food  The first thing guests will notice is the extremely decadent breakfast offer - Hotel Seepark is extremely good in the culinary sector. The restaurant offer is organised and the dishes are carefully chosen with thought given to the wishes of business guests, although there could be some improvements in the wine list to satisfy the most discerning of guests. The cuisine is a combination that can most easily be defined as AlpineMediterranean. It is all rounded with an extremely professional and friendly staff. 90

Final Score

MAIN COURSE – The hotel's congress services The carefully designed hotel room interiors are bright, open and spacious, with modern furniture that comes in various shapes and materials: wood that brings warmth and a homely atmosphere, and large glazed surfaces that offer guests direct contact with the surrounding nature even from inside their hotel rooms. The minimalist touches are revealed in purified detail in the form of the lamps and each of the individual decorative pieces, with and the space further softened by a descending curtain. The congress centre is equipped in a similar style and is ideal for corporate meetings. Five halls are designed for events, the largest taking up to 110 participants. DESSERT – Additional offer Lake Wörthersee – a stay in the hotel can be enhanced by eating at Lake Wörthersee itself, which offers an exceptional experience in any season. In addition to the summer activities connected to the lake’s main tourist offer, you can see also some cultural gems (Velden, Maria Worth and much more).


FLOP – negative surprises A not too prominent reception desk with staff that is professional but perhaps a bit too cold could think of trying to leave a more warm and genuine first impression.


TOP – positive surprises The culinary offer far exceeds the standards of competitive hotels and we also especially recommend the business lunches that were a surprise, including the extremely friendly staff. Overall impression and credibility Architectural excesses, a curved futuristic facade, beautiful surroundings, proximity to the city, quality cuisine...these are just some of the extras offered by Klagenfurt’s leading business hotel. All this is enriched by high standard hotel services and the likeable and pleasant capital of the Austrian province of Carinthia. This hotel is the perfect choice for small conference groups, usually dominated by corporate clients.

Hidden Congress Guest




CATEGORY ★★★★ OPENED SINCE 2009 MEETINGS STAR Boutique Hotel STANDARD Hotel with Conference Facilities NUMBER OF ROOMS 22 rooms and suites INTERNET PRICE 86 - 109 EUR (March 2017, Trivago) ADDRESS Hotel Triglav Bled Kolodvorska 334260 Bled, Slovenia T: +386 4 575 26 10 E: FACILITIES Wine shop, Spa centre, Restaurant 1906, Indoor pool

The HIDDEN CONGRESS GUEST section is not paid for. The selection of hotels, which are evaluated by the hidden congress guest, is left to the editorial board. The hidden guest visits the hotels without prior notice.

EXTRAS Restaurant 1906 is one of the top Slovenian restaurants for true gourmets.

RESULTS OF ANALYSIS Location Accessibility First impression Lobby Employee attitude Reception Hotel room Hotel bed Bathroom and restroom Hotel breakfast Bars and restaurants Congress hall Extras TOTAL: FINAL GRADE Luxury Resort Meeting Hotel Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

4.90 4.51 4.86 4.57 4.84 4.79 4.62 4.54 4.65 4.86 4.67 4.45 4.69 4.69

4.69 ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

LOCATION The hotel is set in a picturesque location next to Bled railway station, which offers a magnificent view over Bled and the small island in the middle of the lake. 
 Small groups are especially drawn to the hotel as it is situated on the peaceful side of the lake, which enables a more visually captivating and intimate congress experience. Before World War II the hotel went through its “golden age”, but the end of the war was the beginning of its decline. When the Rus family regained possession of it under the process of denationalization, they started out on an exemplary renovation that returned it to its former glory, to the romantic age and to an era when guests made their visit to Bled by railway. ACCESSIBILITY In line with a philosophy of sustainability, you can practically reach the front door of the hotel by train. The hotel is located just 200 metres from the lake, 200 metres from the train station and a kilometre from the centre of Bled. Most guests, however, arrive at the hotel by car, by which mode of transport Bled is easily accessible. Even the central Slovenian airport is not too far away and offers a wide choice of flight connections. The hotel staff is also happy to arrange for a shuttle bus for guests that will take your group to the city centre or to one of the picturesque spots in the local area. COLD APPETIZER - Architecture and Aesthetics With both its indoor and outdoor appearance, the hotel clearly reflects the existence of a centuries-old building. Its entire story is imbued in the restored pieces of stylish furniture and paintings. The building was renovated to its original style, so the atmosphere remains sophisticated and with a touch of history too, and with each room stylishly fitted for small conference groups. The building’s wine cellar is particularly interesting and they have also provided a delightful herbal-vegetable garden that could be part of a teambuilding programme. WARM APPETIZER - Staff and Food The hotel staff is flexible and adapts to the desires and need of their guests, who can also be involved in the hotel’s cooking process, as they enable them to enjoy picking herbs and be part of the joint planning of meals. Thanks to the chef de cuisine, Uroš Štefalin, Restaurant 1906 has gained a celebrity status. The level of quality is loyal to his successors, which is the main reason that the restaurant has become a meeting point for gourmets from around the world. An important part of the story is their excellent sommelier, Damir Salkić, who takes care of the excellent selection of wines. 91

Final Score

The restaurant is becoming more and more attractive and interesting to all culinary enthusiasts, as they host various events, culinary schools and days of seasonal delicacies. MAIN COURSE – The hotel's congress services All hotel rooms are stylishly furnished and each tell their own story. On the elegant balconies with amazing views you will be able to enjoy the romantic Alpine atmosphere. DESSERT - Additional offer The hotel bar with piano is an exceptionally comfortable place for organising an after-party. The piano is the same one on which they played during the very first Bled Jazz Festival.


FLOP – negative surprises More pampered guests might long for slightly more luxurious toiletries and a few more hotel gadgets.


TOP – positive surprises The personal approach along with high quality cuisine is a formula for success and always a pleasant surprise. Overall impression and credibility Hotel Triglav is known as being one of the finest boutique hotels in Slovenia, which is suitable for small incentive or conference groups. It can accommodate up to 20 participants who will enjoy a very special family atmosphere.

Hidden Congress Guest

W ISTANBUL ★★★★ PREMIUM Ottoman designer chic


Photo credit W ISTANBUL LOCATION The hotel is located in the area of Besiktas in renovated buildings that were first constructed in 1875 for high-Ottoman officers engaged in the Dolmabahce Palace. Following renovation the picturesque neighbourhood is now very attractive and you might even meet a film crew using the hotel for their set, as happened on our visit. The hotel's location is also ideal for congress participants, being close to "congress valley" and with the ICC (Istanbul Convention Centre) reached by a walk through a pleasant city park. Nisantasi, the so called ‘Soho of Istanbul’, is also close by.

CATEGORY ★★★★ OPEN SINCE 2008 MEETINGS STAR City Meeting Hotel STANDARD Hotel with Conference Facilities NUMBER OF ROOMS 140 rooms and suites INTERNET PRICE 95 - 112 EUR (March 2017, Trivago) ADDRESS W Istanbul Suleyman Seba Cad. Akaretler, Istanbul, Turkey 34357 T: + 90 212 381 2121 FACILITIES FIT Fitness Centre, Day Spa, W Lounge, W Secret Garden EXTRAS W Lounge is a crossover between a bar, lounge and special venue. You can easily imagine a DJ soothing your congress group’s strains after a demanding congress day.

RESULTS OF ANALYSIS Location Accessibility First impression Lobby Employee attitude Reception Hotel room Hotel bed Bathroom and restroom Hotel breakfast Bars and restaurants Congress hall Additional offer TOTAL:   FINAL GRADE Luxury City Meeting Hotel Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

Final Score

4.92 4.89 4.72 4.82 4.69 4.71 4.81 4.92 4.76 4.72 4.91 4.48 4.67 4.77

4.77 ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

ACCESSIBILITY Istanbul is one of the busiest European air hubs, ensuring there are no problems with accessibility, with no small part in this played by the excellent Turkish Airlines. Public transport in this city of superlatives is also getting better and better by the year, which is driven by large investments made in public infrastructure, with the recent arrangement of public transport with two metro programmes and a user-friendly tram system especially impressive. The hotel is just a few steps away from the key transport lines, although the very affordable taxi service is always available. COLD APPETISER – Architecture and aesthetics The first thing to grab you is the external appearance, as the whole street is renovated and oozes the spirit of modern Istanbul with its trendy bars and shops. Then comes the overwhelming experience of the interior, which was designed as the ultimate design hotel by main architect Geonim,. After passing through the Star Wars tunnel-like entrance you find yourself in the W Lounge, which functions as an Ottoman living room where time stands still and reflects the elements of authentic Ottoman architecture used throughout the hotel. A special corner is the W Secret garden, which is an oasis of greenery in the middle of the urban bustle. The hotel is full of interesting contrasts that make a stay there unique and that create a special W culture of living. WARM APPETISER – Staff and Food  The friendly staff meets the expectations of the W brand philosophy - youthful and casual, and for those who appreciate that then entering the hotel will make you feel like you’ve just walked into your own home. There is also a concierge located in a nice area in the middle of the lounge and who is available 24/7. To start the day, the breakfast is indulgent and varied, served in a special corner of the lounge. The special microenvironment in and surrounding the hotel encourages 92

both sitting around with friends and socializing with strangers. The concentration of bars in the area around the hotel is so intense that we’d recommend that you make a trip to one of the nearby streets for lunch or dinner, where you will find bars catering to all tastes. MAIN COURSE – The hotel's congress services The hotel rooms are a nice surprise with their darker chocolate colour tones that are interwoven with red details, which creates a pleasant and somewhat exotic atmosphere. The luxurious bathroom open to the bedroom enhances the exoticism yet further. The rooms offer five different types of lighting, which at a hotel of such character becomes almost an expectation, as does the quality of the sheets the hotel provides. The hotel offers 11 different types of rooms, some of which have access to the fabulous garden with its cabana. The conference centre includes four conference halls, the largest of which can accommodate up to 80 participants. The chambers are ideal for those more intimate congress events. DESSERT – Additional offer Designer pieces that bring together the image the hotel presents, with furniture that is specifically made for the hotel and is a reinterpretation of Ottoman architecture.


FLOP – negative surprises Lovers of coffee and tea will miss a coffee machine in the rooms, but given the location give the personal approach a go and have some Turkish coffee at the bar.


TOP – positive surprises The central bar in the hotel lounge offers a communal table for special evening events alongside a number of individual tables scattered around for more intimate socializing. Overall impression and credibility To simplify it all a bit, but still try to capture its essence: The W Istanbul is a hotel that convinces guests who care for design and mainly trust the known brands. It makes you forget the idea of a cold and dull hotel lobby and rooms, and you will be surprised at every little detail you encounter with at every step. If you decide to visit during the low tourist season, you will also be pleasantly surprised by the price, or at least the ratio between quality and price. You will either be impressed or disappointed by the hotel. Our final impression was firmly crystallized – an excellent design hotel, which clearly differs from the more stereotypical chain hotel offer.


Been There

EMEC 2017



Advertorial Been There

JADRAN CRIKVENICA Congresses with a view


nly two kilometers from the center of Crikvenica, there is an address well known amongst both fans of fantastic vacations, as well as people working in the business sector. Surrounded by a Mediterranean garden at a location that offers an irresistible view of the sea, you will find Hotel Omorika, an up-and-coming meeting place for business partners. Its three multi-functional halls, which can be connected to one another, can accommodate up to 337 people. The halls are equipped with LCD projectors, screens, flipchart boards, microphones and a speaker system, and are suitable for organizing various gatherings, seminars, meetings, presentations, and conferences. The friendly and experienced hotel staff will gladly help you organize coffee breaks, and business lunches and dinners. The hotel has 115 rooms, a restaurant that accommodate up to 500 people, a terrace that seats a hundred people, and all guests have Wi-Fi access. If you would like to let off some steam after your workday, you can do so in the fresh sea air, while playing at the sports facilities, located next to the hotel. Whether you play tennis with a colleague, mini-football, ping-pong, or mini-golf, the choice is yours. For those seeking adventure, there is an adrenaline park located near the hotel, and if you would just like to enjoy the view of the sea, with your favorite drink in hand, the hotel complex has several café bars and restaurants at its disposal. The Jadran Hotel Group, which includes Hotel Omorika, is expanding its congress offer with its congress halls in the newly renovated Hotel Katarina in the nearby town of Selce. Jadran d.d.Bana Jelačića 16 51260 Crikvenica Hrvatska


Young Talents





Event Sales Specialist at Union Hotels



Interview by Nika Pirnar / Photo credits Union hotels

Q: What is your favourite meetings brand? Getting to know Union hotels, of which I am lucky to be a part of since last year, has shown me a great deal. We not only offer accommodation, culinary services and meeting facilities, we offer and fulfil a variety of client’s wishes and expectations, through personalised service. We always do our utmost best.

 Q: What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done? Waking up one morning and deciding to move to London. Finishing my undergradute studies in Ljubljana brought me to the crossroad of what I wanted to do in life. Following the road to Event Management brought me to London. Alone and not knowing what to expect, but it was the best decision I ever made to succeed in the career I chose. 

TINA BRICELJ, EVENT SALES SPECIALIST AT UNION HOTELS Career Path: Banqueting Sales Executive at the Caledonian Private Members Club in London; Sales Specialist & Associate Sales Manager at Four Points by Sheraton Ljubljana Mons; Event Sales Specialist at Union Hotels in Ljubljana.

Q: What’s your alternative career fantasy? It’s funny, but when I was 8 years old I was drawing pictures and making plans for my own hotel. Today, nearly 20 years later, I am working at Union hotels, a landmark of Slovenia’s hospitality. It seems life has always been steering me into this (right) direction. But if I had to choose a different path - photography is my second passion.
 Q: What are you obsessed with at the moment? Right this moment - my two cats. I love animals and my Nala and Lexy are just adorable little things. 



Q: Your goals before 50? They say that goals that don’t have a timeline are called dreams. So, setting the timeline at the age of 50, I aspire to living my life surrounded by people I love and things I enjoy doing. Balancing a family-life with work, along with great true friends, seeing the world and its glories, together with a positive energy and passion for living.

“They say that goals that don’t have a UNION HOTELS timeline are called dreams.“ IN THE HEART OF THE CITY

STORY Ljubljana




“Giv e

events m o

g y! ” r e en

ur yo

KISIKURA is a pure oxygen therapy producing unparalleled effects on the human body. If you wish for a natural revitalizing oxygen experience, you only need to relax in a comfortable chair … and breathe in … Oxygen!

Why Oxygen? More oxygen will: • increase the level of your energy, • revitalize your body, • clear your thoughts, • relieve stress-induced headaches, • maximize memory functions, etc.

Benefits of KISIKURA stand: • Relaxing corner • Innovative product for promotion and marketing • Online presentation - feedback information • Chance for B2B meetings • Video presentation - LCD • Strong visual exiting ...

How does it work? It’s so simple! All you have to do is visit KISIKURA stand, sit and relax in our comfortable chairs. Our nice staff will do all the rest – Oxygen is inhaled through a sterile nasal attachment, a device is in place to extract nitrogen from the air you breathe in, leaving 92 % to 98 % of oxygen, enabling you to inhale up to five times more oxygen. Results? Pure physical energy! Revitalized body! No more headaches!

KISIKURA references: • IBTM World, Innovation Zone - Top 10 Innovations, Barcelona • Cannes Film Festival • 34th World Congress of Sports Medicine • Poker stars Grande Final Monte Carlo • Conventa – European Exhibition for Meetings • SIW – Slovenian Incoming Workshop • 4th Croatian’s Forum of Congress Industry • Roche, Congress of Clinical Chemistry • Lions golf tournament • Microsoft Slovenia, NT Conference • Marathon Zagreb • ADE festival – Amsterdam • Internautica boat show • Storck Adria • Elan Yachting • SOF • Golden Drum

Give your brand an additional Oxygen: Oxygen bar KISIKURA can be info point or relaxing corner for every indoor or outdoor events (fairs, congresses, sports events, marathons, festivals ...). It is completely mobile, adds a variety to any of your event and can be completely branded to promote your brand or your new product according to your wishes. During a few minutes of KISIKURA Oxygen therapy, visitors enjoy reading your catalogue or watch a presentation of your brand and products on an iPad in a relaxed environment. KISIKURA brings a breath of fresh energy to your event!

Contact: Vanja Đorđević Manager T: +386 (0) 30 656 170

O re

xygen a n d




Goodie Bags. Redefined.

Trusted by Planners, Loved by Attendees.

Website: Eventbaxx redefines the goodie bag by providing a 21st century solution to connecting brands with their target audience at any kind of event. Eventbaxx enables event organisers of all sizes and participating brands as exhibitors, partners and sponsors with the possibility of creating beautiful, rich content in seconds (global and personal vouchers, discounts, digital give-aways, surveys, quizzes and much more) without the need for any knowledge of design or coding, and share it with their event attendees via one click-through email or opt-in mask. Event attendees can access their personalized Eventbaxx easily via a one-click solution without download, register or log in. The powerful dashboard provides event organisers and brands real-time data analytics & data evaluation to measure their return on investment.

Website: EventMobi is a unique event technology platform that empowers organisations to create powerful, technology-fuelled experiences for their meetings, conferences or trade shows.​Completely integrated with the market’s leading event app feature suite includes customizable registration sites, gamification, live polling and feedback tools, as well as the newest product Live Display, a digital signage solution. Seamless integration from one stage of the process to the next saves planners time and money while effectively measuring success through unparalleled reporting and analytics. With one easy-to-use platform, EventMobi is making it simple for planners to cut costs, engage attendees, and go green!

 Currently used by over 8,000 event planners in 40 countries around the world, EventMobi is a leading event technology company providing technology for clients like Disney, GE, and Intel. With headquarters in Canada, offices in the United States and Germany, and an international network of partners, EventMobi has reached millions of attendees in over 72 languages.



GRANADA vs. MARIBOR A current comparison of the closest competitors on the 2015 ICCA scale following the Kongres travelogue methodology – meetologues.

*Quality of Life Index (higher is better) is an estimation of overall quality of life by using empirical formula which takes into account purchasing power index (higher is better), pollution index (lower is better), house price to income ratio (lower is better), cost of living index (lower is better), safety index (higher is better), health care index (higher is better), traffic commute time index (lower is better) and climate index (higher is better).e.g. Vienna index for 2016 is 195.97

GRANADA MARIBOR *Numbeo Quality of Life Index 2016 4,30/ 195,16

Population: 237.540

Sunshine hours: 2.935 per year

ICCA Country and City rankings 2015 254th place - 9 meetings Global peace index: 3,57 / 71,46

Population: 95.881

Numbeo Quality of Life Index 2016* 4,20/ 181,21

ICCA Country and City rankings 2015 374th place - 4 meetings

Sunshine hours: 2.037 per year

Global peace index: 3,80 / 77,66

✚ This might come across as something of an exaggeration, but such a rich combination of natural and historical experiences and contrasts are difficult to find in the otherwise attraction-loaded Spain. Granada is nestled between the largest Spanish ski resort of Sierra Nevada and the nearby Costa del Tropico. This creates an unprecedented combination of experiences that attracts both incentive organisers as well as organisers of professional associations.The generator of its development is their Congress center, complemented by about 4,000 hotel rooms in the vicinity. A whole chain of suppliers is available – from PCOs, DMCs and event agencies. In our view, the number of events would increase with better airline accessibility - the city has great potential in the fields of science and new technologies that are not yet able to be fully exploited.

✚ Maribor is one of the most promising meetings destinations in Slovenia. The city is historically, ethnically and culturally extremely interesting. It gives an impression of familiarity and warmth. Unfortunately the city lacks an attractive story that would also attract foreign event organisers. The main reason is the inexistence of a convention bureau. Maribor has everything that is necessary for development. On the other hand people are not fully aware of the potential the meetings industry could have. Maribor is an excellent meetings destination whose biggest problem are its meetings identity and visibility and the absence of co-operation between the suppliers. In Maribor you will not be able to find a specialised DMC agency with local knowledge.

Granada meetings flashpoints: 1. The Granada Exhibition and Conference - In the centre of the city with over 4,00 hotel rooms within walking distance. You will find meeting spaces with a capacity from 8 to 4,000 participants. 2. Carmen de Los Mártires - The Granada City Council offers this emblematic palace for hosting different events. 3. El Capricho Events - Special venue, has the great reputation to have hosted many of the more important Events of all Andalusia 4. Carmen de Isabela - Located in a singular 19th century mansion, is the most avant-garde place in Granada with a large garden for the reception or banquet. 5. Incentives in Sierra nevada ski and mountain resort - With more than 105 kilometres of trails contained in 120 ski runs, Sierra Nevada provides one of the largest and most attractive skiing domains in southern Europe.

Maribor meetings flashpoints: 1. Habakuk Congress Centre - Centre can be proud of the wide range of events and other business meetings that have already been held here by some of Slovenia’s largest companies and 2. Green Village Ruševec - example of ecological, sustainable and green tourism in Slovenia. 3. Hotel Bellevue - at the top of Pohorje mainly attract those businessmen for whom the forests of Pohorje, the fresh air and the remoteness from urban hustle and bustle are a welcome break. 4. Maribor Regional museum - The Maribor city castle’s position in the centre of the city makes it a special point of interest and special venue. 5. Pohorje Incentives - Pohorje represents an excellent link between city life and nature, culture and sport. Pohorje is a place where man and nature areCo-creators of a mosaic of diverse incentive experiences.

STAY: Barceló La Bobadilla / 5*****

STAY: Hotel Habakuk / 4****

4.14 / 5

3.85 / 5




Vintage is the new black, and so is Pony – nostalgic, vintage but new Text by Nika Pirnar / Photo credits Rog, Tomislav Moze, Red Bull Content Pool

Pony, the bicycle produced at Rog Factory, was once a common bicycle for simple people. It has more recently, however, become a status symbol, and in Slovenia the production of the Pony bicycle along with its cult status is back – only with a different guise and price. To explain all this we need to wind the clock back to the year 1949.

The beginning of the Pony era

Pony really became “hot property” in Slovenia in 2015, when the “Red Bull Goni Pony” (Pony, drive like a lunatic!) event was held for the first time. Doesn’t sound quite crazy enough yet? Well, bear with us - the point of the event is to cycle from Kranjska Gora all the way to the Vršič Mountain Pass (at an elevation of 1,611 metres (5,285 ft.), which is the highest pass in Slovenia, as well as the highest in the Eastern Julian Alps), but the fun really comes with the Pony bikes not having any gears, so now think of cycling 13.5 kilometres uphill to the Vršič Pass, with 801 metres of incline and 24 paved bends to navigate. Oh, and add to this that every contestant needs to dress up in retro style and then try to picture the 573 contestants with retro Pony bikes showing up for the 2016 “Red Bull Goni Pony” event. Getting crazier now? In Slovenia, they say you are not a real Slovene if you haven’t climbed Mount Triglav. But now they say that you’re not a real Slovene if you haven’t cycled up the Vršič Mountain Pass with Pony bike (without any gears).

Pony, the bicycle produced at Rog Factory, was once a common bicycle for simple people. It has more recently, however, become a status symbol, and in Slovenia the production of the Pony bicycle along with its cult status is back – only with a different guise and price. To explain all this we need to wind the clock back to the year 1949.

The point of the »Goni Pony« event is to cycle from Kranjska Gora all the way to the Vršič Mountain Pass (at an elevation of 1,611 metres (5,285 ft.), which is the highest pass in Slovenia, as well as the highest in the Eastern Julian Alps), but the fun really comes with the Pony bikes not having any gears, so now think of cycling 13.5 kilometres uphill to the Vršič Pass, with 801 metres of incline and 24 paved bends to navigate.

As with many of the products of the socialist economy, the Pony bicycle was also copied (with a clear conscience), as Pony is a very accurate reproduction of the Graziella Italian bikes that which were produced in Tuscany from the year 1964 on.

Hipster Pony era Wandering around Ljubljana, many Rog bikes - also Pony ones - can be seen on the streets. In fact, there seem to be millions of them! The younger generations took them from their parents’ and grandparents’ garage, dusted them off and…they were as good as new again.
 Pony is the classic bike from the Slovenian and Yugoslavian pioneer generations and juveniles from the end of 60s. The Pony was the best gift for the sacrament of confirmation or for excellent school success at the end of the school year.

Old name, new guise – the present Pony era The Rog brand was recently up for sale and the company Gorenje bet on an upturn of the cult Rog brand. They estab-



The beginning of the Pony era


he Rog factory was established in the year 1949 and just 3 years later the first bikes were being produced and quickly became the hip bike of Yugoslavia. Every household had at least one bicycle from the Rog factory, and in the year of 1965 the factory, in the spirit of modernist progress, came to the idea of creating a foldable bicycle. As with many of the products of the socialist economy, the Pony bicycle was also copied (with a clear conPhoto credits: Singer of a Slovenian muscience), as Pony is a very sic group Bele vrane, Doca Marolt next to the Pony bicycle, Ljubljana, June 1969. accurate reproduction of Photo Marjan Ciglič, Archive of National the Graziella Italian bikes Museum of Contemporay History that which were produced in Tuscany from the year 1964 on. At the high point of the Rog Factory, around 1987, around 350,000 bicycles were produced each year. In 1996 the 17 millionth bicycle was produced, but at that time only 150,000 bikes were produced per year. By 2010, the Rog factory had ceased to exist. Needless to say that the Rog factory forms an important part of Slovenian industrial heritage and it is still an important building with a great storyline for anyone keen on Rog bicycles made in the spirit of Yugonostalgia. Nowadays the Rog factory is an open space, where societies from the creative and socially critical backgrounds gather and wish to retain the factory for non-profit cultural, artistic and activist activities.

As with many of the products of the socialist economy, the Pony bicycle was also copied (with a clear conscience), as Pony is a very accurate reproduction of the Graziella Italian bikes that which were produced in Tuscany from the year 1964 on.

Hipster Pony era Wandering around Ljubljana, many Rog bikes - also Pony ones - can be seen on the streets. In fact, there seem to be millions of them! The younger generations took them from their parents’ and grandparents’ garage, dusted them off and…they were as good as new again.
 Pony is the classic bike from the Slovenian and Yugoslavian pioneer generations and juveniles from the end of 60s. The Pony was the best gift for the sacrament of confirmation or for excellent school success at the end of the school year.
But Pony really became “hot property” in Slovenia in 2015, when the “Red Bull Goni Pony” (Pony, drive like a lunatic!) event was held for the first time. Doesn’t sound quite crazy enough yet? Well, bear with us - the point of the event is to cycle from Kranjska Gora all the way to the Vršič Mountain Pass (at an elevation of 1,611 metres (5,285 ft.), which is the highest pass in Slovenia, as well as the highest in the Eastern Julian Alps), but the fun really comes with the Pony bikes not having any gears, so now think of cycling 13.5 kilometres uphill to the Vršič Pass, 101

with 801 metres of incline and 24 paved bends to navigate. Oh, and add to this that every contestant needs to dress up in retro style and then try to picture the 573 contestants with retro Pony bikes showing up for the 2016 “Red Bull Goni Pony” event. Getting crazier now? In Slovenia, they say you are not a real Slovene if you haven’t climbed Mount Triglav. But now they say that you’re not a real Slovene if you haven’t cycled up the Vršič Mountain Pass with Pony bike (without any gears).

The point of the »Goni Pony« event is to cycle from Kranjska Gora all the way to the Vršič Mountain Pass (at an elevation of 1,611 metres (5,285 ft.), which is the highest pass in Slovenia, as well as the highest in the Eastern Julian Alps), but the fun really comes with the Pony bikes not having any gears, so now think of cycling 13.5 kilometres uphill to the Vršič Pass, with 801 metres of incline and 24 paved bends to navigate.

Old name, new guise – the present Pony era The Rog brand was recently up for sale and the company Gorenje bet on an upturn of the cult Rog brand. They established the “Gor kolesa” company and invited BTC Ljubljana into a partnership. They began with the production of Pony bikes in autumn of the previous year, from March on, and one can now pre-order it in Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia.
The “new” Pony is an aluminium foldable city bicycle with internal gears and modern features.
It is more attractive and you can get it in Sport or Classic versions, available in 28 different colours and with elaborated ergonomics and use of top quality materials.
In 2018 they plan to produce aluminium and carbon frame mountain bikes, with future plans looking at electric bicycles. As they now claim, the new Pony will be similar to the old one only as much as the Volkswagen beetle has in common with the old cult beetle.
The Pony has once again become alive, but from the common bike for simple people has arisen a status symbol – judging also by the price.
The Pony bikes are produced in Velenje, which is also known among Slovenians as Tito’s town, another irony linked to the Yugonostalgia. We wonder if the new Pony is hip and modern enough to be bought by every household, or is the real, vintage and unique one from the 60s the only true Pony bike that’s to be loved by so many generations? Only time will tell. Until then we’ll stick to the strapline of the Pony and cycling spirit: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”

The new Pony will be similar to the old one only as much as the Volkswagen beetle has in common with the old cult beetle.

Inside Ljubljana


»Flexibility of a food court, ambiance of a stylish restaurant« Text by Nika Pirnar / Photo credits Slovely PARK

• OUT THERE • Slovely Park is first and foremost a venue for socializing, and then come the amazing dishes available at the food court, where one can find four amazing providers who are linked by a common passion. We like to call Slovely Park a ‘culinary street’ or a ‘Closed Kitchen’ (as Ljubljana already has an Open Kitchen in the summer time at the Pogačarjev square), since it gathers together several providers under the same roof.
 You can meet up with your friends or prepare an event without having to worry about any special diets of those invited, as Bištro will take care of all the meat, burger and salad fans, while at Verace one can give an authentic Neapolitan pizza a try, lavished as it is with original ingredients from Naples and made with the artisan pizza preparation learnt through the centuries. For all the desserts, croissants or bread prod-

ucts Zebra Patisseries is on hand to look after you and for wine, gin, beer and amazing coffee the serving takes place at “S – dobra kava, dober dan” (With good coffee, a good day begins!). If you’re ready for some wine tasting and looking for some amazing bottles to take home then the Balthazar wine store might be the direction you need to head in. 
 Alongside all of the delicious dishes and beverages on offer you can also meet up at Slovely Park to participate in one of their many events and workshops, or just drop by for a quick purchase of Slovenian products that will soon be available there (olive oil, wine, books, etc.). • STAY • The Hotel Lev is located very centrally, not far from the business centre of Ljubljana and just a short walk to Slovely Park. The Grand Hotel Union belongs to the hotel group that also incor102

porates the 4 star Hotel Lev, featuring 173 guest rooms and 9 function rooms.
 Meeting planners will be excited by the Karantanija conference hall, located on the ground floor of the Hotel Lev and with its largest conference hall welcoming up to 400 guests. • MEET IN STYLE • Any type of event that in one way or another is connected to gastronomy can be hosted at Slovely Park. In a seated format up to 140 people can be accommodated, whilst standing allows for up to 300 people – with still having enough space for normal breathing!
 With the Slovely Park team knowing that without great ingredients dishes cannot be as tasty as they are, they'd be happy to share with your guests a bit of their knowledge about the food and beverages. They love what they do and with every passing day they make great efforts

Inside Ljubljana

to constantly improve, something that organising an event under their roof will demonstrate – they most certainly will not let you down!
 Should you have any other special requests regarding incentive programmes they would again be happy to liaise with you to – from theme parties, team building sessions, gin, wine or beer tasting, they can make it all happen. • LOCALISM • The best thing about Slovely Park is that is home to five providers who do not compete with each other, and whilst everyone works for himself they at the same time all work together. Under the same roof are shared tables, chairs and the other infrastructure needed for guests.
 The basic idea here was to connect the providers who wouldn’t be able to carry out a project of such scale on their own – but as a team, it became possible. Each provider at Slovely Park

pays their share of the rent and in exchange they get a settled home and, last but not the least, joint promotion. • GETTING THERE • This attractive glass-fronted venue going by the Slovely Park name can be found next to the GR - Exhibition and Convention Centre and hosts the five independent businesses working together to provide something for everyone. Located just 20 minutes’ walk from Ljubljana Old Town you’ll find the bar with coffee and drinks, patisserie for bread and cakes, bistro with a menu of more substantial dishes (with plenty of meat and burgers), amazing pizzeria with Neapolitan pizzas and the wine store where you can purchase or taste more than 100 different wines from Slovenia and elsewhere. Items from the various providers can be mixed and matched, so you get to enjoy the best of all of them. 103

• DID YOU KNOW • The Slovely Park team learned about the concept of integration and co-creation from restaurants abroad and were immediately impressed by the idea. Keeping it in mind, they got together when they realized that when they connected and aspired to the same goal, nothing seemed impossible and the realised how much stronger they were together. All five of the providers look forward to spoiling their guests in their own special way through culinary masterpieces. • CONTACTS• Slovely Park 
 Dunajska cesta 20, 1000 Ljubljana
 T: 00386/ 70 171 583

Inside Ljubljana


»Time is Money« Text by Nika Pirnar / Photo credits ZIFERBLAT

“Ziferblat gave to me, personally, plenty of important life lessons - I learned that everything that is supposed to happen needs to happen at the appropriate time and with the right people to carry out the event, as only the right people and the right time can make the event special and sincere.” - Maša, Slovenia • OUT THERE • Ziferblat is a place where the only thing not free is the time. It’s a place for socialising where you can really make yourself feel at home. You can enjoy a cup of coffee, help yourself to some biscuits or make your own pancakes. And when the bill comes, the only thing you pay for is the time spent in Ziferblat. 
 The Ljubljana Ziferblat is the world's 13th Ziferblat to have opened its doors. The guests are actually micro-tenants and co-creators of whatever might be happening there. It’s neither a flat nor a cafe, but rather something in between, a space of freedom where you can do whatever you want: play the piano, chess, talk to complete strangers, read a book, prepare a snack and share it with friends, or perhaps do some work or even have a meeting. • STAY • The Hotel Cubo, situated in a 1930s residential building that was converted in 2011, is a small

design hotel located in the heart of the city centre and near Ziferblat. The hotel restaurant, serving seasonal menus based on a fusion of Mediterranean cuisines and with the use of fresh, carefully selected local ingredients, offers the ultimate culinary experience.
 It is easy to meet in Hotel Cubo, as it has two meeting rooms of a minimalistic design, strategically placed lighting and the latest in audio-visual equipment. • MEET IN STYLE • In Ziferblat you can have any kind of event that you might imagine hosting in your own living room, so all of your guests and invitees will certainly feel comfortable and cosy. You can host all kinds of lectures, from relaxed pillow conversations through to serious conferences or even a movie screening. In Ziferblat, they have hosted any kind of event that you could possibly imagine. On Fridays they normally bake pan104

cakes and as a part of an international students conference of comparative literature studies, First page, they hosted a literary breakfast while reading poetry. Last Christmas they hosted a Christmas dinner for everyone who couldnt make it home for the holiday. Around 30 people gathered at Ziferblat and, despite the fact that they were complete strangers, by the end of the evening they left as new friends. Ziferblat might be the only venue where you will really feel like being at home - you can take off your shoes, look through the drawers and talk to everyone and anyone present. You can also feel free to play the piano or guitar and nobody will be counting how many teas or coffees youve drunk or how many biscuits you might have nibbled. They will even teach you how to prepare a coffee, so you can then prepare one to your taste. A room for events can accommodate up to 35 people, while the whole venue can accommodate up to 60. As a bonus they have a silent room, to which one

Inside Ljubljana

“It doesn't feel like we visited a cafe, but like we've been visiting friends that we've known for a long time.” Piotr and Karolina, Poland

“It's funny how Ziferblat can change the most introverted people into completely opposite ones – talkative and, frankly, curious ones.” - Tilen, Slovenia

can slip away from the crowded environment and have a skype call or a business meeting in private. • LOCALISM • In Ziferblat, they abide by the principle of sourcing tea from Slovenian suppliers. The story with the coffee is a little bit special too - they buy it at the cooperative store Buna, who bring their coffee to Slovenia via fair trade. 
 If you’re feeling peckish you can also help yourself to a toast with butter, marmalade and honey in Ziferblat. Besides this you will also find some more culinary delights in the fridge, and should there be any special request, a selected pudding can be prepared to order. • GETTING THERE • The Ljubljana Ziferblat is located in a luxury flat at 8 Vegova ulica, converted to a social salon with a large window overlooking the street. It is

just a hop away from Kongresni trg (Congress square) and Trg Francoske Revolucije (French Revolution Square), where a monument to Napoleon's Illyrian Provinces stands – they say it’s the only monument of Napoleon outside of France. • DID YOU KNOW • The name Ziferblat, which means ‘clock face’ in Russian (Zifferblatt), has associations with clocks and time, symbolic of Ziferblat's policy of charging five cents for every minute you spend there. 
 The idea of Ziferblat comes from Russia, that is to say from Moskow, where Ian Mitin started the idea of the venue back in 2011. At the outset, Ziferblat was just a little room where poetry was read with a cup of tea. Soon afterwards, the place became too crowded, which was the beginning of the Ziferblat we know today. There are more than 13 Ziferblats around the world, being also 105

located in Ulaanbaatar, London, Liverpool and Kiev.
 Nowadays plenty of people cannot imagine their life without this cosy space in the heart of Ljubljana. Ziferblat invites all kinds of people to the venue when hosting any type of events, encourages people to be curious, to be talkative and open to everything unknown – which is actually the purpose of this social experiment. • CONTACTS • Ziferblat Ljubljana Vegova ulica 8, 1000 Ljubljana W: E: T: 00386 30 456 056

Inside Ljubljana


“Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” Text by Nika Pirnar / Photo credits Museum of Illusions

itself, the layout of the items and carefully selected content bringing the best to the venue and bringing a special ambience and colour to each and every event held there. As the museum is divided into two levels it can feel like being in an apartment and offer a feeling of familiarity and intimacy, whilst the lively layout of each room simultaneously creates a feeling of exploring and discovering the unknown. 
 The Museum of Illusions will meet all of your needs, so all you need to do is make the decision to offer your employees or partners a completely unexpected event. Be brave and choose something unexpected and exciting!


• STAY •

The Museum of Illusions is a museum of fun and educational experience, where you can test the limits of your perception. Inside, relativity is something that you experience quite literally. The illusions provide a different experience of space and everything you think you know about it.
In the museum, each visitor is encouraged to think about perception, the human brain and science through the various installations in the form of holograms, puzzles and much more. Despite the fact that it has “museum” in its name, it is okay here to scream, laugh, run around, touch and be interactive with anything ‘on exhibit’. The central purpose of the museum is that it is fun, informative and, above all, different from other museums. 
 The museum offers around 40 exhibits, optical illusions and holograms. Smaller installations such as the Mirror of Truth, Rubin's Vase and Albert Einstein's Hollow Face can be found throughout the museum. Photos and holograms change, appear and disappear in front of your eyes.
 In the museum, you will also find various rooms of illusion: the anti-gravity room, a rotated room, the infinity disco room, the vortex tunnel and a playroom with didactic-logical games and enigmas.
Oscar Wilde said that ‘illusion is the first of all pleasures’. In the Museum of Illusions you have the chance to find out how true that is…

Hotel Cubo is located in the centre of Ljubljana and a stone’s throw from the Museum of Illusions. It is housed in a historic, protected building that has been enriched with a fresh, modern design. An excellent location, spacious rooms and select furnishings represent only a small part of what a superior hotel must offer its guests. The hotel is also capable of providing all the services of large hotels, but with a distinct, intimate atmosphere with special attention paid to each guest.
 Business guests will be particularly charmed by the hotel offer, as they will find a fitness room, a multipurpose space for business and social events and a restaurant that is also available for outside guests. • MEET IN STYLE • Looking for a special venue that will captivate and inspire attendees? Then the Museum of Illusions is your perfect choice! You can plan any kind of event here – press conferences, a celebration or theme party, launching a new brand, video shoots, corporate events – you name it! 
 In the past, they have hosted various events at different times and have also cooperated with the Unicef project, when the Museum of Illusions became a “Museum of Reality” with the Unicef theme. Through all this work the museum has learned that the venue is special in 106

• GETTING THERE • The museum is located at Congress Square (Kongresni trg), which is one of Ljubljana’s central squares, so the Museum of Illusions is hard to miss. There are plenty of important monuments around the square and you’ll find the University of Ljubljana and Slovenian Philharmonic buildings there too. Next to the square is Zvezda Park, which stretches across the central part of the square and is also the site of several historical attractions, such as the gilded bronze statue of a Roman patrician. • DID YOU KNOW • Although the Museum of Illusions is new to Ljubljana, it’s not the first of its kind in Europe. Zadar, Croatia, also has a Museum of Illusions, as does Barcelona, Moscow and St Petersburg. Taking care of the smooth functioning, fresh breezes and crazily innovative ideas in the museum in Ljubljana are nine young people who enjoy the illusions and get to experience them every single day. • CONTACTS • Museum of Illusions Kongresni trg 13, 1000 Ljubljana W: E: T: 00386 1 320 54 66



PLAVA LAGUNA Combination of business success and enjoyment


t has 13 hotels (six 4**** hotels, including the Bonavia Hotel in Rijeka, six 3*** hotels and one 2** hotel), 4 apartment villages and 4 campsites, having the total accommodation capacity for 22.000 guests. Their 13 hotels have conference halls and meeting rooms which can accommodate 10 to 600 people, providing audiovisual and other equipment. There you will find everything you need for a professional organization of business events while pleasant Mediterranean climate and natural environment will ensure you get the piece and comfort you need. A combination of the pleasant and the useful - this might just be the essence of their message and the goal of their offer for the organization of congresses, seminars, work meetings, symposiums, presentations, sports events, weddings, gala dinners, refreshments during work meeting breaks, as well as folklore evenings, special entertainment programs and animation in Laguna PoreÄ? facilities. After the regular program, they also offer relaxation in one of exceptional outdoor or indoor sports-recreational facilities, gym, swimming pool or wellness. Staying in Istria without getting to know its inland would be a real shame. That is why they organize half-day boat tours, tours of the Istrian inland with visits to picturesque Medieval towns and excursions to Pula, Rovinj, Lim channel, Brijuni, Trieste or Venice. More on Plava Laguna d.d. Info & Reservations: T: +385 /52/ 410 210 FAX: +385 /52/ 410 411

Conventa Addendum


Conventa Addendum



Another successful botique trade show for already 9th in a row! CONVENTA STRIVES TO QUALITY NOT QUANTITY


atisfaction survey conducted among this year’s exhibitors and hosted buyers showed that trade show did evolve and has gained recognition among not only European meetings industry professionals but even wider. The Conventa team is proud to present the survey results that again proved high level of professionalism and satisfaction of all participants.

New Europe exhibition for meetings, events and incentives traditionally held in Ljubljana, Slovenia was again a big success with a record number of meeting providers and providers of technology solutions for the meetings industry. 149 exhibitors from 15 different New European countries, for the first time joined by representatives from cities like Krakow, Lviv and KoĹĄice, were presenting their services to 171 international meetings planners and around 100 regional and Slovenian meetings planners.



inth Conventa hosted 171 international meeting planners from 35 countries and around 100 regional and Slovenian hosted buyers. It is important to mention the fact that 95 percent of hosted buyers attended the show for the first time. This is overwhelming for the team since that shows huge interest for Conventa. Did your participation meet your expectations? Yes, partly 8% Yes, absolutely 92 %

91,7% of hosted buyers attending the show said their participation did fulfil their expectations. On a scale from 1 to 5 overall satisfaction with Conventa was rated with 4,50, while Conventa reputation received slightly higher rate 4,54. Main reasons for attending Conventa (multiple choice answers) The majority of meeting planners attended Conventa because the organizers of the show personally invited them. More than 96% of hosted buyers attended the show for one main reason, which is One2One meetings between exhibitors and buyers. With 63,6 % importance of networking possibilities ranked as the second main reason to attend Conventa. Beside those two factors, their attendance depends also on offered fam trips (60%). Majority of participants are coming from distant countries and it is important 110

to maximize their time here. This year organizers gave hosted buyers the opportunity to choose among record number of fam trips and experience one of the eleven offered destination by themselves. Success of their attendance depended mostly on quality of meeting providers, network opportunities and knowledge they gained on destination. While number of meeting providers and number of prescheduled meetings are not among the main reasons. They were very satisfied with several aspects of the show. With trade show itself to networking lunches and evening receptions. All aspects of networking events were highly rated, from setup to diverse range of food and drink. Conventa webpage was best rated among Conventa communication channels with 4,30 points, followed by Conventa catalogue 4,22. Hosted buyers agree to a minimum of 15 One2One appointments, but the realized average number is quite higher than that. Average number of pre-scheduled appointments was almost 18 appointments per hosted buyer and average number of additional appointments made directly on spot is 10. We can conclude that on average, hosted buyer attended almost 30 meetings during the show. The satisfaction with content of meetings was rated with 4,40, while web application for pre-scheduling One2One meetings was given 4,10 points.

Conventa Addendum

100.00 %

Conventa team gives a lot of attention to make sure hosted buyers feel welcome from the very first minute till the end. With team’s personal touch, they want every hosted buyer to create their own Conventa experience. On a scale from 1 to 5, hosted buyers rated friendliness and effectiveness of the show organizer with 4,70. Hosted buyers were pleasantly surprised by warmth atmosphere and helpfulness of the organizers. This year’s Conventa hosted buyers will most likely place their future business on destination (4,60), hotels (4,51), venues (4,22) and activities (4,30). Conventa show organizers knows, how important it is, to improve the hosted buyers experience every single year. As in the previous years, they are again emphasizing the biggest challenge on their way, which is the lack of flight connections to the host destination. Strategic position of Slovenia helps a lot when solving this problem, with directing passengers to nearby airports. The main award for the organizers: Positive Feedbacks “This was my first trip to this part of the world. I was very impressed with all the arrangements - organization, logistics, and the choice of the hotels. Also, the choice of restaurants and other venues was great. For me, it was a great opportunity to learn about this region and assist me in making my future choice as also advising my clients on the aspects of this wonderful region. To me, this was a very very satisfactory learning.I sincerely wish to thank the organizers and to the whole team that made this possible for me.” Daryll Dsouza, Adlogic, India “It was my first time for this Conventa, and the organization was very great.The distance between pits was completed. The quality of the suppliers was perfect. The team was kindly and availableThe ceremony was fantastic and the musical group was incredible! Thank you for all those good meetings!” Alexandra Cavaco de Carvalho, Events' Creator, France “Conventa is your gateway to Southeast Europe tourism business. At Conventa you can make new connections and do business in a really welcoming and pampering environment. Probably the best way to start your new year!” Huba Tolgyesi, Alpha Travel SEE, Hungary

75.00 % 50.00 % 25.00 % 0.00 %

One to one meetings between exhibitors and buyers

EXHIBITORS LOVED THE ATMOSPHERE AND ORGANIZED NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES WITH HOSTED BUYERS 147 exhibitors from 15 different countries repaid their attendance on Conventa with important business leads. Survey shows, that almost most of the exhibitors gained 1-5 business leads, while 19,4 % of exhibitors gained 6-10 business leads and some of them (5,6%) gained 11-15 quality business leads. This year’s exhibitors will very likely exhibit also next year (80%) and would recommend the boutique business event to their partners and colleagues. Would you recommend the Conventa show to your colleagues?

Most likely 28 % Yes, absolutely 72 %

Condition for successful participation are quality hosted buyers 94.4 %

50.0 %

58.3 %

22.2 %

 ne2One meetings between O hosted buyers and exhibitors Hosted buyers from all over Europe Networking Education opportunities In exhibitor’s opinion, the success of their participation has been influenced primarily by the quality of hosted buyers (97,2%), while number of visitors at the show and the stand is not one of the main reasons. What also 111

contributed to the success was total number of pre-scheduled appointments and actual number/value of orders received at the show. On average, exhibitor realized 24,50 appointments during two day show and had together with the meetings scheduled on spot 30 meetings. On a scale from 1 to 5, they rated their satisfaction with meetings with 4,2 and thought One2One meetings application was easy to use with 4,0 points. More than half of exhibitors said their investment in exhibiting at Conventa will absolutely pay off and one third of them stated the investment will paid off partly. The survey results have been confirmed also with exhibitor’s feedbacks: “Conventa was one of the best Trade Fair formats I ever attended and also seems that this fair brings more value than others. For sure we will come again next year – this is already fixed. Have a great 2017 and see you again in 2018.” Alexander Klöckler, Best Western Hotels Central Europe GmbH “Very professional organization, easy pre preparations for exhibitors, great food and drinks.Everything made with sLOVEnia! One of the best trade shows I ever attended.” “All organization was flawless. Everything was in perfect order. I also believe, the contacts we gained will be profitable. So see you next year! Thank you once again for your support! All the best until next time from Sarajevo.” Nermina Sefer, Hotel Hills Sarajevo, Congress & Termal Spa Resort, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Conventa Addendum

BECOME A HOSTED BUYER AT CONVENTA EXPERIENCE 2018 It’s your turn now to EXPLORE the MICE destinations of New Europe, MEET the most hospitable people and CREATE another great Conventa experience


10 years. Explore. Meet. Create.

APPLICATIONS FOR 2018 ARE NOW OPEN! WHY MEETING PLANNERS LOVE CONVENTA • It’s personal: a boutique show that accepts a maximum of 150 meeting providers and provides the perfect balance between meetings and networking • It’s business: you will get to know the region and its destinations, and meet new business partners in a professional but relaxing environment • It’s education: international and local speakers deliver key addresses in an informal ‘Experts Campfire’ set at the heart of the show floor • It’s pleasure: a hosted buyer status guarantees you VIP treatment at all times • It’s all taken care of by us: flight, transfers, accommodation, one2one meetings, the welcome and official reception, networking lunches, an after party event and the exciting and informative fam trip programmes.

"This type of event is perfect for me, where there is a focus on the region and the knowledge gained is much better than at a bigger more general show. I am only sorry that after the dates changed I could only come to one day and not either attend any of the post-event trips. I still have some parts of Slovenia and neighboring countries to see and will come back! The other thing that makes Conventa a success is the warmth and helpfulness of the hosts - less like hosts now and more like friends." Steve Huxham Carlisle Interconnect Technologies, United Kingdom


CONTACT US: E:; T: +386 1 430 51 03

10TH CONVENTA FUN FACTS A boutique trade show Conventa 2017 was held already 9th year in a row in Ljubljana and in all this years, it has become truly the best New Europe trade show for meetings, events and incentive travel. For 9 years in a row, every January the meetings industry starts the year at Conventa, so it became an IT event – something you just cannot miss if you are working in the industry. Wondering why Conventa is such a “must go” event? See the fun facts below and see it for yourself. WOMEN POWER AT CONVENTA Over 500 meeting professionals attended Conventa. However, did you know that 70% of all attendees are women? Man represents only 30%.
 A record number of fam trips were available to hosted buyers. This year, 11 meetings destinations in Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Serbia and Montenegro extended their warm welcome to meeting planners. BOOST YOUR ENERGY
 Morning coffee kept attendees caffeinated all through the long two days of meetings. This year we have served 2.134 cups of coffees


 Water is the driving force of all nature and Conventa attendees. This year we have divided 1.416 litres of water. LONG LASTING MEMORIES
 The photograph can be one of the best souvenirs imaginable, and Conventa attendees obviously agree with us, since more than 500 photos were taken in the photo booth set in our retro camper. INTO THE WILD For the first time Conventa held 11 Experts’ Campfire sessions, the wild nature of meetings. BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS Conventa does not build walls and fences but bridges and partition walls from wooden crates. If you might have wondered, we have built the walls from more than 2.000 wooden crates.

Conventa Addendum




Text by Gorazd Čad Photo credits Kongres Archive

“Ten years ago, when we started preparing the congress travelogues, we couldn’t possibly have foreseen that our methodology for evaluating destinations would have become such an important reference point for meeting planners. As of today, we have published 76 travelogues of various meeting destinations, all based on hard graft and solid field work. Our unflagging enthusiasm for this has demonstrated that we have been setting quality standards that are also being recognized by the wider international industry public through the Meetings Star Awards.” - Gorazd Čad, Editor in Chief


ongress travelogues, or Meetologues, have become a firm reference for event organisers in selecting destinations over the past decade, mainly because of their sound logic and the benefits that they bring to all parties. On the initiative of individual destinations that have participated in the MTLG project, we have now prepared a new categorization of meeting destinations. The primary reason we have done this is to ensure the clarity and comprehensibility of the individual categories; the new categorization involves a combination of criteria and the basis for the classification of destinations into four classes is based on the full range of the index and total scores that fall within it. The main drive for us to update the categorization is so that we can provide to meeting planners as much information as possible on the capacity of destinations, which we have been evaluating since 2009 through our tried and tested method of congress travelogues – Meetlogue. Every destination is evaluated based on fieldwork and research, through which we want to get as close as possible to the real situation. The complexity of the meetings industry means there are many possible variables that can contribute to defining the ‘size’ of a destination. We have been looking for those that are frequently considered to be closely connected and interdependent. This aspect of the defining criteria process necessitated a review of existing literature, which is quite limited in that field and is heavily reliant on the statistics prepared by the international association ICCA, which focuses on recording the number of association meetings and their participants at a destination. Our pillar capacity of meeting estinations were calculated based on criteria that were defined with the help of leading experts from various destinations and are as follows:



Air accessibility of destinations This assessment is based on the European air connectivity report, which is prepared annually by ACI Europe. Analysing connectivity data from the SEO Economic Research’s ‘Netscan’ connectivity model, the report provides in-depth insights into how well Europe is connected by air, both internally and with other regions in the world. It distinguishes between direct and indirect connectivity, and takes a special in-depth look at the dynamics at Europe’s hubs – which act as engines of connectivity for wider outreach.


The number of 4* and 5* category hotel rooms The development of meeting destination is directly linked to the number of hotel rooms it has, which according to our study reaches at least twice the maximum capacity of the plenary hall at the destination. The single use of rooms is dominated by congress guests and for business tourism, which includes the meetings industry, the use of rooms in the business categories of of 4 and 5 stars is predominant. For that reason, only those hotels are assessed in this category.


The number of 4* and 5* category hotels To enhance destination comparisons, we also captured the number of 4 and 5 star category hotels that are predominantly used by congress guests. The number of such hotels is a unique indicator of how well a destination is adapted to business tourism and vice versa.


Banquet hall maximum capacity Practically every congress or event also plays host to a social event or a gala dinner. It is often the case that the maximum capacity of the hall for banquets dictates the maximum size of the congress that the destination is able to accommodate. This criterion is therefore extremely important to our assessment.



The largest hall in the city (in m2) The size of the hall further dictates the size of the largest events and accompanying exhibitions that can ordinarily accompany such events. These are normally the multifunctional halls in congress and exhibition centres. This criterion is directly linked to exhibition activity, which is most highly developed in the so-called ‘meeting hubs’.


Maximum hall capacity in theatre layout Congress centre halls that are suitable for plenary sessions are assessed in this category. To make this a level assessment many sports facilities were excluded, as they typically lack the additional infrastructure required for the organisation of events.


Destination population A city or a town’s population tends to be the catalyst for development, transformation and, of course, also the generator of many events. Over the course of history the meetings industry has developed in the urban regions and is therefore considered one of the factors associated with metropolitanisation and the major conurbations in Europe. The results of this new categorization are presented in detail below. It highlighted that, depending on the supporting capacity, destinations can be divided into four categories that are framed based on the maximum number of participants that can be accommodated without encountering any major logistical turmoil or complications.


MEETING DESTINATIONS Destinations that can host more than 2,000 congress attendees



on the detailed evaluation the destinations with an index of 500 to 600 still have some challenges in different fields, for example at Baku, where infrastructure development is incredible but where on the other hand it has a significantly low level of flight availability, or with Belgrade and Bucharest, where better accessibility and a larger number of hotel rooms is lacking. In each of the MTLGs you can find a more detailed and revealing in-depth analysis of the criteria.

LONDON, Great Britain




PARIS, France


BERLIN, Germany




VIENNA, Austria


PRAGUE, Czech Republic





MUNICH, Germany




DUBLIN, Ireland


KRAKOW, Poland




GRAZ, Austria


WARSAW, Poland


GDANSK, Poland


MOSCOW, Russia




SOFIA, Bulgaria


ZAGREB, Croatia


ATHENS, Greece


VILNIUS, Lithuania


ZURICH, Switzerland


TALLIN, Estonia








BRNO, Czech Republic


BAKU, Azerbaijan














NOVI SAD, Serbia


The largest European meeting destinations are to be found in the first category, as they have advanced development of congress infrastructure and excellent flight accessibility. These destinations are also predominantly the most important aviation hubs. There are, however, significant differences among the destinations that will be further brought out by a detailed evaluation of their qualitative criteria. At the top end of the category are the largest destinations, all with excellent infrastructure and minimum differentiation in their broad provision, mainly being in the sphere of flight availability. Based 115


MEETING DESTINATIONS Destinations that can host up to 2,000 congress attendees MTLG INDEX 2017

Congress infrastructure (hall capacity) and flight availability on destinations listed here enables the hosting of a congress for up to 2,000 attendees. In the field of congress infrastructure some especially great progress has

been made by a number of the destinations, such as Poland and the Baltic countries, where a number of brand new congress centres can be found today. Among the destinations there are also those where the infrastructure is in place, but is in need of extensive renovation, or those that are still waiting for a proper and dedicated convention centre to be built, such as Sarajevo or Zagreb. For this category flight availability is an extremely important criterion and is where major differences and significant competitive advantages can be made.


MEETING DESTINATIONS Destinations that can host up to 1,200 congress attendees



maximum of 1,200 congress attendees. All of the cities in this category have great potential for further development, which will be determined by additional investments in infrastructure.


MEETING DESTINATIONS Destinations that can host up to 500 congress attendees














169 168












































































This is probably the most heterogeneous category and the one for which the general conclusion is that it is dominated by regional centres and major tourist cities. The congress offer here is mainly based on the offer of local congress hotels and smaller convention centres. The capacity of listed destinations is therefore up to

This category is dominated by the smaller tourist resorts, where the meeting industry is a complementary activity during low season. Congress capacities are smaller and more personalized, adapted to meetings with a small number of participants (and dominated by the congress halls for up to 150 participants). The data for our overall categorization was collected through a questionnaire that was answered by convention bureaus, with data on the population of each destination gathered through Wikipedia. All of the recorded criteria were then standardized and statistically ranked, a process by which at the end an estimation of the relative position of individual destinations could be made. Throughout this process of data trawling 116

we directly obtained data from 68 convention bureaus (altogether there were 78 destinations ranked). The process therefore covers a relevant statistical sample, which will be further expanded in the future. The initial reaction from congress organisers whom we have provided the index has been positive, as this is a tool that will provide them with a genuinely realistic comparison. The entire methodology of our work had already been upgraded previous year with a system of benchmarking that is carried out for each individual congress destinations, under the name MTLG BENCHMARK. With our complete methodology we have saved you a lot of your valuable time that would otherwise have been spent in comparing yourself with your main competitors. Our process is conducted at two different levels:


DESTINATION EVALUATION (following the congress MTLG’s methodology) At this stage destinations are evaluated on all the criteria that are covered in our methodology, including 63 competitive criteria. Based on the destination evaluation a comparative matrix is prepared, which is the basis for the workshop performance of the second stage.


BENCHMARK WORKSHOP (with key stakeholders at the destination) The workshop is designed to evaluate the competitive strengths and weaknesses of a destination and provide the exchange of good case studies in regard to its the further development. We are confident that our objective evaluation will help event organisers and at the same time allow destinations to implement the further improvements required to overcome their comparative disadvantages. For further information regarding the MTLG benchmark we’d love to hear from you, so don’t hesitate to call us to 00386 (0)1 430 51 04, or send an e-mail to Evaluation results for 2017 will be published in the summer issue of KONGRES Magazine, which will be available in the last week of June.


HOW TO EVALUATE AND DEFINE ‘THE BEST’ FROM Meeting planners, FOR Meeting planners


very year the editorial board of Kongres magazine aims to further refine the Meetologue methodology in order to assure the most authentic score reflecting the genuine situation of destinations. Destination evaluations are based on thorough analyses of different criteria. They have developed from interviews and surveys with over 1,200 event organisers from across Europe, work that showed us that destinations are comparable and helped us to form a unique model of evaluation. A mixture of factors that we have been evaluating since 2010 can affect the entire meeting experience for both meeting planners and participants. Listed below are the main groups of criteria that have been divided into subgroups. A. NATURAL AND CULTURAL FACTORS 1. Natural diversity 2. Climate and Weather 3. Social environment 4. Cultural heritage 5. Natural experience index 6. Historical sites 7. Architecture 8. Accessibility to nature 9. Sustainability satisfaction 10. Quality of ecosystem B. GENERAL AND TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE 1. Destination safety 2. Accessibility - road 3. Accessibility - air 4. Accessibility - rail 5. General public services 6. Airport 7. Public transport 8. Financial institutions 9. Internet access 10. Pollution index

D. MEETINGS INFRASTRUCTURE 1. History and references 2. Variety of meeting suppliers 3. Quality of meeting hotels 4. Convention and exhibition centres 5. Ratio of 4 and 5***** hotel rooms 6. Incentive programmes 7. Professionalism of meetings industry 8. Diversity of offer 9. Effective convention bureau activities 10. Support services

B. GENERAL AND TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE This includes analytic assessment of infrastructure and public realm tidiness, which reflects the quality of living for residents and consequently also for congress guests. In this section we test everything from destination safety to road, air and rail connections. Other important criteria include public infrastructure, the network of financial institutions, internet access and a healthy and respectful attitude towards the enviroment.



1. Political stability 2. Security ratings 3. General support to meetings industry 4. Cost/Value 5. Destination competitiveness 6. Personal experience 7. Local hospitality 8. E-services 9. First impression 10. Destination image

Without appropriate tourist infrastructure, the development of congress tourism is nearly imposible. The assesement shows if there is an appropriate quality and accessibility of hotel capacity, restaurants, cafes and nightlife. We also grade the recreational/sport offer as a basis for incentive programmes. On top of that, the cultural offer, tourist information and destination managment are also given full assessment.


For many the most important part is grading the congress capacity. In this section we evaluate the standard palette of congress providers, congress hotels, congress centres, exhibition centres and focus on their quality. We want to know the number of appropriate 4 and 5 star hotel room providers and, above all, that the incentive offer, business attitude and professionalism of congress providers is supportive of congress services and the activities of their local convention bureau.

1. Destination brand perception 2. Brand and corporate identity of CVB 3. New or innovative 4. Destination advertising 5. Direct communication 6. Digital communication 7. Mobile communication 8. Content marketing 9. Events 10. Social network and community



ith different destinations we evaluate over 70 criteria that are described in detail below. They form the final destination grade or the 'MEETINGS EXPERIENCE INDEX', as we like to call it. The best destinations are annually recognised on the main stage of the Conventa Trade Show.


Within the remit of subjective grading are a number of combined criteria that include political stability, destination safety and the attitude taken to congress tourism. We also assess the ratio between quality and price, the competitiveness of the destinaton, local hospitality and the destination‘s overall image. A lot of this boils down to the personal experience of the assessors.




1. Restaurant scene 2. Variety of bars and coffee shops 3. Nightlife 4. Leisure activities 5. Adrenaline activities 6. Sports activities 7. Shopping 8. Fun parks, casinos 9. Theatres, musical venues, cinemas 10. Tourist information system

Factors that are vital for the development of the meetings industry, because events are usually focussed on the more appealing destinations. We grade everything from regional diversity, climate conditions and social attractiveness to architecture, historical sites and the attitude towards continual development of the market. The whole picture gives us an image of the diversity of a destination and is an important criteria for its attractiveness.

Despite impressively fulfilling the other criteria, proactive marketing can be the element that sorts the good from the great. This is why we assess the development of the entire marketing infrastructure in the field of direct, digital, social and traditional marketing.


After evaluation, the destinations are then assigned one of five categories as follows: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so-so


er 2017 b m e t p e 26 – 28 S


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Frankfurt Five reasons you need to be at IMEX 2017

Every year IMEX is a different experience. Here are 5 reasons why you need to be at IMEX 2017. 1. 3,500 exhibitors from across the world, all keen to offer you a taste of their destinations, venues, hotels and more. Want to make your event unforgettable? Meet the experts.

2. It’s not enough to simply be an event planner – you need to be a purposeful meetings planner. IMEX 2017 offers a wealth of insight on how to make meetings more purposeful, enlightening, impactful!

3. From apps to security, event technology is evolving fast – and we’re on the case. #IMEX17 will showcase our largest ever TECHknowledge Area.

16–18 May 2017

4. Come to IMEX as a visitor buyer and you’ll get an online diary to make appointments with exhibitors of your choice. No RFP necessary – meet suppliers for fact-finding or research.

5. How will global changes affect your business? Join the event professionals, business owners and politicians who come to IMEX to discuss – and solve – the challenges facing our industry today. Come to IMEX 2017 for insight and inspiration.

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The worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events. #IMEX17

C oo A G re at f l c Mor C o eegr ao tiea pl c ngt m s ee it ap tin a it gs l a l Fo r


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MARCH 2017 / New Europe Events and Meetings Industry Magazine


MARCH 2017 / New Europe Events and Meetings Industry Magazine