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July 2018 //


6 //

KONGRES IN FOCUS // Five tips for a great incentive experience

16 //

CROSSOVER // Interviews with speakers at the Crossover Conference

JOURNEYS // 39 // KONGRES Meetologues PoreÄ? / Zagreb / Graz / Schladming

CONT RIBU TERS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF // GORAZD ČAD Editor of the magazine is a geographer and historian by profession. He united his professional education and love of discovering new lesser-known meetings destinations with love and passion for the meetings industry. In meetologues he shares his enthusiasm with the readers. NATALIJA BAH ČAD // MEETINGS AND EVENT MANAGER An unforgettable member in the editorial board of travelogues. 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. ASSISTANT EDITOR // JASMINA JERANT A creative writer since childhood was brought into the meetings industry where she can release her passion for storytelling. She seeks for unusual, hidden, and charming facts that make a town or a building shine in a different way. She believes that places are like people. In each one of them you can find something amusing. AJDA BORAK // EDITOR INTELLIGENT CONTENT Since she was a young girl, she was in love with stories. Constructing reality and creating stories with words is for Ajda a game that never gets boring. The beauty of her job at Kongres Magazine is in the endless amounts of stories she is diving in on a daily basis. VISUAL & SERVICE DESIGNER // JURKA MIHELIN Visual and Service Designer, who considers design thinking a must. Friendly, with a passion for learning. Loves dogs, swing dancing and white space. A bit of perfectionist and also quite short.


Štihova 4, SI-1000 Ljubljana T: +386 1 430 51 03 E:




ANALYTICS Marketing analytics

CONTENT Copywriting and Content marketing

SALES Personal sales

EXPERIENCE Sales events

VIDEO Video campaigns

DATABASE Big data targeting


PRINT Image building

ONLINE Digital Campaigns

SOCIAL Social media campaigns

DIRECT E-mail marketing and Telemarketing






Yet again we stumble upon the standard deep-rooted question when it comes to meeting and event destinations. Are regional, city and national convention bureaus solely the promoters of a destination or is their main role to create sales? Just when I think we’ve gotten to the bottom of the dilemma, new patients arrive. Most of the time, they are impatient hoteliers, who break under the pressure of greedy hotel owners expecting overnight results.

The marketing of meeting destinations is a challenging and sometimes strenuous marathon

My typical answer is: “Marketing in the meetings industry is not a sprint with instant results, it is a challenging and sometimes strenuous marathon” Those who understand this, reap the most success in our industry. A textbook example is a regional and global champ - Vienna, which has been operating with this mindset for the past 50 years. If you want to compete in the marathon, you have to have an answer to the chicken or egg question. What comes first, marketing or sales?

are the only thing that work. In the process of selling MICE services you rarely come across a company where there is only one decision maker. Usually 5 or more people are involved in the process with the number increasing with the size of the company. In an average sales meeting you only meet a few of these so called decision makers. Simply put, sales without serious marketing support don’t bring results. Worse, things can come out as obtrusive and counterproductive. The most important thing to know is which are the most powerful sales channels, through which one can generate leads. And no, copying other successful practices won’t work. Fitting into the story is also reckless glorification of certain events, which are highly reputable among salespeople, despite not having proper ROI measurement. Their success is mostly based on taking advantage of the participants’ weaknesses, who are convinced by the exotic host destination more than sales leads. For them, form is more important than content. Later on, a problem occurs. Cheap contacts from unproductive events start to gather dust, as the great and the good of the meetings industry just aren’t interested in your beloved region. The money you invest today will bear fruit in the future. This is especially true for meeting planners, which is why general event and marketing evaluation is a challenging role. A B2B event that you attend this year might bring results no earlier than in a year or two.

Luckily, in our digitalised world, everything can be measured, especially when it comes to marketing and sales. With new technologies on the rise, proving to someone that putting money into your marketing services is a good investment has become considerably easier. Nevertheless, one dilemma still remains, which channels are the most efficient generators of true sale leads.

Considering everything that we’ve mentioned above, playing a remarkably important role when it comes to marketing and sales success are experts in content marketing, SEO masters and digital ninjas. The best of the best have something in common, they understand the connection between sales and marketing and know how to draw a complete 360° marketing-sales circle.

The biggest delusion advocates of sales representatives and conquistadors of new markets on white horses get caught up in is that sales calls

Gorazd Čad Editor-in-Chief





What is incentive travel? ‘Incentive’ or ‘motivational’ travel is a term we use to describe group trips organised by companies for their loyal employees. You can think of it as an award or an encouragement to keep good mutual relationships between the employees and business partners. They differ from classical group trips by being based on clearly stated and measurable targets and goals. Help with their organisation is usually provided by local DMCs (Destination Management Company) who know the local incentive products best. What types of incentive programmes are out there? The best way to categorise individual incentive programmes is to look at what their goal and purpose is, and they shouldn’t be mistaken for team building programmes, which are usually on the itinerary of classical group trips. What makes a great incentive? An incentive has to focus on emotions, which are brought out through an experience where every participant is actively involved. That is how a great team forms. We have compiled a list of the TOP 5 tips for creating the best incentive programme out there. It’s all about different emotional experiences that have a positive effect on the group, as they act on sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. Through stimulating our senses, we get a feeling of comfort, excitement and satisfaction. All of this translates into more creativity and a stronger team spirit. In practice, the best experiences are the ones that combine all of the elements.


AUTHENTICITY Conjuring up authenticity in incentive programmes is sometimes a big challenge. What often comes out of it is stereotypical authenticity, an ethnological-museum story, which is fake and enacted. It is important that you chose a sincere story that will allow the participants to truly feel the vibe of a destination, meet the locals, nature, tradition. An incentive programme should not be trapped in a caricature of a destination, because of exaggerated role playing. Food for thought: Off the beaten track locations are always better than notorious tourist destinations (Some examples in Slovenia are Kočevsko, Bela Krajina and Goriška Brda)



HAVING FUN THROUGH GAMES Deep down, we are all still children and fun has always been the leitmotif of incentive programmes. Team games, educational games and role playing are key for improving networking and raising the level of mutual trust. A big trend on the rise is “gamefication”, a great way to motivate participants by implementing different interactive games into your programme. Everyone wants to play and these programmes have a clear goal, which is why they are extremely efficient. A proven fact is that collaborative games are always better than classical competitions.


Food for thought: There’s an endless array of these kind of experiences and you will probably find a suitable one at the nearest teambuilding agency.


EDUCATION The best companies are systematically investing in education and training. An incentive should also cover the aspect of transferring knowledge and new skills. In practice, we call it action learning, learning through doing and trying out different formats of programmes. These programmes encompass creative problem solving and developing leadership and moderating skills, through brainstorming, focus groups and other techniques. The key is to make learning spontaneous and random. Don’t bring the participants back to the days behind the school desk. Food for thought: The simplest way of transferring knowledge are fun group quizzes, which can really build connections in groups.


ESCAPE An escape from the hassles and stress of everyday life is what incentive organisers try to provide their participants. The nostalgic factor and the use of nostalgic appeal in communication and set-up always helps, as the future is uncertain and history offers the feeling of security. This can be done with different retro elements in programmes or stories connected to nostalgic ideas or historic events. Regardless of the format, the idea should always be original and as we have mentioned already, authentic. Food for thought: An absolute classic are rides with historic vehicles or a rally with old-timers.


LIFESTYLE Incentive organisers have to follow the lifestyle of the participants when organising an incentive. If a company swears by a healthy lifestyle, the basic incentive story is pretty much already defined. You have to be adaptive to different lifestyles, from the lovers of luxury or technology to those who delight in tradition. Based on the type of client, first-class incentive agencies prepare a creative brief, including clear profiling of the participants. Food for thought: Often the participants’ lifestyle dictates the programme; where they should eat, sleep and what they should experience.

No matter what type of incentive you decide to organise, one thing remains key; respecting the participants and knowing their needs. The methods you use have to be carefully thought out in order not to offend anyone or make them feel uncomfortable. The basic principle and building block of a successful incentive programme will always be authentic and spontaneous hospitality, which should be embedded in the DNA of your next incentive programme.




A live marketing event as ridiculous as it is fun JASMINA JERANT //


Pony, the bicycle produced by Slovenian Rog Factory in the decades of the former Yugoslavia, used to be a common bicycle for everyone. At some point the production of the Pony stopped. Recently, though, it has 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.

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. This year’s fourth edition of the Red Bull Goni Pony, held on 26 May, had a record number of participants! Around 1060 men and women, one fifth from abroad (mainly from Austria, Croatia, and Italy) and others from Slovenia, showed up for the 2018 ‘Red Bull Goni Pony’ event.

But Pony really became the ‘hot property’ in Slovenia in 2015, when the ‘Red Bull Goni Pony’ (Pony, drive like a lunatic!) event was held for the first time. 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.

The jury had to evaluate the most sophisticated personal and team retro-outfit style of the day in the so called Pony Parade. The award for the best retro outfit went to the ‘pin-up babe’ Patricija Goričan and to the ‘farmer in boots and with a hen on the bicycle trunk’, while the best dressed team were skiers from SK Vuzenica wearing ski overalls, ski boots, and even skis!

However, the real fun comes with the Pony bikes not having any gears. So, now think of cycling 13.5 kilometres up-hill to the Vršič Pass, with

In own words of a participant from abroad: »Man, this race is pretty crazy. It is as ridiculous, as it is fun!«





Interview with Jakub Bechyne from Illusion Art Musuem Prague AJDA BORAK //


We had a long and pleasant talk with Jakub Becyhne, the man who created Prague’s most famous house of illusions – the Illusion Art Museum. A fascinating place, where art is displayed in a particular way to trick your mind and to make you realize that not everything is as it seems to be at the first glance.

Q: First of all, please explain how did you get to rent such a historical house in the very center of Prague? The building was purchased, in a landmark sale – the largest ever in Prague at the time – in 2016. From there, the developer (Coast Capital Partners) wanted a concept that would enable them to showcase this beautiful, historic landmark building with a project that wouldn’t

require too much initial development. I was approached, as an exhibition producer, to generate content for a museum project. The concept, at least from an artistic point of view, was undefined at that stage. Once we agreed on content and a concept, we began working on the business plan. After seeing its potential, my partners and I decided that we wanted to be responsible for the entire operation and set out to make that possible. Now, here we are.

Q: Can you briefly describe the history behind the house that you turned it into the museum of illusion? Our building, known as Dům U Červené lišky (House of the Red Foxes), dates back to 1401, though the building’s foundation is much


older. Indeed, it is one of the oldest buildings in the Old Town Square. The building itself has served many different commercial purposes over the centuries, operating as a butchery and, more recently, as a bank. The basement features original pavement from Old town square dating to the 12th century. The entire city center of Prague was raised by 6 meters (one floor) a century ago because of flooding problems. The building, as you would imagine for something that has stood so long in a prominent location, has been a key character in some fascinating stories. One of its owners, for example, in the 17th century had a dispute with local government officials and fired a cannon at the town hall, which is directly across the square, because he disagreed with some of their rulings. He was stripped of ownership by the municipality because of his actions.


Dali´s work; other prominent features, such as trick art images and floor paintings using 3D deformation to create spatial illusions, were inspired by the work of MC Escher.

Q: The 3rd floor of the museum is dedicated to a non-permanent exhibition. Now there is an exhibition of Patrik Proško, who is gonna be next? Will you focus only on the Czech artists? We are currently featuring the work of Patrik Proško, a renowned Czech sculptor and land artist, who travels the world and creates his art installations in nature. The next temporary exhibition will likely feature graffiti and street art which explores the theme of 100 years of Czechoslovakia‘s (the anniversary is this year) common history, produced by well-known Czech and Slovak street artists. While we care most about the quality of the respective artist‘s work than their nationality, our focus is recently on locals with some dates connection to the city of Prague.

Q: You used to be a professional basketball player. How did you end up as a curator and Illusion art the owner of the Illusion Art Museum? all the way back to My athletic career was rather brief, and basketball in our country is, more or less, on a semiQ: What are the future developmental plans ancient times as people professional level with the exception of a few for the museum? always tried to fool clubs. After my career ended, and for the last We will be opening an exhibition on the top others with something fifteen years, I have been working as a producfloor in September, presenting a brand new er of art and design. Five years ago, I formed a illusional art technique developed by Czech/ unexpected. company with the well-known Czech sculptor Dutch artist Peter Herel. It will be completely Patrik Proško, and we created two exhibitions unique and requires a special device to enjoy it which were leased to shopping malls and othproperly. We’re very excited about this. er commercial buildings. One of the exhibitions was the inspiration for Illusion Art Museum Q: Is it also possible to rent the museum for Prague, and we tailored the concept and expanded the features to events? Who is the perfect costumer? What kind of events can you best suit this ideal location. It was always my dream to run a project organize there? like this and with the support of our landlords we were able to bring It is absolutely possible. Our ideal customer is anyone who wants to it together fairly quickly. throw a party in a unique setting in Prague’s the most beautiful and well-known location. Every window from the front of our building offers marvelous vantage points to Prague’s iconic astronomical clock – Q: Can you please describe briefly the art displayed in the museum? the oldest operating such clock in the world – and the UNESCO-proWhere did the inspiration come from? tected Old Town Square. Our capacity is 200 people on our museum Illusion art dates all the way back to ancient times, really, as people alfloors and we can host another 200 in our cafe and courtyard. We ways tried to fool others with something unexpected. We have taken offer all kinds of services in addition to space rental, such as catering, some of these classic techniques used through the centuries to alter open bars, live music, and entertainment, or even just artist-led tours perception and present them in our objects, all tailor-made for this through the exhibitions. exhibition. There are anamorphic images which are rooted in Salvador


EVENTS FUELED BY PETROL, DIESEL AND HYBRID German car museums as special venues GORAZD ČAD //


The automotive sector is extremely important for Germans as it represents a way of life and a strong economic industry. The Germans are proud of their automotive brands and everything they represent in a worldwide sense. German cars also have a special place globally as they are a synonym of quality because they symbolise technological superiority, brilliant design, and engineering knowledge.

All the Bavarian cities we visited in July have something in common. All over Bavaria they value tradition and also make sure that the cities are meticulously clean and ready for congress guests. The museums we visited are a great added value for organisers, as they offer spaces with exceptional concepts and architecture that impress event organisers.

That is why museums were built by “the big four” showcasing the entire history of the trademarks. The architecture and design tell a story of the brand and its philosophy and hence show why they are the best and most technologically advanced. The four trademarks are located in the South of Germany in the Bavarian and Baden-Wurttemberg regions. A large part of these trademarks is located in Stuttgart, which is referred to by some as the “German Detroit” and has 40 automotive and technology museums.

MERCEDES MUSEUM, STUTTGART Carl Friedrich Benz is known as the founder of the modern car, and so a visit to the Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart is a great start through the history of German automotive history, started in 1886. The museum beautifully illustrates the big picture of automotive history by travelling through the historical events have which shaped individual eras of Mercedes.


The remarkable exhibits on display reflect the technical craftsmanship of the trademark and by the end of the visit, it becomes clear why Mercedes has such a profound reputation. The museum has been around since 1936 and was renovated in 1986 for the 100th anniversary of the invention of the car. Because the collection grew so quickly the museum was expanded and opened to the public in 2006. The museum’s design is in a spiral course and over a million visitors walk through its 8 floors every year. All 160 vehicles showcased are driveable. Possibilities for meeting planners Most of the meeting spaces are located on the ground floor. A large event space is the open-air stage, adequate for concerts and new vehicle presentations. The largest hall is the Large Hall, a multifunctional hall with an impressive ceiling at 34 metres. The most prestigious space is the Casino on the 8th floor, offering incredible views of nearby vineyards. In the summertime, the outdoor terrace can be used as well. Number of halls: 9 Maximum hall capacity (theatre): 1,000 Largest hall (in m2): 1,669m2 Banquet maximum capacity: 600 Reception maximum capacity: 800 PORSCHE MUSEUM, STUTTGART The Museum is located next to the Porsche factory in the Zuffenhausen district and was founded in 2009 as a monument to the most prestigious German automotive brand. The museum is an architectural achievement in its own right, as it appears to be levitating. The weight of the building (5000 tons), equal to that of the Eiffel Tower,

is supported by just three pillars. The building was designed by the Delugan Meissl Bureau based in Vienna and the interior by the architectural bureau HG Merz. A workshop is also in the museum, where you can observe racing cars being repaired. On the exhibition floor, you can compare all the legendary vehicles in chronological order. The museum also offers an overview of the evolution of automotive technologies, design solutions and motorsport in general. There are 80 vehicles showcased in the museum, many of them part of motorsport history. The legendary 356 from 1946, which paved the way for the brand and the fascination with the 911 model common to all petrol-heads. Possibilities for meeting planners The entire 4th floor is dedicated to events. It is adequate for the organisation of receptions and banquets. An essential part is the roof terrace, stretching over 800m2 and being one of the most special venues in Stuttgart. For visitors, the exhibition closes at 18:00, while for event participants it is open even later by arrangement. Number of halls: 2 Maximum hall capacity (theatre): 800 Largest hall (in m2): 800m2 Banquet maximum capacity: 300 Reception maximum capacity: 800 AUDI MUSEUM-MOBILE, INGOLSTADT In the Audi-Museum-Mobile in Ingolstadt visitors go on an interactive journey to get to know the history and future of the Audi brand. From the beginning in 1903 Horch was known as one of the most prestige brands and even now, the vehicles from that time don’t fail to impress.


The most important car models and motorcycles from the last 100 years majestically float on the lift throughout all 4 exhibition spaces. The museum was officially opened in 2000 and is also the centre of the Audi Forum, behind which the enormous factories of Audi are hidden. No fewer than 50 vehicles and 30 motorcycles and a number of other exponents are exhibited from the rich history of Audi, DKW, Horch, Wanderer, and NSU, which together form the four circles of Audi. The entire history of the legendary Audi Quattro, which most shaped the new development stage of the brand, is also on display. Possibilities for meeting planners Congress halls inside the complex reflect the spirit and slogan of the trademark “Innovation through technology”. There are several locations available inside the forum and events can be rounded off with a factory or museum tour or even a test drive. The most attractive space is undoubtedly the museum where there is 300m2 of event space and the square in front of the museum and forum, especially attractive during summer. Number of halls: Maximum hall capacity (theatre): Largest hall (in m2): Banquet maximum capacity: Reception maximum capacity:

3 250 300m2 100 300

BMW MUSEUM, MUNICH BMW has had its headquarters and manufacturing in the northern part of Munich since 1918. The award-winning architecture of the BMW museum in Munich is elegant and prestigious, as it should be for such a legendary automotive trademark. The minimalistic glass boxes take you through different thematic segments of the Bavarian brand that is tightly connected with Munich. It is one of the most visited German museums with tourists from around the world. The museum was upgraded in 2007 by gaining the BMW Welt complex. BMW Welt is a multifunctional building, that is a sort of a hybrid between a car showroom and an info centre. It is also the link between the company, trademark, products and its visitors. BMW Welt also has a hall for receptions called the Event Forum, equipped with the latest technologies in order to host all kinds of events. Besides hosting concerts, exhibitions, conferences and live broadcasting show, seminars and receptions take place as well. Possibilities for meeting planners For meeting planners three halls are available. The BMW Platz impresses with its space height and the innovative LED performance. At the BMW Museumsschüssel, the 360-degree projection forms the unusual setting for your event. The BMW Museumsfoyer fascinates with its views of the museum architecture and the exhibition. Number of halls: Maximum hall capacity (theatre): Largest hall (in m2): Banquet maximum capacity: Reception maximum capacity:

3 600 650m2 220 600


E Ferdinand Porsche, the father of Porsche, made the first ever hybrid

electric vehicle in 1899, known as the Lohner-Porsche “Semper Vivus”.

E Mercedes-Benz got the first part of its name from Mercedes Jelinek,

the daughter of Emil Jelinek, a driver for DMG.

E The first Volkswagen Beetle was designed in a villa, where Ferdinand

Porsche lived.

E Porsche was once a tractor manufacturer and has an even more

interesting history than Lamborghini in this area.

E That BMW Welt is the most visited tourist attraction in Bavaria?



CENTRE STAGE Crossover speakers

TATJANA KOS A1 Slovenia, Slovenia

A FAIRY JOURNEY THROUGH MOST POPULAR AUDIO FAIRY TALES IN SLOVENIA Tanja is a senior marketing communication expert in charge of special brand owned projects, events and sponsorships for over a decade at A1 Slovenija - telecommunication company (ex Si.mobil). Most of the projects she is involved in are socially responsible. In the last two years she’s been busy with an intergenerational project resulting in contemporary audio bed time fairy tales known as Lahkonočnice, where writers, illustrators, seniors from retirement homes and many more partners collaborate. Her work portfolio ranges from activities to raise awareness for youth issues such as violence or unemployment (Žur z razlogom) to inviting creative communities into A1 projects (Orto Longboards, TapeArt, Dance, Bikes, Muziq gateway…) and promoting/supporting young Slovenian artists by including their music into A1 advertisements.

Q: What do you love about your job the most? I used to love being involved in every single move linked to the events. However, I came to realise that it’s better only to concern myself with leading the project while letting everyone else do their part of the job :) and only interfere when it’s really necessary. Q: By your opinion, what is live marketing’s best advantage?

It’s all about emotions, how you want your invitees, customers, listeners,

viewers, participants… to feel during »the event« and even more important - how you want them to feel on the way home.

Q: How have the best live marketing events you have attended so far made you feel? I consider live music concerts best live marketing events. The last best I’ve attended was Nick Cave and The Bed Seeds’ here in Ljubljana.

Q: Looking at your bucket list,

what is the one thing that you really wish to cross off by the end of 2018? Professionally I’d like to achieve the goals we’ve set for the project. Privately I’d like to visit New York.

Q: If you could have dinner with anyone (alive or dead), who would you have dinner with and why? Nikola Tesla. I’d ask him to share all the blueprints of the ideas he did not have time to develop and then give it to the few great minds of our time to realise them. Q: What would you share with our participants if you would have only a one minute lecture? Try to set one ultimate goal you’ll aim for with the project and have it written on your screensaver. And have fun getting there! Q: What are you bringing to Conventa Crossover Bedtime Fairy Tales :) which probably sounds funny out of context i.e. not knowing the project’s background.


MICHAEL COWAN Brand Distillery: Mont Beer, Ireland

MONT BEER - HOW TO CREATE A LEADERSHIP BRAND FROM SC RATCH Michael Cowan is a global brand consultant and CEO of Brand Distillery. Michael also founded and owns Ireland’s highest brewery in the Wicklow Mountains, and its award-winning Irish mountain beer, MONT™. After a distinguished career working across three continents on iconic consumer brands such as Guinness, Pepsi, Red Bull, and McDonald’s, Michael left the corporate world behind, to create his own international export beer brand MONT™. Through his consulting work, Michael also helps other start-ups and young businesses create leadership brands, to compete effectively against the big global players. At Conventa Crossover, he will share how he created MONT™ from a seed idea to now be widely considered as ‘Ireland’s answer to Peroni’, in less than 3 years.

Q: What do you love about your job the most? In two words: Ideas and People. I love bringing ideas to life, in a creative way, to bring something tangible, of value, to people. In marketing there’s too much talk of ‘consumers’, but I love seeing how ‘people’ from all walks of life react, engage, and enjoy brands and priducts I’ve had a hand in delivering to them. Q: By your opinion, what is live marketing’s best advantage? Live marketing creates communities, and communities create tribes, and tribe members are your brand ambassodors, when you can’t reach their audience yourself. So live marketing becomes a very efficient & effective marketing tool, if you get it right. Unfortunately too many brands focus on the technology of the live marketing, rather than one clear, resounding brand message, so it becomes a wasted opportunity to grow your tribe. Q: Live marketing is a stage. The screenplay for impressing the au-

dience is … ? Every screenplay must have a villian; The Antagonist. Your brand must be the Protagnist. The good guy. The key for brands is to make the audience

identify with your mission, through good storytelling, and a clear sense of purpose. Obviously, being entertaining helps keep the audience’s attention. If you get the screenplay right you’ll have the audience wanting to collectively beat up the bad guy for you. Metaphorically, of course!

Q: How have the best live marketing events you have attended so far made you feel? I spoke at DMX Dublin earlier this year, which is Ireland’s biggest live marketing conference, by far. The thing that impressed me was the diversity and buzz around, that led to an amazing amount of content & idea sharing. It felt great to be part of our evovling industry. Q: Looking at your bucket list, what is the

one thing that you really wish to cross off by the end of 2018? I would really like my Irish beer brand, MONT™ exported to Central Eurpoe, including Slovenia, in time for the Christmas period!

Q: If you could have dinner with anyone (alive or dead), who would you have dinner with and why? I would love to have a meal with the late, great Anthony Bourdain. And I’d like him to cook it for us too (I’ll peel the onions). Not only would I get to enjoy the presence and storytelling of this amazing human being, but I’d get to enjoy his great cooking too! Q: What would you share with our participants if you would have only a one minute lecture? I’d have just enough time to explain why they should all read Jack Trout & Al Ries’ “22 Imuttable Laws of Marketing” and Dr Byron Sharp’s “Why Brands Grow”. Q: What are you bringing to Conventa Crossover? Hopefully I’m bringing a fresh, unique perspective on live marketing and how to build a leadership brand, even if you have limited resources. Failing that, I’m also bringing plenty of samples of my award-winning MONT™ super premium Irish lager!



FROM INSPIRATION TO CREATION Patrick Roubroeks has a curious and creative look to the world around him. He sees and grabs opportunities where someone else wouldn’t see them. He combines and switches effortless between the world of events and the world of marketing communication. Roubroeks is an advisor in the world of ‘art and culture’ and frequently gives readings titled ‘Inspiration 2.0’. He also writes monthly columns for professional journals like FZ, EventBranche, High Profile and Greater Venues. For the last two years, Roubroeks has been a chairman of ‘De Grote Prijs van Nederland’, chairman of the board of the ‘Amsterdam Poëziefestival’, and a board member of the ADCN (Art Directors Club Nederland).

Q: What do you love about your job the most? At XSAGA, we are passionate about people and brands. We connect the two and put them in the spotlight. When we develop creative concepts, we like to think outside the traditional boxes of marketing communications and we refuse to be limited by existing boundaries in the field of live communications. We think beyond any particular media and believe in making a real connection with people and brands. This is how we build the bridge between the commercial message and the soul of the audience. Q: By your opinion, what is live marketing’s best advantage? Nothing beats the real stuff. Real contact with real people is the king. Who doesn’t remember his first kiss? Do I need to say more?

Q: How have the best live marketing events you have attended so far made you feel? The best events connected me with a message. A message that I took home, shared with friends and keep close to my heart for the time to come. Q: Looking at your bucket list, what is the one

thing that you really wish to cross off by the end of 2018? Going to the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow.

Q: If you could have dinner with

anyone (alive or dead), who would you have dinner with and why? I would love to sit in the car together with James Corden and Paul McCartney on our way to a fastfood restaurant.

Q: What would you share with our participants if you would have only a one minute lecture? “Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to.” (Jim Jarmusch) Q: What are you bringing to Conventa Crossover? Ambition and humor about our profession in the field of live communication.



Crossover speakers

MATJAŽ MOŽINA MeetPoint, Slovenia

ROUNDTABLE ON EVENT INNOVATIONS AND TECHNOLOGY Matjaž started gaining his knowledge at Si.mobil (now know as A1 Slovenia) for almost 10 years to the latest as the head of mobile solutions. In 2012 he decided for new independent buisness challenges. He established his own company, where he covers the development of new mobile services, project management and marketing. He has over fifteen years of experience in telecommunications and mobile solutions, with excellent references for project management and innovation ideas. In 2016, he became a co-founder of startup MeetPoint. He is now devoting most of his time to this project, making the event industry approach as close as possible.

Q: What do you love about your job the most? The job requires constant learning. There’s always something new to do, and new techniques to apply to solve problems better. I love the challenge of coming to work every day and trying to figure out how we, as a team, are going to get more people around the world to use our platform. Q: By your opinion, what is event technology’s best advantage?

Delivering right information about the event to attendees via mobile phone, where you can use different channels for communication.

Q: Live marketing is a stage. The screenplay for impressing the audience is … ? … great experiences of the right content.

Q: How have the best live marketing events you have attended so

far made you feel? Two really good events which I participate at almost every year, take place in Barcelona and Lisboa. In Barcelona, the well-known GSM World mobile congress brings together the full mobile and technology ecosystem in one place, while the Web summit in Lisboa is the largest tech conference in the world. For both events, it is characteristic that they give you insights into technologies that already exist and predict new technology trends. All this information gives you the idea of how you can implement or even develop in a different way solution in your environment.

Q: Looking at your bucket list, what is the one thing that you really wish to cross off by the end of 2018? I have no more special wishes for this year any more. In the near future – in around 10days :), I will have a daughter, so during the time of our discussion panel, I will be already a father. :) On my bucket list until 2025 is to visit all 4 GRAM SLAM tennis tournaments. I still need 3 on my list -Rolland-Garros, Wimbeldon and Australian Open. Q: If you could have dinner with anyone (alive or dead), who would you have dinner with and why? I would change the dinner for tennis game with Roger Federer. Q: What would be your dream event innovation or technology? To develop self-check in standing device.

Q: What are you expecting from the panel discussion? To change the event industry. :)


BORIS KOVAČEK Pepermint, Croatia

ROUNDTABLE ON EVENT MARKETING IN THE REGION OF SEE He is responsible for managing agency projects as well as conducting business operations. Pepermint agency is designing and implementing special projects including concept, strategies for promotion and sales on the market, and project production. He is executive director and co-owner of the Weekend Media Festival as well as Project Manager at the World Handball Championship, the European Water Polo Championship, Terraneo Music Festival, Asian Beach Games 2010. Before Pepermint, he built his career at EPH, DA! and as DJ in Zagreb clubs. His last major project was launch of the first amusement park in this part of Europe. Fun Park Biograd was opened in 2017.

Q: What do you love about your job the

most? Meeting interesting people, traveling, never doing same thing again …

Q: By your opinion, what is live marketing’s best advantage? Diversity. Q: Live marketing is a stage. The screenplay for impressing the audience is … ? Understanding the message you want to deliver and understanding your audience. Q: How have the best live marketing events you have attended so far made you feel? I felt excitement and pressure at the same time.

Q: Looking at your bucket list, what is the one thing that you really wish to cross off by the end of 2018? My bucket list is almost empty… creating Weekend Media Festival Hawaii should be THE thing to do. Q: If you could have dinner with anyone (alive or dead), who would you have dinner with and why? As a music lover it would be Stevie Wonder. If I could bring someone from the other side, I would like to meet director of Tito’s Funeral as this was the greatest event ever. Q: Why do you think it is important to have a

regional collaboration in event and live marketing? Cultures and business models in the region are similar and it is important to learn from our neighbours. Sometimes it is easier to find out what is going on in NY than in a country next to you. This was one of main ideas behind Weekend when we started it.

Q: What are you expecting from the panel discussion? To meet people with different perspectives and learn something new. Every opportunity to look into your business trough someone else’s eyes is opportunity to learn and change. I think this is important.


KIM LUDVIGSEN Interprefy, Zürich

ROUNDTABLE ON EVENT INNOVATIONS AND TECHNOLOGY Kim Ludvigsen was born and grew up in Denmark. He lives in Zürich and graduated in Civil Engineering from the ETH and has an MBA from INSEAD. He worked for Accenture, Apax Partners and Ernst & Young and later co-founded several start-ups. In 2014 he met with Peter Frei, a former colleague form the Swiss Post, with whom he conceived the Interprefy business idea.

end of 2018? Our ambitions goal of reaching a ten-fold revenue increase is reached.

Q: What do you love about your job the most? The abilities to be creative, build up a business, inspire a team and enable better communication in the world.

Q: What would be your dream event innovation or technology?

Q: By your opinion, what is event technology’s best advantage? With our platform, event organisers can provide interpreting at a 50% discount compared to traditional technology with onsite equipment. Q: Live marketing is a stage. The screenplay for impressing the audience is … ? A live demo of our platform. Q: How have the best live marketing events you have attended so far made you feel? Inspired, enriched, happy. Q: Looking at your bucket list, what is the one thing that you really wish to cross off by the

Q: If you could have dinner with anyone (alive or dead), who would you have dinner with and why? Johann Sebastian Bach, the greatest composer of all times, the father of Western European music. Virtual presence, the availability to project 3D holograms of remote participants.

Q: What are you expecting from the panel

discussion? To learn what the conference delegates think of RSI and the ability to inform them of the advantages of the revolutionary technology.


VARTAN SURMEJAN Event Cook, Macedonia

ROUNDTABLE ON EVENT MARKETING IN THE REGION OF SEE Vartan’s background displays organization of business events, film festivals, conferences, master classes, exhibitions as brand engaging platforms but also acting as protocol officer during the 20th, jubilee edition of the Sarajevo Film Festival. When designing events’ content, Vartan strives to craft meaningful participant’s experience and is interested in blueprint mapping and in using new technologies and wooden made gadgets when organizing team buildings. Since 2017 he is actively blogging at his portfolio website, sharing with events management enthusiasts his knowledge and experience. He currently works for Swiss Import Promotion Programme helping business support organizations gaining benefits from their export promotion activities while participating at the trade fairs, study tours and matchmaking events. In 2016, he became a co-founder of startup MeetPoint. He is now devoting most of his time to this project, making the event industry approach as close as possible.

Q: What do you love about your job the most? Staging excitements. The opportunity to search for content that will highlight those special moments people are dreaming of when they decide to apply events as part of their marketing strategy. Q: By your opinion, what is live marketing’s best advantage? Making the experiences tangible – the idea to place a product or service on the market by providing event’s content applicable to all 5 senses – sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell. Q: Live marketing is a stage. The screenplay for impressing the audience is … ? ... content that will take you out of the everyday life routine, immerse you in the journey and bring you back in balance satisfied with what you experienced.

Q: How have the best live marketing events you have attended so far made you feel? Inspired and motivated to respond to my creativity’s call for action. Q: Looking at your bucket list, what is the one thing that you really wish to cross off by the end of 2018? I really like to finish my course in creative writing as I believe will be even more skilled when storytelling next events. Q: If you could have dinner with anyone (alive or dead), who would

you have dinner with and why? Carl Jung, because he introduced to us the concept of interpreting dreams through archetypes, as such becoming able to see our ways, explain our feelings and becoming aware for our deepest ambitions and fears... and, we are all dreaming.

Q: Why do you think it is important

to have a regional collaboration in event and live marketing? Because regional approach brings to events’ organization diverse know-how, variety of destinations, landscapes and authentic experiences. What is important is that access to the regional network of professionals leverage common sense for providing equal service quality across all region.

Q: What are you expecting from the panel discussion? I’m expecting shared enthusiasm for staging interesting, enjoyable events that can act as business storytellers and improved networking among events management professionals in the region.


IVONA DABETIĆ JOVOVIĆ Vision Event, Montenegro

ROUNDTABLE ON EVENT MARKETING IN THE REGION OF SEE Vision Event is five years old event management, marketing and PR agency, doing business in Montenegro. She is a co-founder of regional Convention of women of Western Balkans, which main idea is empowering women in society and which gathered the most influential women from country, region and the world, including Nobel prize winner Mrs. Shirin Ebadi. She is also founder and president of NGO „Brini o sebi“ with main goal of promotion of self-care and prevention of breast cancer. She is moderator and speaker. She is a proud mother of 8 year old boy.

Q: What do you love about your job the most? Since the first moment of this job in the field of event management, marketing, and PR, I feel passion which only increases over time and encourages me to get even better. In this way, I believe in myself and in my visions, and I strive to make big steps towards a significant success. The feeling I like the most is when we, with the team, create something worthy, when we feel that our creativity has no limits, what eventually results by moving the boundaries and previous possibilities. One more important thing that makes me happy is the satisfaction and positive comments from our clients and business partners, even our competitors. That is one of the main indicators that we are doing the right thing. We are constantly trying to improve our services and to move up by following the latest trends. Q: By your opinion, what is live marketing’s best advantage? Live marketing has several advantages, but I would highlight a few. It is the best way to feel and show the emotion, and share it with people who are listening. The most important is that the audience feels honesty and experience of the speaker. Face to face communication in a real moment gives us a possibility to actively participate, exchange the views, give suggestions and at the same time it is a great way to gain new knowledge and to improve the existing one. Q: Live marketing is a stage. The screenplay for impressing the audience is…? Good preparation is the key to a public appearance, because no matter for how many years someone has been doing this, it is still a huge responsibility to properly contact and impress the public. A speaker needs to be honest. The audience likes to feel the speaker’s respect.

Q: How have the best live marketing events you have attended so far made you feel? I can single out one performance which made a significant impression on me; it was Meeting with Marina Abramovic. Marina Abramovic is a famous performance artist, and I passionately follow her work. She has published a book and made a visit to Montenegro to make a live event for book promotion. The presence of the artist provided me with the possibility to really feel her truth, to ask her questions, to interact. I was inspired, even for a long time after that live event. Q: Looking at your bucket list, what is the one thing that you really wish to cross off by the end of 2018? Invitation to participate at Conventa Crossover in Slovenia is a significant confirmation of all my previous efforts, giving up and investing in myself. Definitely, I will consider this participation as a crown in my career for 2018. Q: If you could have dinner with anyone (alive or dead), who would

you have dinner with and why? The answer isn’t so easy as it seems, because there have been many people through history whose life stories fascinate me. But, to choose one, it would definitely be the legendary Nelson Mandela. He was a man who was ready to die for his ideas. I’d have so many questions for him. I am sure that it would be a great dinner with many interesting topics for discussion.

Q: Why do you think it is import-

ant to have a regional collaboration in event and live marketing? I think that for company development and positioning, as well as for personal advancement, it is very important to establish the regional cooperation in events. By comparing how something works, we are trying to improve the current situation on the market within which we operate. A crucial thing is to never cease seeking out new and interesting things. Another essential thing is the constant networking. Every type of regional presence and cooperation is a great way for achieving more important goals.

Q: What are you expecting from the panel discussion? I expect to meet great people, colleagues who are experts in their area, and with whom I can share my experiences from practice. I also hope that we will provide a lot of valuable information to all of the attendees. I expect that we will launch many interesting topics supported by evidence from practice, which will be of interest to all. I am really looking forward to participating, and I am sure a dynamic, active and pleasant communication with all participants will rise.



Crossover speakers


Event Design Collective, Germany

EVENT DESIGN USING VISUAL THINKING - HOW LEADERS AND CHANGE-MAKERS USE THE EVENTCANVAS™ For 25 years he has successfully lead and motivated teams to achieve personal and organizational success. Until 2016 he was leading the growth of MCI in Germany from 30 to 130 talents. Currently he serves on the Board of the German Convention Bureau and was a member of the MPI International Board of Directors until 2017. He closely followed the creation of the #EventCanvas and served as a sounding board for the creators Ruud Janssen and Roel Frissen. He is a trained Certified Event Designer, leads workshops and seminars about using the #EventCanvas methodology to change behavior and create more meaningful meetings. In 2016, he became a co-founder of startup MeetPoint. He is now devoting most of his time to this project, making the event industry approach as close as possible.

Q: What do you love about your job the most? Interaction with people, creating change by listening, helping people to think strategically and do things differently the next day. Q: By your opinion, what is live marketing’s best advantage?

Messages stick best if attached to emotions. Nothing conveys emotions better than a live experience. Or would you marry your loved one online?

Q: Live marketing is a stage. The screenplay for impressing the audience is … ? experience journey that alleviates pains, amplifies gains resulting in the desired change of behavior designed by the screenplay writer.

Q: How have the best live marketing events you have attended so far made you feel? Go out there and change the world! Q: Looking at your bucket list, what is the one thing that you really wish to cross off by the end of 2018? Do my annual motorbike trip with my best friend in South Africa in December.

Q: If you could have dinner with anyone

(alive or dead), who would you have dinner with and why? Nelson Mandela together with Paul Simon to talk about persistence and believing in what you do is right.

Q: What are you preparing for the workshop that you will lead at the Conventa Crossover? I will showcase the EventCanvas Methodology, a uniquely powerful approach to systematically deconstruct and then reconstruct the success or failure of an event with a team of invested people. Based on the principles of Visual Thinking and Design Thinking the EventCanvas allows teams to design events that change desired behavior and create results that matter. Q: What are you expecting from the workshop to give to its participants?

In this very interactive workshop using the EventCanvas they will learn how to select stakeholders, how to get their value crystal clear and involve them in a constructive way. This strategic event management tool helps event planners develop customer-centric events that focus on creating value for all stakeholders. This approach supports a collaborative working method for more creativity and ROI. On top, the EventCanvas effectively facilitates documenting existing congresses and events on one page and developing new event business models.


KLARA HONZIKOVA Socialbakers, Czech Republic

hundreds of thousands people, but you have a unique chance to give your guests an experience they won’t forget and will remember you by.


Q: Live marketing is a stage. The screenplay for impressing the audience is … ? ...unexpected experience.

Klara Honzikova has taken care of events since she was a child. She has coordinated everything from birthday celebrations, to the Harry Potter film and book premieres, to conferences across the entire world. While others shake their head at the challenges she faces, she lives for them. For six years now, Klara has organised events for Socialbakers, of which the most well-known is Engage Prague. In her spare time, she manages to work on other projects - including the large-scale tennis event Laver Cup, where she’s been in charge of the opening night both in Prague last year and in Chicago this coming September.

Q: What do you love about your

job the most? Connecting people would be the first thing I love about my job. At our Socialbakers Engage events we’re bringing together people from all over the world and it’s great to see them creating many friendships and even business partnerships. The second thing would be the creativity that I am able to put into the events I organise. I consider myself very lucky having pretty much an open space when it comes to the creative part of our conferences. Lastly the traveling part - I love to travel, so I am very grateful to have a job and work on projects that allow me to travel regularly all over the world.

Q: By your opinion, what is event technology’s best advantage? Meeting people one on one in a different environment. In the era of emails, banners, sales calls, there’s no better way to connect with someone. Events to me are the strongest marketing tool. They do not reach

Q: How have the best live marketing events you have attended so

far made you feel? To be honest I haven’t been to many marketing events so far. Just haven’t had the chance, but would love to attend big events like Dreamforce or SXSW to get inspired.

Q: Looking at your bucket list, what is

the one thing that you really wish to cross off by the end of 2018? Travel to few more places that I haven’t been to yet.

Q: If you could have dinner with anyone (alive or dead), who would you have dinner with and why? For inspiration I would choose Vaclav Havel, the former Czech president, and Michelle Obama. For good laughs the singer Adele, whom I absolutely adore. Q: What are you preparing for the workshop that you will lead at the Conventa Crossover? Coming from a B2B business with a strong focus on selling a product I would like to share my experience with creating events that are a bit different than your usual B2B conferences. I would also like to talk about how different formats work in different regions and how there are many goals you could achieve, including creating great ROI. Q: What are you expecting from the workshop to give to its participants?

I would love for them to learn how important it is to manage expectations, work with several stakeholders and not be afraid of thinking out of the box and doing things differently.







Ivo J. Franschitz owns a Master degree in International Marketing from the Vienna University of Economics and his early career milestones include Senior Marketing & Management positions in the Tourism and Meeting industry. Currently he holds a Board member position with EMBA (Event Marketing Board Austria) and with LiveCom Alliance, as well as being an active member of ICCA and of 27NAMES. His qualifications include an ISO certification (Certified Event Expert).

With his business partner Padraic Gilliagn, Patrick Delaney is Managing Partner at SoolNua, a specialist MICE agency helping destinations, hotels and venues with strategy, marketing and training based on 6 decades of expertise as global leaders in the industry. Prior to founding SoolNua, Delaney was Managing Director of Ovation, MCI’s global DMC network.

I fell into events accidentally some 18 years ago while switching jobs from TV&Film production to advertising. The agency searched for someone who would look over TV ads and events production that they dreaded from, and I was looking for something new, where I could use my knowledge and upgrade my creativity, away from exhausting film jobs. It was a match made in heaven and the ever so fun rollercoaster ride started (and not yet stopped).

Q: The best advice that you, as the member

of the jury, would give to the applicants for the Conventa Best Event Award? Be authentic and stay focused. Let the event speak for itself. Less is more.

Q: How could an applicant ease the jury’s work? Choose the right combination of words & imagery, and make sure any visuals are of good quality.

Q: The best advice that you, as the member of the jury, would give to the applicants for the Conventa Best Event Award? APPLY APPLY APPLY. Send in your entry; if you are not in, you can’t win. Q: How could an applicant ease the jury’s work? Follow the guidelines and the criteria in the application, that’s what we as judges will do. Answer the questions, how you meet, no, how you exceed the criteria. Tell the story and bring the event to life, remember we, as judges, have not had the benefit of being there.

Q: The best advice that you, as the member of the jury, would give to the applicants for the Conventa Best Event Award? Apply with events that make a difference. Sometimes less is more. The end effect is that counts. Q: How could an applicant ease the jury’s work? I guess being a juror doesn’t comply with having an easy job. So bring it on, we have a job to do ;).





Director of the Vienna Convention Bureau, President of the Austrian Convention Bureau and former ICCA President. Managing a team of 12 people, trying to position Vienna as the leading meetings destination. Interested in any new developments and ideas which could influence the advancement of the Meetings Industry.

Davor Bruketa is the Creative Director at Bruketa&Žinić&Grey - global Grey group‘s Design and Digital Shopper Hub. With over 450 awards for advertising, design and events, their project The Tunnel was also the most visited Croatian exhibition in 2017 and was pronounced Event of The Year by Media marketing.

Jan-Jaap is owner-moderator at Masters in Moderation. He is a firm believer that a carefully selected moderator-facilitator will make meetings more effective, more fun and definitely more worthwhile. His dream is to raise the standard of meetings worldwide, by providing them with the best moderators. His mission is to upgrade the moderator profession, by training both professional and unexperienced moderators.

Q: The best advice that you, as the member

of the jury, would give to the applicants for the Conventa Best Event Award? Make us curious.

Q: How could an applicant ease the jury’s work? Clear, short, to the point.

Q: The best advice that you, as the member of the jury, would give to the applicants for the Conventa Best Event Award? Prove why your idea made a difference, what were the reasons behind it and how did it benefit your client. The presentation for the jury is a new „event“, and the jury members are the „guests“. Q: How could an applicant ease the jury’s work? Be clear, concise and creative.

Q: The best advice that you, as the member of the jury, would give to the applicants for the Conventa Best Event Award? Bring us the proof! Don’t just tell us how great everything was, show it to us. Q: How could an applicant ease the jury’s work? Send us money :) Or even better: make the objectives of the event very clear and show us how you measured the effectiveness.





Founder of the eventoplus Group of event and MICE related publications and events (, Eventos magazine, IBTM Daily, eventoDays, Premios eventoplus and Fitur Daily...). Entrepreneur, trainer, speaker. Jose has been fully dedicated to the events and MICE industry for the last 18 years, as an organiser, as a final client and as a professional media publisher.

Founder & Co-owner, Managing Director of CREATIVE PRO group. In 2003, Stefan Kozak founded a company focused on live & event marketing, CREATIVE PRO and consequently he built diversified group of companies, called CREATIVE PRO group, with business present mainly on Slovak and Czech market, Hungary and Poland. Except for managing the group and its organisations he is in charge of business development, strategical acquisition of new business as well as specific ‘live marketing’ projects.

Since January 2017 Luca Favetta serves as Regional Business Director EMEA at PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association), the world’s largest network of Business Events Strategists, and is responsible for developing PCMA Brand and Educational Services in the Region. With 25+ years of Corporate events experience, Luca has previously served as Senior Director Global Events and Programs at Hewlett-Packard International as well as Senior Director Global Events EMEA at SAP SA. He seats on the advisory board of Bea (Best Event Award) World and has also served as a faculty member at Master in Tourism Management, IULM University Milan, Italy and at ECM (European Cities Marketing) Summer School.

Q: The best advice that you, as the member of the jury, would give to the applicants for the Conventa Best Event Award? Applying for a Best Event Award is always a challenge. Jury members, we watch dozens of videos and read lots of event descriptions in a very short period of time. Let me give you a couple of tips to organise your ideas: Be wise and try and describe your event from the attendants perspective, try to connect with us by making us relive what your event was about. We want to be engaged and transported to your event. This is live communication! On the other hand, do not forget the objective that the client wanted to achieve with the event being described and convince us that it was achieved, leave us no doubts about it, be serious on your demonstration. Best of success with your application!! Q: How could an applicant ease the jury’s work? To make our life easier, make a real storytelling of your application. Tell us about the objective, the challenges, the means you had to organise your event, the event itself and the outcome. Do not leave any of these parts unexplaind as we then lack of substance to judge.

Q: The best advice that you, as the member of the jury, would give to the applicants for the Conventa Best Event Award? Try to think about the content/project that you are planning to nominee for CBEA already before the event happens. This will help you to have the best tools for successful project nomination (strong content, clear creative strategy and storyline, channels innovations and production highlights). Q: How could an applicant ease the jury’s work? KISS approach. Try to Keep It Smart and Simple and focus on the maximum three of the most important project highlights.

Q: The best advice that you, as the member of the jury, would give to the applicants for the Conventa Best Event Award? Be relevant. Clearly show how the event contributed to achieve overall Business Objectives. Show the ROI. Q: How could an applicant ease the jury’s work? Stay Focus, tell us a story describing the Event path from Objectives, to Creative Idea - Format - Execution -Measurement. Let the Jury clearly understand the strategy behind and how you achieved your client objectives.


ILKA DZEIK Senior Partner at Event ROI Institute Europe. 20 years ago, Ilka followed her desire to work on events and live communication, managing international corporate events in the ITC industry. During her 12 years at Symantec as Head of Global Events EMEA she was in charge of the integrated event marketing strategy for Europe. Today, she is a Senior Partner, consultant and trainer of the Event ROI Institute helping event professionals to increase the effectiveness of their events with the Event ROI Methodology.

Q: The best advice that you, as the member of the jury, would give to the applicants for the Conventa Best Event Award? The intention is to award those events that are not only innovative and creative, but also effective - those that achieve, or even exceed, their long-term communication, marketing and business aims. Focus on the objectives of your event and share your unique, creative and innovative ideas that were supporting these objectives. Also share your challenges and failures as this makes your story personal. And don´t forget a creative opening spike to raise attentions and finally present in an inspiring and interactive way involving the participants.. Q: How could an applicant ease the jury’s work? Before you enter an event, read the categories carefully and make sure that your event really matches the category description. Make sure that your entry delivers a SHORT and FOCUSED description for every single criteria (if applicable). Try to relate your description to your overarching objectives so that we always understand your event strategy and why you have chosen the specific instructional design and elements of the programme.




Every year Conventa draws attention to excellence in the meetings industry with an award for the best event in ‘New Europe’. We thoroughly analysed wishes and requirements of meetings organisers and prepared a new model of the competition for the Conventa Best Award, which this year will be an integral part of the Conventa Crossover conference. Organizers of mind blowing events from New European region were invited to enter the competition that again acknowledges the best in the event business. The winner will be announced in August 2018 during the Conventa Crossover conference. WHY CONVENTA BEST EVENT AWARD? 1. Reputation of the competition With entering the event into the competition, the organisers increase their reputation among the clients and the professional public. The Meetings Star award is the oldest such recognition in the field of the meetings industry. 2. Credibility of the jury A competent international jury, ensuring the top-notch level of awarded events and independency of the evaluation assesses the event.

3. Innovative evaluation model The evaluation of registered events follows the unique three-level model 80:20 (80% of the votes come from the expert jury and 20% from the professional public at the Conventa Crossover conference). 4. Presentation of all the registered events Projects will be presented on the online portal which will provide an overview of the best event organisers for the clients. 5. Promotion of the best events The best projects will be presented in the September’s issue of the Kongres Magazine. The awarded projects will additionally get promoted over social networks, e-newsletter, and press releases. 6. Conventa Best Event Award label The quality label/badge which will provide an easier promotion for the registered organizers. The clients as well will receive the label. 7. Participation at the Conventa Crossover Conference By participating in the competition, all the meeting organizers get a free entry to Conventa Crossover.


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Interview with Martina Bienenfeld, director of Zagreb Tourist Board & Convention Bureau GORAZD ČAD //


Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is a modern city whose recognition on the international map of the meetings industry rapidly growing due to the city’s promising mixture of business and leisure offer. We talked to Martina Bienenfeld, director of Zagreb Tourist Board & Convention Bureau, about the city’s characteristics, meetings industry scene, future investments in tourism, MTLG ranking, and about the millennials.

Q: Which 3 words would best describe Zagreb? Charming, vibrant and compact. Q: How do you see Zagreb’s meeting industry scene in 2018? Meeting industry scene is becoming more and more dynamic every year. International associations and corporate clients are looking for the new destinations, and Zagreb is definitely one of them. Zagreb was mostly perceived as a meeting and conference destination, but lately Zagreb is also attracting incentives and other corporate events not just from Europe, but from overseas and far markets. Thanks to various events that take place all year round, Zagreb has much better visibility on the international map. On the other side, Zagreb’s meeting industry stakeholders are dedicated to execute events in highly professional manner with a touch of heart and soul. Q: How would you impress new meeting planners and “millennials” to come to Zagreb? What is the key to attract them to your destination? According to statistics, millennials represent almost 30% of a global population and significant part of the workforce. This generation use social media as their main communication and contact tool. On the other hand, meetings industry is based on face to face contacts. Motivation for attending conference or a meeting is gaining education and opportunity to network with their peers, but it is also an opportunity for something more. Millenials love to travel and experience new destinations, and due to the behavioral and work environment change, more young people combine traveling for business and leisure at the same time. We now have more, so called “bleisure” visitors. Zagreb is attractive to millennials, but also for all other visitors, because it is still not one of those touristy, overcrowded places. Millennials are looking for genuinity and authenticity that Zagreb offers to their visitors through carefully planned events and outstanding gastronomical offer.


In addition Zagreb is attractive as a city which surrounding area hosts one of the world’s most exciting technology companies “Rimac automobili” that makes fastest known electrical cars. So, innovations and technology combined with culture and history are the winning combination.

Q: Can you tell us more about the future investments in tourism in Zagreb? Regarding investments, new exciting hotels have been announced. Canopy by Hilton, a lifestyle hotel is going to be opened this year in Zagreb city centre. It will be a first Canopy in continental Europe. Hilton has announced new Garden Inn to be opened during 2019. in Zagreb business district. Amadria Park Hotel Capital is scheduled for opening this autumn. It will be an upscaled “Heritage” hotel located in the very heart of the city. City government is constantly working on infrastructure throughout the city that improve citizen’s and visitors’s experience. It means streets, parking,

bike trails, parks, sport objects and many other. Zagreb Tourist Board will continue to invest into new events as well as to improvement and upgrade of well established events that make Zagreb recognizable on the world map.

Lately Zagreb is also attracting incentives and other corporate events not just from Europe, but from overseas and far markets.

Q: How are meetings and events contributing to your city when it comes to legacy? It is our aim not just to have an event that would last for certain time and entertain locals and visitors. Our events contribute preserving the heritage of Zagreb improving the environment trying to impose sustainable lifestyle. Q: How important is MTLG ranking for Zagreb? It makes us extremely happy that MTLG ranked Zagreb at 1 place among such strong competition. Special value is that all the rankings were done completely impartial recognizing our work and efforts, giving us incentive to continue the good work in the future.


WE ARE AIMING TO PROVIDE AN INDIVIDUALLY CREATED STORY Interview with Doris Urbančič Windisch, director of Maribor-Pohorje Tourist Board GORAZD ČAD //


With its quality congress/business capacities and opportunities for unique experiences combined with picturesque surroundings and the warm hospitality of the people, Maribor is becoming increasingly renowned as a host destination for conventions, seminars and other meetings. We talked to Doris Urbančič Windisch, director of Maribor – Pohorje Tourist Board, about Maribor – Pohorje destination and its rise inside the meetings industry.

Q: Which are Maribor’s greatest assets in terms of attracting the meetings industry? Maribor`s greatest assets are its hospitable residents, natural resources with the world`s oldest vine as a highlight, and diverse, picturesque setting of the city with the mountain area covered in green woods in its vicinity, as well as the countryside scattered with vineyards stretching right into the city centre. On the top of that, there is a high-quality service with competitive prizes. Q: What would the prolonging of the tourist season to the whole year mean for the City of Maribor? Prolonging of the tourist season is of a key importance for the Maribor - Pohorje tourist destination. In the last few years, the peak of the season in the city of Maribor has already moved from the winter months to the months of June, July, and August. Thus, our goal is to fill up the lower parts of the year, which we could successfully perform by creating incentive adventures for even the most demanding incentive guests. As we all know, incentive guests provide the highest consumption rate per day; consequently, this would contribute not only to the prolonging of the tourist season, but also to the increase of the overall daily expenditure per a guest. Q: What kind of incentives can one get in Maribor? Our guests can enjoy so much on a such a small area! What do you think of a genuine experience of wine-tasting in the company of the World`s Oldest Vine, traditional timber-rafting with a live concert on a raft in the middle of the river, a treasure hunt in the underground world of a wine cellar located in the Maribor old town, and all this upgraded by the outstanding Styrian winemakers and chefs, top-notch cultural as well as numerous recreational opportunities? Q: What is the plan for Maribor’s meetings tourism in the future? Our short–term plan is for Maribor to be placed to its rightful position


within Slovenian field of meeting industry. The long-term plan, on the other hand, is for the SE Europe to recognize Maribor as a perfect place for their meeting or congress on the ground of all of the Maribor’s attractions and providers with genuine and quality service. Best value for money.

Q: City of Maribor has been also famous for its Lent Festival. What kind

ceptional promotional opportunity for a tourist destination and at the same time a commitment for all of us who work in the development and promotion of such tourism product. Naturally, local public awareness about a healthy lifestyle and the preservation of health through sport is of key importance, which we will achieve through numerous events. One big sports event is just behind us – the Tour of Slovenia, country`s biggest cycling event, which was extremely successful from both organisational as well as promotional perspective.

of experience does Lent Festival offer to congress or business guests? The Lent Festival is the largest Slovenian open-air festival and one of the largest in Europe. For more than a quarter of a century, at the beQ: How does meetings industry impact the local community? ginning of summer, Maribor gets transformed into a gigantic stage and Meetings industry perfectly integrates with the local community. a lively junction of artistic expressions, cultures and languages from Feedbacks of our guests are almost 100 % positive and they especialaround the world. Every year it welcomes about half a million visitors; ly emphasize the kindness, the hospitability of the locals, the everlastalmost every fourth Slovene has visited it at least once. More than fifty ing smiles on their faces and the locals’ openness. Do you know that festival venues, stretching from the banks of the river Drava to the city Maribor is one of the sunniest places in Slovenia? I believe this fact park, are only a few minutes on foot away. Lent Festival is unique in its also impacts both, the residents as well as our visitors for developing diversity and vast number of events and stages spread all across the such a positive attitude. At the end of the guest`s stay there`s always city, with a floating stage on river Drava that hosts the best shows and the wish for coming back – on the guests’ as well as on the hosts’ side. performers, giants and legends like Ray Charles, Bob Geldof, B.B. King, James Brown, Jose FeQ: Graz, the Austrian town just an hour ride liciano. This year, a highlight will be the Gipsy from Maribor, has been quite an established Orchestra of hundred violins. A part of the fesmeetings destination. How do you see Graz as We have already done a tival is the so called Sladolent, which brings the a competitor to Maribor? best Slovenian chefs to the city. Thus, in a single The city of Graz is a perfect opportunity for lot of work in the field evening, with a single walk between the festival international and regional cooperation; this is of sports tourism, and venues, a visitor can taste the best that modern one of our strongest wishes for the near future. there is still a lot of Slovenian cuisine has to offer. There are so many common things we share with the towns and places on the north. For exwork ahead of us. ample, the sunny wine roads, where the border Q: Maribor has a rich offer of programmes not doesn’t really matter – guests are strolling from just from spring to autumn but is also vivid in one place to the other all the time and thus pass winter. What kind of events and programmes from Austria to Slovenia and back. And there`s would you recommend for congress guests in the common history, historical figures, for exthat time of the year? ample the Archduke Johann, who is one of the most important perAs Maribor being a key winter destination in Slovenia, one would for sons for the development of Maribor and the surrounding area in such sure combine business with pleasures in the snow – let it be either a well-known destination for lovers (and experts) of (for) wine. Plus, on the top of the Pohorje Mountain on a night skiing or in a snowy Maribor and Graz are true cultural centres, nothing could confirm this Maribor city centre on an extravagant culinary experience with a big more then the title of European City of Culture both cities boast of. party on an outdoor concert on the biggest square in Slovenia. However, as we are following the five-star experience strategy set also by the Slovenian Tourist Board, we are aiming to provide an individually Q: What would you recommend to business guests to get in Maribor created story of Maribor, and thus fulfilling the interests and wishes as a perfect business gift from Maribor to their partners? of our guests. Maribor is the only place on Earth where the World`s Oldest Vine grows. Thus, a perfect gift could undoubtedly be connected to this unique treasure: maybe a wine from the first cutting of the World`s Q: This year, Maribor is one of the 16 European cities to hold the Oldest Vine or a picture with the leaf of the Old Vine, or anything contitle ‘European City of Sport’. What does this title mean for Maribor nected to the rich wine tradition and culture of Maribor and Slovenia. in terms of programmes and services? We have already done a lot of work in the field of sports tourism, and there is still a lot of work ahead of us. We are aware that the sports Q: What do you wish for Maribor and its meetings offer? Is there tourism and its tourist development are of the utmost importance for anything that you particularly hope for? Your dream? the city. Particularly because the sports tourism is one of the fastest My wish is to join in one place all the great providers of excellent stogrowing segments of tourism’s integral products, which strongly influries, which we will believe in and, thus, will be able to sell them to our ence the achievement of good results in consumption and the number dear guests. These stories will carry the image of Maribor and Slovenia of guest arrivals. During sports events or competitions, as a rule, the all over the world. The image of boutique destination intertwined with accommodation capacities in the city and the surrounding area are top most experiences of food and wine, with “crazy” sports events, usually 90-100% occupied. The city and destination Maribor-Pohorje and spiced up with cultural flavour – the image of one of the best has enormous potential, and the title European City of Sport is an exEuropean congress destinations.



Interview with Angelika Dietmayer, Schladming-Dachstein Convention GORAZD ČAD //


Q: How is your city positioned as a meeting destination today and what are its positive attributes that are often overlooked? Since the Alpine World Championships 2013 we do have a great conference center, the congress Schladming for up to 1400 pax. We can offer “mountains of opportunities” for the perfect “meeting in the mountains”. The combination of meetings/seminars and the great nature is peerless and we are able to offer 1 point of contact to handle all organization. Q: What can we look forward to seeing in Schladming in the next few years? The offers in Schladming are going to be improved constantly – infrastructure, hotels/accommodation,…; eg we will have two new cable cars in the next two years. We try to be innovative and modern and to have the best standard but to never forget our roots. (Top Events as the annual ski opening, night race, Mid Europe or Ennstal Classic.)

Q: How hard is it to get the message out about all that your city has to offer? I think it is not hard, we publish our offers online and offline: we do have a website and a very nice Convention Folder, where the information is presented very clearly. And we offer 1 point of contact for all questions the guests/planners might have. Q: How do you see the relationship between the meetings industry and the tourism industry? That fits together very well and completes and rounds up the offer: meeting guests are also “leisure guests”. They need and want good restaurants, a side programme, incentive programmes, leisure facilities. Schladming is a leisure and meeting destination, so we can combine both things in a great way and have the great “Wow-Effect” with “Meeting in the Mountains” for our guests.

Q: What is the city’s approach to tackling climate change? Climate change is a fact all Alpine regions have to tackle. Luckily we had lots of snow in the last years in winter but are additionally able to make artificial snow (4 mountains peak area 100 % equipped with snow machines). For that, our ski mountains do have a very ingenious system for saving water and energy. We spread our offer for green transportation: we offer E-car rental


and E-Bikes; we have a good network of public transportation. Congress Schladming is green-meeting certified.

Q: Tell us something that might surprise meeting planners about your city? A great offer in summer: the Schladming-Dachstein Sommercard with free admission to over 100 top recreational attractions, plus discounts up to 50 % through over 100 bonus partners. It is included at no cost when staying at one of our over 1.000 Sommercard hosts. Q: What would you suggest, for example, if a

way and a lot of other interesting things in the forest. I am sure they never tried such interesting and also funny things.

Schladming offers 'mountains of opportunities' for the perfect meeting.

German company (for example BMW) wished to organise team building in Schladming? We have great partner agencies which organize custom-made programmes. For the BMW group I would suggest the “forest academy”: a teambuilding programme where people learn how to fell a tree, climb trees, work with chainsaws, do arts with wood in a very special

Q: What do you find to be the most difficult part of your job? Wow, that’s a very difficult question! I don’t know, but as you know we all work with people: with our clients and guests, with partners here in Schladming and agencies, … It is great to meet so many people and for me this is the best and most interesting job, but sometimes also challenging. Q: What is your favourite place in Schladming?

I love to be in nature – in winter on our ski slopes or in summer at one of our clear mountain lakes and in the mountains.

Q: Where do you go on holiday? We will do a hiking tour from mountain hut to mountain hut.



POREČ MTLG – 2018 UPDATE The new incentive capital of Istria GORAZD ČAD //


INTRO 2018 Among the tourist destinations of Croatian Istria, Poreč is known as the multiple champion regarding visitors and capacities. In the last couple of years, Poreč has successfully transformed into an all-yearround destination, becoming a vital congress and incentive destination. The city is one of the oldest in Istria, but still shamelessly shows its youthful spirit, mostly through numerous festivals that fill the city with life. After going around Poreč you soon realise that there are tons of different activities, wrapped into a lovely package. However, the historic city hasn’t lost its historical charm and possibilities for exceptional incentive programmes. NEED TO KNOW 2018 Poreč is a city of festivals. This year, there are so many announced that one can hardly keep track of them all. The most resounding will be Rise Up, which will host the famous Rita Ora in July. The Mediterranean Summer Tango festival is also taking place in July. For beer aficionados, there is the Lanterna Beer Fest. Street theatre lovers will appreciate the Poreč Open Air Festival. Festival Giostra is an acclaimed historical festival, where 250 participants get dressed in costumes conjuring up life in baroque times. There is also a lot of sports events, with the Volley Team Open 2018 as one of the biggest. DID YOU KNOW? A stone’s throw from Poreč lies the small island of St Nikola, home of the recently renovated Valamar Isabella Island Resort. All of its facilities boast four stars, and when the main tourist season ends, the entire island can become yours, as you can rent it privately it for events. Taking advantage of this were the people at Microsoft, who held one of their most significant events – WinDays at the Valamar resort in April. Over 2000 experts attended the event, for which a special tent had to be built. The participants responses were extremely positive, and the organisation of such a challenging project is a proof that Poreč is capable of carrying out highly demanding congress productions. BEST INCENTIVE IDEA Istria Inspirit is one of the most innovative agencies in the region, bringing Istrian myths to life and presenting them to congress groups in an interactive way. You can experience the famous Iustitia, a story that took place in 1699, when a local bandit by the name of Domenico Furlan robbed the famous Poreč basilica. You will find out how

justice was served in a 2–3 hour program, where you will also get to know more about local monuments like the Euphrasius basilica, one of the best preserved early-Christian cathedrals, which was put on the UNESCO world heritage list in 1997. More at THE PERFECT GIFT Despite tourism being the main economic sector, farming is also very well developed, as regional plant cultures thrive in the mild climate conditions. The main branches are winegrowing and olive production, which is why a bottle of excellent Istrian wine or some authentic olive oil is the perfect gifts to take home. We also recommend local spirits like “travarica” or “biska”, which are said to heal all stomach aches and remind you of Istria with their strong aromas. BEST KEPT SECRETS The aristocratic Polesini family that originates from Istria has left a significant mark on the history of Poreč. Among the family’s legacy is also the former Polesini villa, positioned at the perfect location on Poreč peninsula. Today, the villa is in the hands of the Valamar group, which thoroughly renovated it in 2010. Especially impressive is the luscious garden, which offers remarkable views and can host up to 250 participants. The entire complex quickly became a favorite spot with wedding organisers. The conference halls are on three floors; the larger Cardo and Decumanus can host up to 100 participants. For the most exclusive experience, 6–8 guests can visit the Polesini wine cellar and try some exceptional wines, while Valamar’s catering service takes care of the food. OFF THE BEATEN MICE TRACK If your congress participants are staying in Poreč for more than just a day, we recommend a drive to Istria’s hinterland to experience one of the picturesque medieval towns. An excellent choice is the nearby town of Bale, offering many themed tours, local cuisine experiences and numerous possibilities for incentives. Driving the entire story is the Mon Perin company, where the principal shareholders are the locals. It is the perfect example of a well-oiled sustainable tourism machine. VOICES Nenad Velenik, Director of Poreč Tourist Board Lana Radolović Jakus, Valamar Riviera


WHAT’S HOT 2018 EHF EURO 2018 / 12 –16 January 2018 The European Men’s Handball Championship will be held from the 12th to the 28th January 2018 in four Croatian cities – Zagreb, Split, Varaždin and Poreč. Venue: Žatika Sports Centre Microsoft WinDays / 24–27 April 2018 Microsoft conference, the largest Technology & Business Conference in Croatia WinDays conference returns to Poreč for the third year in a row. The subjects of the WinDays18 Business conference are primarily focused on good business practices in the IT world. Venue: Valamar Isabella Island Resort Vinistra / 11–13 May 2018 25th International wine and wine equipment fair. The widespread reputation of the leading exhibition of the wine and other autochthonous agrarian Istrian products. Venue: Žatika Sports Centre DanceStar World Finals / 21–27 May 2018 DanceStar consists of the DanceStar World Qualifiers qualification tournaments, which take place in various countries around the world, and the DanceStar World Finals, the grand finale of the world tour which traditionally takes place in Poreč, Croatia. Venue: Different venues in Poreč

Sport Fest / 12–14 October 2018 Sport Fest is a sports fair, but also much more than that. It is an event that aims to combine the passion for sports with healthy lifestyle Venue: Žatika Sports Centre Crofish / 23–25 November 2018 CROFISH, the Fishing and Fishing Equipment Fair in Poreč is the only event of its kind held in Croatia. Venue: Žatika Sports Centre WHO TO CONTACT Valamar Riviera d.d. Stancija Kaligari 1 HR-52440 Poreč T: +385 (52) 408 205 E: W: MTLG 2018 We visited Poreč in May 2018. Poreč is part of the MTLG 2018 evaluation. The results of this year’s competition have just been published and can be viewed at More information at


ZAGREB MTLG – 2018 UPDATE Why is Zagreb the New Meetings Star? GORAZD ČAD //


INTRO 2018 We visited Zagreb in the last minutes before the historical FIFA World Cup Final. The euphoria and positive energy which overtook the city were incredible and only a few remained indifferent to the atmosphere. Football really stops time and pushes all of the daily and other challenges into the background. However, Zagreb offers more than that and is becoming a supreme meetings and events destination. Recently, a lot of things have changed and the city has become a hot meetings spot. Deservingly, the city became the first meetings destination in the L-destinations for 2018 on the grounds of the MTLG methodology. The L-destinations are the destinations that host up to a maximum of 2,000 meeting participants. Zagreb has also greatly progressed in the ICCA ranking. There are many reasons for this, but the most visible is the ever better public infrastructure with a completely new and modern airport, with new hotels, and a persistent and consistent promotion of the city which has brought good results. NEED TO KNOW 2018 Zagreb offers a lot more than just congress hotels and classical congress offer. The numerous venues impress the most. Their concentration is outstanding and this part of the offer puts Zagreb at the top of the region. The legacy of different periods of urbanisation today allows for events to be held in ultra-modern museums and the city’s magical atriums. Another novelty are the pop-up venues which really come to life in summer time and present an interesting alternative to the classical meeting venues. Next to the traditional museums as special venues – like the Art Pavilion, Croatian National Theatre, Croatian State Archives, the Illyirian Hall, the Mimara Museum – we were particularly impressed by the Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art. This art institution in Novi Zagreb (‘New Zagreb’) has been open to the public since 2009; its minimalistic and photogenic architecture, and the flexibility of the museum’s staff attract the event planners who, by prior arrangement, can combine a visit to permanent exhibitions with the concept of the event. DID YOU KNOW? Zagreb’s cultural abundance, expressed through diverse events, museums, theatres, and galleries, ranks Zagreb at the regional top. In warmer months, your congress guests can enjoy culture for free on

Zagreb’s squares, streets and other, to tourists usually hidden, locations. There is so much going on in Zagreb that it is pretty much impossible to consume it all. We are especially impressed by the romantic Strossmayer Promenade full of musicians, art colonies, art installations and happenings. The pop-up venues are genius as well; for example, this year’s Foodbalerka which is some kind of a hybrid between an open kitchen and a festival of music, football, and gathering. Besides, Zagreb is the host of a series of music festivals, among which the INMusic festival is the ‘king’ that is ranked among the best festivals in the world, and annually visited by more than 50 thousand music enthusiasts. All of this provides to congress guests an added value that other cities in the region do not offer in such an extensive form. BEST INCENTIVE IDEA Secret Zagreb: We suggest you that you travel back to the past with the help of an urban adventure that takes to the city’s myths, legends, and actual events. The programme, guided by an energetic and unusual guide Iva Silla, reveals the stories about witches and dragons that caused the city’s earthquake in 1880, as well as many other stories that you will never hear during other tourist tours around town. The most popular programmes that you can choose from are the Ghosts and Dragons Tour and the Zagrebarium Quest which is an excellent case of gamification through the story of an unusual murder – while investigating the murder you will even stumble upon Nikola Tesla. THE PERFECT GIFT Kvadrati so Hrvati (The Squares are Croats): The success of the Croatian football has spread the recognisable Croatian symbol, the redand-white squares, all around the world. The red-and-white squares and the whole identity of the country are the work of an acknowledged Croatian avant-garde painter Miroslav Šutej. Time has confirmed the originality of his work and we recommend that when visiting Zagreb, you get yourself something with this typical brand as a memory of your visit to the Croatia’s capital. You can further upgrade your visit to Zagreb with a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Arts where a retrospective of this amazing artist is on display. BEST KEPT SECRETS Zagreb’s atriums and courtyards are not visible to visitors most of the time. I was always interested in what was hidden behind the heavy doors. I believe that each of the atriums and courtyards hides its own



story. The surprising event called “Dvorišta – The Courtyards” reveals the stories of hidden courtyards in the Gornji grad (the “Upper Town”). The festival runs between 13 and 22 July and it links seven city courtyards; among them there are courtyards of private houses like the Šuflaj house, home of the great physicist Anton Šuflaj, the Balbi Palace where today the Old Church Slavonic Institute works, and all the way to the Tituš Brezovački Primary School which reveals an astonishing courtyard. In each of the seven courtyards, innovative culinary and musical surprises are offered to visitors. We believe that this kind of a project is an inspiration for event planners who will be able to organise their next event there.

The World Congress of Entrepreneurs / October 24 - 27, 2018 The aim of the World Congress of Entrepreneurs is to promote the significance, purpose and culture of entrepreneurship. Venue: Zagreb Hotels

OFF THE BEATEN MICE TRACK Lauba, located in the Zagreb’s district of Črnomerec, is a modern gallery that soon after its opening in 2012 became a cool venue. Organisers appreciate the industrial character of the building which used to be the Zagreb Textile Factory and before that a riding arena within the Austro-Hungarian Cavalry Barracks. Its black facade looks elegant and proves that it is possible to beautifully renovate decaying cultural monuments. The mission of the gallery, which is privately owned by a Croatian entrepreneur and collector of contemporary arts Tomislav Klička, is to discover and present young local artists. At the same time, Lauba understands its commercial mission as well and offers space for concerts with 1,500 visitors, gala dinners for up to 500 guests, corporate events, etc. The space can be divided into smaller units which allows for execution of conferences. Lauba is a cool space in which art, the past and incredible architectural aesthetics meet; this makes for a good starting point for event organisation. The gallery is located a few kilometres out of the city centre, has a large parking lot, and is accessible by public transport as well.

Zagreb Time Machine / April 21 - September 30, 2018 From mid-April until September 29th, Zagreb’s streets, squares and Maksimir Park will feature the Zagreb Time Machine, nine different events which are being organized for the sixth consecutive year by the Zagreb Tourist Board

VOICES Zlatan Muftić, Zagreb Convention Bureau Iva Silla, Secret Zagreb Dobrila Zorić, Lauba Maja Valjak Nagy, Blitz Cinestar WHAT’S HOT 2018 25th FIAMC Congress / May 30 - June 2, 2018 FIAMC Congress “Sanctity of Life and the Medical Profession from Humanae Vitae to Laudato Si” was held in Hotel Westin Zagreb with more than 400 participants. Venue: The Westin Hotel 18th World Saxophone Congress / July 10 - 14, 2018 Zagreb hosted congress with over 400 performances by soloists, bands and orchestras featuring the saxophone as the central instrument. Venue: Various venues in Zagreb 22th European Meeting of the Paleopathology Association / August 28 - September 1, 2018 The main theme of the congress is the use of state-of-the-art methods and techniques such in diagnosis of diseases and various other pathological conditions in past populations. Venue: Hotel Sheraton

Big events organised by Zagreb Tourist Board: Festival of Lights / March 15 - 18, 2018 Festival of Lights Zagreb is the only festival of its kind in Zagreb, and attractive audio-visual installations and projections came to life at various locations of Upper Town.

Zagreb Classic / June 20 - July 11, 2018 Open air classical music festival with performances by leading Croatian and international orchestras, ensembles, conductors and soloists. Advent in Zagreb / December 2, 2018 - January 7, 2019 During the Advent season, Zagreb offers a variety of events that will satisfy even the most demanding visitors. Plenty of fun, excellent food, unique events, art, but also a genuine Christmas atmosphere, await you on the streets of Croatia’s capita MTLG OUTRO Zagreb is a pleasant and comfortable city for congress guests. And despite the fact that this is a city of more than one million residents, the city is compact and easily accessible. With a few strategic investments, among which the most important one is certainly the construction of a new airport terminal, Zagreb has become the leading regional meetings destination. The colour of the city is blue and the news that it is possibly to organise events in Zagreb has quickly spread around. Next to the adequate congress infrastructure, the green areas in form of lawns and mighty parks also greatly contribute to the high quality of stay for congress guests. We are also happy about the news that the project of a new congress centre is in its final phase; with this congress centre, Zagreb will additionally strengthen its leading position in the region. WHO TO CONTACT Zagreb Tourist Board & Convention Bureau Kaptol 5, 10000 Zagreb Croatia T: +385 1 4898 523 E: W: MTLG 2018 We visited Zagreb in July 2018. Zagreb is part of the MTLG 2018 evaluation. The results of this year’s competition have just been published and can be viewed at More information at


GRAZ MTLG – 2018 UPDATE Second city first again GORAZD ČAD //


INTRO 2018 Graz is a not a “love at first sight” city. Instead, it slowly gets under your skin, and by discovering its squares and forums, it keeps bringing you back until you start to understand the hidden language of Austria’s second largest city. Graz became the European Capital of culture 13 years ago, and since then much has changed. The legacy of the brilliantly executed event can be seen and felt at every step. It seems Graz gained a big dose of confidence by hosting the event, which can be seen most of all on the monumental Schlossberg. If you ask the locals, they will explain that the Schlossberg is symbolically the heart of the city, surrounded by new iconic buildings, amongst which the unearthly architecture of the Kunsthaus Graz stands out. It was designed by British architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier, and with every visit their brilliance shows itself to the visitor. The Alien, as the locals name it, is above all an interesting special venue. NEED TO KNOW 2018 Graz is considered by many as a small city, but urban enough to have one of the most exceptional congress infrastructures in the region. A big part of the new infrastructure was made due to the European Capital of Culture when the city was invigorated along with the entire infrastructure. The Stadthalle Graz, opened in 2002, belongs to the most modern event spaces offering the most spacious hall in this part of Europe. They have managed to create synergy between concerts, congresses, TV shows, fairs and sports events. The hall has become an example of functionality and aesthetics. Over 700 diverse events hosted every year speak of the success of the concept. Nevertheless, we cannot overlook halls such as the Helmut List Halle, which is a perfect example of the transition from a factory to an exhibition and congress centre, and many special venues as well. You can find something interestingly similar when first glancing at closed doors, behind which courtyards hide, offering a great alternative to classic venues. DID YOU KNOW? The city’s vibe is enrichened by the culinary scene, which is taken very seriously in Graz and is also one of the reasons Graz became the Capital of Culinary. During spring and summer events line up one after another. This year the city is also celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the innovative culinary project Capital of Delight, which includes culinary hikes through town and series of events, such as the Food Festival Graz taking place in August. The city is full of hidden corners

with benches and astonishing terraces, offering views of old town, which was listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1999. Tradition, modernity, and creativity are all combined in the culinary offer of Graz. The gastronomy of Austrian Steiermark is otherwise mostly famous for pumpkin seed oil, potatoes, dumplings, meat specialties and the “Kaiserschamrrn.” They are also proud of their local organic products, sold every day on the market by local farmers. Every year in August, depending on weather, the mega table for 700 guests is set in the old town centre, where wine and local specialties are served. They also organise degustations of the products of local breweries and winemakers. Especially outstanding is the young generation of winemakers that by producing light, dry wine varieties belong to the very top of Austrian wine-making. BEST INCENTIVE IDEA City Challenge Graz: Resolving original team-building tasks across the inner city of Graz, whilst experiencing the city’s highlights with a great fun factor. During the challenge, teams are looked after and entertained by our professional experience builders. Read more: THE PERFECT GIFT The answer regarding the most typical gift from Graz is unanimous. The Steiermark pumpkin seed oil, recognised for its exceptional taste and quality, labelled with a special control number can be a great gift or memory of the flavours of Steiermark. BEST KEPT SECRETS Graz has a rich industrial history, and it’s nice to see how abandoned spaces get a new purpose. The most famous such venue in Graz is Seifenfabrik, an architecturally protected building, managed by the private company Kovac Management, where from 1872 to 1997 soap was produced. The owner decided that the best new function for the building should be hosting events and since 2002 it has become a highly desired special venue in Graz. The space along with the industrial charm is appreciated mostly by companies. It is also suitable for gala dinners and classic congresses. OFF THE BEATEN MICE TRACK The Steiermark capital proudly holds the title of UNESCO City of Design. The first and easiest way to uncover this is when choosing the



hotel. For starters, we recommend visiting the Wiesler Hotel. Each room in this fabulous designer hotel tells a different story. The classic hotel from 1909 is today a perfect example of a new generation modern hotel, where you are surprised by creativity in design, furniture and gastronomy at every step. Creativity connects it with cities such as Melbourne, Berlin, Östersund, Nagoya, Seville, Lyon, Shenzhen, joined together into the Creative Cities Network project. Cities in the network have a significant cultural heritage and a healthy and diversified present creative scene. We are sure that this project can be an added value for your event and participants. The fantastic projects, many events, and more than 40 hotspots are the reason why you should visit Graz again. Read more: VOICES Heinz Kaltschmidt, Graz Convention Bureau Tjaše Lampe, Weitzer Hotels Doris Weilguni, Seifenfabrik WHAT’S HOT 2018 EnInnov2018 / February 14–16, 2018 The 15th symposium on energy innovation. Venue: Technical University Graz EbM Kongres / March 8–10, 2018 Congress of the German Network for Evidence-based Medicine (DNEbM). The Network and congress is the German-language competence and reference centre for all aspects of evidence-based medicine. Venue: Medical University of Graz 9th Congress on Emergency Medicine / April 5–7, 2018 The audience is truly interdisciplinary with a mix of EMTs, nurses, students and physicians, most of them involved in prehospital emergency medicine. Venue: Messe Congress Graz Fifteen Seconds Europe 2108 / June 7–8, 2018 What started in 2014 as a contemporary marketing conference has since then grown into an interdisciplinary business festival gathering thinkers, makers, and leaders from all around the world. Venue: Stadthalle Graz

Eurosensor 2018 / September 9–12, 2018 Europe’s largest conference in the field of sensors, actuators, micro- & nanosystems, as well as related materials and fabrication technologies. Venue: Karl Franzen Universitat Graz hosts around 170 congresses and conferences yearly. The actual number is in fact even higher. Details can be seen in the calendar of events for 2018 MTLG OUTRO Graz has become a perfect example of using significant events for all-around development. This is most seen in tourism, as over a million tourists visit the city every year. The relaxed central European rhythm attracts many meeting planners as Graz offers excellent congress infrastructure. Based on the data from the Graz Convention Bureau the percentage of room nights by congress participants is 14%. This is because of the well-developed network of scientific institutions, connected by Graz’s mayor Siegfried Nagel. Every year the most deserving professors are awarded the Graz Congress Awards. A part of the story is also the incredibly transparent Conference Subsidies in the case of creating over 300 night stays with a congress. Development doesn’t seem to have an end in this field, and a big part of this is unquestionably because of the Graz Convention Bureau, still among the best congress bureaus in the region. There is rarely any city of this size covering such a small area with so much to offer and topped off by the kindness and easiness of locals giving Graz an almost Mediterranean feel. WHO TO CONTACT Graz Tourist Office Messeplatz 1, 8010 Graz, Austria T: +43 316 8075 47 E: W: MTLG 2018 We visited Graz in July 2018. Graz is part of the MTLG 2018 evaluation. The results of this year’s competition have just been published and can be viewed at More information at


SCHLADMING MTLG – 2018 UPDATE Meetings with magnificent views GORAZD ČAD //


INTRO 2018 Schladming has built its reputation as the host of skiing competitions on the highest level. For Schladming, the biggest event in the last couple of years was the World Alpine Skiing Championship in 2013, which required the city to undergo a serious transformation. Things didn’t stop there. Together with Graz, Schladming is currently thinking of bidding for the world winter Olympics scheduled for 2026. Graz would host the competitions on ice and ski races would take place in Schladming, along with cross-country skiing competitions on the nearby Ramsau plateau. This way, the bid will follow the new agenda of the International Olympic Committee, which states that the Olympic games must be sustainable and organised in places with well-developed infrastructure. In a way, the mission to host the Olympics talks about Schladming’s heritage of hosting large competitions and its ambitious spirit, never shying away from a challenge. NEED TO KNOW 2018 Schladming is a charmer, both in winter and summer time. Carrying that charm throughout the year is Schladming’s Summer Card, which offers great added value for congress and incentive guests. You are entitled to one if you are staying more than one night and it provides over 100 different experiences, most of the time without additional fees. The local buses, some mountain roads, certain activities (others have discounts), public swimming pools and much more are free of charge. Schladming is basically the mecca for incentives and a gift card like the Summer Card is hard to find anywhere else. DID YOU KNOW? On 1 June, 2018, Schladming hosted the EU presidency, an event of the highest political level with some of the most important Austrian political representatives having attended it. The majority of the activities took place on top of the Planai, where the guests enjoyed an authentic mountain picnic. The event was an excellent way for Schladming-Dacshtein to present itself to the world in its typical sustainable style. BEST INCENTIVE IDEA If you want to experience something new and release some adrenaline, the e-karting in Schladming is an excellent choice. A parking garage for skiers in the winter was ingeniously turned into a 300m go-kart track, where you can challenge your friends and co-workers to

a 10-minute race. Although they are electric, the karts are no slouches and you can quickly go up to 70km/h, resulting in maximum racing enjoyment. At the end you are given the lap times, which motivates the participants even more. PERFECT GIFT “Steirerkas”, which loosely translated means cheese from Steiermark is a local specialty typically eaten on black bread. There are many variations, but the most popular is the Ennstaller Steirerkas, made from cow, sheep and goat milk, eaten in crumbled form.



BEST KEPT SECRETS The Dachstein glacier is the most visited tourist spot in Austrian Styria and due to its uniqueness, it can even be found on UNESCO’s world heritage list. The gondola ride to 2,700m is a special experience in itself. Once you’ve made the ascent you are greeted with glorious views and the chill-striking Sky Walk bridge, where you can literally step into nothingness. The bridge leads you to the iconic Ice Palace, where you can admire meticulously chiselled sculptures, which this year guide you through famous European monuments. The entire ice cave is magically lit, a place where you can truly embrace the mightiness of nature. It is one of the region’s main attractions, which is why bringing larger groups takes some extra planning, but once you are there, an exceptional story unveils itself. OFF THE BEATEN MICE TRACK In the semicircle of the World Cup’s finish line arena sits the biggest apres-ski party lodge in Schladming. The Hohenhaus Tenne is a giant disco, a special venue and the perfect place to watch skiing competitions. During the day it’s an excellent spot for catching a break from skiing, where you can order anything from the classic Wienerschnitzel to more sophisticated dishes. At night, it turns into a full blown nightclub with cages, poles and its own cultural-fun programme, catering mostly to the male population. The legendary Tenne can even be hired privately for your corporate event, offering rooms for basically all party sizes. The architecture is reminiscent of a classic Austrian mountain hut, but with some modern elements.


WHAT’S HOT 2018 WHO TO CONTACT Schladming- Dachstein Convention Ramsauerstrasse 756 8970 Schladming, Austria T: +43 (0)3687/23310-628 E: W: RESULTS MTLG 2018 We visited Schladming in June 2018 Schladming is part of the MTLG evaluation. The results of this years evaluation have been published on and



CATEGORY 4**** Star Congress Hotel OPENED SINCE 2004, rebranded to Austria Trend Hotel in 2007 MEETINGS STAR City Meeting Hotel STANDARD Hotel with conference facilities NUMBER OF ROOMS 214 > 96 classic rooms 92 executive rooms 10 suites 2 presidental suites PRICE INTERNET 82-146 EUR (Trivago, February 2016) ADDRESS AUSTRIA TREND HOTEL LJUBLJANA Dunajska cesta 154, 1000 Ljubljana T: +386 1 588 25-28 E: FACILITIES Winners Restaurant Winners Lounge Sense Wellness Club 11 Conference Rooms (830 m²) EXTRAS Austria Trend Runner's Guide as pdf file or for the smartphone

LOCATION The hotel is located on the main city entrance road into Ljubljana and is thereby easily accessible by major urban transport connections. A high-rise building next to the Ljubljana World Trade Centre, once considered to be the business centre of Ljubljana, it is close to the new city stadium and next to the main city roads. It is therefore not surprising that businessmen prevail amongst the guests, appreciating the underground garage and easy access by car (please note, parking is chargeable). The hotel was initially managed by the Italian hotel chain Domina Hotel Group, taken over in 2007 by the Austrian hotel chain Austria Trend Hotels & Resorts, which has 34 hotels in the region. ACCESSIBILITY The location is not central, but the hotel is very well connected by public transport and although not in the centre of town, in a small city like Ljubljana this means that you only need a five minute drive to the centre. Also close by are major ‘Bicikelj’ cycle rental points for the greener-minded conference guests. The airport is less than 15 km away. COLD APPETISER – ARCHITECTURE AND AESTHETICS The hotel is situated between the WTC and a new office building on the Vienna road. The architecture of the hotel will not amaze you, as it is primarily a functional hotel building connected by an underground garage to the WTC complex. It is the same with the interior, which is minimalist and tailored for the business guest, but after a few years of use is in some places already calling for renovation and a little more “hotel candy”. At the time of opening, the hotel offered many bold technical innovations that have become completely normal today, meaning they can no longer be regarded as ‘features’. If you were looking for a classic case of the rule of content being more important than appearance, then the Austria Trend Hotel would be among your potential hits. WARM APPETISER – PERSONNEL AND CUISINE After taking over the management of the hotel the Austria Trend Hotel undertook a series of smaller facelifts, but mostly worked with the staff and improving their qualifications and kindness. Do not expect culinary surprises at the hotel; a solid hotel board restaurant operates as well as a solid hotel bar, which can be negotiated to cater for closed groups. More choosy groups can take advantage of one of the many excellent restaurants in Ljubljana.


MAIN DISH - THE HOTEL’S CONGRESS SERVICES The hotel is a classic city business hotel, which is quite inconspicuous and with trump cards of comfort, functionality and spaciousness. Comfort is associated with easy access, rooms with soundly organised space and usability. The interior of the rooms has already started showing signs of fatigue; however, the standard is kept up by the good maintenance of otherwise modern furniture. The congress centre is of modern design and can accommodate up to 400 participants. From the high-tech plan period of Domina Vacanze it has remained the top technically-equipped centre in Ljubljana. Unfortunately, the centre is underground and without daylight. An alternative are the smaller halls next to the restaurant on the first floor. DESSERT – EXTRAS The now legendary Sense Wellness Club in the oriental style remains among the top spa centres in the city and pampers both hotel and external guests.


4.68 Luxury Resort Meeting Hotel


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FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES We have to criticise the catering, which lacks an author restaurant and generally more brave culinary delights. In addition, the negative surprise is also the chargeable garage. TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES The offer is tailored to businesspeople with the focus on meeting their needs, starting with a very good breakfast. OVERALL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY Its great advantage is the ratio between what it offers and the price. The hotel is a rational choice of businesspeople and those who do not want to stand out and are not looking for locations in the centre of town. The fact that the hotel is tailor-made to the needs of businesspeople is its main advantage and, consequently, the hotel holds a good spot amongst the old and new competitors in Ljubljana.

4.68 Final Grade



CATEGORY 4**** OPENED FROM 2004 MEETINGS STAR City Meeting Hotel 2014 STANDARD Convention Hotel NUMBER OF ROOMS 114 PRICE INTERNET 119 EUR per room (BB, June 2014) ADDRESS FOUR POINTS BY SHERATON LJUBLJANA MONS Hotel Mons d.o.o. Pot za Brdom 4 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia T: +386 1 47 02 700 F: +386 1 47 02 708 FACILITIES Convention Centre Atrium Restaurant The Bar Fitness SPECIALS Location in the midst of nature in green surroundings

LOCATION On the outskirts of the city, next to the Ljubljana ring road, the hotel is placed in the most green hotel environment in Ljubljana. It is surrounded by woods and meadows, yet it is in close proximity to the urban centre of Ljubljana. For years it has been thrilling with its surprisingly neat and sophisticated surroundings, which is spick and span. With a sprucing up and the entry of a new hotel chain, it seems that the location and appearance of the hotel are again its main advantages, as they were for the former Mons Hotel. Experienced eyes only notice the new inscriptions; everything else on the outside is almost as it was at the opening in 2004. ACCESSIBILITY The biggest advantage of the hotel is its giant parking lot and easy access by car, which has been for a decade among the major added values of the hotel. The city centre is just a stone’s throw away and the junction of main routes next to the bypass is a great added value, with the airport just 20 minutes away. With its location, the hotel is perfect for automotive events and promotions. COLD APPETIZER - ARCHITECTURE AND AESTHETICS Clothes make a man, good architecture makes a hotel. The signature of legendary architect Boris Podrecca provides architectural visibility and elegance. We have to admit that after ten years the solution remains fresh. The ground plan in the form of fingers extending into the forest wonderfully connects nature with the functional parts of the hotel. The renovation of the rooms, reception and hotel bar has highlighted the basic idea of the architect, which is nicely summarized in the positioning slogan of genuine and simple comfort. With the renovation it was managed to maintain the basic form also in the interior and convention guests have especially taken such exterior and interior simplicity as their own. WARM APPETIZER - STAFF AND FOOD In the renovated hotel and under new management everything is now subordinated to business guests. This means that breakfast is a very important part of the culinary story and judging by what was seen they are doing it very well. The hotel’s lobby with its bar has become a nice meeting point, where business guests can have something to drink, wait more relaxedly and generally feel good. Today, this is the hotel’s main ‘candy’ that was somehow missing in its previous version. The staff is professional and in line with the expectations of such a chain.


MAIN COURSE - CONGRESS HOTEL OFFER In Mons they have been for many years one of the leading events organisers in Ljubljana, as they organise over 1,000 events per year and according to the management they produce as much as 45% of the revenue through congress events. The flexible conference centre has six conference halls and three smaller meeting rooms. Soon these will be joined by a multifunctional hall in the former Polna skleda restaurant. The maximum plenary capacity is 600 seats. Following the extensive renovation the 114 rooms are modern and comfortably furnished. DESSERT – ADDITIONAL OFFER Probably the best hotel in Slovenia for the implementation of car launches and generally for automotive events with a huge parking lot and spacious service areas.


4.42 Premium City Meeting Hotel


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FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES Isolation – the hotel is not in the city centre, which can also be an advantage. TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES Excellent hotel for all lovers of recreation and active businessmen. In the middle of the city’s recreation epicentre, Mostec, and green nature. OVERALL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY A hotel that promises its guests the same quality of accommodation they get in similar hotels of the brand worldwide. The renovated hotel is more different than one would sense at first glance, and perhaps now it is even more suited to business guests. With the Four Points by Sheraton chain one also gets the expected quality, the result being a kind of hotel golf, for which it is difficult to criticise anything.

4,42 Final Grade



CATEGORY 4**** OPENED SINCE 1905 MEETINGS STAR City Meeting Hotel STANDARD Congress Hotel NUMBER OF ROOMS 172 rooms 6 apartments 16 studios PRICE INTERNET 120 - 143 EUR (March 2018, Trivago) ADDRESS GRAND HOTEL UNION Miklošičeva 1 1000 Ljubljana Slovenia T: +386 (0)1 308 12 70 E: FACILITIES Atelje Restaurant and Bar Restaurant Union The Grand Union Cafe The Union Cellar Restaurant Lobby Bar Parking Garage Sense Wellness Centre Fashion boutique Hairdressing salon Ljubljanski brivec Barber’s Shop EXTRAS The Union Hotel Group offers four excellent hotels with a total of 574 rooms that cater for all tastes. Based on the principle ‘Everything in one place’, this simplifies the organisation of events.

LOCATION For Grand Hotel Union the hotel axiom undoubtedly applies and defines it, that just three things are important for a hotel – location, location and location! In addition, the hotel has long been regarded as an icon of the city. In over a century of its existence, the Grand Hotel Union has contributed significantly to the political and social life of the capital and the broader Ljubljana region. Over the course of its rich history the hotel has been witness to many important events and has hosted many famous people. During its time, the Grand Hotel Union Café and Union Hall have also served as the focal point of the city’s cultural, political, and social life. Tradition is still alive today, as the Grand Hotel Union continues to regularly host a wide range of interesting cultural and congress events. ACCESSIBILITY It would be hard to imagine a better location in Ljubljana from where to explore the city on foot. As it is always difficult to park in all major cities in Europe, Grand Hotel Union’s secure hotel garage with 120 parking spaces is a great asset. In terms of air accessibility, the hotel share’s the same fate of Slovenia’s capital as regards air connections, however, the situation is slowly improving. The hotel is otherwise easily accessible from all major motorways, railway and bus stations. For those who like to explore Ljubljana on foot, Grand Hotel Union is in an ideal location. We also recommend using public transport, which is easily accessible and very well organised. COLD APPETIZER - ARCHITECTURE AND AESTHETICS The hotel opened in 1905 and is built in an Art nouveau style. The interior and exterior of the hotel feature typical secessionist décor – it is situated in the so-called ‘Secession Ljubljana’, which was formed following an earthquake in 1895. The interior of the building with its characteristic motifs of the period is particularly special. Upon its opening, the Union Hall was a real technical achievement for its time and was the biggest hall in the Balkans with its steel roof construction. Today it is an iconic hall, which has hosted numerous events, among them the traditional reception of the Conventa trade show. WARM APPETIZER - PERSONNEL AND CUISINE There are no compromises when it comes to cuisine at Grand Hotel Union. Therefore, the hotel has what is probably the best and most unique catering service in Slovenia. The top team works under the baton of culinary masters such as Jorg Zupan. Its legendary team of waiters creates a special atmosphere and are almost part of the hotel’s inventory. It would be hard to find a more professional and friendly team trained for congress events in Slovenia. MAIN DISH - THE HOTEL’S CONGRESS FACILITIES The conference centre was designed on the central legendary Union Hall, however, in 2001 it was entirely renovated and underwent numerous exterior and interior improvements which were extremely well adapted to the needs of congress guests. Elegant


extensions in chosen colour combinations emphasises the generally good impression of the conference centre. The large glass surfaces contribute to a feeling of well-being. The sophisticated renovation work ensured a really superior final impression. In addition, the spacial relations between the lobbies and the halls is the best in Slovenia. There are 21 halls and salons which can accommodate from 10 to 800 guests. The comfort and furnishings in the hotel rooms vary according to the choice of which part of the hotel to stay in; the more modern business part or the somewhat more traditional Grand Hotel Union – it’s down to a matter of choice based on taste and requirements. Rooms are excellently maintained, however, compared to the best superior hotels in the region, they could probably do with a few modest renovations. Otherwise, however, the impression is of quality, although stylistically not the most modern and not entirely worth the money that is charged. DESSERT - EXTRAS The Atelje restaurant, which is headed up by Jorg Zupan, who learnt his trade in some of the best restaurants in Ireland, London, Australia and Norway. The food served in Atelje has exceptional harmony between contrasts, and his dishes are distinguished by a balance between tradition and modernity. FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES The details in hotel rooms. Materials, textiles and equipment in rooms could be more modern. This is why the management of the hotel recently revealed plans that an extensive renovation is on the horizon.


4.81 Luxury City Meeting Hotel


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TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES The staff – from the receptionists to the waiters – are among the most friendly and recognisable. The legendary nostalgic café is one of Ljubljana’s cuisine and cultural institutions and is known for its cabaret and variety shows. OVERALL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY Event organisers’ tastes can be unpredictable and difficult to follow but choosing to hold an event at Grand Hotel Union is definitely always the right choice, due to its excellent convention halls and, of course, its flexible and friendly staff. Grand Hotel Union reigns supreme among Ljubljana’s conference facilities. It is an excellent hotel for convention gourmets and since 1905 a true flag-bearer of Ljubljana’s hotel conference facilities. We believe that the leading position of Grand Hotel Union will also be maintained under its new leadership, who have also revealed plans for extensive renovations of hotel rooms and for it to become the best hotel in the city - as befits this legendary hotel.

4,81 Final Grade



CATEGORY Premium OPENED SINCE 2008 - 2010 MEETINGS STAR Resort Meeting Hotel STANDARD Congress Hotel NUMBER OF ROOMS 181 rooms 7 suites PRICE INTERNET 155-178 EUR per room (BB, March 2018) ADDRESS THERMANA d.d. Zdraviliška cesta 6, Slovenia T: +386 (0)3 423 2484 E: FACILITIES Welness Spa Centre Sauna Centre Fitnes Centre Medical Centre Hotel Restaurant Coffee House, Garage and Outdoor parking, Numerous sport facilities, Offer for green meetings EXTRAS Eco-label ECO DAISY, Halal Certificate

LOCATION The Hotel and Convention Centre Thermana is a nice refreshment in the Slovenian meetings offer. Due to an overall design in conjunction with the Wellness Park Laško, Laško recently attracted many congress organisers who had previously preferred to choose other, more reputed locations. As one of the oldest towns in Slovenia, however, Laško is very quickly becoming an attractive convention destination that is building its offer on local knowledge and the traditions of brewing and water wealth. The hotel, located directly on the Savinja River, boasts over 3,000 square metres of water surface. The abundance of water will satisfy even the most demanding lovers of water pursuits and wellness, not to mention the hotel being surrounded by woods and green spaces, as well as numerous sports facilities suitable for the implementation of various incentive programmes. ACCESSIBILITY The Laško medicinal spa was created at the time of construction of the Vienna – Trieste Southern Railway in 1854. The rail has played an important role in the development of the place and it seems it will be important in terms of accessibility for the future. Access to Laško is unproblematic for local events, but can be a challenge for international ones. Ljubljana Airport is 115 km away, but due to its location in the centre of Slovenia it is also close to the airport in Graz (121 km), Klagenfurt (136 km) and Zagreb (105 km). Laško is otherwise easily accessible – once you exit the highway, you are there in less than 15 minutes. COLD APPETIZER - ARCHITECTURE AND AESTHETICS With its architecture Thermana did not risk much, although they are known for their giant glass thermal dome. Because of the use of natural materials in the facade and large glass surfaces it nicely connects with the environment and does not act as an alien form. The hotel as a whole appears conventional and is not strikingly noticeable. In translation, this means that it has a timeless design that will last for a long time. The interior architecture offers more, which at first glance appears fresh and minimalist and without excess fuss. The used of natural colours and materials contribute to the well-being of guests and in using the hotel a very clever functional design come through. The congress centre can be separated from the rest of the hotel where necessary, but at the same time it is well connected to other areas. A detailed look reveals some elegant design solutions and the ensemble will appeal to lovers of simple and careful lines and solid hotel ergonomics. WARM APPETIZER - PERSONNEL AND CUISINE We dare to propose that the staff is amongst the most friendly in Slovenia. The attitude towards guests is outstanding and everyone is striving for customer satisfaction. The congress cuisine is superb; they aim to surprise with organic menus and the preparation of authentic dishes based on local traditions. Unfortunately, the pension offer does not follow this, which is average and at times even boring. They are, howver, missing a true author restaurant with typical cuisine. To get a model example of this they do not have


to look far – a quick walk to the Laško Castle, where Marko Pavčnik operates in the restaurant Pavus, would suffice. MAIN DISH - THE HOTEL’S CONGRESS SERVICES Currently, one of the most modern and functional congress centre in Slovenia boasts its largest hall for 490 participants and 6 smaller seminar rooms, a meeting room and a press room comprising 3,700 m2 total area. This is the first convention centre that is fully constructed in accordance with the standards of the Slovenian Convention Bureau. The hotel bar in the spacious lobby suitable for receptions and exhibitions is especially nice, being very modern, comfortable and functional. The modern hotel Wellness Park with 4 stars has 188 rooms and nicely complements the congress offer. Each floor of the Hotel is painted in its own colour, which defines the equipment and textile accessories. Even the smaller rooms appear spacious, as they are not cluttered with furniture. Praise also has to go to the extra long beds, suitable for basketball players, and the special bed linen called ‘Slovenian bed’. DESSERT - EXTRAS The Thermal Centre’s pools and wellness offer in the Wellness Spa Centre.

FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES Occasional crowds and noise in the wellness park.


4.32 Premium Resort Meeting Hotel     

TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES The hospitality and professionalism of the staff. Free outdoor parking, and with minimal additional cost an underground parking garage. OVERALL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY It’s a little more than tten years since the opening of the congress centre and the hotel, for which we can say that it is already one of the more likable options. In addition, Thermana offers a lot for a moderate amount, which is very important in today’s economic climate. It is also striking how much Laško can offer to congress guests in addition to the traditional beer. Everything from one of the best Slovenian cuisine restaurants to exceptional cultural and historical heritage, along with the option of organising green meetings. Given all of the above, Thermana’s congress offer became a hit and caused a true earthquake on the Slovenian market. The organisation of events with the option of extra wellness pampering is very appealing, and for the time being we can only make reference to the new congress offer with full respect.

4,32 Final Grade



CATEGORY 4**** OPENED SINCE Renovated in 2003 and in 2017/2018 MEETINGS STAR Congress Hotel STANDARD Resort Meeting Hotel NUMBER OF ROOMS 150 rooms and suites PRICE INTERNET 138 – 158 EUR (March 2018) ADDRESS RIKLI BALANCE HOTEL Cankarjeva 4, 4260 Bled, Slovenia T: +386 4 579 17 00 E: FACILITIES 2 restaurants 1 spa bistro 1 bar Wellness Živa, Gym, Pool Conference Centre EXTRAS Green team building is a speciality of Sava Hotels in Bled. Various experiences are offered which are particularly attractive for participants who enjoy being outdoors; these include spending a ‘Primeval Day’ on mountain pastures in Triglav National Park, where participants learn about the tradition of shepherding, or ‘Rikli’s Adventure’, which includes a night staying in the Forest Fairies glamping villas and outdoor activities.

LOCATION Bled is the most powerful of Slovenia’s iconic tourist destinations and is the country’s leading alpine congress destination. Tourism in Bled began due to its pristine nature and beneficial sub-alpine climate, which today still remains an unforgettable part of the alpine experience. Slovenia’s tourism gem is beautiful year-round, and especially so in the spring and autumn congress seasons. A large number of events take place in the Rikli Balance Hotel, which this year underwent extensive renovation that has completely changed the character of this legendary Bled congress hotel. Rooms, reception and the hotel lobby were all renovated with a whole range of authentic details adding to guests’ comfort. ACCESSIBILITY The hotel is located in the centre of Bled with easy access to all the main tourist attractions. It is 49km from Ljubljana and only 36km from the Jože Pučnik international airport. In terms of air access, therefore, it shares the fate of all other Slovenian destinations. The hotel’s car park offers enough space for smaller events, whilst for larger events parking can be arranged nearby. Access to the hotel is clearly marked. COLD APPETIZER - ARCHITECTURE AND AESTHETICS The hotel’s design is an excellent example of modernist architecture and is nicely embedded in a natural area with a park and mighty trees. Such architecture is timeless whilst at the same time functional, since it combines the principles of modernist functionalism. Despite its size it doesn’t appear too overwhelming, to the contrary, its light facade, which is bisected with wooden balconies, beautifully blends in with the landscape. Guests particularly appreciate the lush hotel park, which offers shade and a place for outdoor team activities. WARM APPETIZER - PERSONNEL AND CUISINE Rikli Balance Hotel is the cream of Sava Hotels and throughout its existence has provided a training ground for numerous of Bled’s tourism personnel. The hotel’s employees greatly contributed to raising the hotel’s name and recognition throughout the years, and part of that spirit and charm can still be felt today. Employees are exceptionally friendly and professsional, and some of them even exceed expectations. There is a very diverse selection of food at breakfast, which includes an interesting ‘green’ breakfast with food that is traceable and of local origin. The range of facilities is complemented by the superior congress catering service, which in recent years has been enhanced in accordance with the philosophy ‘Green for tomorrow’. Another new ‘must try’ in Bled is the best ice-cream in the world. The already legendary ice-cream, with a flavour of Bled’s famous cream cake slice (kremšnita), has now twice won the title in the competition for the world’s best ice-cream destination. MAIN DISH - THE HOTEL’S CONGRESS SERVICES The architects designed the hotel’s renovation in harmony with nature as well as with a feeling for local tradition. Following renovation the hotel rooms radiate a new image


which is inspired by typical motifs from the local area – Slovenian beekeeping, the tradition of iron forging from Kropa, wood, and the tradition of Lectar honeybread hearts from Radovljica. These features appear in the detail of the decor and the use of natural materials. Special emphasis has been placed on features for business guests, such as spacious working areas and storage areas. The congress centre surprises with what must be one of the world’s best views. The hotel rooms are well furnished and clean, however, they are slightly tired in places in contrast with the expected standards of congress guests. The price to quality ratio is appropriate. All areas offer free wireless internet, which functions seamlessly. DESSERT - EXTRAS The main added value of Rikli Balance Hotel is the Živa Wellness Centre. Its ambience is attractive, the water is clean, and the staff are friendly and efficient. Even more infrastructure ideal for incentive programmes can be found close to the hotel, including the Bled Adventure Park, a number of playgrounds and, best of all, glorious nature. FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES The hotel’s breakfast is the strongest part of its range of cuisine, however, there is still room for further improvement in quality and variety in this area. TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES Friendly and dedicated staff who take care of their customers’ well being. The project “Green for tomorrow” is gradually being introduced, which encourages guests to be responsible during their stay at the hotel. When organising events the hotel strives to produce as little greenhouse gas emissions as possible. OVERALL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY There are few hotels in Slovenia with such a long tradition and long-standing guests who frequently return to Bled. Following renovation, Rikli Balance Hotel is a classic hotel that gets under one’s skin for all the right reasons. The changes introduced by the recent renovation are welcome, but have not stripped the hotel of its spirit. This is an ideal hotel for sworn lovers of style and a place where time slows down and almost stops, which is perfect for those wishing to concentrate and carry out in-depth work at business events. The hotel’s congress centre is the heart of Bled’s range of congress facilities. Numerous important events take place there, among them the annual Bled Strategic Forum. The hotel stands on a small rise above the centre of Bled and offers views of Lake Bled, Bled Castle, Bled Island, and the Julian Alps. Due to the large glass areas in the congress hall, participants feel as if the event is taking place in the middle of a Bled postcard and are amazed by the stunning views from the central Jupiter hall.


4.72 Luxury Resort Meeting Hotel


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4,72 Final Grade



Moustache Tour - Ljubljana JASMINA JERANT //


THE MOUSTACHE TOUR Get to know Ljubljana and Slovenians through a different angle – the moustache angle. Indeed, the Slovenia’s capital offers a new and special tour that can be organised as an incentive programme for congress visitors – The Moustache Tour. LJUBLJANA AS AN OPEN CITY Ljubljana is widely renowned as a city that flourishes in various colours of creativity and arts. As an Open City, the Slovenia’s capital welcomes the innovative and unusual approaches to showcase its creative side. When in Ljubljana, any guest should seek the non-conventional ways of spending time and getting to know the city, its history and its people. The recently established Moustache Tour is exactly that – the unique opportunity to get familiar with one of the youngest and most creative European capitals that never ceases to surprise. EMBRACING THE MOUSTACHE Guests to the Moustache Tour get to cycle through the most beautiful streets of Ljubljana. However,, no one needs to actually wear moustache themselves. It is enough for the congress guests at this tour to simply embrace the moustache of three important Ljubljana’s people from the past. THREE ARTISTS The tour takes on a ride through the lifestyle of architect Jože Plečnik (1872-1957), writer Ivan Cankar (1876-1918), and painter Rihard Jakopič (1869-1943) who all lived in the same historical period and who wore impressive moustache – but of a different style that corresponded also to the difference in their personal and artistic character. Plečnik was disciplined, Cankar was bohemian, and Jakopič was charismatic. But they were not hipsters. They were just three awesome guys with memorable moustache. These three moustachioed men left their mark on Ljubljana and Slovenia as great artists. The aim of the Moustache Tour is to explore their creative power, the secrets of the city and the features of the Slovenian character. The 3.5 hours unforgettable tour takes to barbershops and to the living and working quarters of each one of the artists, including visits to the International Centre of Graphic Arts (MGLC). The tour wraps up with a Slovenian refreshment and a surprise.

INTENSE AND AUTHENTIC LOCAL EXPERIENCE The moustache are there where the most daring ideas and ambitions are born. The tour awakens the moustache together with the guest’s imagination and convinces that the moustache are actually something much larger and much more important than the guests would have ever even thought of. Petra Stušek, M Sc., the managing director at Ljubljana Tourism noted at the opening day of the tour: »We, in Ljubljana Tourism, are aware that a modern traveller wants to come in contact with the multi-dimensional cultural beat of the city and with the intense and authentic local experience.« The Moustache Tour certainly provides for a perfect example of the new attractive and innovative travelling experiences for congress guests. It is about the creative, artsy, young, exciting, stimulating and authentic Ljubljana’s character of the Open City that welcomes the fresh spirit of anything exciting and progressive.



Jorg Zupan, a revolutionary chef AJDA BORAK //


Two years ago, the talented young chef Jorg Zupan took over Atelje – a traditional restaurant in Grand Hotel Union – one of Ljubljana’s oldest hotels. With a wealth of experience in the industry, which is reflected in his philosophy of fusion from Ireland, Australia, Norway, London and Ljubljana, this young Slovenian chef has stepped into a new mission. Zupan, shaped in prominent restaurants under the eyes of some of the world’s best chefs, rose to the challenge of turning a renowned and conservative hotel restaurant with regular guests and a traditional menu into a modern, trendy, affordable, and sophisticated restaurant with world-class cuisine. Jorg Zupan has created a time-machine-like revolution through combining world cuisine with a traditional approach. His magic tattooed hands create superb dishes that are mind-blowing but unpretentious combinations of world-class cuisine. In contrast to his almost regal food creations, the atmosphere in Atelje is unexpectedly relaxed and homely.

Q: It’s been two years since you became head chef at the Atelje restaurant. How has this experience changed you? It has given me a lot of new knowledge, be it managerial, social and also in terms of new cooking ideas. I have surrounded myself with great people, I have a great team and we are learning from each other every day, which I think is most important. Q: Is there a secret for a successful restaurant? Hard work… ambition but a soft ego! Q: What has been your greatest achievement and your greatest nightmare to date? My greatest achievement would be 16 points in the Gault&Millau guide. I don’t have nightmares… I have a brand-new mattress! Q: Can you tell us more about your Rezidenca project? The Rezidenca project is a series of events that will take place in Atelje in the form of hosting different chefs. The theme is different every time and there is no fixed schedule. We will announce it as we go along and on dates that suit our tempo of work. Two events have already unfolded; the first with Luka Košir from Gostišče Grič – a very good friend of mine – and the second with Igor Jagodic from the Strelec restaurant – also a very good friend and my mentor. The next

event will be with David Skoko from Batelina in Pula, Croatia – a cool and crazy guy that I met when he was interviewing me for Story Gourmet magazine. We clicked immediately and, considering the fact that he is an awesome chef that specializes in head-to-tail fish preparation, I thought it would be a great idea to host him. After David, the next chef in line is Bine Volčič, my first mentor and also a good friend – you can see the pattern here, it’s basically about hosting chefs and friends and having a jolly good time.

Q: Who are the most memorable people you have cooked for? All of the ones I mentioned above and definitely my family… I love cooking for my family. Q: What advice should you have given yourself five years ago? Take a holiday and go backpacking in a far and distant land for at least a year… there is a lifetime of work ahead of you, anyway!



LENT - The biggest multicultural and multi-genre summer festival JASMINA JERANT //


MARIBOR – THE CITY OF FESTIVALS Maribor is one of the mayor players when it comes to festival season. Throughout the summer, the city hosts load of internationally recognized cultural, sport and culinary events, all of which ensure the city’s continuous vivacious heart-beat. The main festivals take place from July to October. And the most established among them is the Lent Festival that is mostly located in Maribor’s old city centre – Lent. LENT – THE MARIBOR’S OLD TOWN Lent, the Maribor’s old city centre, amazes with its vibrant streets, mighty buildings and wonderful frontages, monuments and fountains that adorn the city’s squares, bridges that link the banks of the river, and towers that rise into Maribor’s sky. In the heart of the old city center on Lent, the oldest vine in the world still grows in front of the Old Vine House. LENT FESTIVAL One of the most recognizable events that Maribor is hosting is definitely the biggest Slovenian open-air Lent Festival. Since 1993, Lent Festival has been the synonym for liveliness, relaxation, vivaciousness, creativity, and energy at the beginning of summer in Maribor. The days and nights at Lent Festival are now a tradition taking care for a carefully selected, outstanding mixture of art, culture, and cultures that emphasises cosmopolitanism as well as local specialities, and the hospitality of the city. In this time Maribor lightens up, it is reborn and youthfully playful through its streets that gleam in the hustle and bustle of the events, laughter, and light. In its 26 editions, the festival has been annually visited by 500 thousand people in average and it is considered to be one of the biggest events of the Central and South-East Europe. THE FLOATING STAGE One of the festivals most distinguished characteristics is its floating stage set on the Drava river. The festival’s symbol is 900 sq.m. in size with 679 seats or around 1200 standing places in its parterre, with additional 2196 seats on the tribunes. The specialty of the floating stage is that while sitting and watching the performances the stage lights are magically reflecting on the river’s surface. LEGENDS – FROM RAY CHARLES TO BOB GELDOF The Lent Festival has by now hosted some of the true legends. For example, B.B.King, James Brown, Ray Charles, Solomon Burke, and

Stephane Grapelli. Not to forget also some of the world’s biggest names like Macy Gray, Bob Geldof, Jose Feliciano, David Byrne, Living Colour, Femi Anikulapo Kuti, Uriah Heep, Esma Redžepova, and the giants of jazz like Medeski Martin & Wood, Al Di Meola, Pharoah Sander, to name a few. LENT FESTIVAL 2018 This year’s 26th edition of the festival, was held between 22 and 31 June 2018 on more than 30 venues around the City of Maribor, its squares, parks, streets and along the Drava river bank. Some of the 2018 highlights: Swan Lake ballet on the opening night on the River’s stage; the concert of the largest Roma string orchestra in the world: the Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra with 100 violines; jazz delights served by Juan DeMarcos (the legendary co-founder of Buena Vista Social Club) with his Afro-Cuban All Stars ensemble; the Swedish guitar virtuoso Ulf Wakenius alongside Corean world star, singer Young Sun Nah. Other performers like Richard Bono, Vieux Farka Toure, Monophonics, etc etc. At the same time, the Lent Festival was marked by the 30th jubille of the Folkar Festival. The international CIOFF® folklore festival Folkart again hosted supreme folklore groups from around the world.


SECRETS HIDDEN BEHIND CLOSED DOORS Zagreb’s secret gardens as pop-up venues for events GORAZD ČAD //


Zagreb’s specialty is the interlacing of courtyards and gardens, among which some are marvellously arranged, others abandoned, and some turned into playgrounds and car parks. The courtyards have always been a hotspot of the city’s social life because they offered space for crafts, but more importantly an area for conversations with neighbours. Zagreb otherwise provides many beautiful congress venues, some with concepts that can make other Western European cities envious. Because of the tourist project “Dvorišta” meeting planners gained an entirely new world of unusual venues that enable to one get a taste of the real Zagreb.

ments from visitors. And it seems the project was set at the exact right time. The courtyards are open from 13–22 July and together with intimate lighting and intriguing pieces of furniture the courtyards light up every night from 18:00 to 24:00. This year the courtyards of the families Milovac, the courtyard of the Erdödy-Drašković palace and the hidden courtyard of the Gvozdanović and Balbi palace have been chosen. The newcomers are the courtyard of the Tituša Brezovačkog Gymnasium and the Ehrlich - Marić villa. Even though the concept of the project isn’t a musical festival, music is a vital part of it all. Enjoying the music along with a glass of wine and snacks in such a pleasant environment as we experienced in the courtyards is truly unforgettable. As the slogan says, each courtyard tells a different story, and you start wishing to be at a different location every evening.

Because most of these courtyards are hidden behind closed doors and are never seen by visitors, an idea was born for the innovative project “Dvorišta.” The primary goal of the project is the revival of courtyards, and after five years there are many Zagreb natives who, rather than enjoying Croatia’s seaside, stay in Zagreb to experience the fantastic atmosphere that has won the hearts of locals and tourists.

The incredible project was picked up by the media, with BBC Travel and most of the regional media reporting about it. The project is also an excellent idea for meeting planners that can use such event spaces for their next event. We are sure the concept can be used in other cities as well.

Every year they have managed to transform the courtyards into magical gardens and because of their creativity they have received compli-

Dvorišta project is a joint venture of G.A.D. produkcije, Katapult Events and the Zagreb Tourist Board.


Overview of the best meetings destinations GORAZD ČAD //


Ever since 2010, the Editorial Board of Kongres Magazine has been presenting fresh and interesting meeting destinations to international meeting planners.


Destinations that can host more than 2,000 congress attendees Destinations that can host up to 2,000 congress attendees Destinations that can host up to 1,200 congress attendees Destinations that can host up to 500 congress attendees

Till this day we have presented 84 Meetologues from 23 destinations. Each destination is evaluated based on 75 different criteria that enable fair comparison of the destinations. Meeting organizers appreciate the expertise, value and practicality of this guide through congress destinations.


Destinations that can host more than 2,000 congress attendees TOP 10 XL-DESTINATIONS IN 2018 1. VIENNA 2. ZURICH 3. MÜNICH 4. EDINBURGH 5. BERLIN

4.77 4.70 4.69 4.63 4.62


4.61 4.59 4.53 4.51 4.47

1. VIENNA, AUSTRIA SMART MICE CITY There are cities in the world which can prove quite stressful for congress participants, and then there is Vienna. From first-hand experience I can confirm that the city is easy to get around, pleasant and enjoyable and already belongs among the so-called ‘smart’ cities of today. Vienna’s city authorities are convinced that the ‘smart’ city can grow whilst at the same time reducing the use of natural resources. One of the crucial initiatives is the intensive inclusion of the city’s residents, since there is a desire that innovations help improve living standards for all. It is all this that places Vienna among the smart cities of the future and makes it an excellent meeting destination. FINAL MARK: 4.77


2. ZURICH, SWITZERLAND THE CLASSIC IN A NEW LIGHT According to Numbeo, Zurich is a city with one of the highest “quality of life” indexes in our comparison and a similar result is provided by Mercer. Switzerland’s biggest city boasts quite a few superlatives and is known as the commercial, cultural and congress centre of Switzerland. It is the hub for train, road and air traffic, which gives it a big advantage over its competitors. It offers great congress infrastructure in the Kongresshaus Zurich and numerous other spaces, acccompanied by some amazing special venues. Congress guests will appreciate the excellent public transport, which, in combination with great public infrastructure, is a must if you want to stay at the top of your game. FINAL MARK: 4.70

3. MÜNICH, GERMANY LIVEABLE MEETINGS Unsurprisingly, the city of quality beer, würst, dirndl skirts and “lederhosen” is also a first-class European congress destination with one of the most developed fair infrastructures in the wider region. There are 31,000 hotel rooms in 395 excellent hotels with conference capacities. Added to the charm and picturesqueness of the Bavarian capital are numerous green open spaces and a high quality of living. Munich airport is also one of the key European air-traffic hubs, cementing the city’s position on the world congress map. Its history has always been distinguished by major events, including the 1972 Summer Olympics. In the world’s beer capital with centuries of tradition, beer doesn’t just flow freely in October, but the whole year round. The city belongs at the very top of our evaluation. FINAL MARK: 4.69

4. EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM AN IRRESISTIBLE PASSION FOR MEETINGS Edinburgh is a top convention 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 centres 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. FINAL MARK: 4.63


5. BERLIN, GERMANY WALK THE WALK Berlin is exciting in every sense of the word and one can only speculate on the range of its different options in this congress ‘land of plenty’. The Convention Bureau is known for its ingenuity, creativity and the rich offer it brings together. Moreover, Berlin’s congress offer is jam-packed into a very reasonably priced package. It’s no surprise that the city hosts more than 115,000 events annually and this number is expected to increase once the new Berlin Brandenburg airport finally opens its doors. Fuse Berlin’s excellent congress offer with its urban heartbeat and you get a first-class congress destination. The city is also the capital of fun, dance, creativity, socializing and unforgettable nightlife, which sets it apart from its competitors. FINAL MARK: 4.62

6. DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES BACK TO THE FUTURE Dubai is, without a doubt, a city of superlatives, which is becoming one of the world’s congress capitals. Contributing to that goal are excellent air connectivity, modern infrastructure and duty-free zones. There are currently 23 of those zones in Dubai, from the Media Zone and Internet-City to Design City, all of which attract major international corporations wanting to expand their business. Bringing their headquarters to Dubai are also educational institutions, the main generator of congress events in the city. At thorough inspection, Dubai reveals itself as a mature and well-organized congress destination with a diverse hotel offer. Today, there are 62.146 rooms in 4 and 5-star hotels. The entire infrastructure is capable of hosting the largest international events like Expo 2020 and the ICCA congress, which is taking place this year. Dubai has raised the hotel business and congress tourism to a level that dictates further development in the world FINAL MARK: 4.61

7. PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC SLAVIC PARIS Prague has for a long time not been an Eastern European gem, but a true European tourist metropolis with a diverse and comprehensive offer, luxury hotels and sometimes too high prices. The story is reminiscent of Škoda, of which the Czechs are very proud and is one of the oldest automotive in Europe. Reputable, solid and reliable pre-war limousines were after the war changed by cars that were behind the times. Today, Škoda’s shine again and again puts the Czech manufacturer where it once was. The same can be said for the meetings industry, where Prague began to seriously falter the locations top of the European league. If we look at the position of Prague regionally, Prague certainly has all the conditions to remain one of the most popular congress destinations for a long time. FINAL MARK: 4.59


8. BARCELONA, SPAIN THE MEDITERRANEAN BREVIARY Spain’s second largest city has become an annual stop on the congress pilgrimage to IBTM World. Its extroversion and trendy city architecture and design, in combination with a healthy dose of Mediterranean casualness, is all worthy of serious praise and admiration. Barcelona is a city that comes alive in the evening, when it becomes a paradise for lovers of cuisine, cool taverns and cultural icons. Barcelona’s list-topping luxury and designer hotels and a nearly perfect congress infrastructure have positioned the city at the very peak of Europe’s congress industry. Although it is battling its current “OMG, there are so many tourists!” syndrome, we believe it will soon evolve into a city where the congress industry becomes part of the positive transformation of an otherwise overcrowded destination. FINAL MARK: 4.53

9. ATHENS, GREECE BRIDGING THE GAP A historic city with excellent connectivity to the rest of the world and where you will find infrastructure befitting a major European capital, but with better weather and in a more interesting location. The Athens allure includes 300 days of sunshine a year, more than 30,000 hotel rooms in 439 hotels, 95,000 sq.m of conference space, 1,000+ restaurants and 200,000 flights per year. All major hotels in the city underwent a refurbishment for the 2004 Olympics. Athens is an attractive destination in its own, very special way. It is a unique combination of the old and the new, set in a spectacular Mediterranean landscape. FINAL MARK: 4.51

10. LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM MAKE IT BIG London is the unofficial capital of Europe and a place where events are going on day and night, from the galactic Olympic Games to a series of other diverse events. The city has no match in Europe in terms of variety and from the moment the development of the congress scene became a priority it has been doing very well indeed. It is by far the most accessible destination on our list, boasting five airports in the vicinity of its city centre. For quite some time now, it has been the mecca for foodies and all of the corporate events connected to it. The ExCel Centre is the heart of London’s congress offer, capable of carrying out mega events that not a lot of other cities can handle. Its prosperity can only be rocked by the question of safety, which virtually no European city is able to avoid right now. FINAL MARK: 4.47



Destinations that can host up to 2,000 congress attendees TOP 10 L-DESTINATIONS IN 2018 1. ZAGREB 2. TALLINN 3. LJUBLJANA 4. GRAZ 5. VENICE

4.37 4.36 4.35 4.34 4.31


4.29 4.23 4.18 4.17 4.13

1. ZAGREB, CROATIA WHITE ZAGREB TOWN It can be said that Zagreb has a great congress future. As well as Belgrade, Zagreb is also progressing steadily on the chart of development meetings destinations; the final breakthrough of the entire region is intertwined and dependent on the marketing of mayor regional congress cities in the international market. In the last ten years Croatia has radically improved road infrastructure and thus its accessibility. Significantly improved is also air accessibility via Zagreb Airport, which accepts over 40 % of all air traffic in Croatia. The hotel infrastructure with new acquisitions fully satisfies modern congress guests and is perhaps at this moment the best among regional capitals. Zagreb is a pocket-friendly destination that offers a lot for reasonable money. FINAL MARK: 4.37

2. TALLINN, ESTONIA SINGING AND SKYPING DESTINATION In terms of congress needs, of the Baltic triplets Tallinn is probably the most picturesque and diverse. The city has gone through many historical changes, right through from the medieval salesmen and knights of the Teutonic order, to the protestant reformation, Swedish and Russian imperialism, turbulences of both Wars and then to the Soviet Union, before finally independence and the flourishing of its IT-industry and capitalism. All of these events today create a special culture that is the basis for development of a congress industry not lagging behind the competitive destinations. The congress industry is going through a real boom and Tallinn, with this year’s EU presidency, certainly deserves a strong round of applause. Tourism is a branch of the economy that develops fast. According to the “Tallinn 2025” strategic plan, the capital of Estonia could become a centre of festival and event tourism in the Baltic Sea region. FINAL MARK: 4.36


3. LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA EUROPEAN GREEN CAPITAL According to its conference and accommodation infrastructure, Ljubljana belongs to the group of capitals suitable for medium-sized and smaller meetings (up to 2.500 participants). It is positioned side by side with the new EU member states and geographically in the region of the Western Balkans. With two top-level convention centers and a very well-developed hotel meetings offer, Ljubljana is the region’s leading congress destination. At the end of last year in order to give Ljubljana a new sales and promotional momentum, a partnership called Ljubljana Strategic Bidding Team (LSBT) was established; it is composed of interested partners from both the private and public area. The city is extremely safe and one of the region’s most sustainably-oriented. FINAL MARK: 4.35

4. GRAZ, AUSTRIA SECOND CITY FIRST Graz is a mature tourist destination, which is despite the crisis recording a steady growth of tourist arrivals and overnight stays in all tourism segments. Cultural diversity, rich history and the connecting Mura River have formed a high experiential diversity, which is reflected in the many opportunities for congress and incentive organizers and planners. In terms of infrastructure and transport, Graz is still the leading regional convention destination and can be also in this term described as modern, dynamic and internationally competitive. With more than 154 congress event and some 46.000 participants it achieves excellent results and is stable on the charts ranking international events. A very big focus in Graz is on environmental responsibility and tidiness of the surrounding areas and infrastructure. FINAL MARK: 4.34

5. VENICE, ITALY CONGRESS SERENISSIMA The magical city par excellence and one of the most extraordinary world destinations. Venice and its province are unquestionably hospitable by vocation, as illustrated by some of the most famous hotels and temples of hospitality. Venice is a city which has long been hosting world events. As a commercial crossroads it is easy to reach either by land or by sea, the city offering various means of transport. A city with irresistible charm and a wide range of different offers typical to the “Italian way of life” FINAL MARK: 4.31


6. SALZBURG, AUSTRIA SALZBURG GIVES YOU WINGS Salzburg offers all the characteristics of a congress destination and a cosmopolitan mix of visitors. With its location in the heart of Europe and because of the high quality of life, Salzburg has a great starting point in congress tourism. For current logistics and transport restrictions of the city, medium sized congresses with up to 2.000 participants are the best suited. Two top-quality, modern and high-tech congress centers are together with a top-quality conference hotel infrastructure a foundation for this congress destination. In this area they will offer you a superior product wrapped in superior packaging. Although you will find Mozart on every step of your way and it seems that the clock stopped in the times of the famous composer, Salzburg is a very modern and urban. Otherwise, location, location, location and once again location is considered a crucial reason for choosing Salzburg for your event. FINAL MARK: 4.29

7. KRAKOW, POLAND PROUD CITY Of all Polish cities Krakow is the one with the greatest soul and is the most fraught with history. In Poland, Krakow will be the destination of the new generation, which will soon be recognized as a high quality, compact and most versatile meetings destination in Poland due to the cultural heritage, hospitality of the locals, new meetings capacities and because of its huge scientific potentials. Krakow has a variety of hotels services and an exceptional number of tourist attractions. Being the main tourist city, it has excellent conditions in place for the development of congress tourism. With the construction of the new convention center ICE it has also received a real affirmation. Krakow’s recipe is successful and a case of good practice for other more traditional central European destinations. FINAL MARK: 4.23

8. BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA MEETOSLAVIA The city of four rivers defines the Danube river with its tributaries and with the mighty Renaissance castle above the intimate and compact old town. Bratislava is undiscovered European congress capital which slowly and steadily penetrates into the congress market. It represents a novelty for international congress market which impresses due to the kind and sympathetic city center but also because of not excessive commercialization. The city is close to the congress organizers mainly due to a more personal congress experience – the city is very friendly and there are no problems with the safety. The city center is full of pubs, restaurants and shops and the hotel offer includes the best-known hotel chains FINAL MARK: 4.18


9. VILNIUS, LITHUANIA BALTIC CONGRESS TIGERS Over the last few years Vilnius learned diligently, polished its offer and was preparing for its entry into the international congress scene. In their favour they have the charm of the city, which is cosmopolitan, urban, very European and full of hidden surprises. It’s a city where socialist modernist architecture coexists with the Baroque centre, and unlike some other Eastern European congress destinations this makes it very attractive. By joining the EU, the city has become a credible partner of the international meetings industry, making is one of the new, undiscovered convention destinations that appeals because of its freshness. For all three Baltic Congress Tigers – Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn – we predict a sunny congress future. FINAL MARK: 4.17

10. INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA THE HEART OF THE ALPS Innsbruck, the capital of Austrian Tyrol, lies by the River Inn and is just a stone’s throw from the Alps. Sometimes hidden behind its wellknown sporting spirit are a number of other, different vibes that create an image of an urban, dynamic and metropolitan city with loads of experience in event organisation. Innsbruck has twice been the host of the Winter Olympics (in 1964 and 1976) and its Bergisel Ski Jump is one of the scenes of the prestigious Four Hills Tournament that takes place every year. The famous ski jump was designed by Zaha Hadid and quickly became one of the most attractive special venues in Innsbruck. The city is a combination of the typical Alpine spirit and new urbanism, embodied by the CMI Congress and Messe Innsbruck. It distinguishes itself from the pack with numerous incentive programmes that keep its offer competitive throughout the year. FINAL MARK: 4.13


Destinations that can host up to 1,200 congress attendees TOP 10 M-DESTINATIONS IN 2018 1. DUBROVNIK 2. VILLACH 3. KLAGENFURT 4. SPLIT 5. ŠIBENIK / BLED

4,33 4,13 4,12 4,11 4,03


4,02 4,01 3,98 3,97 3,93


1. DUBROVNIK, CROATIA PEARL OF THE ADRIATIC Dubrovnik is the flagship of regional tourism and is commonly the first association of meetings organizers we meet daily. It is the closest in the region to renowned Mediterranean convention destinations Cannes and Monte Carlo, and it will be even closer after the completion of the convention center. So far, the center is successfully replaced by modern and well-equipped centers at hotels such as Dubrovnik Palace, Excelsior, Bellevue, Grand Villa Argentina, Importanne Resort, Dubrovnik President, Valamar Lacroma and Radisson Blue. Well-developed is the entire conference infrastructure including destination management and creative agency scene. The city is safe and one of the tourist icons of the Adriatic and justifiably the most painted tourist skyline with unprecedented experiential diversity for conference guests FINAL MARK: 4.33

2. VILLACH, AUSTRIA THE ALPINE LAKES EXPERIENCE Villach is the second largest city of Carinthia and its tourist sights attract an enormous amount of visitors. Villach has also become established as a small Silicon Valley in the Alps, with an international character reflected in the town‘s infrastructure. The main reason for a meetings industry in this part of Austria are the numerous incentive programmes, all of which you can engage with in a very clean environment. The most charming aspects are the Carinthian way of life, cultural diversity and a general sense of casualness. In our opinion the main advantages are the size and the feeling of familiarity, along with a modern congress infrastructure. Locals also like to emphasise the border location, sat at the crossroads of three nations, which hasn‘t been totally picked up in a congress sense. Locals also like to emphasise the border location, sat at the crossroads of three nations, which hasn’t been totally picked up in a congress sense. FINAL MARK: 4.13

3. KLAGENFURT, AUSTRIA CONVENTIONLAND Klagenfurt is a likable alpine congress destination with rich cultural heritage and high experiential diversity. Key advantage is definitely fairy tale like well-maintained and pleasant environment, quality offer that is above average in regional sense, and professionalism of suppliers. Position at the crossroads of important routes is also an important factor in competitiveness of this destination. The city is an important inter social and European transit region that is easily reachable thanks to modern highways and rail connections. Klagenfurt as the center of Carinthia with its tidiness, safety and ratio between price and quality is one of the best convention destinations in the wider region. The city builds its meetings offer on a sustainable development. FINAL MARK: 4.12


4. SPLIT, CROATIA CROSSROADS DALMATIA Among the Adriatic congress destinations Split has become serious competition to Dubrovnik in the last years. The main disadvantages of the destination are bad cooperation between the service providers, lack of air traffic connections to key markets and not enough destination marketing. If Split gets a real convention centre in the future, it could become one of the leading congress destinations in the Mediterranean. New and excellent hotel capacities, good road connections to Europe and wonderful surroundings, with islands offering numerous incentive programme opportunities, all bolster this proposition. Split is still one of the most unexploited congress destinations in the Mediterranean. FINAL MARK: 4.11

5. ŠIBENIK, CROATIA THE HEART OF DALMATIA Šibenik very rarely raises any association with the meeting industry. In the process of transition from an industrial city into a tourist destination it has not yet asserted its image among competing cities. Despite this, it is a fact that it has excellent conditions and is somehow considered to be a hidden jewel of the Croatian congress offer. For ease of accessibility it may be a suitable location for small association conferences as well as a variety of incentive programmes. FINAL MARK: 4.03

5. BLED, SLOVENIA THE IMAGE OF HEAVEN As a recognisable brand Bled stands out among other congress destinations in the region. It most closely resembles Dubrovnik, which caught up with the pre-war congress tempo by taking the right steps. Currently the biggest disadvantage is the lack of a clear focus towards quality rather than mass tourism. This is most clearly seen in the restaurant, night life and shopping offer. As a result, the current perception of quality is lower than with largest competitors.In Bled the saying ‘Less is more’ is very true. The potential for the meetings industry is immense, it just needs to be harnessed in the right way. FINAL MARK: 4.03

6. SCHLADMING, AUSTRIA MEETINGS IN EMBRACE OF ALPINE BEAUTIES Schladming is a big skiing centre, the scene of the best slalom races of the season as well as other internationally known sport competitions. Besides that, it is also an excellent congress venue and a place, which stays in fond memory of every guest. We can say without a doubt that the tourist development in Schladming is a success story and we are certain that will also be the case in the future. Contributing to the success were mostly sporting events, on which they have built extensively. With event organisation, the destination has gained a lot of experience, which can now be transferred into the congress field. FINAL MARK: 4.02


7. OPATIJA, CROATIA WHERE MEETINGS MEET HISTORY AND ELEGANCE 170 years of tourism tradition is based on the positive energy of the riviera and the exceptional natural conditions. This is a great sign for the revival of Opatija congress tourism, which has recently relaxed slightly in comparison with the hyperactive Croatian Adriatic competitors. The city already boasts the entire infrastructure, but it is beaten mostly by an unfavourable image and somewhat slow adjustment to the new congress market conditions. A change of the structure of hotels is also necessary, as ‘cosmopolitan’ Opatija today only boasts three hotels in the 5-star category, whilst in Dubrovnik there are now 14. FINAL MARK: 4.01

8. PORTOROSE, SLOVENIA PORT OF ROSES The historic laurels of the leading Adriatic congress destination are slowly starting to gather dust. Portorož/Portorose is still in hard competition with Dubrovnik, Opatija and new Adriatic congress destinations that are developing all the time. A rich congress history, tradition and the existing infrastructure are a competitive advantage. The meetings industry is by no means a tree to sleep under and simply harvest its fruit of wealthy congress participants. Despite that, Portorož has proven resilient and adaptable many times in the course of history, so some innovativeness and marketing opportunities should ensure it has a bright future. FINAL MARK: 3.98

9. ROVINJ, CROATIA ROVINJ GIVES YOU WINGS If at the destination you have owners who have clear goals and who look at congress tourism strategically, then in a short time you can do a lot. It is possible to revitalize the old factory premises and build a superior conference hotel. Maistra in Rovinj has undoubtedly left its mark. Taking into consideration the geographical location of Rovinj as one of the closest Mediterranean congress destinations for Central and Western Europe, the future of this industry is guaranteed. Missing is only a convention bureau, which would know how to step out of corporate governance of the destination and would be able to serve as attorney of the meetings industry. Otherwise, forecasts of mayor Sponza that Rovinj will be more exclusive than Dubrovnik, can be realized. FINAL MARK: 3.97


10. POREČ, CROATIA SUNNYSIDE MEETINGS Until recently Poreč was known mostly for its family tourism, which is focused on the sun and sea. In the last couple of years there have been significant moves in terms of seasonality and also the meetings industry. The whole of Istria, in fact, has a huge potential for incentive programmes. The congress infrastructure already exists, including the main culinary and sports programmes, as well as the salubrious surroundings that make them special. It’s just the appropriate connections to form real incentive products that have to be put in place, which will definitely make them seriously competitive. The list of events is getting longer every year and is moving Poreč up the ladder of event destinations in Croatia. If Poreč continues to be a tourist champion of Croatia, it will definitely make the break into the international congress scene FINAL MARK: 3.93


Destinations that can host up to 500 congress attendees TOP 10 S-DESTINATIONS IN 2018 1. NASSFELD HERMAGOR 2. BAD KLEINKIRCHEIM 3. GORIŠKA BRDA 4. HVAR 5. KRANJSKA GORA

4,05 4,02 3,87 3,85 3,84


3,82 3,81 3,78 3,77 3,76

1. NASSFELD HERMAGOR, AUSTRIA IN THE HEART OF ALPS In the last couple of years, the tourist offer of Nassfeld has seen some big investments. More than 26 million euros have been put into the Nassfeld ski resort (together with Pressegger See) in the last two years. The four valleys on the austro-italian border offer 110 kilometres of ski slopes, with 30 modern ski lifts ensuring smooth connections between them. Nassfeld is also famous for its high number of sunshine hours, as the protective effect of the Hohe Tauern mountain range blesses the town with the most sun in the region. This means that there are plenty of options for incentive and team building programmes in nature throughout the year. Natural conditions and a high quality of hotel accommodation positions Nassfeld among the most attractive incentive destinations in Central Europe. FINAL MARK: 4.05


2. BAD KLEINKIRCHEIM, AUSTRIA COMPACT INCENTIVE EXPERIENCE Bad Kleinkirchheim is known across the world for its skiing heritage, as the town is a long-time host of women world-cup ski races. Some might even recognize it for its thermal resort built in the 17th century. Less known is the fact that Bad Kleinkirchheim is an excellent incentive destination sprouting with diverse and exciting offer, which spreads across both the winter and summer season. There’s also no shortage of great accommodations. The incentive programmes range from active sports activities to historical and culinary experiences. A native of the region is also the legendary Franz Klammer with whom you can even go skiing on an exciting winter incentive. What separates the town from the regional competition is a top-notch culinary offer, developed in a different way in every hotel. All of this makes Bad Kleinkirchheim suitable for more demanding incentive groups. FINAL MARK: 4.02

3. GORIŠKA BRDA, SLOVENIA FERTILE CROSSROADS OF CULTURES A number of the features of Brda make it special and unique in the wider area. In the first place is its openness to the sea, creating a pleasant Mediterranean climate, followed up by its natural beauty with rich cultural heritage and eco-preserved countryside with exceptional culinary and wine offer, unrivalled in the region. A panorama of hills with a cluster of agglomerations and subdivided farmland and countless terraced vineyards is certainly one of the most beautiful Italian-Slovenian landscape-aesthetic experiences. In the field of tourism-convention offer, Brda is perhaps the future formula of tourism development: “less is more”. The convention fate of Brda and Collio is in co-operation and joint promotion. FINAL MARK: 3.87

4. HVAR, CROATIA ROOM WITH A VIEW None of the more than 1,000 Croatian islands has such karma and recognition as Hvar. Definitely a “must” Croatian destination, right behind Dubrovnik. Distance from the mainland gives it a touch of boutique smallness. On the beauty of the island, reminiscent of the Garden of Eden, there is no point in wasting words, since there is no shortage of various urban legends and superlatives. Among other things, it used to be called Austrian Madeira. In Hvar, the urban has been coexisting with the rural for centuries. FINAL MARK: 3.85


5. KRANJSKA GORA, SLOVENIA GOOD WILL IS THE BEST The most important winter sports centre in Slovenia has among the Slovenian ski resorts the strongest brand, which is known worldwide mainly due to the Cup Vitranc. Slowly and steadily it has also developed a summer tourist offer, which enables the development of congress tourism. Both seasons are now virtually in balance. With the latest changes in the field of hospitality it will surely strengthen its position as an important centre for the implementation of incentive programmes and small conferences. Due to the recognition of the ski jumps in Planica and Vitranc Cup it has a high priority over other rivals in the region. It is an important boutique congress destination for quality mid-size corporate events up to 350 participants. FINAL MARK: 3.84

6. MALI LOŠINJ, CROATIA LOW-CARBON INCENTIVE ISLAND Lošinj and Cres are the only Adriatic islands that successfully deal with sustainable tourism and are amongst the eco-friendlier islands of Kvarner. They differ from the more famous Dalmatian isles, with their nature preservation, systematic sustainable development and cultural heritage. All these activities are well managed and present a huge opportunity for sustainable meetings industry in harmony with the capabilities of the islands. The key challenge is the invisibility on the meetings industry radar, lacking the recognisable incentive brands to build the high-quality boutique and intimate stories. If local suppliers can develop from these points, they will be able to benefit from the current trends in the industry. I am certain their first clients will be the existing loyal guest of Cres and Lošinj. FINAL MARK: 3.82

6. BOHINJ, SLOVENIA HIDDEN SUSTAINABLE MEETINGS GEM The majority of congress guests will be sworn lovers of nature and its aesthetic value. Bohinj is a place that is created for sustainable conference programmes and for active incentive experiences. It is a place where without any hesitation you can drink water from the public water supply and from its clean streams. Even the basic network of thematic paths offers ideas for authentic congress programmes. In Slovenia, the beauty of Bohinj can only be matched by its neighbours across the peaks in the Soča Valley, or in Kranjska Gora. FINAL MARK: 3.82


7. SOČA VALLEY, SLOVENIA EPICENTRE OF INCENTIVE INSPIRATIONS In the narrow micro-region, the Soča Valley is currently not facing increased competition. On the Italian side in Friuli Venezia Giulia, incentive tourism is underdeveloped and the development of the product in Brda and Nova Gorica is also at the beginning stages. A more serious competition is in Istria and neighbouring Carinthia, as well as within the wider Slovenian Julian Alps. The main advantage of the destination is a developed incentive product, gastronomy and preserved natural and cultural heritage, which is unequalled. FINAL MARK: 3.81

8. LAŠKO, SLOVENIA BEER AND CONGRESSES Laško is first and foremost a spa destination, because the main motive of going there are the two spa and thermal centres. In the future it will remain so. In the past five years, however, much has been done in developing congress tourism and enriching the offer and it is today surprising how much Laško can offer to congress guests beyond its traditional tasty beer. Everything from one of the best Slovenian cuisines to an exceptional cultural and historical heritage together with the possibility of organising green meetings. In making this breakthrough Laško has very quickly become much more competitive to the more established meeting industry destinations. FINAL MARK: 3.78

9. PODČETRTEK, SLOVENIA THE SUCCESS STORY The smallest place in our analysis is big in its offer and an example to all of us involved with tourism. Once a remote and poor community, in the 60-ies of the last century focused on tourism. Its epicentre is a thermal spring, around which a success story was created. At every step the locals you meet, be it a wine-grower, a caterer or a priest, will let it be known that you are welcome. There are few places where the only driving force of the economy is tourism. Because in these places industry has never developed, today this can be considered as one of their advantages. Podčetrtek has a great potential in the field of congress tourism. It is an authentic and, in many ways, a sustainable congress experience. FINAL MARK: 3.77

10. UMAG, CROATIA DOOR TO THE ADRIATIC Among the competing congress destinations, Umag even a year ago would be easily overlooked, but today it is already hosting the most demanding events such as the most important Microsoft event Windays. This proves that the destination is profiled as a congress and especially incentive location. To the good functioning a great destination management contributes a great deal, which in a form of a cluster from 2010 is promoted under the brand “Colours of Istria”. FINAL MARK: 3.76


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

KEY TO MTLG EVALUATION CRITERIA 2018 Every 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

C. Tourist infrastructure 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

E. Subjective grade 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. Business climate 10. Destination image


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

F. Marketing buzz 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


With different destinations we evaluate over 75 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.

A. Natural and cultural factors
 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.

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.

C. Tourist infrastructure

 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.

D. Meetings infrastructure
 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.

E. Subjective grade 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.

F. Marketing buzz 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 4 3 2 1

excellent meetings destination quality meetings destination recommendable meetings destination average meetings destination so-so


MTLG 2018 - FAQ 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

We have collected the answers to some of the most common questions you are asking us about the Meetologues. If you do not find an answer to your question, ask us a new question. We will be happy to answer it.

FAQ: How do you really evaluate individual destinations? The destinations are evaluated on the basis of field work done by one of our journalists and thorough research of individual criteria, in order to get as close as possible to the real situation. In addition, we are committed to reality, verifiability and objectivity. Every year we review and re-evaluate the destinations according to the new information that the destination representatives provide. FAQ: How did you get the idea of preparing congress travel? We dare to state that we were the first who developed the new journalistic genre of congressional travel journals - Meetologues, in which we discover new congress destinations based on extensive field research. In doing so, we try to write without “unnecessary luggage”. We want to get closer to objective situations, so our reporters use a special matrix, which we named the Congressional Destination Index. This is a reference system that we are using from the beginning and allows a real comparison of the destinations over time. FAQ: Why do we need congressional travel and destination assessment? Congressional travelogues or Meetologues have become a strong reference point over the past decade for decision makers as well as for the event organizers, when choosing the destinations for their events, especially because of the Meetologues’ logic and the benefits they bring to all of the stakeholders. However, we are convinced that our evaluations are objective and helpful to event organizers, while at the same time they are a helpful tool for enabling destinations to improve in areas where the current situation is different from the competition. FAQ: Why is the evaluation important for the destinations? Our evaluation is primarily a tool for improving the competitiveness of individual destinations. It offers an outward look at their destination with the aim of continually improving and achieving excellence. As this is a systematic and contingent process, the progress of the individual

evaluated criteria can be monitored over time. Destinations use our methodology primarily because they want to become or remain worldly competitive.

FAQ: What differs MTLG from the other evaluation scales? It is a systematic, structured and analytical process that covers a number of factors, which are defined as important by event organizers. We dare to state that this is the most complex assessment of destinations, which is not based solely on the number of congress events in the destination but is analytically much deeper. We are proud that our methodology triggers positive changes in destinations and has become a standard. FAQ: Why do you use different destination categories (XL, L, M and S destinations)? Over 90 destinations from the wider region of New Europe are covered in the categorization and evaluation. With the help of different categories, we enable event organizers to choose a destination that suits their needs. Therefore, the category is more guided by what kind of event the individual destination is able to host from a logistical point of view and the general capacity that it offers. Our categorization includes a combination of criteria, the sum of evaluation points of indexes is the basis for classifying destinations into four categories. FAQ: What does the term New Europe mean? The MTLGs were the first to introduce to the international markets the countries of South-Eastern, Central and Eastern Europe through convention programs, which we often rank in NEW EUROPE. Before, with the term New Europe, all the countries of Eastern Europe or the former Eastern bloc were described. Despite numerous stereotypes, the region boasts exceptional conditions for congress tourism: stunning history, rich cultural and historical heritage, excellent accessibility, affordable acceptance. Many new congress centers and hotels


and creative solutions make the NEW EUROPE a fresh and desirable congress destinations.

FAQ: What does the ACI index refer to? Using the SEO NetScan connectivity model, the report provides indexes for direct, indirect and hub connectivity based on both quantitative and qualitative metrics. The airport connectivity index is madeup of both direct and indirect weekly frequencies, weighted by their quality. This means that this is not simply a measure of how many city pairs there are, or how many direct services there are. For the purposes of this report, connectivity is a composite measure of the number of destinations, the frequency of services and the quality of the connections (in the case of hubbing or indirect services). You can check for further details at the following link: FAQ: Why do you use Numbeo index for several evaluations? Because Numbeo is the largest online database, that does not depend on the media or the lobbies and is co-created by portal visitors. Above all, we use it because we checked the Numbeo data in the field and we found out that the data reflected the actual situation as well. And also, because the value of the methodology was recognized by the world’s largest media. We are also proud that the idea originated in the Balkans. The author of the methodology is the genius former Google engineer Mladen Adamovic from Serbia. FAQ: Are you checking the Numbeo indices in the field? In order to ensure that all data for individual destinations is actually checked in the field, and in case of major deviations, we also adapt accordingly. FAQ: What methodology do you use to evaluate Sustainable measures? Here we come from the Purity and Cleanliness assessment in Prague, Czech Republic, which in our opinion very accurately defines how far the city is in this area. In Prague, for example, the total index is 568.67, while in Vienna it is 672.63, while in Ljubljana it is 643.57. FAQ: How do you evaluate the “Perception

on sustainability” criteria? This grade is connected to Numbeo Purity and Cleanliness index by Numbeo but equipped with actual measures that destinations need to take in this field.

FAQ: How do you evaluate “Public transport” criteria? We also evaluate this criterion on the basis of Numbeo indexes (https://www.numbeo. com/traffic). If we take Prague and Vienna for example, the index for Prague for example in this segment is 110.37, whereas Vienna has an index of 75.17- the lower the index, the higher a destination positions. A similar difference is seen when comparing C02 emissions, which is 2206 in Prague and 1412 in Vienna.

FAQ: Why is the ICCA ranking part of the evaluation? It is the only such annual statistical report in the congressional segment that has more than 50 years history of data captured. We are aware of the shortcomings of the ICCA survey, since it does not cover all the events taking place at destinations and does not cover corporate or economic-business and intergovernmental meetings and motivational trips, which represent an important part of the global meeting industry. For this reason, the ICCA index is only one of the criteria, but it does give a great deal of indication of the maturity of individual congress destinations. FAQ: How is the ICCA index calculated? The final results for the current year are ranked according to the grade from 1 to 5. Specifically, the first and the second ranked destinations on the ICCA ranking get the scores 5, destinations that are ranked below 320 places get a score 1.02. FAQ: How can we independently check the quality of each rating? We already upgraded the entire methodology last year with the benchmarking system, which we perform for individual congress destinations and we named it MTLG BENCHMARK. With our methodology, we save you a lot of valuable time, which you would otherwise have spent on comparing it with your main competitors. The evaluation process is conducted in two-stages: 1. SELF-EVALUATION OF THE DESTINATION based on the method of congressional MTLGs At this stage, destinations are evaluated according to all the criteria that are covered by our methodology and include 63 competitive criteria. On the basis of self-evaluation, a comparative matrix is prepared, which is the basis for the Benchmark workshop in the second phase. 2. BENCHMARK WORKSHOP with key stakeholders at the destination The workshop is aimed at assessing the competitive advantages and disadvantages of the destination and the exchange of good practices regarding the further development of the destination.

WHAT IS NEW EUROPE? The answer to this question is something of an unsolved conundrum. A clear definition of New Europe doesn’t exist, the most general definition being that these are the countries of Eastern Europe that was once behind the Iron Curtain. Technically this means 24 countries of Eastern Europe, adding Greece and Turkey to them. In our Editorial, we include the fresh, energetic and lesser-known European destinations to New Europe.

FAQ: How do you rate the Tourist Information Centers? This grade is based on actual visits to your information centers. FAQ: How do you assess the professionalism of the meetings industry? This segment grades the responsiveness and professionalism of individual providers and is checked through actual RFP’s and offers. I could probably write an entire book about it, so if you have any questions I will gladly give you some more information. I believe this segment carries the biggest room for improvement.


FAQ: How did you calculate the carrying

the destination is able to accommodate. This criterion is therefore extremely imcapacity of individual congress destinaportant to our assessment. tions? MEETING EXPERIENCE INDEX The complexity of the meetings industry 5. The largest hall in the city in square means there are many possible variables Is the final score given to a destination meters that can contribute to defining the ‘size’ after going through 75 strict evaluaThe size of the hall further dictates the of a destination. We have been looking tion criteria. It places the destination size of the largest events and accomfor those that are frequently considered among 90 other congress destinations panying exhibitions that can ordinarito be closely connected and interdepenfrom Europe and the world. ly accompany such events. These are dent. This aspect of the defining criteria normally the multifunctional halls in process necessitated a review of existing congress and exhibition centres. This literature, which is quite limited in that criterion is directly linked to exhibition field and is heavily reliant on the statistics activity, which is most highly developed in the so-called ‘meeting prepared by the international association ICCA, which focuses on rehubs’. cording the number of association meetings and their participants at a destination. Our pillar capacity of meeting estimations was calculated 6. Maximum hall capacity in theatre layout based on criteria that were defined with the help of leading experts Congress centre halls that are suitable for plenary sessions are asfrom various destinations and are as follows: sessed in this category. To make this a level assessment many sports 1. Air accessibility of destinations facilities were excluded, as they typically lack the additional infrastrucThis assessment is based on the European air connectivity report, ture required for the organisation of events. which is prepared annually by ACI Europe. Analysing connectivity data from the SEO Economic Research’s ‘Netscan’ connectivity model, the 7. Population report provides in-depth insights into how well Europe is connected A city or a town’s population tends to be the catalyst for development, by air, both internally and with other regions in the world. It distintransformation and, of course, also the generator of many events. guishes between direct and indirect connectivity and takes a special Over the course of history, the meetings industry has developed in in-depth look at the dynamics at Europe’s hubs – which act as engines the urban regions and is therefore considered one of the factors assoof connectivity for wider outreach. ciated with metropolitanisation and the major conurbations in Europe. 2. The number of 4* and 5* category hotel rooms The development of meeting destination is directly linked to the numFAQ: What is the carrying capacity of individual categories of MTLGs? ber of hotel rooms it has, which according to our study reaches at The new categorization highlighted that, depending on the supportleast twice the maximum capacity of the plenary hall at the destinaing capacity, destinations can be divided into four categories that are tion. The single use of rooms is dominated by congress guests and for framed based on the maximum number of participants that can be business tourism, which includes the meetings industry, the use of accommodated without encountering any major logistical turmoil or rooms in the business categories of 4 and 5 stars is predominant. For complications. that reason, only those hotels are assessed in this category. XL MEETING DESTINATIONS 3. The number of 4* and 5* category hotels Destinations that can host more than 2,000 congress attendees To enhance destination comparisons, we also captured the number of 4 and 5-star category hotels that are predominantly used by congress L MEETING DESTINATIONS guests. The number of such hotels is a unique indicator of how well a Destinations that can host up to 2,000 congress attendees destination is adapted to business tourism and vice versa. M MEETING DESTINATIONS 4. Banquet hall maximum capacity Destinations that can host up to 1,200 congress attendees 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 S MEETING DESTINATIONS the hall for banquets dictates the maximum size of the congress that Destinations that can host up to 500 congress attendees




Meetings in an Airport Hangar GORAZD ČAD //


‘If it’s not occupied all the time, well, then let’s put it to another use.’ That was probably the thinking of the management of Salzburg airport, who created an entirely different venue for events. One to which you can fly directly and, following border formalities, find yourself right in the centre of a different world. They proved that airports can be used for various purposes and can also serve as a backdrop for large-scale and demanding events. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION In addition to the unusual story, the giant area, with its 3,000 parking spaces and location next to the motorway, are among the venue’s main features of added value. In addition, Terminal 2 is among the largest venues in Salzburg and is suitable for holding a very diverse range of events from exhibitions and trade fairs to product launches. Due to its unique appearance, various parts of the airport are popular for filming, advertising and photography shoots.

AIRPORT ARCHITECTURE Airports usually exceed borders – they offer a sanctuary to travellers and connect the sky and earth. The architecture in such spaces is most often of a generic nature, which is also the case for Terminal 2. The modular and flexible space occupies a generous 3000m2 and it is also possible to sub-divide it into smaller halls which can be adapted for various types of events. It consists of a floating roof supported by attractive minimalist pillars and a glass wall which looks onto the runway. As a whole, it feels light, transparent and functional. It also boasts excellent service areas, including those for catering, and changing rooms for performers.

If it’s not occupied all the time, well, then let’s put it to another use.

SATISFIED CLIENTS The list of satisfied clients is long. Last year many social events were organised. For example, Skidata celebrated its anniversary with 500 invited guests, and the company Hogast organised a symposium for 850 participants. The most resounding of all of last year’s presentations was undoubtedly that of Škoda Karoq. The event took place from October to November 2017 and, in that time, it hosted 3,300 Škoda dealers from Austria and Germany. The project lasted 25 days and each day 150 dealers were present. The event showcased all the benefits of the venue where, practically immediately after arrival, it is possible to begin presenting and testing cars without any kind of logistical complications. The project also included all the necessary logistical and daily maintenance of 50 test vehicles, which participants tested on the route to the town of Saalfelden. Perhaps this unusual venue will also encourage the management of other unoccupied airports in Europe to take advantage of their space for hosting events.


GLAMPING AS A CONCEPT FOR ‘MEETINGS’ The interweaving of luxury, uniqueness and nature MAJA DIMNIK, WORLD OF GLAMPING //


Glamping brings to congress and business tourism a completely new dimension and quality, it maintains the highest level of luxury, and provides uniqueness and direct contact with nature. In recent years, glamping has become the fastest growing sector in the tourism industry; thus, with its quality and offer it is an increasingly appropriate environment for all forms of business meetings. The magical ambience of glamping resorts offers attendees a onetime experience and unforgettable affair. This magic and otherness help the event to reach greater success and happiness among the participants who often attend meetings and are used to classic forms of congress tourism in hotel complexes.

Most of the time, people who often attend business meetings and conferences face closed spaces of hotel and congress halls which are of the highest quality, but they might be flat in character and sometimes even boring. An organised business meeting in a glamping resort can be just as luxurious as a hotel, but it carries an added value of the effect of the participants’ enjoyment from the moment they enter the location, through the time they spend in it, all the way to the meeting which is entirely different from the experience in other congress places. The congress event itself is not executed in a usual congress hall, but rather in a unique location which is closely connected to the natural environment and surrounded by unique details and interesting stories spanning from wine and spices to thermal stories, and similar.


There are not the usual roof-covered hallways leading from one ‘room’ to another ‘room’, but rather, the participants can walk among gardens, streams, tree-houses, greenery, and natural elements which are beautifully intertwined into an architectural sophisticated whole. For exactly this reason, glamping is more than just a reasonable choice, for it unites all of the elements of the necessary luxury with the unique touch that allows first-hand contact with nature at the same time. The interest in the organisation of congress meetings in glamping resorts is increasingly growing, which impacts the raising of the quality of what’s on offer; this is also due to the fact that at the time of the planning and building of glamping resorts, more and more investors are taking into account the factor of business meeting organisation. However, it is necessary to emphasise that not every glamping resort offers a special experience and the level of service needed and wanted for the organisation of such meetings. Therefore, with the aim of getting glamping locations finally being distinguished by the quality, sort of services on offer, uniqueness and level of service, the brand World of Glamping was established in 2018 in cooperation with the Slovenian Tourist Board. World of Glamping is establishing transparency and overview, and is introducing order in the field of glamping tourism, and is categorising glamping providers from all over the world. Hence, to the organisers of congress and business meetings, @World of Glamping can be of great help because its concept and credibility provide for the right address when seeking consultation in choosing the most appropriate glamping provider. From what has been said above, we can conclude that glamping stands for the interweaving of luxury, uniqueness and nature which leaves a special, unforgettable mark on the participants. In glamping, the attendees can combine pleasure with practicality since due to the special atmosphere and natural environment, they feel as if they’re on vacation and not at a business event which they need to attend in an official capacity.




WATER TOWER WINE SHOP For all wine lovers, Maribor, the centre of Slovenia’s Styrian region, is Another of Maribor’s unique wine infrastructures is the old historthe place to be. The influence of the wine tradition can be felt throughic water tower that stores wine bottles and represents a completely out the city. On one hand the sunny wine-growing hills stretch all the different type of wine store. The ground floor of this unique penway to the Austrian border and beyond, while the vineyard-covered tagonal-shaped Renaissance fortification, which once defended the Pyramid hill, on the other, rises directly above the centre of the town. walls of the Styrian capital, has been transIn the city centre and around, there are formed into a modern winery. several wine shops and cellars where one can learn all about premium quality Styrian THE OLD VINE HOUSE wines and their makers, and relish in the exEach year no more than a hundred Maribor is also well known for one special cellent local cuisine. Thus, when in Maribor, bottles are filled with the wine worldwide attraction – the oldest vine in a congress guest should join the Maribor from the oldest vine in the world. the world. The Blue Franconia, certified Wine Road/Path – a professional guided Queen Elizabeth II., Pope John Paul as being more than 400 years old, is the city tour of the city’s wine culture organGuinness record holder for the oldest noised by Maribor-Pohorje Tourist Board. II. and the former USA president ble vine in the world still bearing grapes. Bill Clinton are some of the The vine, also a protected natural monuDVERI-PAX WINE CELLAR, BAR, AND SHOP recipients of this unique wine. ment, grows at the front of a long solid The Benedictine Dveri Pax – one of the most two-storey old town house, named “The modern wine cellars in Slovenia – stores Old Vine House“ that is situated near the 50,000 (out of a total of 300,000) litres of serene Drava River. The Old Vine House, built in the 16th Centuwine in oak barrels. The Dveri-Pax Wine Cellar continues an 800-year ry, entices many tourists from the most remote parts of the world; tradition of Benedictine winemaking. The superior quality of their wines in the past decade it has been visited by more than half-a-million is well recognized from the most respectful international wine evaluapeople. tions, such as Decanter in London, AWC Vienna and many more.




President & CEO at Unique Meetings & Incentives, as well as at Unique World Cruises & Tours, lives and works in New York. He has founded the Unique Meetings and Incentives, a full service company for meetings, incentives and business travel for major USA and Canada companies throughout the world, more than 40 years ago when he moved from Montenegro to NY. We asked Mr.Radulovic about his decades long experience in MICE, about the development of MICE he has witnessed, about his perception of the destinations of the Central and South-East Europe, and how do North American business and luxury guests perceive the mentioned region and what could be improved in order to bring more of the North American meetings, events and incentive planners to Central and South-East Europe.

Q: In the 70’s you moved from Montenegro to New York. How did you start to work in MICE? I started to work in travel industry immediately after high school as Assistant Manager at Front Office of the hotel Sveti Stefan in Montenegro, part of Yugoslavia at the time. Later I studied journalism at the University in Belgrade and worked in Vjesnik (editor’s note: Yugoslavian daily newspaper published in Zagreb). I was missing hotel work and wanted to work for the travel industry. Vjesnik sent me to London to study English and to write for TV Magazine Studio. After a year in London, I returned to Yugoslavia and got a job as an Editor-in-Chief in Turistička Štampa (Travel Publishing House) in Belgrade. In that position I got to be in contact with important people from the US travel industry and this way I ended up in New York. I love my job in the travel industry, especially nowadays with the internet giving a great opportunity to many countries all over the world to present their products in the US market.

Q: Once in New York, you opened a MICE agency. How was it to start such a company at the time? It was not easy to start a company in the 70’s. I arrived in New York at a very young age and together with my wife Nena Radulovic I started a small company. MICE industry was still in its infancy, but I studied MBA at the New York University and was lucky to have a professor who was also a Vice President of ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) who helped me to learn more about MICE. Q: How would you compare the MICE industry 40 years ago to today?

Years ago, a limited number of people in travel industry knew


anything about MICE industry. There was no internet, no mobile phones, no fax machines. We only used telex (editor’s note: a public switched network of teleprinters similar to a telephone network, for the purposes of sending text-based messages; before fax machines). I was lucky to have met Mr. Sam Nadelman, General Manager of Swiss Airlines for North America, who was a big enthusiast for MICE and already had a MICE department in Swiss Airlines. He was a few times in Yugoslavia and loved Dubrovnik. I started working with his team and we developed an incentive program to Dubrovnik. The first group was a small group of Swiss Sales Representative from USA on reward travel. After that, I had several charters with World Airways for Westinghouse and General Electric Sales Representatives to Dubrovnik and Budapest.

Q: Considering your rich experience in the field for almost 50 years, is there still anything that you miss in this industry? Where do you see the opportunities for further improvement?

Q: Considering your rich experience of almost 50 years in the field, where do you see the opportunities for further improvement to bring more of the US and Canadian companies that can, and want to, have luxurious incentive programme? Here is the problem. The destinations of the Central and South-East Europe are not active enough on the US market. They do not advertise, they do not organize study trips for journalists and planners to visit the mentioned destinations. The Austrian Tourist Office, for example, barely exists; Hungary and Croatia have closed their US offices long time ago, while Czech Republic as well does not have finance to promote itself. Slovenia, on the other hand, does not seem interested (or interesting?) in the US Market. This is a pity, since there are two great cities in Slovenia, like Lake Bled and Portorož with very reasonable prices. In the past, we used the Trieste Airport for all of our groups instead of the Ljubljana Airport because its airfare is very high. Years ago, the airlines interested in the destinations used to have a co-up advertising with the local Tourist Offices to promote the Central and Eastern Europe countries.

Q: Your company organizes upscale meetings, events, and incentives with major USA and Canadian companies spanning from associaQ: Is there anything else that you could suggest for this region in tions, automobile manufacturers, cosmetic industry, financial (bankorder to get more North American planners interested? ing & insurance), real estate, to universities. Many friends from Croatia and particularly SloHow much interest is there in the destinations venia asked me the same question. I told them of the Central and South-Eastern Europe? so many times “you need more promotion in The destinations of the For many years we have been sending a lot of the US market and you need direct flights.” large incentive groups to the Central and EastCentral and South-East ern Europe; Prague, Budapest and Vienna and Q: You’ve been living in the States for almost Europe are not active even to Dubrovnik, but now there are no direct 50 years. Do you take your clients to Monteflights from USA to Prague, Budapest or Dunegro? enough on the US brovnik. There are only connecting flights via I have been in the States since 1973 and have market. major European cities and they are very expenbeen living here longer than I had lived in Monsive. tenegro before. It is interesting, though, that I have not sent incentive groups to Montenegro yet. However, recently I had a meeting with DiQ: What would you, as an expert in MICE inrector of Sales North America Aman who mandustry, say is that X-factor that makes these age luxury resorts all over the world including the hotel Sveti Stefan destinations attractive? in Montenegro. We are developing a new incentive program to Rome I must admit that Central and Eastern Europe is very attractive for the and Sveti Stefan with Alitalia and Montenegro Airlines. USA clients. Particularly the history, art, architecture, quality of great 5* luxury hotels with excellent local food. I know the destinations very well and I like them very much. Q: What about your personal vacation? Where do you like to spend it? And how? I have travelled all over the world, mostly on business, but when I Q: How do the participants of your programmes find this region? go on my vacation, I choose Italy. I also love Lake Bled in Slovenia, What is that they like the most? What do they dislike? where I had spent so many memorable vacations with my parents as We always had a very good report from all the groups upon their well as my honeymoon. I also visited Portorož in Slovenia, as I wanted return. Among other things, they liked the very friendly local people to bring partners to see destinations to start a nice program with and how English is well-spoken in all of the countries of the Central Rome, but it seems to be that the hotels in Portorož are not interestand Eastern Europe. ed. We always pay for our VIP clients, who go on site inspection trip to select destinations, a business class from USA. I contacted three Q: Are there any destinations in the region that you would like to hotels in Portorož and asked them to host our VIP clients for 1-2 particularly highlight as a case of good practice? complimentary nights. They only offered a payable option, therefore From all of the Central and Eastern Europe cities, Prague is the most we decided to skip Slovenia on the site selection trip. popular. Prague has a lot to offer while keeping reasonable group rates and offering great upscale hotels.




Rosalie Sheffield has been working in the MICE industry for more than 15 years. Currently she works as the Global Project Manager at US company ConferenceDirect – a leading provider of global meeting planning solutions. Her specialisation is in advanced conference planning, including theme development and creative use of resources, along with detailed communications throughout the planning process. Additionally, she has also been involbed in pre-and post planning for Boulder, Colorado’s largest independent film festival, involving 15 venues, 25,000 people, and a variety of themed industry parties, and media events. We talked to Rosalie Sheffield about the differences between USA and European MICE, the differences between the destinations, about the challenges, about the comparison between organising a film festival and a scientific conference, and we asked her also about her experience as a woman working in MICE and about her tips for other women trying to succeed in the meetings industry.

Q: How would you compare the US MICE industry with the Euro-

pean one? How do you find these destinations? I believe the European MICE industries offer many travel and experience options that my clients just can’t get in the US.

Q: What would you, as an expert in MICE industry, say is the X-Fac-

tor that makes European destinations attractive? HISTORY! The architechture, the family traditions, the sense of being a part of history that you just can’t find in a 250 year old country (the US).

Q: And where do you see the main challenges and the main oppor-

tunities for further improvement of the MICE industry in the US on one hand, and in Europe on the other? In the US companies are manufacturing new experiences, using things like digital media, laser projections and virtual reality to create experiences that are not happening in the real world. However, they do produce a real WOW factor. Europe has so much living history, it doesn’t need to invent it. Places like the Titanic Museum in Belfast Northern Ireland, which I have visited, do a great job of enhancing the historical narrative by using physical and digital enhancements.

Q: Which are the main cultural differences that you notice? And

how would you describe the European approach towards the cul-


turally different American clients? I have always felt very welcome in Europe and overseas – England, Ireland, Italy, Sicily, Israel, and Spain. There are just a few areas where there is a little bit of cultural misunderstanding, like the American expectation of things happening on time and having the convenience of stores everywhere. If there are explained upfront, and some accommodations are made for them, I think this can easily be overcome.

Q: How do the participants of your programmes find the European region? What is that they like the most? What is that what they dislike? In my own travels, and on my FAM to Sicily, I think there is so much

wonder and amazement about the various ways people live in Europe. We’re pretty homogenous in America, even if you compare New York to the south. I hear time and time again that people want to cherish and explore Europe and not necessarily be tied to a very busy tour schedule. I think more time at fewer destinations is preferred.

Q: For more than 10 years you’ve been involved as well with the pre-and post planning for Boulder, Colorado’s largest independent film festival. How would you compare this work with organising business or scientific conferences? The main difference is that this involves working with a lot of volunteers. While there is a small committee of paid professionals, the actual work on site is dependent on volunteers showing up and doing what they promised, which happens about 80% of the time, in my estimation, leaving others to work extra hours to pick up the slack. There is much more of a professional expectation when organizing business and scientific conferences. Q: And for more than 15 years you have been volunteering with the

Boulder Womens Leadership Group where you have participated on various committees to teach women how to improve their sales skills, put on successful events, market their products and network in new situations. How do you see today’s role of women in the MICE industry? I think there is a lot of potential for women in the MICE Industry. We tend to be good organizers, feel strongly committed to doing our best, and working together to solve any issues that come up. I have found that with increased sales, marketing and networking skills comes confidence to accept new challenges, and stretch the bounderies of the types of clients we are willing to go after.

Q: How would you describe your career path inside MICE industry

as a woman compared to your male colleagues? In a number of instances throughout career, I have been the ‘’power behind the throne’’. I’ve been the one to write the scripts, plan the timing and make sure that my male colleagues are prepared and successful in the spotlight. I do not mind this role, as long as THEY recognize and acknowledge my part in their success. I prefer to be the one behind the stage instead of on it!

Q: What would you recommend to women who are new-comers in

the MICE industry? What does it take to succeed? I belive the willingness to be part of the industry, even if it means starting at the bottom in the field you feel passionate about is key to success. In addition, continuous learning both on the job and at conferences, webinars, chambers of commerce and networking events is extremely important. There’s no way I would ever say ‘’I’ve been doing marketing for 20 years, so I know everything.’’ I find out new information all the time and keep up with industry trends. That’s how you stay relevant in your field!



THE CONVENTION BUREAU AS A TOP B2B MARKETING AGENCY A decade of innovation of the Slovenian Convention Bureau GORAZD ČAD //


Among countless destinations in the meetings and events industry, visibility is a key competitive advantage. Meeting planners do not have any chance on the market unless they separate themselves clearly from other destinations. We live in a period of inflation of convention bureaus, operating in a very competitive environment and facing a number of challenges driven by rapid digitisation. The nature of work as we know it today is not comparable to the work ten years ago. The Slovenian Convention Bureau has recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. It connects 60 partners and represents Slovenia as a MICE destination around the world. According to the international expert public, it performs its work in a superior way. It is one of the most active Convention Bureaus in Europe, which is particularly famous for innovative content and digital marketing. According to the discussion with representatives of the Slovenian Convention Bureau, we looked the behind the scenes of its story of success. In different areas, the office is an innovator that shows the way to other destinations. The key is the right choice of marketing tools that the Slovenian Convention Bureau enlivened with a creative charge, strong analytics and a clear brand strategy. The creation of the pillars of the Slovenia brand was developed systematically. The design process was carried out by the Irish agency Soolnua, who carried out an in-depth study on the basis of the “Slovenia Meetings” brand in order to identify the key competitive advantages of the destination. The results of the research have led to the construction of three key pillars of the Slovenian congress offer PLACE, PEOPLE and PURPOSE. It is a combination of thinking about how we see the destination ourselves and how foreigners see us. PLACE - what Slovenia offers Slovenia is a small, compact, green country offering a safe and unrivalled environment. The unspoiled nature is especially attractive. PEOPLE - how Slovenia fulfils its promise Slovenian congress organisers are famous for their kindness and always present smile. They are always helpful with a personal approach, they are flexible and able to act team-based. PURPOSE - why it is presented in this way Slovenia has managed to preserve its authenticity, which is reflected in


the diversity of cities, coastal and alpine destinations, uncompromising quality of cuisine and unwavering commitment to sustainability. All stories are powered by unique Slovenian energy manifested through a personal approach, which is naturally calm and unpretentious, but highly effective. In this way, the Convention Bureau achieves outstanding results, and in particular builds good relations with potential event organisers in Slovenia. This is also the basis for communication based on communication strategies, which can be summarised in the following points:

THE SLOVENIAN CONVENTION BUREAU AS A SOURCE OF CREDIBLE INFORMATION The key competence of the bureau is the preparation of credible, high quality content for its partners and potential clients. As a rare source of independent information, this feature perfectly matches the new media reality in the world. The great advantage of such thinking is the effective construction of customer relationships, which can not be replaced by any other marketing tool in the field of B2B marketing. BIG DATA MARKETING Since the Meetings industry is active in the organisational market, collecting customer data is the first step to successful marketing. The Slovenian Convention Bureau collects customer information at all points where it is contacted. It follows the GDPR legislation. The database is the basis for developing own communication channels and various forms of direct marketing. DIGITAL MARKETING SYSTEM Content marketing is the basis for the entire digital marketing ecosystem in the Slovenian Convention Bureau. This includes an advanced website, responsive design, thorough analytics and social networking. The web portal is the central communication point of the bureau. The web portal www.slovenia-convention: the digital anchor for communication is visited daily on average by 150 congress organisers. SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING Social networks and content marketing are today a winning partnership as they are congressional storytelling boosters for Slovenia. Surprisingly many destinations in this area are completely passive or even inactive. The Slovenian Convention Bureau, however, achieves exceptional results in this field. DIRECT MARKETING Quality content marketing, database of purchases and digitalisation of communication enables the development of a whole range of direct marketing activities. English e-monthly: over 21,000 domestic and foreign event organisers receive the newsletter Slovenia Meetings e-monthly: 700 domestic event organisers are subscribed to the newsletter, that is sent out 3 times per year Kongres Magazine: the official magazine of the Slovenian Convention Bureau, where the bureau is actively involved in the creation of stories. There is also a need for a smart specialisation. The Slovenian Convention Bureau is focused on the marketing of products that are strategically compatible with the destination. If you know your target group very well, many more effective marketing channels are available today, that are driven in direct, guerrilla and digital ways. We can say that the Slovenian Convention Bureau is a creative hub driven by innovation and based on openness, inclusive community, connectivity and involvement in different local and global, political and social networks that think along the same lines. This already ranks it among the modern convention bureaus that have stepped in to phase 4.0.




Hotel Schwaigerhof in Schladming GORAZD ČAD //


Event planners will agree that the phrase ‘luxury tourism’ has been one of the most exploited and overused terms in the business. This is mostly due to the numerous factors that influence the perception of luxury, which is certainly not connected only to the number of hotel stars. Organisers of luxury events have their work cut out for them, as they are constantly stumbling upon new tastes and perceptions of luxury. Event planning is a constant fluctuation between the clients who swear upon tradition on one side and the technology, design and modern cuisine devotees on the other. In my experience, despite their different principles, they are all moved and convinced by the same thing: authentic stories. Stories that are deeply rooted in the lifestyle of the host are like a theatre performance, where every single detail has been taken care of, and the only thought in mind is how to provide the guest with maximum enjoyment. On a visit to Schladming, we stayed in a hotel that personifies the modern perception of luxury.

FAMILY TRADITION Hotel Schwaigerhof is situated in a village called Rohrmoos above Schladming with gorgeous views of the Dachstein massif. A former farmhouse, the hotel started to grow in 1958/59 when the first guest rooms and a private ski lift were built. It could be said that the hotel is a prototype of Austrian luxury tourism, based on family hotel businesses. Surprisingly, 95% of all Austrian hotels are family owned. The entire Stocker family takes care of its guests; Annemarie and Gottlieb along with their children Martina, Toni, and Hubert. They are all in some way involved the hotel’s management; a perfect example of how the younger generation is breaking through with fresh and new ideas. The parents understand the importance of education; thus, all three children have finished tourism studies at respected universities. This shows in all of the aspects of hospitality and the family spirit; fresh knowledge and philosophy have been successfully carried on to 40 other employees.


ALPINE ARCHITECTURE The hotel has seen many expansions and renovations, but has never spoiled the natural beauty of the surrounding villages. The architecture follows the Austrian alpine style, blending seamlessly with its surroundings. Wood is dominant throughout the interior, creating a pleasant living environment. The old constantly intertwines with the new, especially in the excellent wellness centre, where scenic views, fresh air, and a hedonistic experience innovatively meet. The enchantingly arranged surroundings of the hotel tell a story of the family philosophy, where guests are always first. A hotel garden with fresh herbs and two rabbits enjoying their neat rabbit house round off the experience. WALK AS YOU TALK While walking around the hotel with Hubert, he mentions that a lot of thought has gone into sustainability. Everything you put in your mouth is local, and the menu is, therefore, distinctively seasonal. Herbs that go into their lemonade come from the garden by the hotel entrance. The sustainable thinking does not stop there. There is a natural pool, styled like a pond, where water is biologically cleaned. Innovative glass straws replaced plastic ones, as the family is aware of the problem of the global plastic waste. Details like this can be seen all around and they truly make the hotel special. The hotel also makes for a strong connecting link in the community, helping to develop the tourist offer and infrastructure. MORE THAN JUST SKIING A common misconception people have of Schladming is that it is exclusively a skiing resort. Upon further inspection, Schladming reveals all of its assets. In summer, there are tons of active and culinary experiences for congress guests, and the Schweigerhof has quite a diverse

selection on offer. There are even a small sports hall, a climbing wall, fitness centre and loads of green areas for team building activities. Particularly interesting is a small conference room that functions as a living room, where guests can get inspired and relaxed. Hubert also mentions some other activities in the area, like the classic ascent of the Dachstein glacier, tours with electric bikes, golf, or more innovative experiences in one of the 100 mountain huts around Schladming or a race with electric go-karts. RESPECTING LOCAL TRADITION It seems logical that a family hotel is so tightly involved in the local environment and is actively shaping it. Every guest that stays for more than one night can ask for a Sommercard, which guides you across different activities in Schladming. Caterers, hoteliers and tourism workers try to send guests in all directions and not just keep them in their resort. This kind of tourism is sustainable and does not interfere with the Alpine landscape. The entire family is full of innovative ideas, constantly taking inspiration from abroad and implementing it in their own way. What impressed us was the attitude towards the local environment, along with sustainable mobility. It is fascinating that the Stockers invest all of their extra profits back into the product. This is visible at every step, in tiny details and numerous surprises that await you as a guest. Another important component of such an experience is the top-notch cuisine. Even after a short one-night stay, you get a sense that you already know the hotel very well and you are bound to come back. It is an experience where quality is at the forefront and where the emphasis is put on tradition, natural resources, and sustainability. These kind of experiences are priceless, and I am confident that this is where luxury tourism is heading.


LUXURY OF FREEDOM Big Berry, Primostek, Slovenia

The first Slovenian Luxury Lifestyle Resort along River Kolpa in town of Primostek offers a business guest a new concept and collection of mobile homes with multipurpose center. Big Berry Kolpa River is located in the Slovenian countryside famous for its lush green scenery and unspoilt nature. There are only 7 guest houses set on the property of 25,000 square meters, ensuring a complete privacy for every business guest. The resort offers also various locations according to the event type, number of participants or weather conditions for formal, informal, open space or closed venue events. Sunny terraces, butterfly chairs and hot tubs are a cherry on top.

A 17TH CENTURY FORTRESS Barone Fortress, Šibenik, Croatia

The Croatian city of Šibenik provides for a special experience on its fortresses. The Fotresses of Šibenik are a monument of cultural heritage and an ideal place for a different and more creative approach to business tourism. The 17th Century Barone Fortress (Tvrđava Barone), Croatia’s Best Cultural Attraction 2016, for example, has become known as a venue for meetings, conferences, and other smaller events. The renovated fortress offers outdoor space with beautiful vistas over the city of Šibenik and the Adriatic, while it also includes a gastro-cultural centre within which it is possible to prepare events in an indoor venue that allows for allyear-round event organising.

SOCIALISING ON A TRAMPOLINE WOOP! Trampolin park Ljubljana, Slovenia

WOOP! Ljubljana is the biggest of its kind in Slovenia. The park offers more than 100 trampolines and other sports attractions as a new way of socialising in a healthy, active way. In addition to the free jumping trmapolines, a 3,500 square metres of space offers also an adrenaline polygon, slackline, trapezoid, inflatable cushion, gymnastics pit with foam, trampoline wall, basketball basket for towing and an interactive playing wall. It can accommodate 120 people at a time and it provides for a special venue for teambuilding activities and incentive programmes. After a visit to the park, its shopping centre surroundings offer plenty of other options for daily activities.


UNION HOTELS - THE PROUD HOST OF ICCA AMP 2018 Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, hosted an educational and marketing event ICCA Association Meetings Programme – AMP 2018. Union Hotels proudly hosted AMP’s attendees and the programme in the largest Conference hotel in Ljubljana – the Grand Union Hotel. Offering fully equipped conference rooms and the Grand Union Hall for lectures of prominent local and international speakers, such as the Nobel prize winner Lučka Kajfež Bogataj and the world’s most famous female chef Ana Roš, among others.

TANGO REUNION IN THE GRAND UNION HOTEL Grand Union Caffe hosted a unique dancing workshop of Tango Milonga. After the workshop, a pleasant socializing over a good glass of wine from the quality selection from the wine shop in the peaceful atmosphere of the Grand Union Caffe, or a delicious piece cake was a perfect ending to a pleasant tango evening. ReUnion tango evenings were an evening well spent in a good company of dancing, culinary treat, excellent music and a nice glass of wine. The workshop was led by the dancing school Calesita specialized for Argentinian tango.

HOPPEL POPPEL – A QUICK OLD SCHOOL RECIPE Once upon a time, the Hotel Union in Ljubljana was named after hoppel poppel trout and in the memory of that time, the dish can still be ordered today at the Union’s Central Hotel restaurant. The union hoppel poppel is one of the typical Ljubljana dishes that we find under the auspices of the Taste of Ljubljana project. You can easily prepare your dish at home, in a seasonal manner, in the spring, with asparagus and carnivorous sausages, perhaps from the remains of Easter ham in the fridge. In choosing ingredients for your favourite hopel popel only sky is the limit.


THE 60TH LJUBLJANA JAZZ FESTIVAL For almost 60 years, the Slovenia’s capital has played host to the Ljubljana Jazz Festival, one of the oldest jazz festivals in Europe. In addition to the established names, the festival presents artists and music projects from all over the world, while always putting a special emphasis on Slovenian musical creativity. This year’s 59th edition, organised by- and located at Cankarjev dom – Cultural and Congress Centre (CD), was held between the 27th and 30th of June and hosted around 130 musicians from 14 different countries. As the main novelty, in the park adjacent to the CD ten young ensembles got a special place to present themselves.

EURELECTRIC POWER SUMMIT Cankarjev dom – Cultural and Congress Centre Ljubljana (CD) between 4 – 5 June hosted the EURELECTRIC Annual Convention & Conference 2018. Eurelectric Power Summit is an annual leading forum where the power sector’s ecosystem connects, offering unique networking opportunities for European and international power sector executives, business stakeholders and partners. The Summit presented an opportunitiy to meet with the CEOs among the biggest electricity companies in Europe, get a first hand access to electrification report, and offered a prime access to pioneering energy start-ups in innovation. More than 50 C-level speakers, more than 500 delegates, and more than 20 sponsors and exhibitors participated at this important annual event.

SMART NETWORK CONNECTIVITY ... Cankarjev dom – Cultural and Congress Centre between 18 and 21 June 2018 hosted a transforming conference for the future: the European Conference on Networks and Communications – EuCNC, titled »5G and Beyond.« EuCNC 2018 was the 27th edition of a successful series of a technical and scientific conference open to the world research community in the field of telecommunications, focusing on communication networks and systems, and reaching services and applications. The theme for EuCNC 2018 “5G and Beyond” reflected the EU’s 5G research/ deployment roadmap as well as the future development of smart network connectivity technologies in Europe.


GREEN MASTER GIVING AN EMISSIONLESS RIDE The Maribor city centre offers a free public transport system service – a mini electric vehicle called Maister (Master), which enables citizens and visitors an easier access to the shops, restaurants, different institutions and sights at the city centre, as well as the visit to various events. The people- and environment-friendly vehicle does not cause noise or emissions This is just one of the steps that Maribor has taken in order to follow the goals of sustainable development of Slovenia. Namely, the destination Maribor – Pohorje is one of the 23 destinations that have entered a pilot national programme called Green Scheme for Tourism in Slovenia.

GRAND OPENING ON AN IMPRESSIVE FLOATING STAGE The opening ceremony of the famous Lent Festival, that every year attracts on average 500,000 visitors to Maribor, was held at the Main Stage on the Drava river. The actual floating stage presents the symbol of Maribor and one of the festival’s most distinguished characteristics. It is 900 sq.m. in size with 679 sitting or 1200 standing places in its parterre and with additional 2196 seats on the tribunes. Its beauty lies in the fact that while sitting and watching the performances, the stage lights are magically reflecting on the river’s surface. The moment was even more magical due to the Tchaikovsky’s Swan Ballet performance held on the stage.

EXPERIENCE THE BEAUTY OF TRADITIONAL RAFTING To connect with the rich, bygone tradition of old-style rafting, one should join an incentive on the Drava river in Maribor’s Drava Regional Park. In old times the Drava river was the main transport link, and rafters docked in Maribor when they transported timber from the forests of Pohorje and Kozjak all the way down to Osijek and Belgrade. Maribor in 2012 gained even the honorary title of The European Rafting City. Maribor-Pohorje Tourist Board offers a special incentive of a timber-raft ride on the Drava river. The rafts used for the tour are built in Robinson Crusoe-style but equipped with seats and benches.


CHAMELEONIC SETTING FOR ... The sixth Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Ljubljana set its fashion runways in the GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre’s (GR) Marmorna Hall from 10 to 12 May 2018. The crème de la crème of the domestic and regional fashion collections took charge of the catwalk placed inside the Marmorna Hall. Around 330 different catwalk exits took the runaway and more than three thousand visitors enjoyed in the diverse accompanying events. One of the highlights was the special coreography when the new generation of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class was presented along the walking fashion models and the GR got another opportunity to re-affirm its status as one of the most chameleonic venues in the region.

18TH EUROPEAN WEED RESEARCH SOCIETY SYMPOSIUM Between 17 and 21 of June 2018, the 18th European Weed Research Society Symposium took place at GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. The symposium was organized by the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia (AIS) under the auspices of the European Weed Research Society, while local agency Toleranca marketing was appointed as a PCO and Registration office. What the Scientific Committee and the participants appreciated the most, was the smooth technical execution from the abstract handling process to the on-site technical equipment and professional technical support at the GR. Slovenia hosted the EWRS symposium for the first time and welcomed 263 participants from 40 countries.

GR GETTING AN X-RAY GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre hosted between the 24th and 29th of June 300 delegates coming to EXRS – the European Conference on X-Ray Spectometry. The biennial conference series, that started in 1984 in Goteborg, has become a traditional meeting for scientists from around the world working in x-ray spectrometry or using one of its several techniques. This year, the EXRS 2018 was organised by Slovenia’s biggest research institute – The Jožef Stefan Institute – and held in the halls of GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. A six day conference presented for approximately 300 international delegates an opportunity to learn more about the latest developments in the field.


PASSION TURNED INTO BUSINESS YEMNA is a new natural cosmetics brand. The products contain the healing herbal mascerates that are produced fresh from herbs gathered in Slovakia, such as small-leaved lime, chamomille, horsetail, urtica, malva, burdock, nut leaves, mint, lavender etc. The products also contain oils like poppy, grape, and cannabis which have a long tradition in Slovakia. Yemna natural products have a good impact on the health of its users and are also environmentally friendly. And our advice, a Yemna product is a good option for a gift or souvenir to bring from Slovakia for yourself or someone you care for.

OUTDOOR CINEMAS ARE BRATISLAVA’S LATEST HIT In Slovakia, summer cinemas experienced their greatest glory during the former communist regime. At that time, there was at least one open-air cinema in almost every city. After the fall of the regime in 1989, however, air-conditioned multiplexes with comfortable seats and popcorn came in and many summer cinemas disappeared. In the last few years people have begun to once again enjoy watching movies under a starry sky and summer cinemas have returned to life. In Bratislava alone there are more than 10 outdoor cinemas in operation this summer. All screen for free and some of them even provide blankets and bug repellents to make the experience better.

SURFING IN BRATISLAVA? YES, YOU CAN! If your attendees are in good physical condition and have the ability to swim and positive relation to water, you can choose the Areal Divoka Voda for your next MICE project. You can choose from more or fewer adrenaline sports, from rafting, kayaking, hydrospeed, surfing, riding the jet ski or motorboats, wakeboarding, water skiing, walking on water in an aquaroller, to the drier sports like archery, ride on quads, paintball, beach volley or football. Professional event managers of the Divoka voda hotel will arrange everything according to your requests to make a memorable conference, company party or team building in the outdoor and indoor premises.



Talks with members of the organisational board for the ICCA Association Meetings Programme AJDA BORAK //


Having organized events in Ljubljana for more than two decades it is difficult to pick just one. The meetings industry is rather conservative and does not embrace creativity so quickly. I would like to mention here Conventa Crossover that was organized for the first time two years ago. It was one of the most creative events organized in Ljubljana.

Q: Does Ljubljana have a lot of venues for organizing creative events? Which are they? I am confident that Ljubljana has several venues that are suitable for the organization of creative events. Ljubljana has two congress centers, several congress hotels, and special venues but also open spaces such as Congress Square or Tivoli Park and many more. A creative event can be organized in a conservative environment such as an abundant factory. We have one in Ljubljana that is quite popular. Q: Tell us something that might surprise the meeting planners about your city. Ljubljana is a capital European city and it has retained the feeling of a compact city. Meeting planners that come to Ljubljana are surprised by the easy access within the city, great buzz, good energy, friendly and hospitable people. Ljubljana is a safe and relaxed city with great architecture. Not to forget to mention bars and restaurants.

MIHA KOVAČIČ Head of Slovenian Convention Bureau. Mr. Kovačič is one of the representatives from the organizational board for the ICCA Association Meetings Programme that was held in Ljubljana in July 2018.

Q: How do you at Slovenian Congress Bureau implement creativity in promoting Slovenia as a MICE destination? If you want to successfully promote new and emerging country on the developed international meetings market you have to be innovative and creative. Under creativity, I understand doing things differently than others and using substances that are authentic. In addition, the role of persons involved plays important if not crucial role. Q: What was the most prominent event organized in Ljubljana in terms of creativity?

Q: What trends do you think we will see in meetings and events in

Ljubljana in the next 12 months? Being in the meetings industry for more than 20 years I believe trends are more long-term than one year. Ljubljana will further develop as a meetings and events destination in terms of visibility, image, and quality of the product. We firmly believe it will also increase the number of meetings and events.

Q: What is your personal favourite special venue in Ljubljana? This is a difficult question to answer as it depends what is the purpose of the visit of the special venue. I will have to list some of them. Ljubljana castle is not just a special venue. It has several special venues within the castle. Already the access to the castle is special. City Museum is fantastic for smaller events where you can incorporate the visit of the museum and learn about our history. National Gallery recently beautifully renovated is very prestigious and can host most demanding events.


largest spectre of different options definitely allows GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. It is possible to organise any kind of event there as the halls offer great flexibility and the whole team is extremely professional. It’s a real pleasure to organise our events there.

Q: How do you implement technology in your event management? Besides the usual A/V, what is broadly used, we have also a lot of know-how about live streaming, satellite transmission etc. from our past operations. But we also developed our own CRM and event management system years ago out of the need as none ‘off the rack’ – system was sufficient for our needs. The development was done in close cooperation with the registration and accommodation staff, but involved also finance and sales departments. Today, after incorporating many additional features we have our system also independently running for several clients in US and other parts of the world. Today this system is the technological backbone of each of our events. Q: How did Dekon develop their own scientific approach to event management? While humans grow on their challenges, it is the same with companies. We grow with the demands of our clients, we learn from them, we share with them new ideas we get from our peers and partner companies. And when we run a conference more than once when we work closely with an association, then we grow together, not only as humans, also we as Professional Congress Organizers learn a lot from our clients and their science. Because we want to know what moves them because we have to know what is important to them. Now, this sounds all very logical, but what happened in parallel to this process was the formation of this big cloud of group knowledge what we have in our company, the Wisdom of the Crowd. And as a multinational and multicultural team we enjoy also our differences and learn from each other. Q: Tell us something that might surprise the meeting planners about

ANA BOŽIČ Sales Manager at Dekon. Ms. Božič is one of the eight ladies from the organizational board for the ICCA Association Meetings Programme that was held in Ljubljana in July 2018.

your city. Meeting planners are always pleasantly surprised when they arrive to Ljubljana. They are charmed by its young, romantic and modern atmosphere but let’s keep it »Europe’s best-kept secret« as mentioned very often in a different media.

Q: Which are the biggest and most visible Congresses you organized in Ljubljana? We have organized 4 larger congresses in Ljubljana already: EUROGEO – European Association of Geographers, FIMS – World Congress of Sport Medicine, EABCT – Annual Congress of the European Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies, EUROSON – Euroson Congress of the EFSUMB (European Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology.

Q: What trends do you think we will see in meetings and events in Ljubljana in the next 12 months? This year is the record year not just for Ljubljana, but for the whole Slovenia. We’ve never hosted so many international conferences, congresses and different kinds of events before. The venues’ and hotels’ owners are aware of the important movement that’s happening, so they have all started renovating hotels, building new ones, GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre will build a new conference hall… at the end, we will also get new flight connections. So hopefully the »2018 trend« will continue in the future.

Q: Which of the Congress halls in Ljubljana do you find to allow for the most creativity for events? There are several very nice conference facilities in the city, but the

Q: What is your personal favourite special venue in Ljubljana? It’s the City of Design, old printing factory that is equipped and designed into a TOP event space. I LOVE it!


visible on every corner in Bled. All the efforts in this view brought Bled a golden label of Slovene Tourist Board “Slovenia Green Destination”. One of the last biggest achievements at Bled is the label of the First Slovene Zero Waste Hotel, the Hotel Ribno, which accomplished to minimize the size of waste and imply other sustainable services for the guest to enjoy their stay and to contribute to the sustainability of nature. Bled, the city renowned for its wealth of pure drinking water and thermal spa water, has shown its commitment to environmentally friendly initiatives by moving towards the Zero Waste concept and we invite you to act in the same way when visiting this green Alpine oasis.

Q: Please share with us one of the best ideas implemented in event planning in your region? Besides many programmes that include the traditional and local traditions, I would like to mention the programme that can be easily implemented to a programme for the guests that like fun and active programmes. It is the programme “Rowing with the Olympians” held by the Slovenian Rowing Olympians. The group is animated by competing in the eight seaters’ rowing boats up the lake and they compete in rowing. It goes without saying that the motive of the programme is “It is not by rowing fast, it is by rowing together that brings success!”. A perfect programme for the team to have fun and yet bond in an active way.

VESNA KLEMENČIČ Head of Bled Convention Bureau. Ms. Klemenčič is one of the eight ladies from the organizational board for the ICCA Association Meetings Programme that was held in Ljubljana in July 2018.

Q: Which one of Bled’s venues do you find offering the most creativity for events? As Head of the Convention Bureau Bled, I look at Bled on a macro scale a perfect location for an event. With its rich history, an exuberance of natural wonders, breath-taking views in all directions, many exceptional products and excellent services, Bled has naturally risen to a lofty height on the world conference map. Today, Bled brings together the traditional and the modern, and the aim of the Convention Bureau is to position Bled as a destination for associations’ events (congresses, conferences and other business meetings), sports and governmental events. The fairy tale setting of the Alpine Pearl sets Bled as a destination for small to medium sized events that can be held in the newly renovated spaces of the Festival Hall, overlooking the green tranquil Alpine lake, special or gala events can be taken to the Bled Castle, perched atop a cliff rising 130 metres above the lake where a medieval set-up can be arranged for a special top-up to the event, last but not least the island on the lake where besides a traditional baking of “Potica” Cake can be arranged, guests can also be surprised with an opera singer inside the church, or simply enjoying a bite of the “Potica” Cake, sitting on the stone wall enjoying the mesmerizing views of the Alpine range over the lake. Q: How do you implement the “green aspect” in your event management? In the Bled of today, ‘Green’ and ‘Authentic’ are the key buzzwords. The Municipality of Bled has adopted the Zero Waste strategy, the service providers the “Green Scheme” strategy, and the awareness of the importance of sustainability whilst preserving the authentic is

Q: Tell us something that might surprise the meeting planners about

your city. The venues of Bled have a rich and captivating history of hosting prominent guests. In the 19th and 20th centuries Bled was a summer royal residence that attracted many of the royal families on their vacation. In the 19th century and thanks to Arnold Rikli Bled also became recognised for its healing natural outbuildings and became a health resort destination. In the inter-war period Bled remained the most cosmopolitan resort in Yugoslavia and the summer residence of the Karađorđević dynasty, visited by many domestic and foreign guests. It, therefore, became the centre of political and diplomatic life. After the Second World War, the city continued its tradition in hosting visitors and royal heads who have enjoyed the breathtakingly beautiful views of the surrounding landscape of Bled. The island on Lake Bled adds to the everlasting allure of the town. One can reach it on a traditional wooden »pletna« boat, with upright boatsmen propelling their oars, or even take a punt on rowing yourself. On docking at the island, there are 99 stone steps leading to the Church of the Assumption. The island is a great choice for a sparkling aperitif before dinner at the castle, but before leaving the island don’t forget to ring the church bell – according to legend it will make your wish come true.

Q: What trends do you think we will see in meetings and events in

Bled in the next 12 months? In my view, the trends will follow the sustainable and green path. The recent renovation of the Hotel Golf, which boasts today under the name of the Swiss Natural Healer Arnold Rikli, who held his “office” in the natural set-up of Bled in the 19thCentury, follows the sustainable “Green for tomorrow” orientation of the Sava Hotels. Also, the Astoria Hotel, adopted sustainable CSR programmes that adds the value to their offer. It is a pleasure to see to service providers opting for sustainable solutions which is a signal that Bled is a Municipality that cares for its guests and the environment.


architecture and are formally protected as architectural heritage. Marmorna Hall, one of the many halls, has been built in 1961 and has marble floor from Slovenian marble and special wooden walls, made out of Slovenian wood, which is authentic even from the acoustic point of view. The side wall, made out of glass, offers a view of our green yard and magical fountain and can be also darkened when needed. The materials and its combination lead to a monumental place where you can organize various conference events, as well as dancing and social events. When Opera and ballet House was being in the process of renovation we have hosted their shows in this hall. As it has recently undergone a comprehensive renovation, it is equipped with the most modern technical equipment as well.

Q: The special feature of the GR is that along with its halls it can build up additional halls for bigger events. How many additional square meters these halls offer, how are they built, how much creativity does the GR take in the construction? One of the GR`s great advantages is that we can adjust the halls based on the clients’ wishes. Therefore the halls can have a different set up for each event, while we always have the client’s vision in mind. We can also build additional constructed halls to gain extra exhibition space, approximately 6.900m2. This way we provided more exhibition space also for last year`s 24thMotor Show Slovenia and for our Home fair. Q: Tell us something that might surprise the meeting planners about

ANJA MIJATOVIĆ Project Manager at Gospodarsko razstavišče, The Exhibition and Convention Centre in Ljubljana. Ms. Mijatović is one of the eight ladies from the organizational board for the ICCA Association Meetings Programme that was held in Ljubljana in July 2018.

Q: Which of the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre’s halls do you find to allow for the most creativity for events? I would say Kocka hall at the GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre is the one that allows the most creative and different events. Because of its size and possibility of flexibility, it allows us to host various events, from congresses with over 2.000 attendees to concerts, exhibitions, fairs, advertisement shootings, fashion shows and the Slovenian selections for the Eurovision Song Contest. Each event has its own characteristics and special features and for each event, Kocka hall can be tailored to the client`s wishes. The sky is the limit for client`s imagination and creativity. Q: Why is the Marmorna Hall (marmorna meaning marble) called this

way? Is its construction connected to marble? Come and see it for yourself ;) GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre is a venue with a very special architecture. Renowned Slovenian architects have created interesting monumental buildings encompassed by an extensive open area with a fountain in the pleasant green environment. All halls bear the stamp of modern functionalist

your city. Friendliness and cooperation of the locals. Once you have experienced the vibe that the city has to offer, you will have difficulties finding the city that could match our complaisance. Many meeting planners are pleasantly surprised by the coziness of the Ljubljana city center, with many cafés and restaurants located by the river bank and surrounded by famous architect Jože Plečnik`s works of art, which are bringing together the meeting planners with local people, creating an authentic experience that you cannot find in other European capitals. The fact that everything is walking distance makes our city one of a kind.

Q: What trends do you think we will see in meetings and events in

Ljubljana in the next 12 months? For the past few years, there has been a lot of talking about the sustainability. With Ljubljana being the Green capital of 2016, we are still trying to develop even more in that direction. Just yesterday, the first electric train named Urban started operating in the city center. Together with the technology, the meeting events are more and more focused on going green with using less paper, more apps, choosing venues that are within walking distance from the hotels and city sights. Also giving back to the local community plays a big role in the organization of various events.

Q: What is your personal favorite art venue in Ljubljana? Personally, my favorite venue is Križanke Summer Theatre. It combines cultural ambient together with warm and cozy feeling. Whole space has always different vibe, depending on the event. You can enjoy intimate summer concert, musical shows, rock concerts or even have a private event. It is my go-to place for events in summer.


the entire season. The year 2018 is dedicated to Ivan Cankar: we have staged the iconic Scandal in the St Florian Valley, and an exhibition (in cooperation with the City Museum Ljubljana) marking the writer’s anniversary will open in June. It would be impossible to emphasize only one congress event, perhaps one of the most remarkable ones was the International Apicultural Congress Apimondia, interspersed across various venues in Slovenia – the entire country was involved in the Congress and with its three thousand participants.

Q: How does CD get congress guests at Cankarjev dom to acknowl-

edge the cultural/art offer? Culture is what distinguishes and defines us in today’s globalized world. If our professional organization services meet the highest currently established standards of PCOs, then we can afford to promote a culture that is our very own, Slovenian and national. When a congress delegate visits a cultural event in our establishment, then he/she will be provided with a unique experience that will help him get to know our country better. Richer for the experience, the delegate will take this message out into the world and pass it on, and CD will fulfill its mission of the ambassador of culture and science.

DUŠICA TODOROVIĆ Senior Business Development Manager at Cankarjev dom, Cultural and Congress Centre. Ms. Todorović is one of the eight ladies from the organizational board for the ICCA Association Meetings Programme that was held in Ljubljana in July 2018.

Q: How does art complement the congress offer at Cankarjev dom –

Cultural and Congress Centre? Cankarjev dom is the largest Slovenian cultural and congress center. Culture and art are the added value and an advantage, offering to congress delegates a diversified palette of cultural events which provide an insight into the culture of a destination, a country – an opportunity for relaxation after a strenuous congress day and spiritual nourishment. As the cultural programme of Cankarjev dom is selected a year in advance, we can effectively present it to the delegates. Our cultural and Congress teams have extensive experience in both areas, and we work hand in hand. We can provide professional cultural services for various stages of an event, including an opening ceremony (programme), social gatherings and receptions.

Q: What is the most important art event/performance and what is

the most important congress that Cankarjev dom has hosted so far? Could you compare their creative input? Since 1980, Cankarjev dom has hosted extremely interesting and demanding projects – both cultural and congress events. We annually host a large-scale co-production which sets the tone for

Q: Tell us something that might surprise the meeting planners about your city… Undoubtedly the compactness of Ljubljana, a city where all basic infrastructure lies within walking distance. From the congress venue, most hotels and city attractions can be reached on foot. Our international airport is situated only 25 km from the city center. The strategic geographical position of Slovenia in the heart of Europe, the rich and diversified scenery in such a small area, high-quality services at affordable prices, professional conduct and kind people. Q: What trends do you think we will see in meetings and events in Ljubljana in the next 12 months? Large-scale congresses are planned at CD for the next couple of months, events obtained through systematic work and hard effort. Th Slovenian capital Ljubljana is a very popular destination, which is a promising sign. Consequently, the bidding process is very intense, as the Congress and Event Management department of Cankarjev dom will within the following 3 weeks prepare as many as 6 candidacies for events scheduled between 2020 and 2023. Ljubljana has great potential for development in the field of meetings and conventions. We can double our success in this area! Q: What is your personal favorite art venue in Ljubljana?

My answer is Cankarjev dom, of course. But not because I work for CD, but because our center provides the finest and first-rate selection of art, spanning from classical and popular music to jazz, opera and ballet, theatre and contemporary dance, film, festivals and fairs, bazaars and exhibitions, as well as a wide range of educational events. Cankarjev dom provides all this in the very heart of the city, under one roof, in halls that feature intelligent design and superb technical resources.


Q: How would you describe the lifestyle of people in Slovenia’s capital? You will always find Ljubljana bursting with life, especially on a warm summer’s day or on a Friday afternoon at the Open Kitchen street food market. Ljubljana’s locals love to dress up, go out to meet friends and spend time in the beautiful city with great company – be it over a glass of Slovene wine or a quick coffee throughout the day, head to the local market on Saturday morning, followed by a stroll through the Tivoli Park, or simply walk up to the top of Šmarna gora at the weekend for some recreation with a view. Q: How do Union Hotels contribute to the development of Ljubljana’s lifestyle? At Union Hotels we always try to tap into the lifestyle of the locals. Stopping by for a cup of coffee in the historic Grand Union Café, where different generations meet regularly, or by just enjoying a summertime lunch with exquisite culinary treats in the hidden green Union Garden, under the shade of chestnut trees. Union Hotels are not just hotels for tourists – they welcome the locals with open arms too. Q: Tell us something that might surprise meeting planners about your city.

TINA BRICELJ Event and Sales Specialist at Union Hotels. Ms. Bricelj is one of the eight ladies from the organizational board for the ICCA Association Meetings Programme that was held in Ljubljana in July 2018.

Q: How do you, at Union Hotels, combine creativity and lifestyle in events?

Organising a successful, memorable and unique event is always a challenge for the organiser. And this is where it proves important for venues to collaborate with clients at a higher level. Not only to provide space for an event but to help the clients, guide them and determine what they wish to achieve through their event. To be available for advice, to be flexible, supportive and, most importantly, to exceed their expectations. This is who we are and how our creativity helps shape events through our lifestyle. We have seen dramatic changes in trends and the influence of social media in the last few years. Times change and business changes with the times, that is why we are here to help the clients achieve their end goals by creating the right environment.

Q: Which were the most prominent lifestyle events organised in the event venues of Union Hotels? Union Hotels have held many different types of events over the years, ranging from corporate events to cultural events, incentives and wedding parties. All of them are different and unique, as are lifestyle events. Some that spring to mind are the Elle Style Awards, which have been hosted in the Grand Union Hall for several consecutive years, or the first anniversary of the Revija Suzy magazine in the Union Garden. And let’s not forget the annual charity gala dinner of the Rotary Club, or the official presentation of the Slovene Olympic team for Rio and Pyeongchang, and many other unforgettable events. All prominent, all grand, all special.

Did you know Ljubljana was crowned The European Green Capital in 2016? Transforming itself over the years, Ljubljana went from being a city dominated by cars and buses that drove through the main square (Prešeren Square) and across the Three Bridges to being a pedestrian and cycling-friendly city supported by public transport. Everybody can rent a bicycle from the well-dispersed bicycle rental network in a matter of seconds. And it costs close to nothing –1 Euro for a weekly subscription gives you an unlimited amount of rentals, or just 3 Euros if you opt for the yearly rate. How cool is that?

Q: What trends do you think we will be seeing in meetings and

events in Ljubljana in the next 12 months? Sustainability is playing a bigger role in our lives with each passing day, and we can see this becoming an increasingly important factor for meeting planners. Requesting local food on the menu, environmentally-friendly products, food recycling, tap water instead of bottled water, and much more. Not only meeting planners, but also attendees are becoming more aware of the environmental footprint left on our planet. And why not incorporate this into event planning. Creating a story and sending a strong message to the world. Definitely a growing trend in 2018!

Q: What is your personal favourite special venue in Ljubljana? Union Hotels and the historical and famous Grand Union Hall has its unique charm, one that has a wow-effect on everybody who sees it for the first time. But Ljubljana has many other hidden gems and you can find them all around the city. Depending, of course, on what kind of venue you are looking for, but don’t miss out on my other personal favourites: the newly renovated Švicarija Art Centre in the heart of Ljubljana’s Tivoli Park, or the unique Old Power Station – ‘Stara Elektrarna’, and let’s not forget what is right in front of our eyes, the beautiful city with its well-maintained squares and green parks, which come alive year-round for annual festivals and events. Everyone can find that one perfect spot they are looking for.


special »effects«. That could be a surprise concert in a special venue, a culinary workshop with Slovenian dishes and a theme party, a rowing teambuilding or truffle hunting with local products tasting.. It all depends on the client’s wishes. Some prefer culture, the others dining and the rest will go for an active sporty program. Our job is to add a Slovenian touch to it.

Q: Which of the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention venues do you find to allow the most creativity for events? Most of the clients are still not prepared to go to non-standard venues, so classic venues are still the most popular, but my favorites ones are less conventional and outdoor if only the client agrees.

Q: How do you implement creativity in your meetings and incentive programmes? As mentioned before, it depends on how open to new ideas the client is and what are the expectations. And based on that we are often challenged to look and create new also unusual experiences fort hem.

Q: Tell us something that might surprise the meeting planners about

BARBARA HUNT VODOPIVEC Head of Department MICE at Kompas d.d.. Ms Hunt Vodopivec is one of the eight ladies from the organizational board for the ICCA Association Meetings Programme that was held in Ljubljana in July 2018.

Q: Which are the most popular incentives in Ljubljana organised by Kompas? Most of the times, when the clients come to Slovenia, they do not concentrate on Ljubljana, but on the whole country or at least two of its regions. They always ask for the wow of the destination and we always suggest a combination of typical Slovenian activities and

your city. When you talk to people about Slovenia that they have never visited before, they are always surprised by its rich offer, diversity and green nature. I think these are our main selling points that we build on when working with foreign buyers.

Q: What trends do you think we will see in meetings and events in

Ljubljana in the next 12 months? Let’s only hope the clients become more open for different types of events and unusual venues. But the ball is also on our side. We need to promote these »venues« more actively.

Q: What is your personal favorite incentive idea in Ljubljana? I love unexpected concerts in hidden corners of our capital city. When it is the least expected and it gives you chills at the first tune. But also any green and sustainable projects when everybody feels enriched at the end.


CONGRESSES WITH A VIEW The towns Crikvenica and Selce are well known addresses amongst both fans of fantastic vacations, as well as people working in the business sector. Surrounded by beautiful nature at locations that offer an irresistible view of the sea, you will find our 4-stars hotels Omorika, Esplanade and Selce, up-and-coming meeting places for business partners. Their multi-functional halls, which can be connected to one another, can accommodate 40-337 people. The halls are equipped with LCD projectors, screens, flipchart boards, microphones and a speaker system, free WIFI access 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, business lunches and dinners.

Hotel Omorika has 115 rooms with the most beautiful view of the island of Krk and the Kvarner Bay, a restaurant that accommodate up to 500 people and a terrace that seats a hundred people. Hotel Katarina was renovated in 2016 and offers 152 rooms, an indoor and two outdoor swimming pools and a complete renovated wellness area. Hotel Esplanade is a newly renovated hotel, located next to the main town beach and the promenade. The hotel combines the traditional style with the modern and offers their guests a beautiful new outdoor swimming pool and wellness area. 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 hotels. 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 Omorika, and if you would just like to enjoy the view of the sea, with your favorite drink in hand, the hotels have several café bars and restaurants.

Jadran Crikvenica Hotels & Camps Bana Jelacica 16 │ Crikvenica-Croatia Tel: 00385 51 800 480 │ Fax: 00385 241 975 E-mail:



Exclusive reportage from the conference in Ljubljana AJDA BORAK //


Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia hosted an educational and marketing event ICCA Association Meetings Programme – AMP 2018. The prestigious event took place from 9 –11 July and created a dynamic platform for education, business opportunities and networking, underlined with genuine local experience and warm hospitality. In addition, 30 association executives came to Ljubljana on 8 July with the aim to learn and experience what Ljubljana has to offer for associations events. All ICCA members of Slovenia joined forces in creating a programme that made the participants Feel Slovenia. The Local Organising Committee consisting of the Slovenian Convention Bureau, Slovenian Tourist Board, Visit Ljubljana, Union Hotels, Cankarjev dom, GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre, Kompas DMC, Bled Convention Bureau and Dekon Group, devotedly contributed to designing a dynamic but stress-free three-day programme to remember. Slovenian knowledge and experience enriched the scientific programme of the Association Meetings Programme with some prominent names. The Nobel Peace Prize Winner, climatologist and Professor Dr Lučka Kajfež Bogataj put into context how the global changes we are facing today, from competition of resources, planetary boundaries and environmental, social and economic interdependencies impact the civil society, and youth, and will help us understand how to adapt to those changes and create more sustainable societies. She also demonstrated the implications of climate change not only on the environment, but also on national and international security issues which is crucial for the meetings industry as meetings today are heavily affected by safety and security issues. Deputy Mayor of Ljubljana, Tjaša Ficko, explained how Ljubljana became the only city in Central and South-East Europe to receive the title Green Capital of Europe and explained the importance of green policies in city urban planning and how the citizens of Ljubljana have played a critical role in implementing changes for a higher quality of life in the city with the change of their mindset and their habits. Ana Roš, best female chef of 2017, presented a gastronomical exploration of Slovenia and how her creative ideas inspired by travellers from around the world in combination with local ingredients have helped her put Slovenia on the international gastronomic map, especially through the Netflix series “Chef’s Table”.

After a complimentary walk through Ljubljana on the first days, the second and third days started with a morning run through Ljubljana city centre in the company of Mr Miha Kovačič, or a yoga session. The attendees of the CSR activity in Draga met Carniolian bees. Enchanted by a wonderful project, they also planted the “ICCA Honey Garden” at the care centre and had a moment to reflect on what really are the most important human values, that we often forget in our busy daily lives. Juan Jose Garcia, the Chief Marketing Officer at Bco Congresos, held a plenary session with the title “A challenge shared is a challenge solved” where he highlighted the wisdom of crowd-based solutions. Miha Kovačič, Director of the Slovenian Convention Bureau, Debbie Roepe, Executive Director at the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease and Loren Christie, Director of Sales at Tourism Toronto talked about the new emerging destinations Vs. the experienced and established destinations, showing what some of the new and emerging destinations are doing to “stand out”, and how associations are approaching the ever-growing market to find the right destination for their event. Robin Miller, Director of Sales (Conferences and Events), Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company and Genevieve Leclerc, Expert Consultant for national and international associations and congresses, Caravelle Strategies explained the fundaments of Event Design and architecture with practical examples of being innovative and creative as well as differentiating yourself from your competitors and providing added value to your clients. What cities, venues and PCOs did for associations that went beyond their expectations was thoroughly explained in a plenary session by Juan Jose Garcia, Jane Cunningham Director, International Associations, BestCities Global Alliance and Christoph Schewe, Managing Director, International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations. Chairman of the Local Organising Committee Miha Kovačič, Director of the Slovenian Convention Bureau comments: “We were honoured that Slovenia had the opportunity to host ICCA AMP event in Ljubljana and that we got the opportunity to share our knowledge, experience and passion to association executive and ICCA family from around the world.” Maja Pak, MSc., director of the Slovenian Tourist Board: “Slovenia is increasingly recognisable abroad as an excellent host of professional


events at the highest level. Professionally implemented events, and at the same time genuine hospitality, are ranking Slovenia among the most prominent destinations on the world map of congress tourism. I am convinced that ICCA AMP, one of the most prestigious events in the field of global congress activity, will record surpluses in terms of professional and quality performance, and the visit and satisfaction of the participants.” Petra Stušek, director of Ljubljana Tourism: “The Slovenian ICCA members are delighted to welcome ICCA AMP 2018 to the capital, Ljubljana. We are confident that with its human scale, green soul and vibrancy, topped by our genuine hospitality, it will provide an ex-

cellent platform for knowledge exchange and business networking among the participants.” The attendees and the members of associations were impressed by the professional organisation fused with the friendly and warm atmosphere and the all-around present green spirit. In three days they created meaningful and lasting business relationships, friendships and many memories. Slovenia and Ljubljana proved that they are a unique destination offering professionalism, great event and congress venues, excellent cuisine, warm hospitality and astonishing natural scenery. The ICCA AMP 2018 is another milestone in pinning Slovenia even more firmly on the world map of event and congress destinations.


48 incentive hours in Dolenjska and Bela krajina



Destinations in Dolenjska and Bela Krajina often go unnoticed, even though they are brimming with pristine nature and a diverse range of natural treasures. The soul of these destinations is in the hardworking and entertaining people of the Dolenjska region. The soft landscape of Dolenjska is characterized by vineyard cottages and hayracks, as well as by premium culinary options. We have connected a range of small touristic pearls into an interesting incentive programme.




08.00 Breakfast at the Otočec castle hotel

Arrival at the Ljubljana airport and departure to the Krka river

11:00 Active day by the Krka river A cultural and kayak experience in the Dolenjska region and on the Krka river. A kayak descent on the Krka to the town of Žužemberg with some adrenaline rushes. All in all, this is a picturesque and easily manageable kayak trip. What follows is getting to know the culinary art of the Dolenjska region at the idyllic Javornik farm by the enchanting Krka river. 14:00 Carpe diem - Lunch at the Javornik farm Experiencing a tourist farm in the truest sense of the word. Trout is their main specialty, but to those of you who are not fond of lake fishes, there are plenty of other dishes as well. To top it off, try out their delicious desserts and tasty spirits. 16:00 The land of hayracks – a historical experience In the land of hayracks you will get to know the importance of this heritage and the Slovenian timber culture. You will experience the extraordinary sense for using natural materials and the mastery of the carpenter tradition through nine adventures. 19:00 Arrival at Otočec castle, which has been refurbished into a high class hotel 20:00 Castle dinner at Otočec A castle jewel with a unique restaurant and high-quality culinary services.

09:00 Departure to Bela krajina Bela krajina (white landscape) was named after its many white birch trees, growing by the warmest Slovenian river, the Kolpa. The entire border region received the title of European Destination of Excellence of 2010. 10:30 Eco-Ethno safari through Bela krajina A half day long exploration of the Kolpa Nature Park, which takes place near the farm stead “Šokčev dvor” in Žuniči. The trip in the park will lead you through history and the traditions of people living in Bela Krajina, which you will be able to document with your camera. The photo safari is great for teambuilding and lets you experience the nature of Bela Krajina in an authentic way. 14:00 “Belokrajnska pogača” flat bread – lunch at the Prus farm A team competition in preparing flat bread, a typical dish of this region, will be complemented by a culinary journey, including lamb and suckling pig. 16:00 Wine event “Vinska Vigred” The Prus homestead in Krmačina near Metlika is the centre of viticulture in Bela Krajina. The wine cellar of the Prus family is known for its naturally sweet wines honoured with countless medals and awards. The blind tasting accompanied with outstanding culinary delights will open doors to a completely different wine experience. The wines range from sec white and red wines to sweet wines, including naturally sweet wines.


GETTING THERE Airport Jože Pučnik Ljubljana distance ca. 60 km Airport Zagreb – distance ca. 80 km ACCOMMODATION Boutique hotels: Otočec Hotel Alternatively Pule Estate FOOD AND DRINK Open-door farm Javornik

Moments of Zen

Carpe Diem – Zen garden by the Krka river at the Javornik farm

Quality time

Land of hayracks – great dimensions of Slovene architectural heritage

Must see

Otočec castle

Must do

Kayak trip down the Krka river

Our pick

Bela krajina and its natural heritage


24 incentive hours in Ljubljana



Ljubljana is a boutique capital, which writes short boutique stories that portray its beauty and inhabitants. In a small space it uniquely combines natural, cultural and historical treasures, which is why it was also awarded the title European Green Capital 2016. The easiest way to describe it to our guests and partners is by means of the following facts: – The loveliest small city in Europe – Small, quaint, and very explorable – One of the safest capitals


Arrival at the Ljubljana airport and transport to Ljubljana


Arrival at the Vander/Cubo hotel and check in

12:00 Time Machine at the Ljubljana Castle Discover the roles the Castle Hill and the Ljubljana Castle played throughout the castle’s rich history. The costumed characters representing each period will create a genuinely special atmosphere, which will be both instructive and entertaining. 13:00 Viseat Ljubljana, Strelec restaurant Getting to know the typical dishes from Ljubljana at the restaurant Stralec. The Viseat Ljubljana serves up a typical Ljubljana menu. You will indulge in authentic dishes and experience a premium menu with the signature of Ljubljana and Slovenia in a perfect ambience. 15:00

Boat trip to the Ljubljana marshes

16:00 Trnuljina doživetja You will actively learn how to organically process oleiferous plants and crops into organic oils, spreads, plain and whole-grain flour. In a short lecture you will learn how to respect natural systems and cycles without using genetically modified organisms. The entire programme will take place in the form of a workshop on preparing healthy homemade food, led by the host Urška and the top-class chef Slavko Adamlje. You will reminisce about and taste long-forgotten recipes and learn how to prepare healthy dishes.


20:00 Union – 150 years of the marriage of beer and food Visit to the Union brewery, the most renowned brewery in Slovenia, and its production. What follows is a guided beer tasting at the hottest tavern in town. You will get a chance to experience a legendary beer-inspired menu and get acquainted with all the flavours from the Union beer portfolio. 23:00

After-party or return to the hotel

DAY 2: 08.00 Breakfast at the Cubo or Vander hotel 09:00 Urban fishing A unique fishing experience. Fly fishing for graylings and brown trout, spin fishing for metre-long pike in the heart of Ljubljana, and winter adventures – huchen fishing on the length of the Ljubljanica river. 11:00 Face to face with Jože Plečnik There are only a few cities which are so strongly characterized by an artist as Ljubljana, the home-town of the architect Jože Plečnik

Moments of Zen

Experiencing Ljubljana and the Ljubljana marshes from the Ljubljanica river

Quality time

Organic processing of oleiferous plants and cereals

Must see

Masterpieces of the visionary architect Jože Plečnik

Must do

Urban fishing

Our pick

Trnulja estate and the Ljubljana Marshes

(1872–1957), a student of Otto Wagner. In a little over 35 years he transformed Ljubljana from a provincial city into the capital of the Slovenian nation. Since the mid-20s of the 20th century this architect designed countless city squares and parks, one after the other. 13:00 Plečnik’s lunch – JB restaurant Imaginative recipes of Janez Bratovž in the chambers of Jože Plečnik. Optional: lunch with fresh, local ingredients from the open-air market under the Plečnik arcades. 16:00

Departure to the airport

GETTING THERE All flights to and from Ljubljana land at Jože Pučnik Ljubljana Airport, just 25 km from the city centre. The national airline Adria Airways connects Ljubljana with more than 20 European cities and offers great connections to south-east Europe as well. ACCOMMODATION Boutique hotels: Hotel Vander or Hotel Cubo EAT AND DRINK JB restaurant – in the eyes of many the best restaurant in Slovenia GATEWAYS Due to its location, Ljubljana is the best starting point to discover Slovenia. The Central Slovenian region, which surrounds Ljubljana, is full of interesting incentive experiences, which can be integrated into your event’s programme.

KONTAKT: Natalija Bah Čad Meetings & Event Manager Toleranca Marketing d.o.o. Event & Marketing Agency Štihova 4, SI-1000 Ljubljana T: +386 1 430 51 03 M: +386 40 822 444 E:

GOLTE HOTEL & MOUNTAIN RESORT, SLOVENIA Business events at 1.410 m

Business meetings at the Golte hotel and mountain resort are not just ordinary business meetings. Every event is a unique story created by the Golte Hotel team with a comprehensive and quality approach. The 130 m2 conference room that accommodates 120 people, offers a variety of layouts of your choice and is easily divided into two smaller units.

culinary offer, a rich selection of accompanying activities and a picturesque location for informal gatherings after the event. Travelling by cable car to the hotel presents you with wonderful views and an invaluable opportunity to leave your worries back in the valley and focus fully on your event.

Hotel is located by the top cable car station and can be reached by road or an 8-minute cable car ride, which brings you right to the reception at an altitude of 1,410m. The hotel has an excellent holidays concept, which combines skiing and other activities that suit active guests. With 50 rooms, 2 junior and 2 family suites the hotel is ideal for small groups and boutique events.

Selected local cuisine offers you and your business guests an unforgettable culinary experience. To top the evening off there is a Ledenica hotel bar, which is an excellent space for late night socialising with a stage for a DJ or a band. You can have fun late into the night‌ Relaxation in the hotel’s spa will be waiting for you the following morning!

Golte Hotel offers everything you need for a top-class business meeting from modern multimedia equipment and technical assistance, comfortable 4* accommodation, a peaceful environment, a quality

Contact: E: T: +3 86 3 839 6256



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The organisers of Conventa believe in new, different, charming, and as yet undiscovered congress destinations. For this reason, Conventa was the first show on the international market that began promoting countries in southeast, central and eastern Europe, which we classify as ‘NEW’ EUROPE. In the past, the NEW EUROPE term was used for the countries of eastern Europe or for the former Eastern Bloc countries. Despite numerous stereotypes, the region boasts exceptional conditions for the meetings industry. Stunning nature, rich cultural and historic heritage, excellent transport infrastructure and affordability, numerous new congress centres, hotels, and creativity are putting NEW EUROPE among the newest and most desirable meetings destinations. The organisers of Conventa are certain that it is necessary to overcome the outdated ways of thinking and to start with new forms

of integration and cooperation. For us, ‘NEW’ EUROPE is connected with the basic professional values of the meetings industry – youth, energy and creativity – such principles are also those of the destinations which are promoted at Conventa. Regardless of geographical location, the Conventa organisers are open for all of the destinations that presenst a novelty on the international meetings market. Only a few hours away from Frankfurt or London, there is a half of Europe having its door wide open and waiting for you to discover it. This journey will be full of positive surprises, meetings with new convention bureaus, and opportunities for new connections between the East, West, North, and South. Join us in discovering the meetings destinations of New Europe at the Conventa 2019.

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The Conventa experience team cordially invites you to become a hosted buyer at the 11th Conventa and join a select group of international meeting planners who have the chance to personally experience the emerging region of ‘New Europe’. The boutique show will take place in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, from the 23th to 24st January, 2019. The Conventa experience offers a sophisticated trade show setting with more than 100 major hotels, venues, DMCs, PCOs and incentive providers will be coming from all over Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania and even as far as Turkey, showcasing the breadth of their offer. Conventa experience is different because: It’s personal: a boutique show that accepts up to 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 Corner’ set at the heart of the show floor It’s pleasure: hosted buyer status guarantees you VIP treatment at all times It’s all taken care of by the organizers: flight, transfers, accommodation, one2one meetings, the welcome and official reception, networking lunches, an after party event and the exciting and informative fam trip programmes that offer the opportunity for first-hand experience of destinations like Ljubljana, Bled, Zagreb, Portorož, Kranjska Gora and more. Find a new destination, venue or partner for your next event at Conventa. For more about the hosted buyer status please visit

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Every meeting planner should try The Conventa experience at least once in their lifetime. Why not check Conventa off your bucket list in 2019? NATALIJA BAH ČAD //


Kongres Magazine loves great stories and Conventa is definitely a multilayered story of success that the magazine has been following and proudly supporting since the very beginning. For eight years this boutique B2B event has been successfully connecting the region of New Europe, creating new business opportunities and partnerships between meeting providers and meeting planners, educating and awarding meeting players that have helped shaping today’s meeting industry. From 23 to 24 January 2019, Conventa will once again show that it is definitely not a typical trade show that offers meetings providers a business-oriented platform for developing individual business relationships with targeted meeting industry audiences. It is in fact the main meeting point of New Europe filled with energy, warmth and great hospitality.

At Conventa personal experience will matter most and will be highlighted throughout all of the trade show’s parts; business meetings, educational modules, social programme and fam trips. In last 10 years, 1322 exhibitors from 18 countries and 2,592 hosted buyers from 48 countries have conducted 33,162 meetings at Conventa. Kongres Magazine, as the main media partner of the show, invites meeting providers and meeting planners to join crème de la crème of the meetings industry from 23 to 24 January 2019 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and CREATE THEIR OWN CONVENTA EXPERIENCE.

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CONVENTA – HERE YOU WILL FIND WHAT YOU CANNOT FIND ANYWHERE ELSE Why is it worth it to go to Conventa for the new business contacts? NATALIJA BAH ČAD //


Conventa remains a focal point for organisers of business events in the region of New Europe. In addition to exchanging knowledge and experience, it also places emphasis on networking and making new business contacts. Every year, Conventa is attended by more than 250 organisers from the whole Europe. At Conventa, we try to exceed your expectations, while at the same time we guarantee that you will find here what other B2Bs do not offer: 1. EVERY YEAR 90 % NEW BUYERS Conventa is the only show in the world that has pledged that every year a minimum of 80% of the guests invited – event organisers – will be new. By turning this model into concrete numbers, to-date 2,172 new and 414 regular buyers have been brought to Conventa. Such a demanding and innovative buyer-oriented model is not currently used at any other events in the world.

CONVENTA’S ASSURANCES • 250 new business contacts • min. 25 direct meetings with buyers • 365-day promotion • free of charge social programme in the time of the event • 90 % new buyers every year • min. of 6 fam trips after the event

Quality is for us more important than quantity, and also on the ground of this policy we reject more than 50% of all of the registered hosted buyers. 2. REAL BUYERS WITH A SERIOUS INTEREST IN THE REGION Conventa’s policy is to choose only those hosted buyers who have a serious interest in the region. The results of our annual research on the satisfaction after Conventa reveal that more than two thirds of the exhibitors during the trade show gain from 1 to 5 requests for proposal (RFP) and 17.8% of the exhibitors from 6 to 10 RFP. Because exhibiting at the Conventa means an investment into the future, the exhibitors are continuously recording RFPs through the whole year. 3. EQUAL NETWORKING From the beginning, Conventa has been operating on the basis of equal treatment of providers and buyers. All social events are open to everyone, since the organisers believe in the transparency of relationships, without the need for privatised events, receptions and agreements hidden from the public. This enables an ongoing networking between the exhibitors and hosted buyers. Conventa’s organisers also believe in equal rights among exhibitors, who are able to hire stalls that are equipped for work according to the principle ‘Come, Meet, Win’. 4. FREE OF CHARGE MARKETING IN THE LEADING MEDIA KONGRES Each year, Conventa widens its set of the all-year-round promotional activities that are included into the exhibiting packages for free. In addition, as the only trade show in the world, Conventa enables the exhibitors with a free promotion in one of the leading meetings industry’s medias, in the Kongres magazine. Kongres belongs among the media with one of the highest reaches in the international meetings industry.

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5. DATA BASE OF HOSTED BUYERS Conventa is the only trade show that guarantees to the exhibitors a complete data base of participating hosted buyers which is consistent with the new European GDPR regulation. This enables you to strongly grow an opportunity for an added conversion of potential contacts into the real buyers of your congress service. An average cost of the sales contacts, calculated on the base of ten years of the ongoing project, is 15 EUR/contact. At every of its editions, Conventa guarantees the minimum of 250 sales contacts what is equal to an investment of 3,250 EUR.

The Conventa approach is a unique formula for the synergy of experiences which we have named ‘The Conventa Experience’. Over 98% of our partners agree that they attend Conventa due to the positive experiences in the past. They have been packaged into Conventa and defined by using the 6Es formula (Experience, Engagement, Education, Emotions, Energy, Entertainment) since Conventa’s beginnings. This places an emphasis on experiencing the event with all the senses, which, these days, has become a world trend among organisers of the most demanding events.

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INNOVATIVE ROI MEASUREMENTS From its inception, the organisers of Conventa were aware of the need to ensure effective measurement of its results and added value. Therefore, high standards are continuously introduced, whilst results are measured in real-time using the innovative V-tablet system – the first in the world. Results can be compared throughout the year, thus constant improvements in the event are a reality.






On average an exhibitor gets 15 sales leads

Conventa guarantees 250 hosted buyer contacts worth 3.250 EUR

With stricter criteria for hosted buyers Conventa will generate more profitable contacts


Time needed for preparation and checking the contacts (60 minutes per meeting)

An exhibitor conducts on average 22 meetings and therefore saves 60 hours of precious time

Increasing the number of meetings with additional calendar


Little additional costs for attending the show

Exhibitor package includes fully equipped exhibition stand, meals and entrance to networking social events

Upon request Conventa ensures special accommodation prices for exhibitors.


Exhibitor survey results show that 14 % of meetings are fruitful

A minimum of 2.5 meetings are successful which means per exhibitor a business worth 54.540 EUR.

Strict criteria for meetings planners to be granted hosted buyer status.


Statistics of the web page (monthly).

Views: 9.500 Unique visitors: 7.450

Integration of exhibitor’s stories on Conventa page and social media channels


Statistics for direct marketing (yearly)

Open rate: 141.000 Unique opened: 55.000

Integration of exhibitor’s stories in e-marketing campaigns


Cost of Social networking

All social events that bring together exhibitors and hosted buyers are included in the package

VIP entrance pass for additional representative


Cost of Education

Educational programme is free of charge

More tailor-made educational modules extended over three days


Media publications, media partners, Kongres/Conventa TV

In seven years more than 70 media and 140 journalists visited Conventa.

Exhibitor promotion through Conventa media partners. On-spot exclusive interviews.


Loyal partners and exhibitors

98 % of exhibitors return to Conventa

Co-branding with Conventa – extensive promotion.

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Q: How do you measure ROI – return on investment for B2B

Trade Show Conventa? Measuring the profitability begins with the selection of target groups. More we are precise at this, better the return on investment. Another element are clearly defined goals, which each year we communicate very clearly with all stakeholders of the trade show. The return on investment is ultimately decided by the exhibitors and our key strategic partners. Given the continued growth in the number of exhibitors and an extremely low fluctuation, profitability of the trade show is satisfactory. Co-operation at Conventa is according to surveys that we do every year, an investment that exhibitors get back in the form of actual business. It is impossible to accurately measure the volume of these transactions and according to our information this is not measured by any trade show in the world. In addition to the business dimension we are also creating ROI through brand visibility and brand awareness for which we find that it is very well received in the market.

Q: How do you measure the satisfaction of key stakeholders in the trade show? What you can not measure, you can not manage. Therefore, through targeted surveys among hosted buyers and exhibitors we are regularly checking satisfaction of key stakeholders. Over the years, they have become a trusted and valuable source of information for improving the quality of the project. The set of criteria has not changed and it allows us to track trends over time. In our experience on the satisfaction and measure of the performance of our trade show affects a whole chain of factors, but the most important fact is that the trade show is a space for the establishment of personal contacts. If we look at the statistics, only via one2one system at every Conventa some 2.800-3.200 meetings took place, lots of meetings also take place in informal meetings. This is certainly one of the key factors of satisfaction of stakeholders.

Q: What is the share of public funding of Conventa trade show and what is the participation of the economy? The share of public funding of the trade show is just 8.7%. The trade show is mostly financed by the economy. Because of this the success of the trade show is crucial to provide an added value for

the participating companies. One of the ways to ensure the stability and profitability of the project is to develop long-term relationships with key partners. It covers a variety of strategic partnerships, building of informal networks and co-operation with important partners in South East Europe. All this contributes to the improved performance of the project.

Q: In what way do you perform quality control of implementation of the project? First, we try to provide a suitable environment for B2B communication. This includes little things such as ensuring an appropriate and pleasant booth for establishment of a personal relationship at the trade show. At the trade show we are creating business opportunities and because of this we are very carefully choosing the suppliers. We are devoting a lot of attention to this. Quality control is carried out throughout the preparation of the project through personal meetings with suppliers and through a survey of all stakeholders. After the project we complete personal meetings with about 50% of all exhibitors, where through conversation we are looking for solutions to improve as much as possible and we try to take into account the wishes of the exhibitors. To strategic partners each year, at a joint meeting we present the objectives and progress of the organisation of the event. ABOUT CONVENTA Conventa is a Central and Southeast Europena trade show for meetings, events & incentives. The Conventa way of doing business is based on the simple concept that face to face business interaction is the most effective way of imparting information, learning about the objectives of the planners, events and providing the platform for discussing the best way of concluding business.




39.257 m2 exhibition space

65.665 m2 outdoor area

< 5.000

people congress capacity

10 minutes

to the International airport / main train station


Exhibition & Congress


Event diversity – all unter undereinem one roof Veranstaltungsvielfalt Dach Messeundexpo Kongresszentrum Convincing and congress Salzburg begeistert center in Salzburg Ein und meeting Tagungsbereich mit21 TheKongresscongress and area offers 21 Räumen für Ideen mit variablen rooms in which ideas sorgt can come to life. VaTrennwänden vielseitige Nutzungsmögriable dividing für walls guarantee a wide range lichkeiten. Zusammen mit den unterteilof applications. In combination with the baren Multifunktionshallen 1 und 1010, sowie divisible multifunctional halls 1 and and der nahtlos angrenzenden Salzburgarena a seamless link-up to the Salzburgarena, bietet er Platz fürbe Kongresse congresses can staged formit upbis zu 5.000 Personen. to 5000 guests.

Everyjährlich year, Salzburg & GäsDas von mehrExhibition als 600.000 Congress Center attracts 600,000 ten besuchte Messeund over Kongresszenguests. The venue consists of a ring of trum Salzburg besteht aus insgesamt ten interconnected halls. Theverbundenen 39,257m² zehn ringförmig miteinander of expoDie space are ideal for trade fairs, Hallen. 39.257 m² Ausstellungsfläche congresses and corporate events. eignen sich perfekt für Messen, KonSalzburgarena is a very special 2,545m² gresse und Firmen-Events. Die Salzburgstage for corporate arena mit stars ihren and 2.545 m² bietetevents. eine ganz besondere Bühne für Stars und Firmenveranstaltungen. Multifunktionshalle 1 erstrahlt All-new multifunctional hall 1 in neuem Glanz The completely renovated multifunctional Seit Oktober 2016 präsentiert sich die hall 1 has been available since October generalsanierte Multifunktionshalle 1 in 2016 and features some magnificent herausragender Architektur. Zusammen architecture. Together with the ultra-momit der modernen, neunfach unterteildern, 9-fold divisible hall 10,siethe baren Halle 10 beheimatet imfirst floor here accommodates ultra-versatile 1. Obergeschoss denthe vielfältig nutzbaren congress and area. There is über a Kongressundmeeting Tagungsbereich, der well-illuminated SkywalkSkywalk that joins the die einen lichtdurchfluteten über two halls. beiden Hallen hinweg miteinander verbunden ist. of call international •• First Ersteport Adresse fürfor internationale congresses Kongresse

New catering partner guaranKulinarischer Genusshas ab been Juli 2017 teeing culinary pleasures since 2017 von neuem Catering-Partner SV Österreich has been the SV new catering Das Catering-Unternehmen Östercompany contract with Salzburg reich ist abunder Mitte Juli 2017 neuer Partner Exhibition & und Congress Center since middes MesseKongresszentrums July 2017. Die TheZusammenarbeit comprehensive cooperation Salzburg. umfasst dealbreites includes a wide range of culinary serein Spektrum an gastronomivices for public access functions and schen Leistungen für Publikumsund closed corporate events, forEvents shows,intrade Firmenveranstaltungen, der fairs and congressessowie held in the Salzburgarena. Salzburgarena Messen und KonGuests are treatedwerden to the wie excellent range gresse. Die Gäste gewohnt of culinary goods and services they have mit einem qualitativ hochwertigen Gastrocome to expect, typical national nomieangebot mitincluding landestypischen aber dishesinternationalen and internationally-influenced fayre. auch Einflüssen verwöhnt.

Vielfältige Hotellerie fürfor unterschiedA wide range of hotels a wide range of expectations lichste Ansprüche There is everyincategory of hotel room Hotelzimmer allen Kategorien befin-just around corner and now we –also have den sichthe in unmittelbarer Nähe zudem a very recently-built hotel just a short seit Kurzem ein weiteres, gänzlich neu walk acrossHotel the concourse at Messezenerrichtetes in fußläufiger trum Salzburg.direkt am Messezentrum Erreichbarkeit Salzburg.

•• View Aussicht aufnew dasexpo neuehotel Messe-Hotel of the

sweeping view ofdie theBergkulisse mountains •• A Panoramablick auf Austrian EcoLabel: Österreichisches Umweltzeichen: Green Meetings Green Meetings & & Green Green Events Events Als Lizenznehmer zumfor Österreichischen Being a license holder Austrian Umweltzeichen für Green EcoLabel-approved GreenMeetings Meetingsund and Green Events enables können wir Veranstaltungen us to certify events nach den Kriterien des Umweltzeichens according to the criteria specified for the zertifizieren undtobei einer the entsprechend EcoLabel, and ensure planning and nachhaltigen Planung und Durchführung implementation guarantee environmental unterstützen. sustainability.

Getting here is simple from home Einfache Anreise aus dem andund abroad InAusland W.A.rund Mozart airport is an international Mit 1,8 Mio. Passagieren jährlich ist air travel hub within ten minutes’ der internationale Flughafen Mozart, of the exhibition congress vom center. It der in etwa zehnand Autominuten welcomes around 1.8 million passengers Messezentrum entfernt liegt, der größte every year, making it theÖsterreichs. largest regional Bundesländerflughafen airport in Austria. Frankfurt, Wien, Berlin, Die Drehscheiben Most of the airports at Frankfurt,Köln Vienna, London, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Berlin, London, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, und Istanbul werden großteils mehrmals täglich angesteuert. SeitIstanbul 2017 sind Cologne, Brussels and are served multiple times a day. Munich zusätzlich unter anderem Brüssel Airport und is around 90 minutes away and Vienna Paris angebunden. Der Flughafen Airport canistbe Salzburg München in reached rund 90 from Minuten und der railway station in approximately Wiener Flughafen vom Bahnhof 170 Salzburg minutes. in etwa 170 Minuten zu erreichen. Der Salzburger Salzburg’s mainHauptbahnhof railway stationist is ein a voll fully integrated into the Bahn integrierter Bahnhof desDeutsche Netzes der rail network.Bahn. ThereEine is a öffentliche special public Deutschen Vertransport link-up mit witheigener a bus stop on the kehrsanbindung Haltestelle grounds of theeine venue. TheAutobahnMessezentam Gelände, eigene rum has sowie its ownrund motorway link-road and ausfahrt 3000, teilweise on-site parking for 3000am vehicles, some überdachte Parkplätze Gelände of whichfürare covered, to ensure sorgen eine bequeme Anreiseguests aus arriveRichtungen. in comfort, wherever allen they come from.

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Vol. XII, No. 4, July 2018


Vol. XII, No. 4, July 2018