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/ 31 / VIEWS WHY WE MEET? Or how to organize meetings that rock



/ 43 / TOP 2016 THE MOST INFLUENTAL PEOPLE IN THE SEE MEETINGS INDUSTRY, Who are the top meetings influencer





Let your business demonstrate its flare and imagination by choosing Istanbul as your next meeting destination. Istanbul is uniquely positioned, geographically and historically, to inspire and connect people like you to a cultural backdrop of the old and new. A tale of two cities makes Istanbul like no other.



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Page 08 Nikola Avram, MK Mountain Resort, Serbia THE BALKAN SOUL IS VERY FRIENDLY


Page 30 Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre Kongres Face2Face

Page 107 LJUBLJANA vs EDINBURGH Page 117 GLASGOW vs ZAGREB Hidden Congress Guest





GORAZD ČAD Editor of the magazine is in his profession a geographer and historian. He united his professional education and love of discovering new lesser-known convention destinations with love and passion for the meetings industry. In meetologues he will try to share his enthusiasm with the readers. NINA PRAPROTNIK A talkative perfectionist, intrigued with details and a bigger picture in all the things around her. A big hedonist, especially in terms of culinary treats, amazing Slovenian vines, travelling and life in general enjoys in creating beautiful stories for Kongres magazine, Conventa and taking care of other clients regarding content marketing. She believes in personal connection and touch in all aspects, in private and professional life. NINA OZANIĆ Young and enthusiastic member of the team has realized quite early about her love for the meetings industry. During her study she gained theoretical knowledge and is now ready to show her skills and experience the joy of the meetings industry in all its grandeur.

NATALIJA BAH ČAD An unforgettable member in the editorial board of travelogues, who at each destination adds her icing on the cake. She has insight into the soul of destinations based on many years of practical experience with the organisation of events. She is interested in everything from the history, geography and destination marketing to care for the tiny little things that make the big events. POLONA SIMŠIČ The knowledge and experience she accumulated with organisation of advertising festivals and conferences, she successfully transfers to the meetings industry. She tells stories of the project Conventa and takes care that they are always up to date and fresh.

Page 80 Voice from the top

Nuša Šolar & Tine Brodnjak


G Editor in Chief Gorazd Čad Assistant to the Editor in Chief Nina Praprotnik, Nina Ozanič Design Nenad Cizl DTP and Prepress NUIT d.o.o. Proofreading Rob Cotter, Louise Chatwood ISSN Number 1855-8615 Photo credits: archive of Kongres magazine and partners destinations The Kongres magazine is entered into the media register under sequence number 1423. Magazine issued in January; March; May; July; September; November Publisher, Production and Marketing Toleranca Marketing d.o.o., Štihova 4, SI1000 Ljubljana, t: +386 (0)1 430 51 03 f: +386 (0)1 430 51 04 v e: Issue date November 2016 For the content reproduction it is required to get the written editorial consigment.

Official magazine of the Slovenian Convention Bureau Member of

Page 92 New Adriatic Hotels

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

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

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



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

Overview of interesting congress providers through experiences and special offers.





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

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

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

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





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

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

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

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





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

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

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

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


A word from the editor



hen you step into a convention centre lobby you instantly know what to expect. Some centres are full of warmth and kindness, mainly furnished by a woman's hand – attention to detail, flowers, the general fragrance and the consideration for the well-being of the participants go hand in hand with the aroma of a freshly ground coffee. In such an atmosphere the at times painstaking wait for a name badge is not a burden, as you are rewarded with the genuine kindness and friendly smiles of the staff.

"Power to the meetings requires careful planning and a very hard working team of professionals, those who are aware that they are only as good as their last event." But then there are the times when not one thing goes wrong, but everything seems to go the wrong way. At the registration desk they can't fine my name, even though I am a speaker at their event, I am listed in the official programme and this is even stated on the participant badge. Nobody greets me or escorts me to the hall, because the staff is preoccupied by whatever it may be on their mobile phones. The programme has not been on track since the morning; it has been prolonged by all the questions from the audience after the first session where three self-proclaimed ‘kings of the industry’ were boosting their egos on stage. The lunch break should have started an hour and a half ago, while the croissants provided by a local sponsor that


hasn’t yet heard about the trans fatty acids are being served… When we eventually walk into the hall there are no vacant chairs at the back, but at the same time nobody dares to sit in the first row. In the background we can hear the sound of music that penetrates into the room from the neighbouring hall, where the sound check for a large dinner party is being performed. Nobody apologizes for the noise; the organisers just take on an appearance of being mildly deaf. When I finally raise my courage to move forward, the whole hall is staring at me like I am a Martian who has just entered the scene of a horror movie. The temperature in the hall is a chilling 18 degrees, empty bottles of water lie on the floor all around me. I enter in the middle of an ego trip of one of the participants who is asking something that neither the speakers, nor the participants understand (apparently, it has something to do with frustrations and conflicts from childhood). Behind me I see an acquaintance of mine who is turning her eyes and is caught in the middle of the row, making an easy escape from the hall not an option. I am captured by this very moment that is now being transformed by a righteous character who thinks he can solve all the problems of this world. The endless topic of relations between hotels and agencies, which cannot be brought to an end by even the oldest and wisest of the speakers, begins. I look down to see magazines from different sponsors lying scattered about the floor. When I finally get the chance to escape the first row and head to the reception, nobody can tell me when the programme will actually end. Everything is being filmed and all of this nonsense will be captured and pumped into a digital eternity. Any participating youth has checked out long beforehand and is by now hooked up to social networks somewhere and laughing at one of their countless favourite YouTube videos. When I finally exit, due to the delay I find myself in the middle of caterers rushing to prepare the hall next door for the evening event. From the hall I am direct5

ed to the side aisles and on to the street, which seems like a channel of salvation from the centre for self-realization and those in need of therapy I have just been with. It is then that I realize the magnitude of the power of events. I think of the incredible power that modern methods offer for creating memorable events, something that we use and simply call Power to the meetings. Not only the power of satisfied participants, but also the power of enthusiasts is invaluable. It requires careful planning and a very hard working team of professionals, those who are aware that they are only as good as their last event. The secret and core are still the well written stories that exceed expectations of participants and teach them new values and deliver knowledge. Everything has to have a good rhythm. With rhythm we bring parts of the event together and put them into a meaningful chronological order. People instinctively react to rhythm, so thinking about it is one of the fundamental tasks that organisers have. You need to maintain an appropriate environment so that the debate among the participants, but especially between the motivators and provocateurs, can start.

"Bad experience confirms the need for a systematic change and education of the entire industry, which desperately needs a revolution, as the youngsters will soon start to prefer a virtual future to boring events."

A word from the editor

Various models of the layout, like "open space", "open fishbowl" or "word cafe", will immediately improve communication and bring it to a much higher level than in the classical classroom layout. Knowing how to brief the speakers is also important; it is crucial that in their performance they also include elements of interaction, which should then be further encouraged by a top moderator. Successful event organisers use a lot of love and positive energy when organising an event. They know how to provide the flow of energy between organisers and participants, between speakers and audience, between sponsors and participants. The congress venue also needs to have its own flow, such as seen at rock festivals

or large airports. But, above all, we can create good energy if we include three basic elements: first of all is the element of surprise, which some also call a first impression. The second element, nowadays extremely important, is good communication. Communication is transferring the energy all the way to the top of the modern forms of social media conversation before, during and after the event. The third element is the effective dramaturgy, which includes setting the ambience, setting the stage, designing the halls and lighting, and for true rockers also the real congress rock riffs, or in other words, each event must have its own colour of the sound. This experience confirms the need for a systematic change and education of the entire in-


dustry, which desperately needs a revolution, as the youngsters will soon start to prefer a virtual future to boring events. The Power to the Meetings is much more than a trend; it is a radical and fundamental change in view of the organisation of events that we must consolidate in our region.

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Exclusive interview

NIKOLA AVRAM, GENERAL MANAGER OF MK MOUNTAIN RESORT, SERBIA Born in Rijeka, Croatia, graduated from the prestigious American College of Management (RIT) and continued professional development in the Disney hotel in Florida. Many years of experience in management positions gained in hotel companies Adriatic Luxury Hotels (Dubrovnik), Vienna Interational Hotel (Opatija), Valamar Hotels & Resorts (Dubrovnik), as well as Avala Resort & Villas (Budva). Since 2010, he is the CEO of MK Mountain Resort, where together with his team responsible for revitalizing the largest hotel complex as well as the destination Kopaonik. Responsible for managing MK Mountain Resort (Grand Hotel & Spa*****, Family Hotel Angella**** and Apartments Konaci****) and 47 million euros worth investment, in line with the hotel group repositioning strategy. Within less than two years, the strategic plan resulted in the 48% annual profit growth and 54% increase in overnights. Meanwhile, from the company that was in the restructuring process, MK Mountain Resort grew to what it represents today - the most profitable hotel company in Serbia with strong brand reputation, clear vision and positioning and recognizable image, constantly improving and setting up service delivery standards in the industry.


Exclusive interview

THE BALKAN SOUL IS VERY FRIENDLY Nikola Avram, General Manager of MK Mountain Resort, Serbia

Interview by Gorazd Čad / Photo credit MK Mountain Resort

Q: How do you personally see South East Europe's meetings industry scene? South East Europe, or more commonly recognized as the Balkans, is currently having a steady growth in the meetings and events industry. I personally believe that a lot of opportunities are in front of us, and that we are ready to catch our share of this market segment. Q: What do you see as crucial marketing elements to impress meeting planners? We have the responsibility to make a great first and lasting impression. As an emerging destination, we have to make sure that we will influence the decision makers to choose the region and our hotel group, which is a leader in the MICE industry. We are committed to delivering to meeting planners authentic experiences at a good value, through high standards products and amenities in one place, perfect organization, attentive staff, technology. We can easily differentiate ourselves through our rich culture, soul, gastronomy, unlimited types of outdoor activities and entertainments. Our Kopaonik destination is matching the expectations of our leisure customers, who are seeking for new inspirations in the nature. Q: MK Group owns and operates its hotels. What are the benefits of that for meeting planners? As the owner and operator of our properties in several destinations, we can offer and manage a diversity of options in terms of hotel type, indoor and outdoor services. It gives us the ability to take quick and effective decisions, to be more flexible, and meet the meeting planners requirements in a fast, soft and effective way. We can act as a single point of contact to coordinate the various elements of their event. Q:How do you stay in front of trends, whether that’s design, food and beverage, or entertainment? The fact that we are a leader comes from that forward-thinking approach that we impose to ourselves. Always putting ourselves in question, regularly assessing the quality of our services, participating in many business conferences to get tuned, attending the trade shows to feel the

new product and customers trends, listening and reacting to guest satisfaction comments. Our F&B creative manager is the owner of one of the most famous restaurant in Belgrade. He is key for driving new dining experiences, as well as our S&M director brings a wealth of international experience in having developed various hotel, resorts and dining concepts. This cooperation helps all of us to improve our products and services.

"We have defined an ambitious plan to become quickly the leading hospitality management company in South East Europe."

Q: How do you make both the in-room and living room/lobby experiences great? In the rooms, it is far easier, we care about the comfort and well-being of our guests, a perfect technology and connectivity, a warm and contemporary interior design that creates a friendly ambiance. Also, our living room area is meant to be more sophisticated and a space a share and communicate with our guests. This is where we focus our attention. Q: Is the price associated with a sense of quality? It is known that the wealthier guests also decide on the basis of how high is the price? Prices are always linked to quality. We pay a lot of attention to the perceived value that our guest have, as prices must deliver ever more value. Nowadays, every guest is price sensitive, and expects more value for the price they are paying. We try to offer the right balance so that our guests feel comfortable with the price they pay. 9

Q: What is your take on driving direct bookings and working with the online travel agencies (OTAs)? The reputation of our brand, and our proactivity in online marketing is our key strategy to drive more direct bookings to our properties. Obviously, we also partner with some selected OTAs to complement our occupancy objectives, but we own the relationship with the client, and will continue to do so, which cannot be the case for OTAs. Q: What are the biggest opportunities that you see for Southeast’s meeting industry? I am confident the region, not so long ago known as Yugoslavia, is quickly recovering from the recent isolation and is showing an escalating growth in its economy.It is in the heart of Europe, it is a safe destination that has so much to offer to meeting planners and their clients, as they are seeking for new experiences, safe places, good international connections, truly authentic experiences: the Balkan soul is very friendly, musical, a sharing culture, a vibrant population; a very good infrastructure, great hotels and resorts, unlimited natural landscapes. The list is long, there lies the opportunities for meeting professionals to embrace with confidence these emerging destinations, and try new countries such as Serbia for their next congresses and events.

The fact that we are a leader comes from that forward-thinking approach that we impose to ourselves. Always putting ourselves in question, regularly assessing the quality of our services.

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Q: What keeps you up at night with regard to the future of hospitality? Passion, an ever-changing world, always needs to keep up with latest technologies, design trends, and customers’ expectations. Q: Can you tell us more about the future MK Group investments in our region? We have defined an ambitious plan to become quickly the leading hospitality management company in South East Europe. We have several investment and development projects in progress in Novi Sad, Serbia, Slovenia and Montenegro. We are looking at every investment opportunities which are making sense to our strategic move, whether as business hotels or resorts.

PERSONAL Q: What inspired you to decide your career to the hotel industry? I grew up in a family operating restaurants and residential business, so I naturally got the virus‌ Q: I grew up in a family operating restaurants and residential business, so I naturally got the virus‌ Stay committed and focused to my goals, but can agility and flexibility in my approach. Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world for a month, where would you go and why? Japan, I find this country and its way of life fascinating. Q: What is your favourite place in South East Europe? Belgrade.



Exclusive interview



Exclusive interview


Interview by Gorazd Čad / Photo credit Union Hotels

Tomislav Čeh is the General Manager of the Union Hotels group where, to a certain extent, his role is as leader in motivating his managers and charming the guests – but when the schmoozing is over, it is on his shoulders to ensure the business is profitable and growing. The Union Hotels group is comprised of four hotels (Grand Hotel Union, Grand Hotel Union Business, Hotel Lev and Central Hotel) with a total of 574 pleasant rooms and 31 conference halls and saloons, all taken care of by 280 employees. Tomislav’s area of specialisation is management for companies in crisis. Prior to joining Union Hotels, he worked at the Globtour tourist agency d.o.o., Ljubljana, as the Managing Director during the company restructuring, which was successfully completed. Also successfully completed was the restructuring of the Life Class hotel chain, Portorož (7 hotels in Slovenia and Croatia), the transit port Marina Koper (Adriatic Sea) and Postojna Cave, where he was the Chairman of the Executive Board of Istrabenz turizem d.d.

selves, and from there it is fundamental to have confidence in their decisions and abilities. If I have to compare my management with someone else’s, I can maybe compare it to the management of the hotel chains where there is, due to the standardization, little room for novelties and creativity, if any at all. On the other hand, we have this possibility.

Q: What are the key factors of success in the management of the hotel? How does your management differ from the management of other hotels? The key thing is to choose a team that is capable of realizing the strategy that we have set our-

Q: How much of the revenue do the meetings and conferences generate and how do you market your meetings offer? A quarter. Q: What is the future of the Slovenian hotel industry and tourism in Ljubljana? Certainly we have a bright future ahead of us.

"One of the main advantages of our hotels is definitely a personalized service and an individual approach to each and every guest."

About Union Hotels Q: What are the advantages of independent hotels compared to hotels managed by international hotel chains? The guest is interested in local and authentic stories and not in standardized services of hotel brands that are the same everywhere across the world. Independent hotels have the advantage of offering to our guests an authentic local experience and unique stories.One of the main advantages of our hotels is definitely the personalized service and an individual approach to each and every guest.

own special attributes appreciated by the locals. We also intend to nurture this relationship in the future.

Q: During your leadership the Grand Hotel Union has become the central point of things going on in Ljubljana. What is your philosophy? From the outset, Grand Hotel Union was the centre of events. Locals did not stay overnight in the hotel, but did identify with it particularly because of the Union Hall and The Grand Union Café, which have always been considered to be popular meeting places of Ljubljana. In addition to many prominent citizens of Ljubljana, also many artists, from renowned painters to writers and musicians, have gathered here. I believe that even after 110 years the locals still identify themselves with the hotel. In the last two years we have worked on building up and deepening the relationship, not only of Grand Hotel Union, but also of each of the four hotels that have their


Q: Will Union Hotels continue to expand to some other field? We will stay in the hotel industry and in its scope seek the development of the best. About the presidency of the Slovenian Convention Bureau Board Q: Is the Slovenian congress product sufficiently competitive to achieve a breakthrough to the first congress league and do we sufficiently exploit the positive trends in the international meetings market? We are not taking enough advantage of the positive trends. The main downsides are still the flight connections, but nonetheless we are competitive enough to enter the first congress league.

"It is time to stand together and as a destination organise a professionally guided ambassador programme."

Exclusive interview

Q: What do we need to change in this area in relation to hardware (infrastructure) and software (agencies and creative industries)? The necessary approach is to invest more in the hotel and congress infrastructure and with joint forces, knowledge and ideas boost the creative work that is not necessarily always dependent on financial resources. Q: If the Slovenian meetings industry had an additional one million euro funding available, in what would you suggest to invest it? In promoting Slovenia as an incentive destination to the American market. Q: How important are events like Conventa for the promotion of Slovenia? It is a key event of the Slovenian MICE industry that I welcome and support year after year. Q: Ljubljana is slowly advancing on the international ICCA scale? How can we bring several international scientific congresses to Slovenia? It is time to stand together and as a destination organise a professionally guided ambassador programme.

Q: International fairs and trade shows generate overnight stays and many positive multiplier effects. How successful are we in Slovenia in this area and how can we exploit our ideal geostrategic position? Is Slovenia still a meetings hub and the crossroads of Southeast Europe? In the nineties, Slovenia was in addition to Belgrade and Zagreb a meetings centre of former Yugoslavia. Successful exhibition centres in Ljubljana, Celje, Gornja Radgona and Kranj were followed by exhibition centres in Novi Sad, Sarajevo and Skopje. For example, in 1993 in Ljubljana there were over 23 fairs. Ljubljana was a lively and successful trade fair city with more than 100 exhibition days a year. The city also had a prominent place in UFI - the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry.Today, the central fair in the former Yugoslavia is the Belgrade fair, all the rest are lagging behind. During the period of transition Slovenia had an unprecedented opportunity to establish itself as a central trade fair crossroads of Southeast Europe. This opportunity was wide open, especially in the area of specialized trade fairs. Unfortunately, we did not take full advantage of the situation. Still, we have the opportunity to develop regional events and European events. 14

Such international fairs would create a lot of overnights and additional tourism consumption. In this area, we would need a clear strategy for Ljubljana. I believe that by working together we would be able to bring to the city also more demanding guests with higher buying power. Q: In your opinion how important is standardization for meeting providers and what are the minimum standards? How can transparency and comparability be ensured? Of course the standardization is very important and so is the function of the Slovenian Convention Bureau as the institution setting the standards.Sometimes I can’t help but feel that the bureau hasn’t got enough support from the co-creators of the congress development‌

"Ljubljana needs a clear strategy to attract more demanding guests with higher buying power."













1. Ethno Village Stanišić, Bijelina, Bosnia and Herzegovina The Stanišić Ethno Village is a village of some 20 authentic wooden houses, including a milk house, a smithy, an "ambar" (a wooden structure for storing grain), old houses and a large guesthouse, all of them brought there from villages of the Vares Municipality and villages of Mount Zvijezda and Mount Romanija.











2. Kalemegdan Fortress, Belgrade, Serbia
 Kalemegdan Fortress was one of the most powerful military strongholds in Europe. Belgrade Fortress is today a cultural property of great importance, and a venue for frequent cultural, artistic and entertainment events. 3. Event Ship MS Sea Star, Dubrovnik, Croatia 
 This multipurpose ship with a capacity for up to 400 people adds a mobile dimension to events and fine dining experiences. Based in Dubrovnik the MS Sea Star is available upon request for departure from different ports along the Adriatic and then sailing on for the length of the entire coast. 4. Lady of the Rock Island, Perast, Montenegro The island was artificially created by scuttling old ships and depositing stones around a small crag. Today the small island is a point for public gatherings. 5. Porto Montenegro, Tivat, Montenegro The Mediterranean's leading luxury yacht homeport and marina village, Porto Montenegro welcomes groups of every kind, from large scale business and incentive programmes to smaller VIP groups. 6. Castle Grafenegg, Grafenegg, Austria With its soaring tower, grandiose façades, stylish staircases, atmospheric arcades and attractive chapel, Grafenegg has become an emblem of Lower Austria. For events you can hire a medieval castle next to a futuristic open-air stage or a 19th century riding arena next to a brand-new concert hall. 7. Postojna Cave, Postojna, Slovenia The world-renowned Postojna Cave is a natural phenomenon and one of the most unusual locations for organising events. The experiential value of the cave itself is complemented by the quality congress infrastructure of Mansion Jamski dvorec. This makes Postojna Cave one of the most unique and special congress venues in the world.




8. Aman Sveti Stefan, Budva, Montenegro
 The island, with its Villa Miločer, is closed to the public, however events can be organised on it directly through the chain. Aman Sveti Stefan offers venues for every occasion and event experts to ensure that every detail is unique.


9. Bled Castle, Bled, Slovenia Bled Castle is undoubtedly the symbol of both Bled and Slovenia. It is a remarkable venue for protocol events, ceremonial receptions and anniversaries. The image of the castle set above the lake with a romantic island in the middle is one of the most recognised in the world.



10. Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg, Austria
 At the largest completely preserved castle in central Europe, beyond its medieval rooms the romantic courtyard and the bastions regularly serve as scenery for events. Comprehensive renovation work has now been completed and the list of great new features includes a multimedia Magic Theatre and ultra-modern media stations.


11. Strmol Castle, Cerklje, Slovenia Strmol Castle has retained its original form, making it one of the oldest and best preserved castles in Slovenia. Today, Strmol Castle is a hotel offering a unique living experience and a luxurious venue for business meetings and personal occasions.


12. Park Orsula, Dubrovnik, Croatia A unique space lifted from oblivion by the enthusiastic association Ambient Croatia. Now equipped and adapted for musical and theatrical events it offers a variety of different concerts featuring local and foreign artists.


13. Mikser House, Belgrade, Serbia Mikser House is a hybrid concept space for educational, cultural and commercial activities, nestled in an inspiring converted industrial facility of 1000m2. It offers the complete infrastructure for organising events.


14. Ethno village Sirogojno, Serbia The “Old village” Museum of Folk Architecture in Sirogojno is the only open-air museum in Serbia. One of its houses serves as a gallery for the exhibitions, promotions, seminars and the summer schools, for which it has different interiors.





15. Kunsthaus Graz, Graz, Austria The Kunsthaus floats like a mysterious blue balloon between the roofs of the historic city centre. Kunsthaus Graz functions as a multifunctional exhibition and events space for contemporary art, new media and photography. It has no depot or permanent collection of its own.

What is a special venue? A meeting planner wants participants to remember the experience as much as possible for all the right reasons. So isn’t the first step in achieving this by using a venue that is special in itself, an experience that we cannot have every day?What are such venues for truly special events? Firstly, they can be any location that has the potential for hosting larger groups of people and also for implementing a technical programme, in most cases also for organising catering for the participants. Limits on the numbers of participants that can be accommodated are usually determined by the latter.The venue for special events also has to have outstanding cultural, historical, technical and architectural value. A pre-condition for being listed as a special venue are adequate indoor space and basic convention infrastructure with cloakrooms, toilets and technical equipment.

16. Roman amphitheatre – Arena Pula, Pula, Croatia Elliptic in shape, the largest ancient building in Istria is open for sightseeing during the day, after which it becomes the perfect place for pop rock concerts, operas and ballets at night-time, as well as its own film festival with a 50-year tradition. 17. St. Michael's Fortress, Šibenik, Croatia The fortress of St. Michael rises above the city as a particularly attractive monument and a unique stage with a perfect atmosphere for concerts and many other staged events. The fortress has become an indispensable historical, cultural and geographical landmark of the town of Šibenik and a venue of top cultural events. 18. Morića Han, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina Morića Han is the only surviving hotel of the Ottoman era and has been turned into restaurants with various culinary offerings. Its beautiful cobbled courtyard is surrounded by old stables and storehouses with lodging rooms upstairs resting on large wooden pillars. 19. Blue train, Belgrade, Serbia ‘Blue Train’ is a popular name for the special train used for the needs of Josip Broz Tito, ex-President of the previous Socialistic Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The train will take you back in time to the era of Marshall Tito’s incredible life. 20. Viječnica, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina Vijećnica is the most extravagant building constructed in Sarajevo. Since it first opened on April 20, 1896, the building has become the most important symbol of Sarajevo and is featured as an iconic motif in many photographs of the city.



YOUR PICKS for the Best Special Venues
















More ideas from Austria

1. IceQ, Solden
 2. Graz Opera House, Graz
 3. Rein Abbey, Gratwein
 4. Skybar, Graz
 5. Schleppe Brewery Events Hall, Klagenfurt
 6. Soap factory Graz, Graz 
 7. Old Unviersity, Graz
 8. Brewery Gösser, Leoben

More ideas from Croatia

1. Meneghetti Estate, Bale 
 2. The Mimara Museum, Zagreb
 3. The Golden Hall, Zagreb 
 4. Revelin and Lovrijenac Fortress, Dubrovnik 
 5. Vila Polesini, Poreč
 6. Arsenal, Zadar 
 7. Museum of Arts and Crafts, Zagreb 
 8. Kozlović Winery, Buje 20

More ideas from Bosnia and Herzegovina 1. Sarajevo's National Theate, Sarajevo
 2. Garden of Hotel Europe, Sarajevo 
 3. Cultural center Banski Dvori, Banka Luka 
 4. Muslibegović House, Mostar 
 5. Andrićgrad, Višegrad 
 6. Vjetrnica Cave, Ravno
 7. Dom maldih, Centar Skenderij, Sarajevo
 8. Monastery Tvrdoš wine cellars, Trebinje

















More ideas from Montenegro:
 1. Fortress Citadela, Budva 
 2. Tavern Čatovići Mlini, Morinj 
 3. Šipčanik Wine Cellar, Podgorica
 4. Plavnica Eco Resort 
 5. Eco Village Vranjak 
 6. Mamula Island and Fortress 
 7. Kanli Tower, Herceg Novi 
 8. Almara Beach Club, Tivat

More ideas from Serbia:

1. Wooden Town, Drvengrad
 2. Yugoslav Film Archive, Belgrade 
 3. Zvonko Bogdan Winery, Subotica 
 4. Lorenzo & Kakalamba Restaurant, Belgrade 
 5. Royal Compound, Belgrade 
 6. Serbian National Theatre, Belgrade 
 7. Madlenianum Opera & Theatre, Belgrade 
 8. Top of the Hub, Belgrade 21

More ideas from Slovenia:

1. Vila Vipolže, Goriška Brda
 2. Brdo Estate, Brdo pri Kranju 
 3. Otočec Castle, Otočec
 4. Nebotičnik Skyscraper, Ljubljana
 5. Zemono Mansion, Vipaca 
 6. Herbal Glamping Resort, Ljubno 
 7. Vila Bled and Belvedere, Bled 
 8. Ljubljana Castle, Ljubljana

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oday there is so much buzz around meeting design and meeting architecture. Several books have been written about this hot topic in the last years. But is it just a fad or is it something that will stay and change the way we meet? Today there is so much buzz around meeting design and meeting architecture. Several books have been written about this hot topic in the last years. But is it just a fad or is it something that will stay and change the way we meet? Do we realise any change in millions of meetings organised daily around the globe? I doubt it. The majority of meetings are still organised the “old way”. Inviting people to a conference, followed by registration, than sending them to the meeting room where speaker presents his topic, of course in PowerPoint. Sometime there is a coffee break, followed by another set of presentations or discussions, lunch and so on until end of the day. For a two day

conference just multiply everything with two. Of course having good Wi-Fi in the meeting room and during coffee breaks and lunch is crucial, so participants can follow up their e-mails and social media channels. Meetings cost money. And it does not matter whether this is a corporate meeting or an association conference or government event. They all represent expenses but they also represent investment for the company/institution/ Government. We know that people are the biggest asset that company or institution or Government has. Meetings are part of businesses. And each business has an objective. Sooner or later meetings will have to demonstrate their return on investment. But in meetings industry you can not apply simple mathematical equations. Meetovation created by Danish meetings industry says: “A meeting has to create value on several levels and affect each meeting participant.” In order for a meeting to create value we need to apply different techniques and knowledge, all united under the name Meeting Design. Business consultant Mary Boone proposes the following definition of meeting design: “Meeting Design is the purposeful shaping of both the form and the content of a meeting to deliver on crucial business objectives.” This definition understands that meetings come in different shapes, sizes, cultures, participants, professions and more. Each meeting has its own DNA, not to mention the meeting participants. As a meeting owner you have to apply the right tools to bring meeting participants to the level set in meeting objectives. I am glad that I was recently a part of a new meeting design concept called Conventa Crossover. The meeting owner had the courage

»Meetings are part of businesses. And each business has an objective. Sooner or later meetings will have to demonstrate their return on investment.” 22

“I am glad that I was recently a part of a new meeting design concept called Conventa Crossover. The meeting owner had the courage to apply the Meeting design to its maximum. From the very first stage, the meeting stakeholders were involved in creation of a new meeting concept for Slovenia and the region.” to apply the Meeting design to its maximum. From the very first stage, the meeting stakeholders were involved in creation of a new meeting concept for Slovenia and the region. And I believe that was crucial for the success of the event. Under the slogan “Power to the Meetings” meeting owner defined 10 points that needed to be part of the event. Nothing was left to the coincidence. The two-day conference that I had the privilege to co-create was a fantastic eye opener and experience for me, my team, Slovenian meetings industry and for all the participants, even for renown international speakers and meeting professionals. Being a part of the meetings industry for two decades is like opening a new horizon on the sky. I am overjoyed that the knowledge demonstrated at Conventa Crossover has been acknowledged and will be presented on the stage at the forthcoming global educational event. The job of a meeting planner is not just the organisation of the meeting. It is the job of organizing the best possible meeting. A lot of knowledge and energy is needed to succeed in that today. But I don’t see any other way than this one, otherwise the “old way” of meetings will become virtual.

SLOVENIA MEETINGS Feel the people. Taste fresh ideas.

Kongres Article

HOW TO COMMUNICATE IN TIMES OF DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION Agile event project management as best answer to the challenges facing the events industry

Text by Colja M Dams, Vok Dams, Germany


Colja M. Dams, CEO, VOK DAMS Agency for Events and Live-Marketing, Germany Colja M. Dams is president / CEO of the VOK DAMS GRUPPE since 1998. Since the foundation in 1971, the agency has been one of the international market leaders in Live-Marketing and Events. Graduated as an economist at the University Witten/Herdecke in Germany, he early recognized the importance of internationalization in the special events business. Thanks to his efforts the Wuppertal, Germany headquartered agency has established fife additional German offices in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Berlin and Munich as well as successful subsidiaries in Middle East (Dubai), China (Shanghai Et Beijing), France (Bordeaux), England (London), Eastern Europe (Prague), South America (Sao Paulo) and the U.S.A. (New York). Furthermore he establishes new standards in fields of Events and Live-Marketing, which are developed by VOK DAMS Consulting constantly.

gile event project management as best new business models. This development is drivanswer to the challenges facing the en not least by the clients, for whom the hanevents industry. Something exciting, dling of digital technologies and communication grand and spectacular is currently happening channels has become as a matter of course. The in the economy – and with it in the marketing new requirements particularly apply to corpodepartments of companies. The magic phrase rate communications, where the specific effecheard everywhere is “Digital Transformation”. tiveness of combining the live experience with It encompasses challenges such as disruption, digital communication, has become widely aceconomy 4.0, Internet of things and big data. All cepted. Successful start up companies, such as industries are currently experiencing an utter airbnb, uber or zalando show, how important it upheaval. And this is by no means limited to the is to offer a communication platform to the cliDAX-listed companies, but all of these increas- ent and to thus practically trigger a viral effect. ingly affect the medium-sized sector, which But what are the effects of the digital revolution cannot (nor does it want to) shut out the digital for the events industry? How does an agency challenges. There is going to be a reshuffle – and need to organize itself in order to optimally supthis development will sort winners from loser, port its clients in this? Fundamental for the sucjust as Mikhail Gorbachev said in his often quot- cess is a new mode of operation taken over from ed, famous statement: the digital industry: agile “Those, who are late, project management. Agwill be punished by life”. ile project management ”Agile event project A solution to the several is based on the highmanagement is adjustments difficulties est degree of flexibility, is quickly found – “we which is integrated into best answer to the need to become more the process already from flexible”, and accordingthe beginning of a project challenges fsacing the ly this is is proclaimed in on. And in doing so agile events industry.” almost every company. project management is But what does this acthe answer to the changtually mean, what does ing parameters in events “becoming more flexible” entail?It is both about and live-marketing. These parameters are destrategy and practice. First, what is required is fined as such: shorter times, smaller budgets, a strategic re-orientation. Processes have to be higher complexity, a more individual address of questioned; new solutions have to be tested. And clients. Especially the so-called Scrum method here, the digital field is characterized by shorter has proven itself useful in agile project managelife cycles and a high degree of risk. In the long ment. This is based on an interdisciplinary team run, only those, who have pooled the appropri- of self dependently working staff. A Scrum-masate talents and found the fitting service provid- ter ensures that all process rules are adhered to ers, will be heading the race. Everyone, who has and at the same time serves as contact person ever delved deeper into “change management” for the team, should difficulties arise. Due to in business practice, knows, how difficult it can its methods of active responsibility, agile project be to implement new targets, behaviors and pro- management creates a higher degree of motivacesses. In times of digital challenges, start-ups tion in agencies. While also avoiding the stress serve as role models. Their agile working pro- that the changed parameters had created. Clicesses, their speed, their love for experiments ents and agencies alike benefit from the iteraand their self dependent staff form a solid basis tive approach of agile project management. The for flexible brand and product strategies. And agility supports the large and established comaccordingly established big corporations invest panies especially in asserting and strengthening a lot into setting up their own start-ups to design their supremacy. Especially as regards the pre24

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requisites for agility – namely maximal attention project management is based on a clear project to the market, decision-making processes that structuring in conjunction with a self-dependare not pinned down by hierarchies or a swifter ent team organization and the highest degree implementation of decisions – it is the smaller of flexibility, which is integrated into the procompanies or start-ups that are often at an ad- cess already from the beginning of a project onvantage. For the past 10 wards. The feedback years, VOK DAMS, agency received from the first for events and live-marprojects VOK DAMS keting, has been offering implemented applying ”Fundamental for the highest operational agile project managethe success is a new standards in quality and ment shows encouragreliability with its certiing results: increased mode of operation fied quality management, commitment and moallowing for a successful tivation of the involved taken over from the and creative communicolleagues, greater digital industry: Agile cation. Now, VOK DAMS personal responsibility enters the next stage of in the teams, an even project management.” its quality management higher certainty of reand introduces agile event sults, higher degrees management as first agenof speed and flexibility, cy. The agile principles, techniques and meth- and with this an overall improved effectiveness. ods, as well as the cooperation in agile teams, Agile event management is clearly the route the which are already known from the digital in- event industry has to take, if in times of digital dustry, are consistently being adapted by VOK transformation, it wants to continue offering inDAMS to modern, innovative marketing. Agile novative solutions to communication tasks.


Kongres Article

HOW TO USE TECHNOLOGY AND CONTENT TO BUILD EXPERIENCES THAT MATTER The world is hungry for content that is relevant to audiences needs and interests.

Text by Jens Oliver Mayer, Jack Morton Worldwide, Germany


Jens Oliver Mayer, Managing Director Germany, Jack Morton Worldwide Jens has built his career helping brands build strong relationships with the people that matter most to them, through live and digital marketing. He leads our offices for the Germanspeaking market, working with clients including Samsung, Novartis, SABIC and Here, as well as leading brands in the automotive industry. With more than 20 years of experience in the brand experience industry, Jens has a special passion for integrating live events and the digital world. Prior to joining Jack, he was Managing Director for agencies including Informa Business Communication and IVBC. He has created brand experiences for clients including Accenture, BMW, KPMG, Dell, Intel, Esprit, Hugo Boss, Ikea, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Hamburg@work and the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

t Crossover in LjubIjana I talked about community - content and communications have the relationship between events and a vital role to play, especially in the extended life technology. It’s a subject of much debate of an event. That is to say, content and commuand experimentation; clients are asking for the nications are the connective tissue that take us latest technology and our industry has a rich beyond the magical hours or days when people heritage when it comes to harnessing new and are gathered together in person in one place. We innovative technologies to create ever more im- know that, when it comes to return on investpressive, immersive and interactive experiences. ment, it is vital to extend the value of an event But technology is not without its dangers. I cau- beyond that immediate time and beyond that tioned that when we buy wholesale into the lat- immediate audience. Content and communicaest and greatest technology we risk using it for tions hold the key, yet they are often fragmented its own sake, forgetting that it is great ideas - not and siloed. A lot of time and effort is invested great technologies - that engage audiences and in creating presentations, on-screen content, deliver effective results for brands. Just look at graphics panels or print elements but, typicalwhat is happening with virtual reality right now: ly, they have no life beyond the event itself.This it is almost being written into the brief as a ‘must represents a golden opportunity; an opportunity have’. And, whilst VR is undoubtedly a technolo- that technology can help with. An opportunity gy that is rich with possithat is too often squanbilities when it comes to dered.This is not a techexperience, it is not the nical or technology-reanswer to every experilated challenge. This is ”The world is hungry ence brief.At Jack Mora strategic challenge.For ton, there are four Expean increasing number of for content that is rience Principles that we our clients, it is content relevant to their live by:Be humanBe usemarketing, fuelled by fulInvite participationevent experiences and needs and interests.” Build communityWhen enabled digitally, that is we think about technolohelping meet this strategy, it is sometimes easy to gic challenge. Of course get caught up in the thrill using content to market of the new and forget these timeless principles, your brand or products is not new; Michelin has particularly the first one. Being human doesn’t been a practitioner since 1900 with its Michelin mean being analogue, but it does mean respect- guides. But in today’s landscape, where tradiing those qualities that make events and expe- tional channels are in decline and where online riences so valuable to us; such as spending time is heavily mediated by search and disrupted by with others, hearing stories told from the heart ad-blocking, content-driven marketing masand being able to interact or even shape content. sively outperforms in driving engagement and The best technology – the most human technol- retention. For those of us working in the MICE ogy – is invisible technology. Because life is not business, content marketing has an additional experienced in neat silos, we transition without relevance and attraction. We create highly valupause from face to face to the printed page to so- able and desirable content by the very nature of cial media to mobile app to search and so on. So the work we do, even if we don’t always realise the best technology is that which is invisible and it. For most content marketers, sourcing or crewhich helps us make these seamless transitions. ating content is their biggest challenge. In our So technology can be a great enabler, but it can’t industry, however, we have always been creating create a great experience on its own. When it killer content. It’s just that we often haven’t had comes to the other experience principles - be- a strategy to share it or to target it as a marketing useful, inviting participation and building ing tool.The overarching key to the success of 26

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content marketing is developing a deep underof analytics allows you to iterate content to optimize and to demonstrate the return on investstanding of your audience. Analytical tools and research will reveal what your wider audience ment from content marketing, so it’s essential to are already searching for online and, once you ensure that all relevant agencies are involved in know that, you can start to create a content plan setting up the metrics and tracking.The world is aligned with your events hungry for content that is relevant to their needs and communications plan. Start asking:How can we and interests. By sharing share the content from the incredible content ”Technology can be our event?Which channels that we create for our should we use?What is the meetings, events and exa great enabler, but periences more widely optimum timing to release through effective conthe content?How do we it can't create a great tent marketing, we can promote this content?And, experience on its own.” meet that hunger, thereimportantly, how do we by being useful, inviting design our event from the participation and buildground up to ensure that ing community – way we are planning for conbeyond the confines of the event itself. What’s tent to be shared more widely? Chances are, this more, by using technology to help us do this in question alone will force a significant re-think a seamless, almost invisible way, we can be huabout how certain elements might be designed man. And being human is something that our or captured on-site.Finally, be ready to fail fast industry understands very well. and optimise. Content marketing requires agility and a focus on serving your audience’s needs rather than sticking to a rigid format or satisfying internal stakeholders. A deep understanding


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Text by Petra Stušek Ljubljana Tourism, Slovenia / Photo credit Nea Culpa, Ljubljana Tourism


Petra Stušek, Managing Director of Ljubljana Tourism, Slovenia Petra Stušek is now in her third year as Managing Director of the Ljubljana Tourist Board. Petra is also a Board Member of an international European Cities Marketing. She has extensive experience in PR and marketing; was a PR Manager for advertising agency S Team Bates Saatchi & Saatchi, a Marketing Manager in Communication Services start-up telco company Telemach, Sales Executive on POP TV and PR & Marketing Manager in MultiChoice. Since her 18th year she is active in tourism. She was also an active member of National PR organization, leading the central communication section for PR experts from different fields and organizing debates with different communication specialists.

his story might have some elements of a bljana received over the last years, which echfairy-tale, but there was definitely no oed in many countries. At the top of the list, the magic wand. The way from “Cinderella title of European Green Capital 2016, which the city” to “Sexy LJ” was not always straight and European Commission awarded Ljubljana beobvious. The road to success was paved by a cause it has, in the shortest amount of time, inclear vision, coupled by strong will and passion, troduced the largest number of positive changes plus many footsteps following the right direc- in the quality of life. With this, we have become tion. Less than 10 years ago, the Mayor of Lju- a model European country in regard to organisbljana, Zoran Janković, mapped the sustainable ing life in a city that is environmentally and tourdevelopment master plan, Ljubljana 2025, defin- ist friendly, and very liveable. At last year's ing the key projects aimed at improving the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) globcity's functionality and the quality of life of its al summit, Ljubljana won the Tourism for Toresidents and visitors alike. Urban interventions morrow Destination Award for 2015. As the jury in the very city centre explained: »Extensive created vast pedestrian pedestrian spaces, an spaces open to new purecological zone and state poses. The gradual exof the art under-street re”In tourism it is all pansion of the traffic-free cycling systems have zone, the construction of greatly improved the city. about storytelling underground parking gaCentral to Ljubljana’s and genuine local rages, the landscaping of success is the partnerthe Ljubljanica rivership between Ljubljana experiences, and we’ve banks, which won the Tourism and the Municiprestigious European pality, engaging not only been combining them Prize for Public Open local businesses but also to attract visitors, both residents to input into Space 2012, and the further implementation of and influence policy. leisure and business, green policies are among This really is a shared vimany projects that not sion for the destination, since a while.” only changed the image which means that tourof Ljubljana. They actuism growth has been cenally generated a number tral to Ljubljana’s develof other effects, such as positive attitude and opment, reviving cultural activity, restaurants pride, which turned many local residents into and the entertainment sector. Now tourism and enthusiastic »ambassadors« of their city, includ- city life are inextricably linked, with sustainabiling an overall favourable reaction to tourism and ity principles at the heart«. At the same time we the growing number of foreign visitors. The stress that we have retained our way of life, what very visible physical transformation of Ljubljana is now called the trendy authenticity factor, had an absolute impact on changing the percep- meaning that the locals share it with visitors, tion of the city among the domestic and foreign who are welcome to join in.Another switch happublic: from a rather “incognito” status it pened in our communication via multiple, instepped among destinations on the bucket list to creasingly digital channels: in tourism it is all visit. The meetings industry sector also drew a about storytelling and genuine local experiencbenefit from this positive shift in Ljubljana’s im- es, and we’ve been combining them to attract age and stronger brand in the international are- visitors, both leisure and business, since a while. na.The many projects implemented through the The growth of the tourism industry has given a development strategy were crowned by a series boost to investments in the hotel sector over the of resounding and prestigious awards that Lju- last few years, with refurbishments and up28

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grades of existing properties underway, new ex- lic, even the local one. The experience of a city pansion plans and hotel openings announced, or a country is also sensory – taste being one of together with new contents, products, and im- them. “Taste Ljubljana” is a culinary project proved overall services. Alongside, the develop- aimed at reviving and promoting our traditional ment of other quality accommodations on the dishes in local restaurants and at various events, market, even in the attractive Old Town area - including business meetings and congresses, from B&B, to short-let apartments and hostels, which complements the “Taste Slovenia” prohas responded to an increasing travellers’ de- ject. They both underline the importance of the mand, not limited only to leisure visitors, for this quality of the ingredients, most often locally type of accommodation. grown, which is the basis Furthermore, many new for creating high-quality active experiences and culinary experiences. themed tours have been There are many other in”The meetings developed for Ljubljana itiatives that visitors to and the region of Central Ljubljana notice, or we industry sector also Slovenia, both by agenare proud of: the only vedrew a benefit from cies and Ljubljana Tourhicles allowed to permaism itself. Our philosonently enter the trafthis positive shift in phy is to actively fic-free zone have a kind promote, and also create, name – Kavalir, or Gentle Ljubljana’s image and trips and experiences helper, which correstronger brand in the from Ljubljana to the sponds to the attitude of surrounding region or to their drivers and service international arena.” other parts of Slovenia, they politely provide. including the classical The ride is free of charge “icons”, or main attracand green, as they run on tions in the country (Lake Bled, Postojna Cave, electric power. The Urban electric tourist train the coastline with Piran, etc), bookable also on- is a novelty in town. Our tap water is chemically line on the Visit Ljubljana web portal. We see untreated, retaining practically the same quality this as an added value to our destination. De- as at the very source. Not to mention the drinkpending on the season, a host of active pro- ing water fountains scattered around the city, grammes on land, water, snow, underground or which you can easily spot out by using the pracin the sky provide additional options to prospec- tical Tap Water Ljubljana app. And wherever tive visitors or those who are already here – a you are in Ljubljana, you can count seeing a tree flexible model also for those attending business – bearing in mind that 542 sq m of public green events. A number of them are also suitable for space are available to each of its 286.000 resiteambuilding events or incentive programmes. dents, according to “green statistics”. MentionAmong our own newer products, we are happy ing statistics, although numbers are not the sole that the “Taste Ljubljana” tour and “Beer Lov- indicator: 579.000 overnight stays were recorders’ Experience” have met success with the pub- ed in Ljubljana in 2005, while by 2015 they grew


to 1.186.000, adding that 96% were generated by foreign visitors. Coming to the meetings industry, for a city of its size, the venue options in Ljubljana to choose from are really ample: two flexible and centrally located congress centres with a different space concept, a number of functional and well-equipped convention hotels and hotels with meeting facilities in historic or modern shells, plus functional academic venues are the backbone of Ljubljana's meetings offerings. One of its strong points is also its compact size – meaning easy logistics and walking distances to many of the meeting and special event venues, hotels, the Old Town and other points of interest, which organisers and attendees appreciate. Moreover, at least a dozen of special event venues are found within 15 minutes walking from the most central downtown spot, including museums and galleries, the crown being one of the city landmarks - the Ljubljana Castle, which is nestled above the Old Town. But there’s more to add moving a bit further, even into the central Tivoli Park. Professional service with a personal touch is the name of the game in the destination, and this “human factor” is what clients from abroad often stress as one of our advantages, plus the genuine hospitality. Ljubljana Tourism with its Convention Bureau is a partner in all the major marketing projects in this segment, including the Conventa Show that has been organised by the Slovenian Convention Bureau in our city for eight years, with the new Conventa Crossover conference that brought a fresh breeze to hot summer days. What next? Keep a focus on the tourism strategy and keep an eye on trends, maintain an open and constructive communication with stakeholders in the destination and think smart, not necessarily big. Ljubljana, a charming and original old lady young at heart, deserves to have a bright future for all of us!

GR Briefing

Lively October at GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre Some outstanding events took place in October at GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. At the beginning of the month Ljubljana’s biggest convention centre was all about wine: the award ceremony of the best wines chosen during the 58th International Wine Competition – Vino Ljubljana and the 52nd Wine fair took place. Festivities conGR briefing tinued with the Golden Drum Grand Award Ceremony and Grand party for 23rd Golden Drum, the International Festival of Creativity, and on the last Friday of October it was the *********************************************** start of pop-up dance parties - Kurzschluss ************************************ that are hosting some worldwide known DJs and other renowned musicians. *********************************************** *********************************** va

Ljubljana hosted the 48th International Danube Neurology Symposium and 11th NMDPD GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre hosted two major, thematically connected events in October - the 48th International Danube Neurology Symposium, which started on 5th October and ended on 6th October, alongside the opening of the 11th International Congress on Non-Motor Dysfunctions in Parkinson's Disease and Related Disorders (NMDPD) and with a Joint Session of the two Meetings.

5th Fair “Tečem” as an add-on to the Volkswagen Ljubljana Marathon


One of the major sporting events of Slovenian capital Ljubljana is the Volkswagen Ljubljana Marathon, which takes place together with the traditional Fair “Tečem”, held at GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. This year the fair took place from 27th to 30th October and offered runners and their families, athletes, fans and passers-by the opportunity to discover the world of running, with a speciality of this year’s fair being the Marathon Centre of Sports Medicine, where all of the runners and visitors could get free expert advice and take quick medical check-ups.






Text by Dr. Lukas Zenk, Danube University Krems, Austria


ay to better meetings. What is meeting design, and why do we need to rethink how we organize our events?

Dr. Lukas Zenk works as a senior researcher at the Department for Knowledge and Communication Management, Danube University Krems, Austria. He leads applied research projects that focus on innovation networks, particularly for the meeting industry. He co-developed an innovative event design method ( as well as web apps to facilitate networking (www.hallisto. com) and taking collective pictures at events ( He offers workshops, consults companies, and gives keynote presentations (

organized various kinds of events, and tested new technology solutions. Prompted by a host of interesting and at times surprising findings, we attempted to make sense of them all. And the Meeting design is the art, business, and science process ultimately resulted in a solid and tested of creating events that matter. The word "event" approach to designing knowledge-intensive comprises all kinds of social situations such as events.Based on our research, we developed a conferences and conventions, where people have new method that, first and foremost, takes into temporary opportunities to share or generate account why people attend an event. We idenknowledge. And these situations should matter tified nine core activities of event participants, to those who attend the event. But here the ques- for example: Presenting: people want to present tion arises: Why do participants attend an event themselves or their knowledge, or they want to at all?At first glance, represent their organiit would seem easy to zation; Connecting: they design an event. You have are aiming to network an interesting topic, a lowith acquaintances or ”There is no "one-sizecation, lively presentameet someone new; tions, good food, vibrant Inspiring: people expect fits-all" design that networking breaks and to gain new insights in entertaining social an unexpected manner; meets all the different program. However, these or Enjoying: Freed from needs of participants.” situations are complex their daily routines, parand should be designed ticipants expect delicious meticulously. Take netfood and entertaining working for example acts.Depending on their It’s been scientifically proven that participants expectations, the event design needs specific, do not network as originally thought. They customized solutions. In our research, we identypically connect with people they already tified the most important design dimensions and know unless specific interventions (e.g., social solutions for creating a successful event. The arformats or technological tools) are implemented. chitectural dimension covers the physical conTherefore, simply providing breaks for network- figurations of the venue, for example, an arena ing is not enough.Globally, the number of events or a matchmaking space. The social dimension being offered has increased, while participants consists of formats that facilitate specific social have less time and smaller budgets for attend- interactions, e.g., icebreakers or topic cafés. And ing them. Consequently, they are becoming very the technological dimension includes solutions careful about selecting those events that matter for software tools or physical materials, such as most to them. If an event falls short of expecta- profiles of participants or file sharing of event tions, they won’t attend again, and it won't take photos.Applying this method to professional long for word to spread. In the worst-case sce- conference organizers, we figured out that team nario, a poorly designed event leads to dissatis- members have very different understandings fied attendees - and without participants, there about how to design an event. For this reason, we is no event.For this reason, we started an applied developed Event.Cards that cover all our findresearch project that lasted over three years to ings with illustrated graphics. This set of cards analyze the needs and expectations of event serves as a tool-kit for designing events within participants. We interviewed a large number of an organization team in less than an hour, and different stakeholders (participants, organizers, the wide variety of cards inspires organizers to service providers, etc.), attended, observed, and create meetings that rock. 32


Q: What is wrong with the format of meetings we have now? First, many organizers fail to think comprehensively about their intended participants’ real reasons for wanting to attend their event and their needs. Unless the whole organization team has a shared understanding of the event design, the format will not satisfy their participants. Second, most meeting formats are broadly similar. Organizers are reluctant to innovate and try something new in case a different format intimidates their audience. But the opposite seems to be true. When organizers don't try new formats that are better fits for their intended audiences, participants may not be willing to attend an event again. Q: What will you do to make the meeting creative and powerful? There is no "one-size-fits-all" design that meets all the different needs of participants. Therefore, we use the above-mentioned design process that includes all relevant key stakeholders to co-create the event collaboratively. Furthermore, we have developed web-based tools for specific events, for example, to facilitate networking. Participants specify their interests, and we automatically recommend interesting contacts whose interests align with theirs (www.hallisto. com). We also provide participants with a link, and they can take a photo and share it instantly with other participants (

MEETING DESIGNER Q: What is a meeting designer’s role? Meeting designers have a great deal of handson experience with diverse events, and they have tried out different formats, technologies, and designs themselves. It helps if they have a conceptual or practical framework for thinking about all the various aspects of these complex situations. At the end, they should support and inspire organizers to develop a mental blueprint of their desired event that matters to their participants. BENCHMARK Q: Give us an example of one of your favorite, well-designed meetings. In October 2016, I designed an event in Germany with the innovation managers of BENE. We used the Event. Cards to focus on what participants really want and we chose appropriate architectural, social, and technological solutions. All subsequent processes were perfectly aligned to this blueprint. We photographed the chosen Event. Cards and presented the design to all key stakeholders. In this way, the marketing raised appropriate expectations of the participants; graphic artists created logos, and the venue created specific spaces. Finally, we created a customer journey to inspire the participants.

Q: How can venues support meeting designs? A venue comprises more than just a building. Each architectural space enables participants to interact socially in a certain way. The better venues understand the underlying cognitive and social processes they can make possible with their premises, the better they can support the meeting design itself.


”Many organizers fail to think comprehensively about their intended participants’ real reasons for wanting to attend their event and their needs.”



Text by William Thomson, Spain


ay to better meetings. What is meeting design, and why do we need to rethink how we organize our events?

William Thomson has been managing events since 1996 and working as a Meeting Designer and Event Consultant since 2002. After university, he set up an event management company organising student graduation balls. Since then he has organised all manner of events for a wide variety of organisations, including Europe’s largest professional body and the largest Exhibition company in the World.

is covered sticks in the heads of your attendees, and we do that by taking the time to design the event, texturizing the content and being mindful of the environment. These three key areas have However, we shouldn't be too concerned, as one major benefit and that is that it tends to we have the tools to make our events better, to make your content engaging. So, put simply, add more value and to raise the bar. I believe if you want a conference where the content is Meeting Design is one of the best tools we have remembered in interesting and engaging ways and to prove that we only need to look at where you need to use some Meeting Design. we are now. 
And there’s more good news. Starting to do 
Well, a day out of the office at an exhibition some Meeting Design is pretty simple. When that generates one or two new leads is deemed designing the content in a conference, all you a success. A day at an exreally have to do is structernal conference where ture and deliver it while you learn one or two bits taking into account the ”Most meetings do not of useful information receptiveness of the do the simple thing matches many people’s attendees. low expectations. We are  
Where Meeting Design they are designed living in a world of low becomes slightly harder expectations and this is in deciding how much to do: support cannot last forever. It’s rearranging, reordering people to change not just external busior revolutionizing your ness events that are being content needs and what their behaviour” hamstrung by these low support you need to give expectations; it is the to your stakeholders, and same when we look at large internal meetings this is where Meeting Designers add most value. too. 
I’ve spoken to members of staff who tell me Q: What is wrong with the format of meetthat they often return from these types of events ings as we now have them? (picture the annual sales conference or staff Most meetings are designed to disseminate a lot away day) deflated and disillusioned. Annual of information. One of the worst ways to ensure conferences are flat, boring and often a re-hash people remember information is to disseminate of old content. Every event is about disseminat- a lot of it. In essence, most meetings do not do ing information with little interaction: we have the simple thing they are designed to do: support audiences and do not have participants. Guests people to change their behaviour. They fall at come back from internal and external network- the first hurdle because attendees are not ining events having networked only with the volved. Texturizing learning while approaching people they know. Put simply, most meetings are the meeting as a unique experience creates the boring. Meeting Design is the answer to boring right environment for learning. meetings. 
Our events have to be better. And this is where I Q:What would you do to make a meeting crebelieve Meeting Design plays a crucial role. You ative and powerful? can use Meeting Design in any meeting environ- The first thing to do is to actually realize that ment, but it is best used in a “conference style” meetings can be both creative and powerful! type of meeting and that’s because a confer- They can engage and excite, and they can deliver ence is (or should be) about learning.

Meeting real value for attendees and for their organisaDesign is primarily about making sure that what tions. We set the bar too low and both organisers 34


and attendees accept events that are simply not good enough. We have to think about making our meetings engaging and interesting. Or, dare I say, fun?

MEETING DESIGNER Q: Who is the meeting designer? It is very easy to make a few small amendments to a conference and I encourage everyone to try some meeting design; everyone should be a Meeting Designer! However, if you think making these changes without support is too risky then I would recommend speaking to an experienced Meeting Designer.

Q: How can venues support meeting design? That’s easy! They simply have to understand what meeting design is. They have to stop focusing and asking about the physical layout of a meeting and concentrate more on the atmosphere BENCHMARK and environment in which Q: Give us an example the organiser wants to of one of your favour”If you want a host his or her meeting. ite and best-designed They have to be open and meetings. conference where flexible; for example, most I designed an executive the content is meetings that use meeting staff away-day for a large design will need, at some educational organisation. remembered in stage, the room layout to We used several differchange. Don’t go charging ent session formats and interesting and organisers for that! instead of inviting speakengaging ways you ers we asked the attendQ: What is the best way ees to lead most of the need to use some to implement meeting sessions. Attendees also design for your next chose the subjects. In adMeeting Design” event? dition to the normal objecIf you are starting out, tives we also designed the don’t add more than three event to solve the organinew elements to an event. sation’s biggest problem, Perhaps allow the attendees to choose the topic as identified by the attendees: spending too long for the last session or introduce one session that in meetings! This event had a direct and measurallows for 15 minutes of interaction between able impact on the organisation. I ask: shouldn’t attendees. Have a debate instead of a panel. But all events? most importantly do not surprise your audience. Always tell them what you are planning to do.




Text by Mike van der Vijver, MindMeeting, The Netherlands


ay to better meetings. What is meeting design, and why do we need to rethink how we organize our events?

Mike van der Vijver is co-owner of MindMeeting, an agency specializing in the design of successful international meetings. Since 2003, Mike has provided advice on programmes and formats, and designs full conference and meeting programmes. In connection with his design work, Mike presents, moderates and facilitates about 30-35 meetings a year. He is also a regular speaker at conferences or during workshops on topics such as meeting effectiveness, innovative meeting formats, and especially Meeting Design. He also works as an advisor coach and trainer on intercultural management and helps organizations with structured creativity. Together with his Mindmeeting colleague Eric de Groot, Mike wrote “Into the Heart of Meetings”, the first book on Meeting Design, widely acclaimed as the standard work in the field.

may object. True, but that, too, is left for 90 % to chance and the remaining 10 % to the effects of alcohol consumption. Although in some meetings the percentages are different. The networking, too, requires proper design!

We define Meeting Design as: the art of matching the format of a meeting to its contents and aims. Many (very many!) We have now worked meetings today follow for 15 years as designers some blueprint that has and the most difficult ”I am amazed how never been properly part of our job is to get thought through. The the objectives for meetmuch thinking and format they follow tends ings right. This refers to resources go into to be a copy of earlier my second problem issue or other meetings. And above. Time and again, the logistical part of generally, that format is I am amazed how much classroom teaching: the meetings and how little thinking and resourcclassical situation where es go into the logistical into understanding one person stands in part of meetings (transfront of a room and tells food, coffee, etc.) what sort of change the port, other people how the and how little into unworld works. There is derstanding what sort meeting is supposed some opportunity for reof change the meeting is to bring about” sponse by the audience, supposed to bring about. but often to a limited Very often, the objecextent. Naturally, we tives for the meeting have inherited this dominant model from cen- are worded in terms like: ”We want to have a turies of teaching at schools and in universities. high-level discussion”; or: ”We really want There are several problems with this model. Let people to leave with a WOW feeling.” So, what? me give you three, but there are more: These are not objectives that produce a change. 1. It treats meeting participants as passive In fact, they are not even true and measurable consumers; objectives. The point is that the high-level dis2. It has little alignment with the meeting’s cussion or the WOW feeling should produce a objectives; change. After the meeting, some (and preferably 3. It does not do justice to the experiential op- many!) participants need to behave in a different portunities meetings offer. way. If that doesn’t happen, then all the money Let’s say a couple of things for each of these, al- spent on the meeting was wasted. To know if though they overlap at the same time. So, first your investment in the meeting was worthwhile, on being passive consumers. Meeting partici- you need to specify beforehand what change pants are thinking adults. I believe it is fair to you want to achieve and how to measure that give them that responsibility. When they come change. to a meeting, they bring along lots of experiences and know-how. The added value of a meeting Q: What is wrong with the format of meetis that you can float that. In his seminal book, ings we have now? James Surowiecki calls it “The Wisdom of People are physically present at meetings and Crowds”. Meetings with just someone talking this implies they have an experience by defiare like watching television. You can do that nition. But, to put it a bluntly, in the classroom from home. But there is the networking, you set-up, that experience is limited to “Sit and 36


Listen.” That is not a very rich experience! There messages in the programme. It is not just about are lots of ways in which participants can be beauty and “Wow” impact, it is about being an made active and stimulated to learn more ef- integral part of the participant experience. It fectively, network more actively, participate in will mean that the meeting venues of the future alignment, etcetera. It is the task of the designer will look different and will offer a different type to create the experiences that make this happen of services. More flexible and more consultative. for participants. So, do we need to rethink the way Q: How to implement we do events? Absolutely meeting design for your yes! Today’s meetings may next event? ”Meeting often look spectacular, This is a hard question. I participants are but they fall dramatically would suggest that every short in what they achieve, meeting should be propthinking adults. compared to what could be erly designed! Otherwise, done. the chances of actually I believe it is fair knowing what you want to give them that Q: What will you do to to achieve with your make the meeting creameeting, and the chances responsibility. tive and powerful? of getting that right are The design process is a very small. Actually, I When they come well-structured method. would like to be a bit more to a meeting, they That means you start provocative: I have diffiwith a proper analysis culty understanding how bring along lots” of needs and objectives, organizations convince which includes a proper themselves on spending of experiences understanding of the parcartloads of money on and know-how.” ticipants and the organimeetings for which they zation responsible for the only measure satisfaction meeting. You study the outcomes and not change content and find areas that outcomes. lend themselves for the creation of participant experiences. And you propose ways in which at- MEETING DESIGNER tendees can become really active participants, Q: Who is the meeting designer? who are at the center of a useful experience. Objectively, today meeting designer is not a That requires a whiff of creativity, but that is recognized profession, nor is there any specific not the main point. The point is that you must give shape to a process that achieves the desired outcomes. Q: How can venues support meeting design? The venue has a central part in the design! An appropriate venue can help enormously to create the right experience and to achieve the outcomes. For this, the venue needs to have a distinctive character that strengthens the main


place, or university that trains people to become meeting designers. So, we can say that meeting designers are self-proclaimed. Personally, I find that anyone who gives shape to meeting programmes (and gets paid for that) is a meeting designer. That means: not the logistics or the “planning” of meetings, but designing programmes in accordance with the definition I gave earlier. This year, MindMeeting launched the “Meeting Design Practicum”, a gathering in which around 25 professionals experimented with various design issues. Most of those worked within organizations or as free-lancers on meeting programmes. BENCHMARK Q: Give us an example of one of you favorite, well designed meeting We recently designed the programme for a small meeting in a family company. After going through the design process, the design became a life-size board game about the dilemmas that the participants encountered, as shareholders, family members and private persons at the same time. Participants played with a unique mix of fun and serious discussion. The game turned out to be so successful that it has been re-used several times already. The management board, for instance, has used it for its strategic analysis of the company’s future. So: no empty Wow factor, but a meeting that dealt with vital issues in an engaging and effective programme.



Text by Bo Krüger, Moving Minds, Denmark


ay to better meetings. What is meeting design and why we need to rethink the way we organise our events?

Bo Krüger is on a misson to make meetings change the world. He helps meeting planners and facilitators apply the latest knowledge and research from psychology and social science into their meetings. He works as a speaker, facilitator, author and meeting designer. His knowledge is deep, but his approach is very practical and easy to understand. Bo is well known for his enthusiasm, creativity and ability to engage participants. Bo won the outstanding achievement award at the Danish Meeting and Events Awards 2016.

four people talking all the time are the best way to motivate and learn.We live in a hyper-complex, accelerating world, where Pokemon Go can conquer the world in a few weeks and political changes like Brexit and the American election can change the world overnight. In a world like this, participants don’t have time to sit heavily in a chair and wait for an academic expert or the management to find solutions to the challenges they are facing. They have to get on their feet, engage and start finding their own solutions together with other participants. But how do you do that? That’s the question meeting design tries to answer. to create

Many meeting professionals try to create better meetings by improving the logistics of the meeting, but the truth is that the gains on better food, nicer rooms and printed brochures are very limited. We can maybe improve our meetings by 10% by focusing on its “hardware”. Moreover, the competitive advantage is minimal, as everyone else in the industry is having the same focus. The cheapest and easiest way to improve meetings, by up to 80%, is by ”In order focusing on the content better meeting and the format of the Q: What is wrong with meetings, its “software”. the format of meetings formats and content, In many meetings the as we now have them? content is too poor and They are too uniform; we we need to have a the format (how we do the same thing all the deeper understanding meet) is ineffective in time. That’s boring and terms of creating learndoesn’t reflect the comof how humans ing, innovation, networkplexity of the challenges ing, motivation and high we are facing every day. learn, co-create and quality decisions - all the If you were a craftsman are motivated” cool stuff that are the and only had one tool, real reasons why we’re you would probably be having the meeting after really poor at your job. all.This is why we have Meeting Design. Meeting Why should meetings be any different? How design is about improving the quality of both can plenary discussions, Powerpoints and a few the format and the content of the meeting, and Q&As solve all our problems? at the same time making sure the logistics are working. Both the “software” and “hardware” Q:What would you do to make a meeting creshould be great, the very same way Apple revo- ative and powerful? lutionized the computer and phone industry by The simple answer is – ENGAGE the particmaking amazing software integrated into a cool ipants much more. In most meetings you only physical design.In order to create better meeting engage one person at a time (the lucky one, who formats and content, we need to have a deeper has the word). If you look at it from a strictly understanding of how humans learn, co-create logical point of view, this means that only one and are motivated. There is a lot of research in idea or thought is shared at a time. Why not use these areas, within social science, psychology meeting formats that engage everyone’s knowland pedagogy, that everyone in the meeting edge and creativity at the same time? Imagine industry could learn from. And I can assure how much more innovation and knowledge you that the research doesn’t show that loads sharing it would create if 10 people or even 1,000 of Powerpoint presentations, boring panel dis- people were sharing their thoughts and ideas at cussions and plenary discussions with the same the same time. 38


Q: How can venues support meeting design? Start by asking the clients what the objectives of the meeting are instead of starting by asking when they want to eat lunch. When you know their objectives, you can explore how you can support them in achieving them. Maybe they need a different physical setup to make it easy to engage the participants. If you are more ambitious you can introduce a meeting designer to help design a meeting that creates maximum value. The venue can train their own staff to become meeting designers, or they can cooperate with an external meeting designer. Q: What is the best way to implement meeting design for your next event? Start with something easy, for example ask the participants to stand up and have a short 5-minute conversation with someone in the room they don’t already know. The topic could for example be: “What inspired you in the presentation you just heard?” or “How can we find a solution to the challenge we are facing?” This format is called ‘Mini Meetings’ and research has shown that it’s effective in increasing learning and motivation.There are also a lot of good sources from where you can get inspiration. I

have described different engaging formats on my homepage: The Meeting Design Institute has an enormous knowledge base from where you can draw ideas. MEETING DESIGNER Q: Who is the meeting designer? Someone who cares about both the software (format and content) and hardware (logistics) of the meeting. BENCHMARK Q: Give us an example of one of your favourite and best-designed meetings. Last February in Copenhagen I designed and facilitated, together with Ann Hansen, Meeting Professionals International’s (MPI) signature annual European event, EMEC  (European Meetings & Events Conference).  More than 400 delegates, mostly Europeans, attended. We used the Danish Meeting Design concept - Meetovation - and lots of engaging formats with great success. The evaluation showed that 97% of the delegates found that the conference was more engaging than ever before and 90% found that meeting design definitely increased the Return on Investment on their participation.


”The cheapest and easiest way to improve meetings, by up to 80%, is by focusing on the content and the format of the meetings, the “software” of the meetings”



Text by Maarten Vanneste, Meeting Design Institute, Belgium


ay to better meetings. What is meeting design, and why do we need to rethink how we organize our events?

Maarten Vanneste is a Meeting Industry leader and visionary with 30+ years of experience. His CMM’s project became reality, in 2006, as the Meeting Design Institute (MDI). In 2007 Maarten wrote “Meeting Architecture, a manifesto”. This became an industry bestseller and lead to an international movement. With a focus on the content side of meetings, MDI is organizing the FRESH Conference. For his work and influence on the Meetings industry, Maarten received the IMEX Academy Award in 2005 and the MPI RISE Award for Industry Leadership in 2011.

As you will see, every practitioner has a different perspective and they will each work for clients that match their style, culture and priorities. The overarching perspective, irrespective of style Why we meet is basically what the Book Meeting and culture is ROI; Return On Investment. If we Architecture is all about. The authors you can decide to spend time and money on a meeting, see in this feature are either practitioners or tool conference or event, we need to get the most out segment specialists. Meeting architecture is the of it. Participants need to go away and do more overarching disciple around meeting design. of what the meeting was set up to do: its objecLike an architect designs a house, so does a tives. We need to make sure all the objectives Meeting Architect design a Meeting, conference are clearly described and prioritized. And only vent, etc. Like architects all can come from the then we should start with design because design same school, they can needs to support the all have different styles objectives.So, meeting and specialties. A stile design is the second ”In our industry, you would be like an archistage in the meeting arhave practitioners that chitects work. It comes tect that builds wooden cottage style or another after the Identification of build soft and people that builds minimalistic objectives and before the concrete villas. These arexecution and measureoriented meetings chitects both specialize ment. We need to rethink and others that do in houses, while another everything we do conarchitect could specialstantly, not just meetings. more directive, top ize in company building, And we need to innovate museums (Frank Ghery) whenever there is a opdown messaging or bridges. In our indusportunity to do, whatevents for corporate. try, you have practitionever it is we do, better. ers that build soft and Surely in meetings and Left and Right if you people oriented meetings events. Meetings (whenand others that do more ever and however groups want to compare it to directive, top down mescome together) are the political terminology” saging events for corpomost impactful, visible, rate. Left and Right if expressive, the most inyou want to compare it to fluential and also expenpolitical terminology. And you have extreme on sive moments for groups of people, be it corpoboth sides and many shades of grey in between. rate teams or association peers.Such a moment Since 2000 I did presentation in segments of where everyone invests time and money should meeting design, and I have asked thousands most certainly be the best it can be. The imporof meeting planners this question: Why? Why tance and complexity is such that a professional do you organize meetings? They all came up is recommendable. And weather this professionwith the same or similar answers and today (I al is called a producer, meeting designer, comask why) they still say the same. Roughly about munication professional or meeting architect is 200 answers that roughly fit in 3 categories: irrelevant, as long as this person is widely and Learning, Networking and Motivation. It shows broadly educated in all segments of meeting arhow meeting professionals keep thinking on the chitecture so he can be the best ‘master builder’ lower levels in the ROI measurement levels. for the project at hand.



Q: What is wrong with the format of meetings as we now have them? Nothing is wrong. Unless it does not support the objectives. Q:What would you do to make a meeting creative and powerful? Why would I do that? Who says a meeting needs to be creative or powerful? It can be a dry but extremely important technique that feels boring and weak, but has the right impact.

Q: How to implement meeting design for your next event? Implementation is done by looking at the design plan. That is something any project manager could do. But with the dearchitect signer keeping a good eye on the execution, helping a house, to understand the design.

”Like an designs so does a Meeting Architect design a Meeting, conference vent, etc. Meeting design is the second stage in the meeting architects work and comes after the Identification of objectives and before the execution and measurement”

Q: How can venues support meeting design? In a million different ways, but that would be a book in its own right. Furniture, flexibility, service, creativity, technology and many more categories where venues could work to support the objectives. Everything start with the building and how it is created. Many meeting rooms are fundamentally wrong in the sense that they do not allow for a good meeting. Architects of meeting space still make the same mistakes that create a meeting designers or producer’s worst nightmare.

MEETING DESIGNER Q: Who is the meeting designer? To be a designer is quite easy, to be a good one is another question. He who influences the design of a meeting or event is a meeting designer. To be a professional one (one that can live of meeting design) you need enough work and in many event agencies you could find such people but they don’t see themselves as such. To be a Meeting designer with a diploma is impossible today. And getting a certificate after two three or even 8 days of training, will of course not make you a good, professional let alone a great meeting designer. As a senior teacher and leader from an American University once


said after seeing the Curriculum for meeting architecture: ‘This is a four-year course!’ and I hope that one day it will be. In Belgium, it is mandatory to use a qualified architect (5years university) to build a house of 100.000 and the architect remains accountable for the quality of the work for 10 years. We send on events 10 times that or more without anyone with a degree in meeting architecture. Or anything that comes close. It makes you wonder why procurement or Strategic Meeting Management Professionals (SMMP) allows this to happen. BENCHMARK Q: Give us an example of one of you favorite, well designed meeting. From a discipline perspective: A well designed meeting is one that demonstrates higher productivity / higher impact or even ROI that the one of the year before. From a professional personal perspective, the one where I meet my next biggest client. From a personal perspective, the meeting where I had the most fun.

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Relax over tapas in an outdoor café or dance until dawn. Whatever you do, Madrid is the business.




ave you ever wondered just who might be the top influencers in the Central and South East Europe Meetings Industry? As the industry rapidly evolves, it’s clear that some key influencers actually have the same reach and draw as big companies, so individuals matter in a way that has never been possible before. The Editorial Board of Kongres Magazine has once again assessed more than 70 influencers in Central and South East Europe after reviewing highlights from the Meetings industry in 2016 and has based their assessment on several key criteria, such as: • Achievement of the best financial and other multiplier effects of the meetings industry in 2016, (significantly deviating from the average); • Implementation of the most demanding improvements and innovations in their field, which also includes successfully implemented projects that have defined the year 2016; • Help in enhancing the reputation and profile of the meetings industry in 2016; • Innovations that facilitate the work of meetings organisers, or in their way have pointed the direction of the industry in the future. Based on 460 completed surveys, Kongres magazine has analysed and shortlisted the TOP 45 most influential people in Central and South East Europe in 2016. They have all contributed to the development of the region and our readers have chosen the best of the best. We have also added 2 newcomers in each category, voted by our readers. The candidates have been divided into 5 categories:


TOP 2016


Thessaloniki Convention Bureau

In 2014 Efi Koudeli was elected as the new General Director of the Thessaloniki Convention Bureau and since then she has carried out many important projects. Hardworking and enthusiastic, Efi has helped in the worldwide promotion of Thessaloniki as a meeting destination. Before her election she gained experience at the Greek-Turkish Chamber of Northern Greece, IATA and the Greek National Tourism Organisation.

Krysztof CELUCH

Poland Convention Bureauu

Krysztof has a rich history of experience in the meeting industry and from 2009 to 2011 he was active in the MPI Poland Club and has been as international volunteer in the MPI International Board of Directors (2012-2015). As a journalist in the meetings and events field he has also published more than 100 articles. Krysztof has been the head of the Poland Convention Bureau since 2010 and besides this important role he shares his knowledge with a younger generation in his role as a Vice-Rector at the Warsaw School of Tourism and Hospitality.



Slovenian Convention Bureau Active for a decade as the director of the Slovenian Convention Bureau, which enjoys an outstanding reputation abroad, he continually nurtures the growth of the Slovenian meetings industry through a number of innovative marketing and CSR projects. The editorial board has put a particular emphasis on the Conventa project that, as a brand, has become synonymous with the SE Europe congress product and has significantly assisted with the placement of the region on the meetings planners’ list of key destinations.


Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau Alexis Galinos is a development economist and in economic development matters has been an advisor to the Municipality of Athens since 2003. He has led the establishment of a municipal agency whose objective is the management and implementation of tourism and economic development in Athens, and he served as the organisation's first Director-General from 2005 to 2007. He holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University, an MSc in European Social Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA in Economics from Bates College.

TOP 2016



Tatjana Radović has a number of candidacies under her belt that she has prepared with passion and dedication in her veins. In carrying out her role she has been linking key Ljubljana meeting suppliers for a number of years now, which this year came together in the Ljubljana Strategic Bidding Team. This has given an additional boost to the work of connecting with the Slovenian Convention Bureau and to a number of important projects of associations obtained for the coming years.

The director of TZ Dubrovnik and with many solid years of experience in business behind her, she has accelerated the promotion of Dubrovnik to now being the region’s most recognizable congress brand and a player in the European premier league for congresses and events. Dubrovnik could rightfully claim that 2013 was its year on the conference scene, as almost every important event of that year was held in this very beautiful city, among them the meetings of NATO, the FIS International Ski Federation, FIA – International Automotive Association, and FIFA.

Ljubljana Convention Bureau

Malgorzata PRZYGORSKA SKOWRON Krakow Convention Bureau

A graduate of the Jagiellonian University (Polish Philology) and postgraduate studies in the field of EU funds, she was at the Department of Information, Tourism and Promotion of the City since 2004 and participated in projects in the field of tourism, such as "Royal Road for disabled tourists" and "Museum product in selected cities around the world - promotion of museum routes in Europe." Since 2013 she has been the head of the Krakow Convention Bureau.


Zagreb Convention Bureau With a wide range of activities he is charged with getting Zagreb on to the congress market. It is to his credit that Zagreb is today a modern and distinctive convention destination. Through active participation in all of the regional and international initiatives Zagreb is today a stable, growing congress destination, which over the last few years has been steadily increasing its market share in the associations and corporate markets.

Dubrovnik Convention Bureau

Özgül Özkan YAVUZ

Istanbul Convention Bureau Özgül Özkan Yavuz was promoted in 2014 to be the new General Manager of the Istanbul Convention & Visitors Bureau (ICVB). From 20082010 she was the Director for Tourism and Promotion at the Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency, where she was primarily responsible for the international promotion of the programme.


Prague Convention Bureau Roman Muška has been working in the MICE field since 1996, gaining extensive experience in tourism, and takes on the position of Managing Director with the objective of meeting the PCB longterm strategic plans, such as attracting a larger number of international meetings in Prague, building a positive image of Prague as an attractive convention destination abroad and, last but not least, raising the awareness of the congress industry and its economic and non-economic impact in the Czech Republic. 45

Newcomers in 2016, voted by readers Nina ERNEKER

Bratislava Convention Bureau As an engineer of tourism management from the University of Economics in Bratislava she acquired extensive experience in tourism, services, management, PR and marketing. Now head of the Bratislava Convention Bureau she is responsible for development and execution of a long-term communication strategy for Bratislava while developing a networking platform for the MICE community in her hometown. She is a great brand ambassador with strategic thinking and a holistic approach, keen on travel and gastronomy.


Moravia Convention Bureau After graduating in Tourism at the Faculty of Economics, Mendel University Brno, his first tourism outing was with the Prague Convention Bureau, where he completed an internship. Soon after he joined the dynamic team at the Moravia Convention Bureau. As a project manager he offers full support to organisers of events in equal measure to assistance and independent, complex information for planning MICE events.

TOP 2016


Vesna PRITCHARD Globtour Event

With more than 36 years of experience in the travel industry Globtour Event is one of the leading Croatian fully licensed travel agencies. Vesna Pritchard’s team consists of a group of motivated, passionate people who are dedicated to the work they do, sharing a common mission, vision and values in order to provide their customers with the very best service.

Tomaž KRUŠIČ and Miro HRIBAR Intours DMC

Intours reached its zenith moment in 2013, when the company was recording impressive business results, an increase of brand awareness and rapid growth. For the company 2013 meant moving in a broad regional presence, where it has continued to increase its market share. Tomaž is also active as president of the council of the Slovenian Convention Bureau, in which he is responsible for improving the visibility of the industry in Slovenia.

Stjepan ŽUNIĆ


As a long-time tourism professional he has mainly been working with corporate clients, associations and medical doctors attending congresses. His main vision was focusing and specialising on this complex and demanding field of congress organisation in order to deliver the highest possible service. Being passionate about excellence stems from their company name: Penta [Greek, from pente, five; as the top mark]. Today, after 20 years of continuous activity, the company is a proven leader in the field of MICE services.

Dubrovnik Travel is recognised in the market as an extremely marketing-oriented company that steers the trends of regional DMCs. A clear marketing strategy and a systematic operation are visible at both the service level of co-operation with the most demanding clients as well as in the credible results, which were reflected in receiving the Gazelle Award in 2011. Daniel is heavily involved in the meetings arena, also as a member of peer associations and the voice of the convention industry of Croatia.

Penta PCO

Dubrovnik Travel DMC


TOP 2016

Natalija BAH ČAD


Natalija joined Go.MICE in 2008 with ten years of experience as a PCO behind her and with a vision to run a private congress agency that would be flexible, creative and personal. Together with her team of MICE enthusiasts she has proven that the organisation of a successful congress involves not just logistics, but also creativity and innovativeness. She strongly believes that the organisation of any kind of event is founded on a trustworthy partnership that builds a positive outcome. Conventa is one of the projects that she has been involved with from the very beginning and this concept of regional B2B events has also been successfully transferred from MICE to the Spa & Wellness industry, as well as the active tourism field.

For more than a decade she has been developing real DMC services in Montenegro as part of the Talas-M agency. With worldclass clients she has helped to put Montenegro on the region’s incentive map via its own network of representatives throughout Europe, indirectly contributing to the country’s promotion. Due to their abundance of fresh ideas, which have been recognised in the Ovation agency and within the partnership of the Dubrovnik Talas-M, they have become one of the strongest regional DMC agencies.


Talas-M DMC


Coral Group DMC - PCO

The Liberty International Tourism Group is a successful international company that has been working on the international tourist market for over 20 years. The company grew out of one office into an international corporation with 43 offices in 33 countries across various parts of the world.

A fresh start on the key marketing function of Croatian tourism is an important event for a man of the meetings industry, and one that comes with the great responsibility of setting the meetings industry on the list of key products that will help contribute to the deseasonalisation of Croatian tourism. This is also an important event as an opportunity to strengthen presence in the professional and business environments. Slaven has many years of experience in economics and undoubtedly has all the credentials for success.



Congress and Events Management Director of CD Congress Centre Ljubljana since 2006, Breda Pečovnik is currently a member of the Slovenian Convention Bureau’s Board as well as the professional international associations of ICCA and IAPCO. She also teaches congress management at a college and faculty in Ljubljana.

Since its foundation in 1990 Miross travel agency has successfully been organising seminars, conferences, travel requirements and any uniquely special arrangements. They are members of IATA (International Air Transport Association), ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association), ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents, International Chapter), YUTA (Yugoslav Association of Travel Agencies) and MCB (Montenegro Convention Bureau).

Boštjan HORJAK Liberty Adriatic

CD Congress Centre



Newcomers in 2016, voted by readers Vojin BOJKOVIĆ

Astakos Travel and Events Vojin Bojković has been president and owner of Astakos Travel and Events for more than 20 years. Given his dedication to new creations, passion to explore new possibilities, locations and destinations, ASTAKOS Travel & Events will maintain the position of the leading PCO & DMC in Montenegro and is showing signs of becoming one of leading PCO & DMCs in Serbia.

Vid BENKO Otours

Starting off as a Generalturist intern whilst studying at the Zagreb School of Management, the three months spent there allowed him to become familiar with the functioning of such enterprises and upon completion Vid followed this path by getting a job in the congress department of travel agency O-Tours. It was here that he started as assistant project manager and over the years of experience and practice in the agency has quickly progressed to the position of independent project manager.

TOP 2016


Marketing manager and aspiring meeting designer at the audience interaction platform Slido, Juraj recently received the Young Hero in Meeting Design Award and was selected as one of PCMA’s ‘20 In Their Twenties Class of 2016’ for his work as a professional, speaker and writer in many activities that drive meeting design. Juraj writes the Slido blog and contributes to events industry media outlets such as Conference News, Eventbrite and Prezi blogs, among others. As a public speaker, Juraj evangelizes the importance of audience interaction and meeting design at key industry conferences, such as IBTM, FRESH Conference, Social Media Week and Eventex.

Aleksandra UHERNIK ĐURĐEK HelmsBriscoe

She is a meeting and motivational event professional based in Croatia and for whom business meetings, educational programmes, conferences, congresses and motivational events are her profession and have been her everyday life for more than fifteen years. Aleksandra holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Zagreb with a specialisation in the Tourism and Hospitality industry.

Gorazd ČAD


Founder and owner of the marketing and congress agency Toleranca marketing, Gorazd has numerous years of experience in the planning, preparation and execution of major international trade shows and fairs. Having started his career in Cankarjev dom, where he project-led on fairs such as Infos, Kapital, Bits & Fun, Slovenian Wine Festival and many others, work in his private capacity has given him a long and multi-faceted experience of developing B2B trade shows, the most noteworthy of these being Conventa, Space, Natour and Hot-Rest.

Weekend Media Festival has completely changed the face of marketing festivals of the region. By both number of participants as well as by the quality of content it became an institution in a very short time. Each year it gathers some 4,000 participants, among whom are all of the key players in the field of the communication industries.

Toleranca Marketing



TOP 2016



Marcel Wassink has an MSc in Computer Science from TU Delft. He is a longterm executive who has founded, acquired and sold several innovative companies in various market segments, such as clean energy, event technology, speech recognition and healthcare. Marcel built and managed businesses within Fujitsu, Philips and Nuance. He has lived and worked in several countries. Marcel likes to get involved, invest or lead innovative businesses, developing their business strategy with a hands-on approach.

Dani has more than 15 years of experience in training, coaching and conferences, and events moderation. He is a founder and CEO of Teambuilding Academy – a company dedicated to developing team work in organisations through interactive workshops, active teambuilding programmes, personalised solutions and modern teambuilding events throughout Europe. Dani is a frequent guest speaker and moderator at different conferences and seminars. In 2009 he was awarded among The Best 10 Lecturers within the Slovenian market.



Belgrade Design Week A perfectionist, obsessed with the idea of establishing a regional creative hub. Belgrade Design Week is, in global terms, an event without precedent. His work is characterised by an understanding of the creative industries and their importance to the revitalisation of society. This results in a changed perception of Belgrade, which Jovan has achieved over a number of years. At the same time the annual event is always a surprise in terms of the new innovation in its organisation.

Davor BRUKETA Bruketa & Žinić

Davor is the co-owner and Creative Director of Bruketa&Žinić OM advertising agency, one of the top twenty leading independent agencies in the world, according to Campaign magazine (2014), “Small Agency of the Year, International” according to AdAge magazine (2013), Second Most Efficient Independent Advertising Agency Globally according to Effie Index (2012) and among the best 200 packaging designers globally (Lürzer’s Archive, 2015). Bruketa has been a jury member at many international advertising festivals and is since 2016 also the president of Croatian Association of Communications Agencies.

Teambuilding Academy

Žiga NOVAK Orehov Gaj

Žiga Novak is an entrepreneur, lecturer, innovator and business consultant with more than 15 years of international work experience, primarily in the meeting industry. Since 2013 he has been focusing on running his own event venue – The Walnut Grove, a unique and sustainable meeting place in Ljubljana, Slovenia – as well as their in-house creative agency The Team Building Lab. Žiga is the biggest regional promoter of gamification in events and tourism – the notion that the mechanics of play is the best possible link between stories (based on heritage, business interests, teaching goals etc.) and extraordinary experiences that the meeting (and education) industry needs to create for its ever more demanding customers.of experience in economics and undoubtedly has all the credentials for success.


Newcomers in 2016, voted by readers Manolis PSARROS TOPOSOPHY

Innovator, strategic thinker & planner, debater, and, above all else, a true citizen of the world. Senior manager, consultant, entrepreneur and keynote speaker with over 15 years of experience in tourism development and destination marketing positions, as well as roles at a global level. Since 2003 he has helped DMOs and tourism organisations at the global level to achieve their goals through meaningful strategies and results-oriented tactics. He is currently managing director at Toposophy, which provides tourism organisations, associations and companies (both public and private) with practical solutions to develop, manage and market places as tourism destinations, accompanying them at every step of the way.

Ovanes OVANESSIAN Eventex

Ovanes is the founder of Eventex and Weemss. He has executed more than 100 successful business events including conferences, congresses, exhibitions, forums, competitions, award ceremonies.Ovanes is an expert on event websites, event registration, and event marketing strategies. He is a keen traveler, so whenever he finds a window he would enjoy a recharge gateway with his partner in life and business, Simona.


Marko Guček is the CEO and co-founder of TM Vista d.o.o. The company offers low cost transport between cities and airports under the brand GoOpti. GoOpti uses an innovative online booking system, pricing policies and optimization of transport. Marko is mostly involved in development, marketing and strategic management. He is also a co-founder of two successful companies in the field of tourism: the centre for business travels TM Potovanja d.o.o., which operates under the UNIGLOBE franchise, and Socinet d.o.o., a web application LinkedAge that offers retirement homes additional revenue by renting out unused space. 49

TOP 2016


Director of the Krakow Festival Office, which operates the ICE Kraków Congress Centre. Her former positions include those of the Deputy Director for Marketing and the Krakow Promotion Director, as well as the Head of the Press Office of the Mayor of the City of Krakow. Cultural manager, producer, co-producer and coordinator of many international cultural and TV projects. She is a member of the jury of the prestigious EFFIE Awards competition, holds a seat on the Expert Council THINKTANK and lectures at the Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University.

Tomo ČEH

Union Hotels

Tomo Čeh has worked for several years as a corporate director or consultant in the fields of real estate, marketing and tourism. Tomo has also been the Chairman of the Board of Istrabenz Tourism, lead the renovation project of the Palace Hotel in Portorož, director of the Postojna Cave and director of the agency Globtour in Globtour Praha. His management of various tourist and hotel companies has always been tied to specific requirements in connection with reorganisation and crisis management.


Živorad VASIĆ

Renata Balažič, president of Management Board of the largest Slovenian tourism company Sava Tourism d.d. works in tourism industry from the beginning of her career. From 1997 to 2011 she worked in Grand Hotel Union d.d., where she first established new sales department and from 2005 on, she worked as Director of Sales and Marketing for many city hotels from hotel group Union Hotels. During this time, she was also actively involved in planning, marketing strategies and other marketing activities of the largest congress/ convention hotel in Ljubljana. She has extensive experience and knowledge in the field of congress and event activities, marketing strategies and managing relations with guests. In 2008 she was awarded by Ministry of Economy and Slovenian Tourist Board as Top manager in Slovenia.

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

Sava turizem

Crowne Plaza


TOP 2016



Gregor is a supervisory board member of the British Chamber of Commerce in Slovenia and member of the supervisory board of the Ljubljana Tourism Board. Gregor also has proud memberships of several other important associations: YES (Young Executives of Slovenia), American Chamber of Commerce, German Chamber of Commerce and the Slovenian Managers Association. Gregor achieves great results at Slon with the highest occupancy rates among all of the hotels in Ljubljana, as well outstanding financial results within all of the Slovenian hotels. Slon has hosted many important and distinguished guests during Gregor’s management, with the highlight being the stay of American President Bill Clinton.

Having acquired different work experience from different positions and departments in F&B, Rooms Division and Sales & Marketing in Italy (South Tyrol and Sardegna), Spain (Mallorca), Czech Republic (Prague) and Austria (Tyrol, Carinthia, Vienna), then moving up as F&B Manager and later Resident Manager, before becoming Assistant General Manager of two Hotels in Vienna with his first pre-opening experience, he then became GM of the Falkensteiner Hotel in Carinthia for five years and since 2008 has been GM of Punta Skala Resort, overseeing a total of 781 units with approximately 500 employees during the summer months. In 2013 he was also Interim GM for Schlosshotel Velden***** on Woerther Lake.

Hotel Slon

Josipa JUTT FERLAN Double Tree by Hilton

A dynamic, high-performance executive with a 20-year accomplished career track record recognised throughout the industry for delivering and sustaining revenue and profit gains within a highly competitive regional market, she has broad hospitality experience with in-depth expertise covering hospitality management, controlling, international sales, marketing, PR and brand development.

Tomislav POPOVIĆ

Maistra Hotels & Resorts With bold investments made in recent years, Maistra has managed to set-up a different meetings product, the peak of these being a new convention centre at the Lone hotel. In delivering this, Maistra has placed Rovinj on the market as a highquality business venue, which in terms of design and experiential value has no equal in the region. With the support of events such as the Weekend Media Festival it has become the focal point of the new, creative meetings industry of the future.

Falkensteiner Punta Skala


Newcomers in 2016, voted by readers Sandi KOVAČEVIČ Hotel Cubo

Mr. Sandi Kovačević comes from a family of hoteliers and he always knew that he would be working in the hotel industry. He gained experience in the family hotel, later on the cruise ship and then in his early twenties as the founder of Hound Dog, a well-known rock club in Ljubljana. He then implemented previous experience to hotel Domina where he was a head of the congress department. All this expertise in catering and event organisation led him to Austria trend hotel and later to hotel Slon to the position of an fnb manager. He gradually worked up his way to a manager of a hotel Cubo, that opened in 2011. The rule that he lives by in Hotel CUBO is not to follow trends in the industry but to set them.


Hotel Budva

In post as General Manager of Hotel Budva, Montenegro, for the past 1.5 years, she started her career in tourism 14 years ago, when she finished at the American College of Management and Technology in Dubrovnik in 2002. Irina was then working in the Sheraton and Westin Zagreb Hotels for 6.5 years, coordinating all the activities within the sales and marketing department, from selling and organising accommodation and banquet capacities to everyday contact with clients and coordination of all the events in real time with assistants in order to deliver the agreed “five star” services.

Nikola AVRAM

MK Mountain Resort

Radisson Blu Old Mill Hotel Gabriela Ditetova, born in the Czech Republic, replaces Thomas Swiec as the head of the Radisson Blu Old Mill Hotel in Belgrade. With more than 20 years of experience in the hotel industry, Gabriela brings to this position a wealth of experience in sales and marketing, management and operational management. Prior to her arrival in Belgrade, she built her career in a number of management positions in hotels in Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. She arrives in Belgrade from a senior management position at the hotel Park Inn by Radisson Nevsky in St. Petersburg, Russia. Ditetova will be responsible for the operation of the hotel with a focus on the growth, development and future of the company in Belgrade.

Nikola Avram, general manager of MK Mountain Resort and co-owner of 88 Rooms, was born in 1980 in Rijeka. He graduated from the prestigious American College of Management (RIT) and continued professional development in the Disney hotel in Florida. Nikola Avram has many years of experience in managerial positions gained through the hotel industry in Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. From 2010 he has been a CEO of MK Mountain Resort, where together with his team he is responsible for the revitalization of the largest hotel complex, as well as the destination of Kopaonik itself. Business success and a leadership position have earned him much recognition in the field of the tourism industry. 51

TOP 2016


Hiša Franko

Ana Ros works in the family restaurant in Kobarid, a small town in Slovenia very close to the Italian border. Besides cooking her second greatest pleasure is travel and she is a world traveller. Her dishes are full of intense flavours, lovely colours and unusual combinations – and they are always delicious. Chef’s Table is an American documentary show from Netflix productions and each episode presents a portrait of a world-renowned chef. The new season will showcase Slovenian chef Ana Roš. This new step in Ana’s career is strengthening her reputation as one of the world’s best chefs.

Martin JEZERŠEK Jezeršek Catering

He has internationalised the Jezeršek Catering company through the Sora Catering company and has passed the test with flying colours, taking up the family business management at the European Basketball Championship, Eurobasket 2013. Catering for VIPs, international delegates, business guests, media and volunteers was the most demanding logistical and culinary catering venture in the region. For about 70,000 meals 150 people were involved and the task was performed with excellence.



Dada Jerovšek is an architect turned entrepreneur who heads up The Kaval Group,a collection of 19 bars, fine dining restaurants, casual cafes and, of course, Lolita, the best ice-cream in the world (according to #worldICECREAMindex). The Kaval Group is made up of hospitality experiences that are undeniably Slovenian, yet comparablewith any contemporary trend from New York or London.

World-renowned chef Janez Bratovz has always been defined by his strong desire to find perfection. His culinary creations are bold and original, and you can savour the tastes of exquisite plates and let yourself be entranced by a completely new culinary experience. JB’s dishes are from completely fresh ingredients straight from Ljubljana’s farmers’ market. You will be charmed by their presentation and primal taste, especially so by the unforgettably unique combination of the Mediterranean, French and nostalgic Slovene cuisines.

Kaval Group


JB Restaurant

TOP 2016


Esplanade Zagreb

Jerneja KAMNIKAR Vivo Catering

At the 20th anniversary she earned her ranking through the socially responsible co-operative project of setting the Month of Design in the abandoned factory premises of Mladinska knjiga. The revival of this place has created a completely new event space in Ljubljana with an unimagined development potential. Visitors to the event were excited about the look of the premises; this is a completely new dimension of socially responsible conference tourism.

The highly talented, experienced and charming Ana Grgić (35), already in her fourth year, continues her role as executive chef of the prestigious Zagreb Esplanade Hotel. In 2012 Ana proudly became the very first woman to lead the Esplanade’s kitchen and went on to follow the tradition of crafting exceptional cuisine, putting her specific culinary touch into all her dishes. Ana continues to drive her passion and perfect her culinary talent, working alongside a number of award-winning chefs as guests at the hotel, such as Xavier Mathieu and Pascal Tingaud.

Newcomers in 2016, voted by readers


Sanjiv SURI

Tomaž Kavčič, or ‘Tomi’, is not just a chef - he is much more than that. He is an artist who creates beautiful, delicious and accomplished dishes to be found in his restaurant Pri Lojzetu in the beautiful, baroque Zemono mansion located near Ajdovščina. He is also a culinary star (although he has not (yet) been awarded any Michelin stars) who has added Slovenia to the culinary map of the world.

Since 1991 founder of the Zátiší Group, currently operating four restaurants in Prague: V Zátiší, Bellevue, Mlýnec, Žofín Garden & Zátiší Catering, exclusive caterer to Žofín Palace, general caterer for Prague Congress Centre and exclusive caterer 2012 - 2013 to VIP Village Moto GP and Fresh & Tasty divisions. He earlier worked as General Manager, Food – Beverage Manager & Kitchen Coordinator at various hotel chains in France, India, Egypt and western Africa. He is a member of the UNICEF Supervisory Board, Head of the Board of Directors of the Prague Convention Bureau, member of the Young Presidents Organisation worldwide, partner and donor of the Association for Foreign Investments (AFI), and Vice president of the American Chamber of Commerce Supervisory Board.


Zátiší Catering


Insider’s Guide



Insider’s Guide

STARTING POINT Klagenfurt is located about 4km east of lake Wörthersee and north of Karavanke. It is a regional trade and business centre, bustling with national and international companies. It is also known as a university city with an amazing landscape and a rich history. A refined, verdant oasis rich in waterfalls, diversity and tastefulness, it brings excitement and joy to both locals and visitors, if you only take the chance to get to know it better.

The old city centre still hold many tales of its heritage, whilst the new and more shiny side of the city gives us some glimpses of how the future might look, and according to the constant growth of the city and continuous improvements, this future looks exciting. When it comes to linking to their roots, the city's history is still much incorporated into the daily lives of the citizens and they like to perserve good things that were bequeathed to the city by its ancestors. As the city continued to develop, more international corporations located their headquarters here and it was only natural that more high end hotels, hubs and educational institutions followed and started to pop up around the city.

TOP 5 PLACES WHERE PEOPLE MEET The best places to meet, stay and incentivise in Klagenfurt SEEPARK HOTEL This upscale 4* hotel neatly placed on the lagoon is perfectly positioned on the fringe of the city centre, with the nearest motorway exit just a few hundred metres from the hotel. The hotel offers 142 rooms and 5 seminar rooms that are suitable for seminars, conferences, workshops and even networking sessions, with some great outdoor possibilities. A chic restaurant with a waterfront terrace, an indoor pool, fitness room and spa area all help to blur the distinction between business and pleasure. More intimate smaller conference rooms can be prepared for gatherings of 40 persons, with bigger ones on hand that can host up to 200 attendees. With suites that can be transformed into small offices to huge car parking areas that can cater to larger groups, this hotel is a perfect fit to anyone looking for an adaptable and reliable congress destination. MARIA LORETTO CASTLE Just a short stroll from Seepark hotel and you'll find yourself in the midst of a fantastic event setting that looks like something from a film set. It is one of the most idyllic locations on the shores of lake Wörthersee, providing the perfect setting for a dinner, networking session or a private luxurious gathering. The castle can be rented as a whole for special events, including the castle gardens, or for a luxury dinner opportunity when you need to impress business partners. It is an upscale setting with a cozy vibe, reachable by foot, car or by boat.

LAKESIDE PARK This newly expanded science and technology park, home to more than 60 regional and international enterpreises, functions as a hub and is an energetic international environment with a real start up mindset. Surrounded by lush green areas and with fully equipped conference rooms, capable staff, technicians on site, a spacious community kitchen and an ecological mindset, it is a positive environment that can help boost your business meetings. The flexible mindset and conference rooms are the key reasons that park is an ever growing institution, connected with local universities, businesses and people who consider the venue as part of their community.


MESSE KÄRNTEN The Exhibition Centre is the biggest fair venue in Carinthia and the main organiser of trade fairs, exhibitions, congresses and unique conferences. The exhibition area is 100,000m², of which 35,000m² is available as hall space. Six bigger venue halls, measuring from 1,300m² to 6,400m², are ideal for hosting bigger international fairs and exibitions, with almost limitless parking space around the halls and entrance doors accessible for trucks. For smaller conferences, there are conference rooms available that offer all the necessary meeting equipment. Bigger in size here means big in hospitality as well.

WÖRTHERSEE STADION The stadium is situated within the Sportpark Klagenfurt campus, close to Seepark hotel. Because of its size, they can offer numerous possibilities for groups of 5 up to 1,000 people, depending on the clients wishes. Besides the stadion itself, they offer an additional 7 conference rooms, sports facilities for leisure and a large room that can be transformed into a dining area. And if that's not enough you can always invite some business or leisure partners to a VIP lounge, where you can enjoy watching a game in detached luxury from the thousands of other spectators.

Insider’s Guide

ESSENTIAL MEETING EXPERIENCES STAY LOCAL You haven't really done much if you haven't taken the time to explore the delights of the region - locally produced food, especially the meats and cheeses, is divine and the locals are very proud of their organic processes, with the secret being in the details: while you may gladly taste their local cheese, they will even more gladly explain to you which nearby farm it comes from and how it was made. Clean water and air makes the food here taste really fresh and unique and you can explore local food markets and food festivals that are quite a regular thing in Klagenfurt on foot or by bike. FEEL THE VIBE With the close proximity of lake Wörthersee, Klagenfurt stands out as a green capital of the region. The whole city is criss-crossed with cycling trails, walking paths and jogging areas that give the bustling city an easy going pace. It's an attitude that is also felt among the people, the meeting organisers and the hospitality experts, all of whom help making meaningful events seem natural.

ESSENTIAL INCENTIVE EXPERIENCES THE KUNSTHAUS KOLLITSCH EXPERIENCE This historic building successfully transformed in 2014 into Kollitsch Group’s new company headquarters sits in the heart of Klagenfurt and has become a cultural landmark of the region. A perfect location for people who have been searching for how to combine work while still being able to enjoy art at the highest level. The interaction of high quality modern design, historic charm and contemporary art in one location creates an extravagant ambience for exquisite events. Equipped with contemporary technical infrastructure, there is a large events room available as well as six rooms of different size that enable different kinds of events to be held here, from small conferences to large events, such as product presentations and company events for up to 500 people. The place is perfect when you need an offbeat location for your conference, or just to unwind and enjoy the day in a museum, exploring all the designs, pictures and sculptures inside the building. Visits are free of charge, but if you wish to bring a bigger group a reservation is advised.


Insider’s Guide


CULINARY TOUR OF KLAGENFURT The best way to really get to know about the rich history of Klagenfurt is to take a good bite of it - and the best way to do that is to go on a culinary tour through Klagenfurt city centre with Astrid Legner. The knowledgable Astrid will welcome you in one of her traditional folk costumes of the region, so in tis instance looking out for yellow shirts or umbrellas won't be necessary. It's not just thge food you get to consume, but also the insights of how the city really was and how history has helped shape it today.

HOVERCRAFT RIDE As the Worthersee lake is so close by, it would be a sin not to try some water activities when in town. To make it even more special an exclusive ride of the 'Leadership' hovercraft boat, which is true to the original reproduction of worldwide first hovercraft constructed before 1915, is a stand out choice. Making a donation and incentives go hand in hand here and you will be making a change in the local community - you can be a boat sponsor and donate to a school project, where students of a technical high school are building a flying boat, a reconstruction of a flying boat that was used by the Austro-Hungarian navy at the beginning of the 20th century. PLAY VOLLEYBALL WITH A CHAMPION Get an exclusive volleyball training session with Xandi Huber, a professional volleyball player who won the beach volleyball grand slam championship. The training takes place either in the beach hall of Sportpark Klagenfurt or on the outdoor volleyball courts. MINIMUNDUS This miniature world, opened in 1956, has got a number of new attractions and was refreshed and reopened in 2016. Set at Lake Worthersee near the Europark, it is one of the biggest Klagenfurt attractions. Minimundus invites you to admire more than 150 miniature models of world recognised structures, trains and ships. The indoor exhibition is the perfect addition to the outdoor area, which is full of weird and wonderful facts presented in a fun way. The interactive and imaginative stations adds to an overall interesting experience, one where you get the chance to visit all of the main world attractions in just one day. It is an adventure with a historical touch that will give you and your delegates the perfect networking experience, accompanied with loads of photo memories that you might like to share.

WHEN IN KLAGENFURT MUST TASTE – GASTRONOMY Mixing with the locals at Benediktinerplatz is the perfect setting for getting into the local vibe and local cuisine, especially on Thursdays and Saturdays, when there is an original market going on. Here you will find traditional dishes and local products from the region.


CARRY ME HOME – GADGETS If you are into sweets, visit the Zehrer shop at the Alter Platz (old place), where you can get some Klagenfurt chocolate.

Talk to Us Andreas Griessler Kärnten Convention & Mitgesellschafter GesbR


Quick Talk


changeable, so it is hard to predict the exact number. The maximum number of people we can accommodate at any one time is 8,000, so we are really prepared for everything. We are placed in the centre of the city, which means you can combine the key event with side events. Hotels and accommodation are pretty close and of course we also have Wörthersee, which is really just 5 minutes from our fair. The landscape of Carinthia is just amazing. We work with contracting partners who get us exhibitors from Slovenia, Italy, Croatia, Germany, Serbia and we also have one from the Norwegian region (for the International Wood Fair). Our main marketing focus is on direct mailing, media print/online and advertisements, mostly focusing on the Alpine regions, Austria, Slovenia and Italy, from where it is still convenient to get here by car. As the distance is usually a key factor, we focus on the south Austria region. For international fairs the distance doesn’t play such an important role, as we get people from all around the world to our fairs. “I believe our main advantage is our location which is almost in the centre of the city, space and adjustability for both fairs and congresses, as well as seminars and other events. If we cannot fit customer requirements, there is almost no other place like this where it can be made to happen.” Q: Tell us more about the way you position yourself in Carinthia? Who are your partners and how do you compare yourself to other facilities that have equivalent space for organising events and meetings? Our key asset is that we can combine our services with fairs (which is our main business) taking place and we can also channel the configuration for seminars and conferences and furthermore combine them with fairs, so it can be a parallel space. For venues that request a bigger space, hotels usually can’t fit them all and so we become the main provider for them. We can easily handle smaller seminars and events in our seminar rooms, but making an event that starts with 500 persons is also piece of cake. Other than comparing us to the stadium, we are the biggest provider. The number of conferences and congresses is

Q: What do you see as crucial marketing elements to impress meeting planners? I believe it is our space. If we cannot fit their requirements, there is no other place like this where it can be made to happen. The whole facility wasn’t built at the same time - we started with the first hall that was subsequently upgraded to the requests and needs of the market. When the bigger fair was planned, and there was the need for a second one, they built another hall. Now we have five of them. So, this is a special project that cannot be compared with some that were planned to be as big as we are from the beginning. We have grown over time, which can also be a disadvantage, because what was requested 40 years ago does not fit for 2016 requirements. However, we try to do our best to provide and fit our rooms and halls to the requests of congresses an the needs of potential clients. Q: What kind of business challenges did you face in the past and what kind do you face today? My background is in the IT business; I previously worked in a bank, in the marketing section, and we had national and international meet59

ings taking place directly in our seminar rooms. We organised webinars, having discussions in online meeting rooms. The necessity of meeting somewhere else is not requested so much any more. The bigger events taking place are integral to the big companies that organise huge events. Smaller ones have their own equipment to be as cost efficient as possible, as we also need to make our earnings and all the extras that come with organising events bring expenses. IT is a key part of this; we build a new room for presentations and meetings that is an optimal solution for smaller congresses. Wi-fi access is not something that people request anymore - it is a necessity that people expect at the destination. The only question now is whether we have an open password system or closed. We try to differentiate ourselves from others by being flexible and spacious, which gives us the freedom to adjust to the customer’s needs. Our congresses usually start from up to 500 people, although we can go lower and do smaller events. But it may be too expensive for the minor organisers and that can be a key element when choosing our venue. Q: An important factor in the success of a fair is in growth and development of the offer. How are you upgrading your fair? We cannot discuss this now, as we are just in the middle of the new development plans. It is not just the IT element where we have to keep up with the competitors, but for sure we are planning to develop this area too. Congresses and partners are requesting smaller meeting rooms, where they can also have workshops and team building sessions. This we can also offer at the moment and in future eyes also have to be laid on this even more. To be flexible so that all kinds of customer needs can be fulfilled with our rooms and halls. Q: What is crucial to ensuring a good turnout at a fair? To start with a competitive and cost efficient price. Today people are usually asking for cheaper options, but forget to realize low prices cannot always fulfil high expectations to a 100 percent.

We need to have a return on investment for our employees, but we also try to offer a fair price; we try to adapt it to best fit their needs for the event.We have our basic professional pricelist for the events, but we usually negotiate depending on what organisers need. In every case money counts and we try to satisfy the customer’s needs - I do believe we have a pretty good reputation as a fair and well-organised team. We have our own technician, but for bigger venues we work with contracting partners who communicate with the event partners and are connected with our in-house team to fulfil all the necessary requirements. Our equipment is always managed by our in-house staff who are present at venues. Q: What is the role of national tourist organisations and what is the role of the private sector in promoting fairs? For the city, I believe it is a key asset to communicate the relevance of having an event space like this inside the city and a great opportunity to promote the area. Carinthia is well known for its countryside and landscapes. If I was only searching for meeting and congress rooms I could easily find that in Vienna, for example, but if you wish to have flair, or some sort of ‘special experience’, then you come here - and this should be promoted by the city. Cooperation is good, but it can always improve. There are a lot of things going on - the mayor of Klagenfurt, Mrs. Matijašič, is on the board of directors of Carinthia fairs and keeps a direct eye on us and values us, which is amazing. Privately owned companies are also really connected with us. We have a lot of company events, from launching new products and lending equipment to others, to organising their presentations and Christmas parties. They value our location and we believe they are the great promoters for the region as well. Q: What kind of marketing are you doing to attract more participants? We advertise to specific target groups that we wish to attract. We are working with Kärnten Convention to promote our seminars and congress, and Carinthia fairs in general. If you are in the congress business you cannot exist without partnering up. I wouldn’t advise not being part of the convention, because it is quite a good institution. They select the most fitting locations on the requests they get and we receive offers from them.

By using the tools that young people use - we focus a lot on social media, although we do not use all of them as we are not a mass media, and we try to target our main customers. For the international wood fair we use online tickets, which is not common for us as a fair destination. Event partners use it for a concert, but for fairs, you know, you would usually get a ticket at the office counter before entering. But for our international fair it was important for me to offer this option, as we already had a request from international guests. We once had 30 people from Japan here and they would have wished to have had tickets in advance. We also get requests from hotels that would like to have tickets in advance.In 2014 we relaunched our website to make it more responsive for use on a smartphone or tablet. We are always changing and we try to optimise our web page to make all the basic information also available in English. An English version is updated with information for international fares and main facts and figures, tickets etc. For all the other information we always think... is it interesting for them to read all of this other information? We keep it simple. Q: Finally, for those who have never been to Klagenfurt, which places would you recommend? I think people would love the Pyramidenkogel and I do believe people should visit our fair, especially at the time of our international wood fair festival, as our evening event that happens on Maria Loretto is pretty special and they have an amazing view of the Pyramidenkogel. I think Villach is also really nice. And Worthersee is great. The combination of river and green spaces in the whole of Carinthia is just amazing. Q: If people could visit just one of your fairs, which one would you recommend? I like all of them, but for the international guests I would recommend our International Wood Fair event, of course this has to be their main interest. It is a great place for b2b clients and along with the side programmes you can really get to see what wood construction can look like.

Q: In what way do you try to make the fair attractive to a younger public?


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PERFECT PLACE FOR BIGGER EVENTS QUICK TALK: Barbara Pribernig, Wortersee Stadium

Q: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? I started in the UEFA EURO 2008-office in Klagenfurt and when UEFA EURO 2008 was over I went to the university, where I worked, and then came back to the stadium two years later for events and marketing. At that time the focus was more on events and not so much on the marketing, but after a couple of years we established a wider network and now I’m working on events, marketing and finance, mostly taking care of the budget. Q: What is your ultimate goal with Worthersee Stadium? The stadium itself was built in 2007 and the Sportpark Klagenfurt around it has been rebuilt over and over again. We are now also doing some new construction work, but I cannot discuss that yet‌ We have seven conference rooms with a maximum capacity of 1,000 people, which varies depending on the wishes of the clients. We can easily adjust to different kinds of group meetings, from five people up to 1,000. Having this flexibility brings a lot of possibilities and growth.

"We focus primarly on bigger companies that need a special venue that is flexible and has a lot of space. Stadium is a very special location; it can be transformed for sports event, offer gala dinners, is appropriate for Christmas parties etc. People are always searching for non-typical locations and we are the best for that."

Q: What is your target audience and how have you promoted the facility to them? For business events, our main partner is Karnten convention. We also try to advertise, but as we are a city company, we need to carefully limit our budget. Social media channels are mostly used to promote our sport events and we use other channels for conferences and meetings.We focus primarily on bigger companies that need a special venue that is flexible and has a lot of space. Stadium is a very special location; it can be transformed for sports event, offer gala dinners, is appropriate for Christmas parties etc. People are always searching for non-typical locations and we are the best for that. Q: What is the most memorable event for you? All the events at the stadium are important, but probably ice hockey in the winter is the most memorable and mesmerising. The organiser prepares ice in the stadium and we watch a match between Villach and Klagenfurt, for which 30,000 people come. We've organised this twice already, in 2010 and 2015, and it was really interesting to see it.


Q: What was your best event idea last year? Every year we host the Spar food chain and they have a practice day at our stadium. They train their new personnel here and we have had a mutual cooperation for many years now. They know what they need and come with a plan, so we can easily cater to all their needs. Every year we also prepare an open day event, where we present the whole facility - our sport halls, event halls, the stadium itself. Q: Which activities are the most popular for incentive groups? We cater to all tastes and sizes. We organise birthday parties, sports events, meetings, concerts, training events and lunches. And since we can be so diverse, that also shows in the companies we get. The beach volleyball hall is a really nice place for people to relax and it can be a great incentive programme. On the other side we have a mini disco for kids and it can be a perfect place also for kids birthday parties. So you can easily combine different offers and cater for all tastes. If an organiser needs an event for meetings, with possibilities for letting off some steam afterwards and eating dinner a bit later, we are the perfect spot for them. They don't need to leave our premises, because we can make everything for them here. Another good thing is that we have private lounges at the stadium that companies can rent out and use as a special VIP networking spot. Q: Where do you think incentives in Carinthia will be in the next five years? Klagenfurt always evolves, as we have enough space to host bigger meetings and events, so we just need to make sure we have enough rooms to accommodate all the people coming to Klagenfurt. We are a really peaceful destination with lots of green spaces and people enjoy being outside. As it is not a large place we can easily organise a shuttle to our location; the bus station is nearby and we have a huge car park. However, we have been witnessing a healthy trend picking up - people are coming to our place by bicycle. We are near the centre, so it is really convenient and not too far to come by bike if you are staying at one of the nearby hotels. It is really well organised; we have bike trails all around the city and on the roads.

Quick Talk


Q: What is your background? I’m working for the tourist board since 2003, but 1991 I started in Vienna for the Austrian Tourism office. I like to work in tourism, because it is a really flexible job. I prefer to work with people and always wanted to work with people, being outdoors and not just staying in the office. I believe Klagenfurt is really a good place in leisure and business. Tourism has a lot of interesting things to do, tourism attractions, natural attractions. From every angle, you have something interesting in tourism and that gives me the drive. Q: What differentiates Klagenfurt and makes it attractive to the meetings market? Klagenfurt is a small town, what means you can really relax. And if people are coming for business, they can make business and also relax after the congress. Klagenfurt is the best combination combining town and lake. The quality of the city is the best location for business.

"Klagenfurt is a small town, what means you can really relax. And if people are coming for business, they can make business and relax after the congress. Klagenfurt for me is the best combination between the town and lake. The quality of the city is the best location for business."

Q: What challenges are you currently facing in Klagenfurt? It depends on the day and date. From Monday to Friday we have business guests who like staying at our place, as we are very central, and at the weekend we have vacation guests and weddings. It is a real mix of all kinds of guests. 85 % of our customers are German-speaking guests. Q: What is the most challenging thing about your business? Particularly in the MICE it is very important to arrive in Klagenfurt fast and without a hassle, that means that the nearby airport is flexible. We have an airport, but it is a small one and not many lines are opened there. We have an option of some logistic, having shuttles to drive from Graz, Ljubljana, Zagreb or even Venice. If you are coming from London, Rome or another city to Austria, you fly to Vienna and have a short stop before coming to Klagenfurt. Direct flights are coming from Cologne, Berlin and Hamburg. Maybe we will see it in a couple of years, since some renovation are planned and hopefully some new destination will open up. Q: Will the target groups for meetings in Klagenfurt be more diverse in the future?


Current target groups are absolutely Austria, Vienna, Styria. It is more difficult to get people from Tirol, since it takes longer to get here. The other destinations we target are Slovenia and Italy, especially Venetian part, the south of Germany and finally all the destinations who can reach Klagenfurt directly. I believe this are the most important areas for Klagenfurt. Q: What large events are coming to the city in near future? We were having a big IT congress with over 1000 people in September. University and Klagenfurt hospital make a lot of congresses, but they often do them by themselves, so I wish in a long term that we would cooperate more and make congresses even better. Another big event is called Ausland Ostereicher, which happens every year

Quick Talk

in another capital in Austria, gathering all the Austrians that went abroad and not living in Austria anymore. Q: What do you believe are the strong points for Klagenfurt as a meetings destination? The beer brewery is one of the strong points of Klagenfurt. The cruise on the Worthersee, since the ships can organize everything from music to food and everything that people could desire. Klagenfurt and surroundings are full of culture, natural beauties like a wine garden and culinary delights where we can organize a culinary tours with historical sites. On top of that, you can also visit Minimundus, which is becoming one of the greatest attractions of the region.

Q: How do you see the developments regarding meetings and incentive market in Carinthia? We have to work together. Villach is not a competition for us, if we wish to have bigger events we need to connect and work together. We are close by, we have the Worthersee in between, so we can really offer an amazing experience as the whole region. So, I believe in cooperation with the partners from the region, Convention Bureau and all other hospitality experts in the region. If we manage to pull that off, I’m sure we will look even more professional and have bigger success in the region. I also believe working together with other regions, cultures and professionals, so we can build together unforgettable events.


Quick Talk

EVENT LOCATION FIT FOR ROYALTY QUICK TALK: Adolf Kulterer, chef and Manager at Schloss Maria Loretto

Q: How did you get into the meetings industry? I fell in love with this business when I was only five years old. My mother opened her own business (they are celebrating their 40-year anniversary this year), so from kindergarten on I always helped around the kitchen, cleaning the dishes and cleaning tables and I always worked with my mother during the summer breaks and weekends. When I finished primary school I was quite lazy, so my mother said I should go to culinary school. After training as the cook I did my military education and went to work on a cruise ship. In 1993 I came back from Switzerland and wanted to go to Dubai to work as a sous-chef and my mother asked me if I could stay just one summer in Carinthia. I met my first wife and then it was game over. If I went, I believe I would not have come back, because when you have a main position as an international chef you hardly come back home. I was the first cook in a 5-star hotel when I was only 20 years old and if I started to make my career, I believe I would work more internationally.

"You cannot prepare the same event for a meeting of a financial corporation as a factory workers' event. The plan is crucial and you have to know your clients."

Q: What would make your job easier? I guess that the main problem for all businesspeople in Austria is legislation. We have too many laws in Austria, too high taxes, too many safety laws...I need to spend half my time working on bureaucratic issues and that takes away time for focusing on the real deal – the people I work with and the guests. And one more problem is a problem of small places i.e. the jealousy of people and standing out from the crowd. People have no respect for businessmen here. When you make money people are always your friend, but if you lose it everyone likes to point fingers. Q: Do you ever turn business away? Yes, but mostly if we are fully occupied or if the client can't pay the deposit for the venue. We usually do huge catering events, so we need the reasurance that the organiser can pay. For example, we had two fake weddings here, where people come and discuss the whole event and later you realize they cannot pay for it. We have a lot of business events and usually they choose one of two options - we have a seminar room for 60-80 people and after that people usually have lunch in the garden, or they only have a business dinner here.


Q: What’s your top tip for event planning? Good planning is crucial. You need to have a great plan and a financial plan. Problems can occur if you already have a picture in mind of the kind of event you want, but the budget doesn't really allow for it.They need to know what they can afford and be open about what you can get for the money you have. I always give suggestions. Q: What are the biggest challenges facing the meetings industry in your sector? It is important to know where people are coming from and if they have arrived here a day before or have they come directly to your event, if they are coming to your event from a nearby hotel or if they drove directly. That tells you what kind of food you need to prepare. You cannot prepare the same event for a meeting of a financial corporation as a factory workers' event. The plan is crucial and you have to know your clients. I think people often forget about it and prepare universal programmes for all of their clients. You need to serve their specific needs and need to know what they would expect, even before they ask for it. Q: What do you enjoy most about being a TOP special venue? When all the clients are really relaxed at our location. You see people who come with really expensive shoes and then they just flip them off and walk barefoot on the grass. You see how everyone coming to our place can really relax and feel good. No matter whether it's a child or a grandfather, I think the energy of the place is really soothing. Q: What has been you most memorable event and why? I would not like to state any names, but I was really impressed by the organisation of one wedding in particular. It was a Russian wedding, the wedding of important clients of the biggest car factory in Germany and they did not have any wedding planner. We put a huge tent outside on the lawn and three days before the wedding I didn't know anything about it. We had one meeting three days before and everything was in place. It was a great example of what good and professional preparation looks like. Q: How is the value for money for European planners? It is a huge diference between Russian, German or Turkish events. German organisers like to

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have everything planned out, even though if it is impossible that everything will go according to a plan. They need reasurance of how everything will pan out. For others, improvisation is a bit easier. By and large the way it is planned out is how much can you improvise on it. We have 60% Austrian weddings and 40% from all other parts of Europe. People usually hear about us from mutual friends. Q: What would be good advice for future generations starting their own business in hospitality? You need a minimum of a half million dollars in the bank account. No, but seriously, you need to survive the first two years, and have a very powerful women in the background who is supporting you. The problem with young start-ups is that they cannot get the money to evolve. You need the support of the family, who can help you to grow step by step.


Quick Talk

A PASSION FOR MEETINGS QUICK TALK: Karolin Struger (Sales management) and Patricia Stampfer (Banquet management) of SEEPARK HOTEL Q: Your background? Karolin: I've been working in tourism for my whole life. I started when I was only 15, studied tourism and then worked for 10 years in hotels and agencies in Italy and then came back home. I always knew I wanted to work in tourism. Patricia: I started when I was fifteen, working in many tourism departments to get an overiew of what hospitality and tourism is. Then I started to study economics and tourism, working in the reception and reservation departments. Now I'm working here and I really like it.

Karolin Struger

"We have found out that it is very important that organisers have contact with just one person who has an overview of the whole event and can give direct suggestions on what to do in free time."

Q: What makes Seepark Hotel different from other hotels in Klagenfurt? The first thing I would point out is our position. Our motto is: ÂťRelax and meetÂŤ and we are combining those two perfectly. You can visit your seminar and then you can put on your running shoes and go out running by the lake. You also have the option to go to the spa and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere. We are in the middle of the lake and the city and we believe our position is our main advantage. Six years ago its was just nature all around here, so we are right in the middle of nature. We have 142 rooms in 4 different categories: we have a standard room, superior room, deluxe room and one master suite that has also a sauna on the terrace. The master suite has two different entrances and one part has a smaller seminar room for six people, the other has the access to the private areas with living room, bathroom, bedroom and with a great sun terrace with the sauna.


Q: Who is the typical Seepark Hotel meeting client? It depends on the day and date. From Monday to Friday we have business guests who like staying at our place, as we are very central, and at the weekend we have vacation guests and weddings. It is a real mix of all kinds of guests. 85 % of our customers are German-speaking guests. Q: What is the most challenging thing about your business? Sometimes the challenge is that if you have a meeting, the delegates sometimes want to go outside, but perhaps we have an event that is going on there already and they have reserved the space, so we need to find a way to make everyone happy. If we do have a reservation of the space already, we then have to look at different possibilities. Of course we have a lot of space, but everyone wants to be outside if the weather is good. Every meeting is also unique and we like to advise on different options. When it comes to incentives, we have some prepared, but we also work together with a sports agency for incentive ideas and have some contacts that we usually include in the programme. Q: What would be your typical incentive programme? Again it depends on the day and date. In the winter we have walks with torches, in the summer everything is connected with the lake. The Pyramidkogel is also one of the best incentives that people like to include when they are here. It involves a bus transfer that we organise for guests.

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Q: Any hints and tips on Seepark Hotel for meeting planners? We offer a spa area that is directly connected to the hotel as one of our best post-seminar activities. Another great way to spend time after the conference/event is by dining at the castle Maria Loretto... only a 5 minutes walk from the Seepark Hotel. For seminars and conferences that take more than just an afternoon, and maybe a couple of days, we always prepare some suggestions in the vicinity that could be included in the package. The main person in charge of conferences is Patricia and you basicially arrange everything with her - she can help you with all the preparation, incentives and any extra wishes you may have. We have found out that it is very important that organisers have contact with just one person who has an overview of the whole event and can give direct suggestions on what to do in free time. We have lots of smaller events, but also bigger ones, such as congresses and trade fairs that take three or four days. We have a lot of space where events can take place. Q: What’s the outlook for Seepark Hotel for 2016 and beyond? Our main focus is still on the German-speaking countries, with Vienna and Munich as our primary targets. This year we had some events in Ljubljana where we presented our offer, but so far we do not have many Slovenian agencies working with. We are focusing on the surrounding areas up to 200 km, where people would come to us by car.

Q: Why should meeting planners consider Klagenfurt? We have a perfect position in Europe. You need just four hour to drive to Vienna, one hour to Ljubljana, one and a half hours to Trieste and two hours to Salzburg. Everything is easily reachable. Q: Could you share with our readers one or two of your secrets about Klagenfurt, such as a favourite spot for meetings? Probably the city centre, the old part of town. It is the oldest pedestrian zone in Austria, with smaller streets, cafes and bars. It has a lot of charm and an Italian flair that Vienna and Salzburg do not have. In those areas we only have bars, cafetarias and gelaterias. That is definitely something special. Our facility is also like nature in the city. It is a little like in Munich, with the English garden, and you can walk around in the park where there are no streets to bother you. Q: What's your advice for younger colleagues starting out in this business? Do it with your whole heart, otherwise it is not possible. It is not always easy to work in tourism, because you always have challenges ahead. Every working day is different to the next, since you cannot expect in advance what people think about. I believe passion is the right word.


Patricia Stampfer

''Our motto is: »Relax and meet« and we are combining those two perfectly."

1 – 4 February 2017

SPA-CE WITH ONE2ONE MEETINGS AND TEAM-BONDING WORKSHOPS UNDERLINED PERSONAL EXPERIENCE The first and only trade show for Spa and Wellness tourism in Central Europe, SPA-CE, hosted Spa and Wellness providers and hosted buyers from 14 different countries at the eight edition of the show in Dolenjske Toplice, Slovenia. From 17 to 18 November 2016, the yearly business event presented new ideas for a relaxed and healthy way of living.

Text by Polona Simšič


Iztok Altbauer, Managing director of Slovenian Spa Association and the organizer: “We were honoured to see once again a very strong interest from providers of the spa and Wellness offer from the Central European Region as well as from hosted buyers that came to Slovenia mainly from European countries. We were happy to have a stronger presence also from tour operators from UAE that have finally added SPA-CE to their business calendars. In 2016 we welcomed a couple of novelties. The participants experienced something new at special team bonding programmes. Also new this year was the Medical Spa Expert Forum where a German team of medical doctors in cooperation with Fit & Vital Reisen and Slovenian Tourist Board participated in a discussion dedicated to prevention programmes in Slovenian Natural Spas.” Natalija Bah Čad, Toleranca marketing, co-organizer: »In the 8 years we have been hosting 270 representatives of tourist agencies and tour operators, interested to bring groups to the spa resorts of Central Europe. Hotel Balnea in Dolenjske Toplice Thermal Resort, a part of Terme Krka is a perfect venue for this boutique event. Beside the spa facilities and variety of wellness and medical treatments, it offers great meetings spaces in a modern designed ambience.«

”“Thank you for warm welcome and great SPACE event. You did a brilliant job! :-)” Elena Zhigulina, Trafaret, Moscow – hosted buyer at SPA-CE



EDINBURGH INDIVIDUAL GRADES 2016 Natural and cultural factors: 


General and transport infrastructure:  4.58 Tourist infrastructure:


Meeting infrastructure:


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Global Peace Index:








ne of the most celebrated cities in Europe is a go-to destination for many tourists who are convinced by its blend of tradition and cosmopolitanism. Its cobblestone streets are always full of tourist groups viewing stores with kilts, Scottish football jerseys, butter-based biscuits (the famous shortbread) and, of course, the traditional whisky. Its size, the never-ending green areas and the many events happening in the city all contribute to the fact that Edinburgh has a special soul. The city has been attracting visitors and congress organisers from all around the world for a long time now. Most congress guests come to Edinburgh via the international airport that is well connected with Europe and the major hubs in the United States and in the Middle East. Forty airlines with 120 direct flights link the city to the world. An important element of the first impression upon arrival in the city is the Edinburgh tram, which began operating in 2014. I have to admit that it is difficult to find anywhere else in Europe such a stylish form of transport to take visitors to the city centre. The cleanliness, comfort, friendly staff and fast, free wi-fi all make sure that a half hour ride to the town passes in the blink of an eye. THE FESTIVAL CAPITAL OF EUROPE The summers in Edinburgh revolve around the looming Edinburgh International Festival that consists of more than 1,000 events. This international festival in the Scottish capital has been running since 1957 and invites visitors to attend the opera, theatre, music and dance performances, as well as comedy and many other artistic installations. An integral part of the event is the Fringe Festival, which has more than 3,200 events across 294 venues, which altogether makes it the largest arts festival in the world. The heritage of the festival taking place has a remarkable potential for the city and event organisers are taking good advantage of that. The city lives and breathes event organisers, which is a kind of cultural foundation for the development of all other kinds of events. THE CITY OF INNOVATION AND START-UPS In recent years Edinburgh has become the centre of a lively start-up scene. The foundation for the development of startups is a high quality education system in the city that annually attracts almost 80,000 students. Also, as a result of the skilled labour force companies such as Amazon, Skyscanner and Rockstar North have opened their headquarters in the city. A technological cluster has been formed which promotes the formation of new businesses. An example of a successful company is Skyscanner, which was created in 2003 and is today among the world’s most visited web sites for flight bookings. They have been followed by many other start-ups and the list just goes on and on. A lively start-up scene is also the engine for the many events that take place in the new format and represent the basis for the future development of the meetings industry. SPECIAL VENUES The famous Royal Mile connects Edinburgh Castle to the 73

Palace of Holyrood House. The palace is the official residence of the Queen in Scotland. The street is awash with stories and is lively and wide enough to enable the easy passage of congress groups. This mile has been witness to almost the entire history of Edinburgh and in its vicinity can be found probably the highest concentration of dedicated venues in Europe. Listing all of them would take up too much space, so the most interesting that attracted our attention made the top selection: - The Caves is a truly unique venue that makes up the sub-structure of the 18th Century South Bridge. There is no venue more Edinburgh than the Caves, or more Scottish, especially if you consider there was once so much whisky stored here that it became known as “Whisky Row”.
 - The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh has a unique blend of modern and historic rooms providing the perfect, flexible surroundings for conferences, meetings or events. - The Dynamic Earth is one of the leading conference and gala dinner venues. With its magnificent translucent roof and glass walls, the dramatic setting of the Stratosphere will ensure your event is unique and, above all, memorable. - The Royal Yacht Britannia is one of the world’s most famous vessels, and one of the most beautiful. Britannia served the Royal Family for over forty years and sailed over one million miles on 968 official visits. Berthed in the historic port of Leith, she is now one of the world’s most prestigious corporate event venues. EICC - EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE Edinburgh acquired its main convention centre, which is located in the city centre close to the main tourist attractions, in 1955. The centre annually hosts more than 200,000 congress guests. In 2013 they expanded the venue and added a technological gem – a flexible hall equipped with movable scaffolding, which can change the room from an auditorium space to an accompanying exhibition space in just a few minutes. After twenty years the centre is still in excellent condition, as it has been carefully maintained. The surrounding area is filled with numerous hotels of all categories, sufficient for the current needs of this congress city. The EICC won the industry award for ‘Best Conference Venue for over 900 Delegates’ at the 7th Annual Conference Awards. Scotland’s leading conference venue beat off competition from some of the world’s top Venues - Including the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and ExCeL London, to land the award for the first time. CONGRESS VOX POPULI Edinburgh Convention is the key organisation that provides free professional and impartial information about the city as a congress destination and brings together 260 members that collaborate expertly. The network of the CVB’s members includes the entire infrastructure and reflects the maturity of the destination.
Its success can be confirmed by an ambassador programme that has been active for 20 years and now connects over 500 congress ambassadors. Thanks to the programme, 1,348 events attended by 528,605 participants have


been brought to the city. Edinburgh boasts the highest number of international association meetings outside of London, according to ICCA statistics.
It is important to emphasize that Edinburgh is a founding member of the World Best Cities Global Alliance, which brings together the world’s best congress destinations. A fun fact is that Edinburgh is the only city from United Kingdom in the association. The development in the hotel scene has been very dynamic and most of the hotels also offer congress facilities. The city has over 2,000 accommodation facilities with more than 20,000 rooms, of which more than half are hotel rooms, and new hotels are being opened all the time to meet need. Most of them record excellent occupancy rates, higher than 80.5%. The revenue per available room is also strong, according to STR Global amounting to £69.62. All of the major international hotel chains are present in the city with one or more hotels. Compared to the average, the city has a higher share of hotels with 5 stars. This year the city will welcome an additional 1,500 new hotel rooms and during the summer Hilton Carlton, Courtyard by Marriot, HUB by Premier Inn, Premier Inn and many other hotels were renovated. Alongside the traditional congress hotel offer other individual facilities are very active in the field of congress tourism. Since 2015, the renovated Royal College of Surgeons offers three floors for organising events. This year the Royal College of Physicians was also renovated and the £8 million investment included the renovation of a central auditorium for 300 people. Listing all the possibilities would take up too much space, but these few examples are sufficiently classy to highlight the exceptional energy that is united in Edinburgh.


LG'S www.kongres-m

THE WATER OF LIFE It would of course be impolite to leave Scotland without learning a little bit more, even through direct engagement, about their whisky. When the British introduced a tax on whisky, the Scots began distilling it in the Scottish mountains. The distillers of the legendary Scottish drink voluntarily isolated themselves for centuries and found refuge in nature, from which they used to (and still do today) draw all the necessary ingredients to prepare this indigenous spirit. The most famous single malt, which is the purest and the best whisky, is matured in oak barrels for at least three years before being bottled. We recommend a visit to The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, where your congress guests will be able learn more about the story of the water of life. As the world’s foremost malt whisky club, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society offers rare and exclusive single cask, single malt whiskies from 132 Distilleries. Private function suites can accommodate up to 50 guests. ABOUT THE SCOTS CULINARY OFFER You can indulge in different culinary creations in a number of pubs, bars and restaurants, among which are four restaurants with Michelin stars. They may offer to serve you their traditional dish, haggis, which is meat and oatmeal in a sheep's stomach, but don’t panic - you can order a vegetarian version if you need to. You can also quench your thirst with a beer, but due to so many options it is quite hard to choose the one you might like to try first. If you just want a quick snack, great oatcakes are on offer that can be complemented by cheese, preferably cheddar. Do not forget the short bread, biscuits made of flour, butter and sugar: simple and divine, but also very filling. We recommend that you experience the culinary offer with Alan, the author of ‘Eat Walk Edinburgh’, which is a walking tour around the capital taking you through the history of the Old and New Towns with food and drink tasting stops along the way.Scotland is a very special country and the Scots are special people, very genuine and honest but at the same time very courteous and polite. This is how we see the capital of the Scottish congress industry: 74



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


INDIVIDUAL GRADES: A. Natural and cultural factors:  4.95 One of the most beautiful and harmonious cities in Europe built on six hills from which a beautiful view over all sides and parts of the city is impressive. We need to mention that 75% of the buildings are under UNESCO protection. The town, with its mystical and surrealistic atmosphere, boasts an exceptional potential for adventure, and thus without a doubt has a place among the leading tourist capitals of Europe.

with key stakeholders. According to Convention Bureau Edinburgh, this programme annually generates more than £50 Million of revenue. It is also necessary to highlight the membership of the Best Cities Global Alliance association, which is part of the smart positioning of the destination to remain in the first congress league. COMPARISONS WITH THE REGION 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.

B. General and transport infrastructure: 4.58 The first impression the visitor has of the city is the unbelievable cleanliness of the public spaces. Edinburgh has received numerous awards for the quality of life in the city, such as the Friendliest City in the UK by Conde Nast Traveller. The city was also ranked among the top three best places to live in the UK by a report done by PwC & a think-thank. The locals, who say they are satisfied with public transport, living environment, public infrastructure and have a sense of security in the city, agree with the outside perception of Edinburgh. C. Tourist infrastructure:  4.92 Edinburgh is the tourist capital of Scotland and is annually visited by 3.8 million tourists. On average the city stay is 3.5 days. Tourism contributes £1.32 billion to the city coffers.
With its offer Edinburgh excellently adapts to a more differentiated and advanced demand, with a combination of global events, congresses and city tourism. Local attributes stand in the foreground and for authenticity place Edinburgh among the top world cities. D. Meetings infrastructure:  4.90 Edinburgh is ranked 4th in the 2015/16 British Meetings & Events Industry Survey, Scotland’s highest ranked city and only behind London, Manchester and Birmingham. The economic value of business tourism to Edinburgh city is estimated to be in excess of £300m per annum. The total number of events won by Convention Edinburgh in 2015-16 was 206, hosting more than 74,000 delegates and securing £94.3m of economic benefit to the city region. E. Subjective grade:  4.87 Edinburgh is a city where tradition and modernity successfully combine. This formula is very popular with event organisers who appreciate the very wide range of venues and hotels that are practically all within walking distance. The complete destination package is extremely attractive and pleasant to use and mostly seasoned with authentic Scottish friendliness. Edinburgh is without doubt one of the world’s top convention destinations and a model for successful management. F. Marketing buzz:  4.83 The marketing of Edinburgh as a destination is perfectly organised, with its strength lying in the realm of destination cooperation and the Ambassador programme that works like a well-oiled machine, as well as in the positive cooperation 76


WHAT‘S HOT 2017 1. Meeting of the European Society for Immunodeficiencies (ESID 2017) Website: Dates: 11-14 September 2017 Delegates: approx.. 1500 Economic impact for the city: £3m Reason: The subject matter is a hot topic and large influx of specialists into the city bring economic benefit to venues, hotels, restaurants and services. The first time they have decided on it being an annual meeting & they have brought it to Scotland. Not in the UK since 1990.

DID YOU KNOW A global meeting, conference and incentive destination, Edinburgh hosts hundreds of events every year, ranging from small meetings, corporate events and incentive groups, to large association meetings and international conferences. This sets Edinburgh as the top UK destination outside London. Combine this with the region’s continued culture of innovation and research excellence in disciplines including medicine, science, energy, technology, business, education and the creative industries, Scotland’s capital is the ideal location for any meeting.

MEET BUSTERS Scottish brewery BrewDog has reclaimed the world record for the strongest beer in history with a 55% alcohol beer which it has named “The End of History.” Only 11 bottles was available.The company said the beer, which is stronger than whisky and vodka, should be consumed in spirit-sized measures.

BEST INCENTIVE IDEA Gleneagles Hotel - Set within an 850-acre estate, only one hour from Edinburgh, Gleneagles is an iconic country hotel offering a glorious playground of country pursuits and activities. Incentives and events are taken to a whole new level – with unparalleled opportunities for fun, adventure and relaxation, and unforgettable experiences that are guaranteed to keep even the most diverse of teams happy. Guests might have a riding lesson at one of Europe’s best equestrian facilities; handle a trained Labrador at the Gundog School; or experience the thrill of flying a Harris’ Hawk at the world’s first dedicated Falconry School. Others might play a round on one of three championship golf courses, while those with a competitive streak might try their hand at archery, air rifle or clay target shooting, or test their driving skills on two of Scotland's most challenging 4x4 off-road driving courses. After a day of exciting country activities guests can enjoy sipping a single malt in the Blue Bar, relax in an award-winning spa; dine in Scotland’s only two Michelin-starred restaurant, Andrew Fairlie; or soak up the unique atmosphere of The Sommelier’s Table in The Cellars.


2. European Robotics Forum 2017 Website: Dates: March 22 - 24, 2017 Delegates: approx.. 750 Economic impact for the city: £916k General Chair: Dr. Patricia Vargas – Edinburgh Ambassador Reason: High profile event showcasing the city’s excellence in the robotic field. City worked together to attract the event. Amazing opportunity to have researchers, engineers, managers & entrepreneurs in robotics R&D in Edinburgh. Organiser is the Edinburgh Robotics Centre joint centre with Heriot Watt University and University of Edinburgh – background info on the centre 3. International Neuromodulation Society World Congress 2017 Website: Dates: 27 May – 1 June Delegates: approx.1500 Economic impact: £3.6m Reason: again a subject matter showcasing the city’s expertise. Neuromodulation covers a large number of medical conditions so wide reaching. Opportunity to have a large number of experts in the city bringing knowledge, networking and business to Edinburgh. 4. World Vet Poultry Website: Delegates: 1300 Economic Impact: £3.2m Reason: economic benefit, showcase city and area of expertise, Edinburgh has a large number of experts in poultry research (Poultry Research Centre at Roslin Institute for example) 5. Euroma 2017 (International Annual Conference of the European Operations Management Association) Website: Delegates: approx. 500 Dates: 1-5 July 2017 Economic Impact: £610k Organisers: Edinburgh Ambassadors – Nigel Caldwell & Amos Haniff Reason: economic benefit, showcasing city and areas of expertise COOL MEETINGS Porridge: Aa simple and wholesome dish made from boiled oatmeal. It is traditionally a breakfast meal that fills you up and keeps you going till lunch.True Scotsmen would argue that porridge should be cooked with salt and should not be a sweet dish. WHO TO CONTACT Lesley Williams Head of Business Tourism 0131 473 3662 Photo credit Convention Edinburgh

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

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

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

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

GR-LJUBLJANA Exhibition and Convention Centre

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

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

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Meet Busters

•OPATIJA MEET BUSTERS• Congress myths that you did not dare to ask, or know whom to ask:


CONFIRMED Opatija was built so the cream of Austro-Hungarian society could come to recharge their batteries at the place where sober Central Europe meets the pulsating rhythms of the Mediterranean. The old Opatija, as a unique imperial holiday and health resort, had been a centre of wellness and well-being long before today's relaxation and marketing gurus created these new symbols of the quest of psychical and physical harmony. Opatija has been able to preserve this historical energy right up to the present day, ennobling it with superb services and up to date offering.


Croatia’s Congress hub, as is one of the most sought after destinations for business travel. Excellent transport links by road, rail, air and sea, 130 years of experience in organising congresses and more than 50 modern, fully-equipped conference halls and a summer theatre with seating for 2,000 are the reasons why annually there are more than 500 meetings held at this destination.



MYTH 5.: IT IS THE TOWN WITH THE LONGEST WELL-TENDED SEAFRONT PROMENADE IN CROATIA. CONFIRMED The famous Lungomare coastal promenade is undoubtedly still one of the leading tourist attractions in Opatija. The popular Lungomare stretches 12 kilometres along the coast, connecting the towns of the Opatija Riviera: Lovran, Ika, Icici, Opatija and Volosko. The promenade was built in stages and finally completed in 1911. At that time, a stroll along the seafront was a favourite pastime of noble ladies and gentlemen; today this activity is still very popular among many tourists that come to this area.

today one of the most eminent destinations in Croatia thanks to the great number of recently refurbished hotels. The city can daily accommodate up to 7,000 guests; 4,000 in hotels and villas and around 2,000 in private rooms or apartments.


CONFIRMED The Croatian Museum of Tourism, located in the one hundred and sixty year-old villa in the centre of the Park Angiolina in Opatija, tells the story not only about the history of tourism in Croatia, but also about how tourism affects all of us today – how our cities are changing and how we change when we travel and receive travellers. The permanent exhibition brings together postcards and photographs, a regional heritage collection, hotel inventory and equipment collection, souvenirs, art and personal tourist collections, and many, many more objects. Definitely worth a visit.


On the contrary. Hiking BUSTED is very popular in the local area, both as a recreational activity and among those of a more adventurous spirit. A climb to Mount Učka and its highest peak Vojak, at 1,401 metres above sea level, attracts many hikers. The Risnjak National Park in Gorski kotar lies just 15km as the crow flies and can be reached by car in just an hour from Opatija. 79

the trademark of Opatija and the Opatija Riviera, which is why the souvenir of Opatija is a cake in the form of a camellia. The “Opatija’s Camellia” cake, developed by conceptual artist and author Yasna Skorup Krneta, an academic painter from Opatija, is made only from Mediterranean ingredients, which, it should be said, is recommended as the healthiest diet by the World Health Organisation. This is an all-season cake of long duration that can be taken to any worldwide destination.


Different events stretch BUSTED throughout the year. To name just a few: the Fireworks festival where fantastic artistic creations light up Opatija’s summer sky; Opatija oldtimer tour showcasing oldtimer vehicles; Liburnia Jazz Festival annually attracting Croatian and international jazz lovers; the Imperial Town festival which combines music and theatre at various locations, transforming Opatija into one big stage for a fantastic spectacle with thousands of visitors; Vienna Week, an event during which Opatija’s cafés offer typical Viennese sweets; Festival Kvarner presenting a series of exclusive musical programmes performed by world-famous musicians; Marunada, the traditional food festival dedicated to the special type of sweet chestnut that thrives only on the slopes of Mount Učka; and, last but not least, every December and January, the “Ice Magic” event that turns Opatija’s Open Air Theatre into an idyllic winter resort where visitors can experience the true festive spirit just a few steps from the sea.

Voice from the top

VOICE FROM THE TOP A lot of new projects were launched this year (from the penthouse spa to the best restaurant Atelje), and I’m sure we will offer some new surprises in 2017.

convenient to travel around, tasting eno-gastronomic jewels and being in between nice and friendly people are definitely big USPs why we are special, why we are the best in the World.

Q: Where will you spend this year’s holiday and why? I’m an adventures person who always likes to try something new, like I did this summer with kitesurfing in Greece, which was really amazing. I’ll leave the sunny island and the kite for the next summer and enjoy the skiing this winter.

Q: What would be the first thing you would show every visitor to your country? For sure Ptuj, my hometown and the oldest town in Slovenia. Certainly the right time to visit is in September or October, at the time of harvesting, or in February when traditional Carnival is taking place. Maribor is also interesting as the center of Stajerska (Styria) and as the place of the oldest vine in the world. Also worth visiting are Ljubljana as one of the most vibrant European capitals and Bled as a place right out of a fairy tale. There are so many places to show. You simply have to come. Welcome…

Q: If there would be no time or financial constraints, where would you go? I would travel the world for one year. Q: What would be the title of your life autobiography? Nothing changes if nothing changes!

NUŠA ŠOLAR Director of Sales Union Hotels, Slovenia


Q: What motivates you the most at work? Being with people or guest and working with them and for them. That is it. This is my biggest motivator.

Q: Have you always wanted to work in the meeting industry? That is why I applied for it and since then I have loved working in this industry even more.

Q: In what way do you deal with stress? Good music, music and again music. This is what makes me calm and what chills me out.

Q: Why is your destination/country the best in the world? It’s simple, small, safe, romantic and urban all at the same time. Q: What would be the first thing you would show every visitor to your country? At this moment in time it would be the restaurant and bar ‘Atelje’. The food here is delicious and the energy always good. Q: What has been your star moment so far and your favourite project with which you would praise yourself? This summer we launched a new meeting concept at Hotel Lev (Karantanija hall), which I’m really proud of. Q: What motivates you the most at work? It’s the positive working environment – good vibes makes it all easy. Q: In what way do you deal with stress? Being surrounded by nature makes me calm and helps me recharge my energy. Q: What will be new in your business in 2017?

Q: What has been your star moment so far and your favourite project with which you would praise yourself ? While working in Bled I had a chance to be a part of the Bled Strategic Forum. Working with a good team of colleagues and meeting VIPs from the World of Economy and Politics. That was definitely one of the peaks.

Q: What will be new in your business in 2016? Big change already happened recently on the 7th of November 2016 when I took over the new role of a still pretty new Radisson Blu hotel in Ljubljana. After 3 years of living and working abroad, it is nice to be back in my home country.

TINE BRODNJAK Managing Director Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Ljubljana

COMMITTED TO EXCELLENCE Q: Have you always wanted to work in the meeting industry? Hospitality, talking about hotels or meeting industry or just being with people or guests was always in my mind. In short… yes, I knew already in High school I will be part of this industry. Q: Why is your destination/country the best in the world? Living in such a diverse country, living in country that is a bridge between Alps, Pannonian lowlands and Mediterranean is something you cannot see and feel everywhere. Being small and 80

Q: Where will you spend this year’s holiday and why? I cannot live without sea. That is why I spent the last 3 years working in Croatia in a fantastic 5-star property in Dalmatia. Yes, it will be for sure this place. It boasts the cleanest and I have made a lot of friends there as well. It will be nice to see them again after some time. Q: If there were no time or financial constraints, where would you go? Around the World? Yes, probably on a wine tour around the world. Tasting and discovering wines from all around is my hobby. Q: What would be the title of your life autobiography? He was here to be with people and to live for people.









Certificate of Excellence 5-time WINNER


Grand hotel Union Miklošičeva cesta 1 1000 Ljubljana

Grand hotel Union Business Miklošičeva cesta 3 1000 Ljubljana

Hotel Lev Vošnjakova ulica 1 1000 Ljubljana

Central hotel Miklošičeva cesta 9 1000 Ljubljana

Off The Beaten Mice Track

PAVILJON Legendary Jurček as a special venue


• STAY •

In 1960 the GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre hosted a car Exhibition and for the occasion decided to expand their facilities by building a new pavilion, designed by the Slovenian architect Marko Šlajmer. Amongst locals the pavilion quickly adopted a special, cute nickname - “Jurček” (deriving from the Slovenian expression for mushroom, jurček Boletus edulis) - due to its specific architecture with a circular floor plan and mushroom-like construction, with central pillar-shaped gutter. The pavilion is fully enclosed by glass with the use of aluminium profile and the installation of the facility truly looks like a grand showcase that harmoniously coexists with its lively surroundings. Furthermore, it is marked out by a notable tower that is set amidst the trees in its direct vicinity. This circular space is extremely suitable for events and exhibitions of all kinds and has gained a special place in the hearts and minds of event organisers.

The hotel capacity in Ljubljana is very healthy and the offer is suitable for all tastes and needs. GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre is just a stone's throw from the city centre, which has in recent years, in addition to the major traditional hotels, also been marked by the opening of boutique type hotels. In addition to the legendary Union Hotel the offer of the Union Hotels Group it is now highly diversified and consists of various price range hotels. Nearest to the GR- Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre is Hotel Lev, which is very popular with congress and business guests. Ljubljana will also soon be further enriched by the Intercontinental hotel, which will open its doors in summer 2017. • MEET IN STYLE • The ground floor of the Jurček pavilion is multifunctional and operates on a daily basis as a coffee shop, reception area for events and event space. The multifunctional shape and organ82

isation of space is precisely what makes it attractive for events that do not want a classic arrangement, for example Pecha Kucha evenings and other similar events of a more open format. In the basement area of the former wine cellar there is a ballroom that can accommodate up to 100 guests and connects with a restaurant area. The space is ideal for special events and parties, and during major holidays you will definitely need to book early enough to secure it. • OFF THE EATEN TRACK • After numerous gourmet hospitality experiments in the Jurček pavilion, today the Brewery Pavilion (Pivnica Paviljon) welcomes its guests at the premises of their successful restaurant and brewery. The whole area is divided into two sections: in the basement section lovers of nostalgia and familiarity get their space and it here that you can hide away from the curious views while enjoying some socializing with food and beverages, sampling various wines and a wide selection of domestic and foreign

Off The Beaten Mice Track

types of beer. In the upper space section of the Brewery Pavilion, it is designed more for those who enjoy having a coffee and listening to some lounge music. • LOCALISM • GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre was built in replacement of the Ljubljana Fair in Tivoli and it followed worldwide design and architectural traditions of boldly designed exhibition spaces. In its almost 60 years of existence it has hosted a variety of events and in recent years it has also become established as a venue for electronic and Balkan music concerts. Some very famous musical names have already performed at GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. In fact, already in the year 1959 the newly built Dome (Kupola) hall hosted the first very high-profile concert on 1st April, no less than the very famous…Louis Armstrong!

• GETTING THERE • Restaurant/Brewery Pavilion is easily accessible from Dunajska Street. One of the biggest advantages is also the possibility of free parking on the ramp just in front of the GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. • MEET BUSTERS • The oldest wine tasting is not in France. The Ljubljana International Wine competition “Vino Ljubljana” is the oldest international competition fair in the European Union and also worldwide. The first modern international wine evaluation was in 1955, when the Ljubljana competition was also given the patronage of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), which they hold right up until today. Directory PIVNICA & RESTAVRACIJA Dunajska cesta 18, 1000 Ljubljana T: +386 (0) 1 300 27 00 83

TOP 3 INCENTIVE IDEAS 1. Chefs Challenge Experience Jurček through a pristine culinary journey. Teams get divided into four groups, with each to prepare different local dishes. A Master Chef will evaluate their cooking skills and select the winning team. 2. Beer revolution Blind tasting of different beers, a lecture about beer culture (production, beer varieties, etc.), tasting of unfiltered beer, introduction to correct pouring of beer and the insider’s peek at the beer revolution. 3. Rock & Roll, beer and dance Class of fun rock'n’roll accompanied by beer and burgers. Some energetic dance formations will be tested in pairs and culminate in a group formation.


PAY SOMETHING BACK! Is it the case of the smaller the public funding, the greater the concern about the ROI of an event? Text by Gorazd Čad


colleague who attended an event organised by a state-institution called me today, upset. Given that the promotional event was organised abroad, as a freelancer she spent a lot of her own funds in being there. Dissatisfied with the event outcomes and execution – it didn’t meet her expectations and was, in her opinion, carried out for the sole purpose of delivering activities from the annual plan – she asked me for my opinion on the possibility of a refund. As a freelancer she simply cannot afford to fail with such expenditure. I come across issues such as this quite often and my colleagues are especially critical of the public sector. A common problem of such events is that the form is put at the forefront, with the content somewhere in the background. The first alarm bell rings when the number of organisers, artists, moderators, directors and all those involved in the organisation exceeds the number of participating companies. What usually happens in this case is that the organisers forget to do an extensive promotion of the participating partners who used their own resources, and the focus on a remarkable PR coverage gives the impression of an extraordinary event of near historical importance. My colleague's question then got me thinking about the added value of events. Event participation is constantly under the microscope; marketing budgets are in a spiral of shrinkage and the decision makers require maximum ROI. Therefore, choosing the right event that will deliver your business objectives in promoting your business is crucial. Almost every year, exhibitors at one of the trade shows we organise ask me when we will be able to calculate their ROI. I ordinarily tell them that measuring ROI starts with selecting the right target audience. The more precise we are here, the higher the return on investment will be. The second element we then have to think carefully about is setting clear objectives, which is something we very clearly communicate to all of our trade show participants. Quite often at events it is the case that the objectives are not set or communicated, and of course the worst outcome occurs: the organisers and participants don’t have clear expectations about their participation. ‘What can’t be measured can’t be managed’ is therefore a tenet we adhere to, so we regularly check the satisfaction of key stakeholders through targeted surveys for hosted buyers and exhibitors. Over the years the results of these

surveys have become a credible and valuable source of information for improving the quality of our projects. We have a fixed set of criteria that allows us to track trends over time. Despite the fact that there are a number of methodologies and measurement techniques, it all starts with the method of evaluation and your decision about which effects are most important to you. As a rule, they can be divided into three categories: 1. Short-term sales, which is still the dominant criterion for evaluation of return attendance at B2B events. 2. Brand development and customer loyalty is a criterion with a pronounced long-term effect. Only multi-annual and continuous participation at an event brings concrete results. 3. Networking and influencing key stakeholders is also a long-term activity that can greatly increase the marketability of your brand. Measuring the effects is not as easy as it seems at first glance; it is difficult to assess whether attendance at the event, trade show or fair influenced the short-term sales or whether any of the activities related to consolidating the trademark or networking did the job. Looking from the participants’ side it all starts with clear objectives and expectations. All can of course seem well if there are no objectives, but the number one priority is setting objectives, as it is the only way we can assess what we have accomplished. The critical question raised after the event is whether the participant has his or her own CRM system that can in the long-term answer the questions of when the first, second and key contacts have been made. The key criteria are still the number of sales leads and the cost per sales lead. Looking from the organisers’ side, there is quite a wide chasm between organisers from the public and private sectors. The smaller the share of public financing, the bigger the worry for the ROI of the event, so clear and precise financial indicators for measuring the return on attending the trade show must be in place, as it is much harder to measure the lower part of the upper part of pyramid. Despite the sceptics, events as part of direct marketing are still one of the most effective tools, because you can clearly define the objectives and measure them with, for example, the number of meetings or the number of acquired business opportunities. An important part of ensuring high ROI is also a general feeling of quality. Thus we try to provide 84

a suitable environment for B2B communication. This also includes an appropriate and hospitable exhibition booth for establishing personal relationships. At the trade show we create business opportunities and consequently we carefully choose the suppliers, in fact we devote significant attention to it. Quality control is carried out throughout the preparation of the project by way of personal meetings with suppliers and through interviewing all of the stakeholders. After the project we conduct personal meetings with approximately 50% of all exhibitors, intended primarily to improve the quality of the project. Based on our experience we are happy to share some advice and recommendations for a more objective evaluation of return on investment at trade shows and fairs. 1. Before attending the trade show clearly define your marketing and sales objectives, which should derive from your business goals. Define quantitative and time objectives. 2. In addition to short-term goals, we must be able to measure the long-term ones, such as loyalty, awareness and brand engagement.3. Do not measure only the immediate response check and evaluate it over a longer period of time. 4. Following the trade show conduct a survey via your database of contacts to check the response. The survey results will tell you what kind of effect your communication had on those that did not attend and what kind on those who established new business contacts at the event. 5. Follow indirect effects as the fair attendance can increase sales through other channels, for example through positive PR in the show catalogue and other channels. 6. Measure responses at trade shows through contests and other marketing innovations. 7. Measure both the quantitative (number of contacts with buyers) and qualitative effects (one good contact can be worth more than 10 poor ones) 8. Building a customer database and comparing the quality of the contacts on individual markets is the key to differentiating good B2B events from the bad and for the implementation of after-sales activities. 9. Existing customers represent a gold mine. We can catch up with them at trade shows or use trade shows to strengthen our business relationship with them. 10. Pareto principle for trade shows: 20 % of trade shows are worth 80 % of our attention.


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App Scene

ILUMIO - NEW TECHNOLOGY THAT CHANGES EVERY ASPECT OF THE HOTEL Soon to be seen in Slovenian hotels… In this era of new technologies, client expectations - with regards to the standards offered by the tourism industry - continue to grow. The term “comfort” has taken on a new meaning – it is no longer limited to luxury apartments or widescreen TVs, and these things are no longer enough to persuade a potential client, especially a business client who is looking for added value.

For hotel staff, iLumio is a practical tool for communicating effectively with guests and providing the best possible service. The automation system learns a guest’s preferences, allowing it to trigger an automated marketing campaign, set the right language on the TV and tablet, the appropriate room temperature, a wake-up call or a welcome drink.

iLumio digital guest service system is the answer to modern trends we observe today in the hospitality industry. The iLumio platform provides a full and complex hotel system, from reservation system, websites, marketing tools and hotel TV systems to in-room automation, digital signage and a guest mobile application.

iLumio is the best in class service technology that lets hoteliers offer a new standard of comfort, entertainment and interactive services. iLumio is proven to increase restaurant orders by 27%, SPA & wellness services by 19%, orders of other hotel services by 21%, higher sales of video on demand by 17% and hotel reservations by 3%.

This allows hotel guests to use a TV multimedia entertainment system and be updated with information that may be of interest to them – from the hotel bill to flight schedules and the current weather. Additionally, with the help of a fully customized hotel application available on mobile devices guests can make speedy self-check-in and open the doors with a digital key, as well as control the automated features in the room – including the lighting and multimedia devices. iLumio also allows ordering of room service and other hotel services, or reserving a table at the hotel restaurant.

iLumio products can work separately or be integrated into one complementary system, manageable from a back office. iLumio can be used in virtually every industry, including hospitals and conference meetings centres, and it is already in use in a growing number of hotels in Poland, such as Best Western, Hilton and Holiday inn hotels. It is now expanding to new markets, including Slovenia.


App Scene



High engagement and insightful analytics from your event app

One stop-shop for event organisers Name: Linkry Events Location: 1999 S. Bascom Avenue San Francisco Contact: T: +1 650 319 8861 E: Website:

Name: Presdo Location: Mountain View, California, United States Contact: E: Website:

Adopting the motto that “if it cannot be measured it cannot be improved”, event performance can now be quantified and represented in the form of metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) from extracted data before, during and after the event. But since data is abundantly available nowadays, the key is to acquire and deliver the right data. Providing relevant and valuable metrics is what is newly introduced as ‘Event Intelligence’. This process allows an evaluation of events’ success, efficient decision-making as well as future events prediction: in short, better events. Linkry Events is a one-stop-shop for event organisers combining all event management services with Event Intelligence in the form of real-time analytics. The platform integrates the usual tools consisting of online registration, badge printing, checkin management, providing a mobile application with multiple completely customizable features such as a general and personal Agenda, Surveys & Polling, Attendee / Speaker Profiles, Attendee Networking, Instant Message Chat, Sponsorship Opportunities, Offline Mode and much more, as well as a Dashboard allowing you to make data-driven decisions based on behavioral analysis before, during and after your events to make the most out of the global event experience, therefore optimizing your Return On Investment. The Event Intelligence component of the platform allows the user to proactively monitor the performance of the application as well as the event in time by analyzing relevant data as well as extracting metrics and desired KPIs to make the right efficient decisions, consequently creating a better experience for the attendees. Using the Linkry Events platform provides an added value for the event organisers, since it helps them have more insight on their goal achieving process all throughout the event; for attendees, as it enhances the event experience as well as the networking efficiency by 80%; and finally for sponsors and/or exhibitors, as it allows targeted and relevant exposure.

These days, event stakeholders - from exhibitors, sponsors, attendees to marketers - are demanding proven ROI from their investment attending your events. How do you turn your events into measurable results for your company and maintain and grow your attendance by consistently demonstrating that they provide effective experiences?  Through Presdo Match, you can capture meaningful analytics while delivering high interaction, creating not only dramatically higher ROI from your events, but also high impact for event participants. Presdo Match is an event app that delivers on the two most important objectives at any event, content and networking, in one seamless package. With its comprehensive event guide, Presdo Match enables quick and easy setup for event organisers and an intuitive user interface for event participants.  The content management system allows you to easily create, publish and update event content to participants consisting of agendas, maps, sponsor listings, and other event information.  Attendees gain easy access to your events’ content that is updated in real time. Presdo Match’s unparalleled networking capabilities supercharges relationship building with integration with the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn, to instantly flesh out attendee profiles and deliver relationship building opportunities through matchmaking, meeting scheduling, and contact exchange.  These features combine to deliver an exceptional level of usage not possible with other apps and result in valuable analytics about attendee activity. Attendee analytics are provided to organisers and marketers through an easy-to-access real-time web interface that provides a detailed picture of attendee activity and interests from the many touch points of your event experiences. Leading international conferences and exhibitions have deployed Presdo across multiple events to deliver highly effective events and give them an edge over the competition. The product is available free and designed for smaller events.  Premium versions start at just $2,499 per event with multiple-event discounts available.





Becoming better with each welding

High-quality and unique infusions as superb hedonistic culinary event

Name: Pelicon Location: Lavričeva 1 5270 Ajdovščina, Slovenija Contact: E: Website:

Name: Tektonik Location: Likozarjeva ulica 1, 1000 Ljubljana Contact: T: 386 40 473 219 E: Website: Every sip of these noble nectars wraps around the tongue and slides down the throat in a pleasure that you wished might last for ever. Tektonik, located on Likozarjeva Street, is the first modern craft brewery established in Ljubljana. With a contemporary approach along with exceptional technology they are bringing their ideas about special beers to bottle. A wide selection of top quality raw materials from globally renowned producers allows them to create a virtually unlimited range of flavours and aromas, which even the most demanding drinkers will eagerly look forward to. State of the art welding equipment, a large-scale fermenter and an in-house filling line are the guarantees of remarkable quality.

Pelicon Brewery was formed from the great desire for good beer. Founders Anita and Matej started out by creating the recipes for themselves and their friends, as at that time there were not so many different beers to choose from in Slovenia. One of their first recipes was for an India pale ale beer style – today known as Pelicon the 3rd Pill – which now picks up drinker’s prizes every year and it also received an international award for the best beer in Slovenia. 3rd Pill IPA This classic American version of an IPA style that with its dryness and bitterness quenches the thirst of even most demanding of drinkers. Those who are not used to such tastes become convinced with its drinkability and harmony of tastes once it touches the lips. Today, barely three years after first entering the market, the Pelicon brewery now occupies the pinnacle of small brewing in Slovenia. The 3rd Pill remains by far the most popular beer among all craft beers found in Slovenia.

CRAFT Craft beer is already a contemporary trend and for some, especially Millennials, hipsters, craft lovers, foodies and trendsetters, even a lifestyle. It all started out, however, with a small group of dedicated and loyal fans of craft beer, possibly themselves brewers or experienced drinkers. The scent of their freshly brewed beer has now spread from homemade breweries and small pubs out to the neighbours and across the world. For the daring, young and adventurous the trend was set! Today everyone knows that there are no longer just two Slovenian beer choices and each of us can follow trends as he or she pleases. In each of us is a bit of hedonist, and happily each of us likes to treat ourselves with something great. POTIONS Rather ambiguously but charmingly named after their idols, they have quickly multiplied the number of potions on offer. After Wayne, Iggy and Hercule came the dark Nelson, shortly after which they released the first lady of the house, festive Grace. Recently they have hopped to another continent with their American brew Dizzy. For experts and those seeking official confirmation: ‘the light and bright have a subtle flavour of roasted malt with a hint of caramel based on rich aromas of exotic fruit. Mango and passion-fruit take the lead, while the background reveals a pineapple, lychee and stone fruits. Within the style the strong bitterness is typical, but they have managed to achieve the perfect harmony.’ Cheers!


Who is Who

NEŽA LIPANJE, PROJECT MANAGER Who is Who at Ljubljana Tourism/Convention Bureau

Q: Where would you go if there were no time or financial constraints? Anywhere in central Asia. Q: What is your favourite indoor / outdoor activity? I love winter, so having a hot tea with overcooked pasta in the cabin after spending a day skiing would be my favourite thing. Q: What is your favourite dish and restaurant (anywhere in the world)? Mum's kitchen, always. Q: What is your favourite gadget? My phone, I guess. Q: Which song do you most often play on your iPod?  Lately it’s Beyonce's ‘Lemonade’. Q: Which part of the day and the week is your favourite? Sunday morning NEŽA LIPANJE PROJECT MANAGER LJUBLJANA TOURISM/CONVENTION BUREAU

“Feel the fear and do it anyway.“ Q: What are you most proud of in business / privately? Friends and family. Q: Life wisdom / motto? Feel the fear and do it anyway. Q: Where are you going to spend this year’s holiday? I was camping in Croatia. Q: What was your favourite vacation? Summer, after finishing high school. It seemed endless.

Q: What is your favourite mode of transport? Cycling Q: If you could return to the past or hurry to the future, how old would you like to be? I've always looked forward to getting old(er). Q: Why? Because youth is overrated. Q: If you could witness any event in history, which one would you choose? I cannot think of any historical era more exciting that the one we live in right now. Q: What was the best party you attended? Umm, can't remember :) Q: The last film, book, concert? Captain Fantastic, Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, Operators. Q: What fantasy character would you be? Chewbacca from Star Wars. Q: What did you learn last week? Work hard!





t the tail end of September the world once again descended upon Thailand’s capital city of Bangkok for Asia’s most prestigious regional MICE event, the 24th and 19th outings respectively of sister events IT&CMA and CTW. Taking place at its now established base of the Bangkok Convention Centre within the CentralWorld complex and alongside the Centara Grand Hotel, host hotel to many of the delegates, the three days from the 27-29 September were packed with business and education opportunities that loaded delegates with new business, new business leads and the very latest of industry knowledge. This year’s education programme was particularly gripping, with a record-breaking 50 renowned speakers from across governments, academia, and industry professions, all of whom were on hand to impart their knowledge and expertise at more than 20 sessions, including the ASEAN MICE Forum, the 2-day Association Day forum, Campfire Knowledge Sessions and the CTW Asia-Pacific Conference Sessions. The programme’s focus and depth, poignant topics

and relevant speakers inevitably drew many approving nods from attending delegates. Also drawing nods from exhibitors was the targeted outreach and sponsorship sessions at this year’s event, coming in at another alltime high, with a whole host of companies such as Visit Berlin, Dubai Business Events, Tourism Promotions Board Philippines, Carlson Wagonlit and the Fukuoka Convention and Visitor Bureau all participating as both exhibitor and sponsor. “Exhibition platforms such as IT&CMA and CTW Asia-Pacific play an important part in our clients’ brand building and market activation goals, so we are heartened by the trust and commitment they have placed in us and we endeavour to keep building our capabilities, offering new value propositions, and providing opportunities for our delegates to maximise their investments and engage with the people who matter most to them,” said Darren Ng, Managing Director, TTG Asia Media. Notable amongst exhibitors taking advantage of specifically targeted outreach to buyers


in the Asian market was the premier European destination of Berlin, a shining example of the strong business connection between Europe and Asia for both inbound and outbound MICE business. “We were interested in finding a different way to further strengthen our network in Asia, so we decided to return as an exhibitor and come in as a first-time sponsor,” said Ralf Ostendorf, Visit Berlin’s Director of Market Management for Asia, Australia, and Middle East, of their hosted luncheon for 32 Asia-based buyers. “The added value and targeted engagement from pre-selecting the buyers we wanted really gave us the opportunity to present our destination and show our buyers what Berlin has to offer. This gave us the exact audience we were seeking.” Attending IT&CMA for the first time and also seeking a new audience was the European principality of Monaco, another premier MICE destination for the European market and now setting its sights firmly on attracting the Asian market as well. “There has been a lot of energy at the show


and the selection of international buyers is amazing,” said Benoit Badufle, Monaco Government Tourist Bureau (Asia)’s Regional Director. “Monaco is happy to stand out as a luxury travel destination and we have managed to garner valuable contacts and meet buyers we have not met before to propagate the image of Monaco.” The presence of such key European destinations as well as most of the major MICE destinations from around Asia and further beyond is testament to the value of IT&CMA and CTW Asia-Pacific as an instrumental platform in bringing together only the best buyers, sellers, and speakers in a single marketplace to do business, learn, and network. This was certainly signalled by the almost 3,000 delegates from more than 50 countries, including 600 hosted buyers and media, at this year’s show, as well as the on-going support of the host and partner Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), who took the opportunity of the profile event to launch their new marketing communication concept. “The initiative – ‘Thailand CONNECT...Your Vibrant Journey to Business Success’ – will confirm Thailand’s outstanding hospitality and present Thailand as a destination that can really CONNECT an event’s vibrant journey to business success,” explained Nopparat Maythaveekulchai, President, Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB). TCEB then wasted little time in showcasing the renowned Thai hospitality by hosting the Opening Ceremony & Welcome Reception to round off Day 1 at the nearby Royal Paragon Hall with a “Siam Spice Night” theme event featuring the best of what Thailand can offer as a leading MICE destination and ensuring delegates could build networks from the off and get the event off to a buzzing start. TCEB’s vibrant journey to business success sits very snugly with IT&CMA’s marvellous MICE journey to consistently increasing event success, with 2016 being no exception to the quality of show and improvements that Kongres Magazine has been part of and witness to over the past five years. Much chatter from the show floor was of how the process for arranging business appointments was excellent this year, how the quality of the buyers was extremely good and how the education programme was exceeding all expectations. Add excellent social functions and numerous break out opportunities to this and you haver the recipe for such a successful outing, so it will be interesting to see how it can be improved in 2017, but that is something we certainly look forward to finding out!


New Adriatic Hotels





Boutique hotel



Number of rooms:

14 (11 double + 3 single)

Number of rooms:



Aldo Negri 9, 52220 Labin


Mihovila Jeličića 14, Selce

Wow factor:

Architecture and design

Wow factor:

Charm of a 70s building with its retro decoration combining the old with the new.

In July 2016, an early 20th century luxury villa was renovated into the first four-star hotel in Labin. The hotel is situated at the foot of Labin’s Old Town and has its own restaurant that offers a wide selection of dishes based on local ingredients. Guests also have at their disposal saunas, free parking, wi-fi and mountain bikes.

Hotel Katarina**** is situated at the entrance of the picturesque town of Selce, 3km from Crikvenica and located close to the beach. It was built in 1971 and renovated in 2016, with the grandeur of its former architecture sensed in the room sizes. The hotel also has two congress rooms that can seat up to 100 people. The experience of a sunset viewed from the swimming pools, restaurant or café bar creates some nostalgic feelings for the taste of the sea and the scent of Mediterranean plants.


New Adriatic Hotels









Number of rooms:


Number of rooms:



Šetalište kralja Petra Krešimira IV 13


Put Gradine 66, Trogir

A beautiful view of the Pelješac channel, the old town of Korčula and Mljet island

Wow factor:

Luxury Boutique hotel

Wow factor:

Brown Beach House Design Hotel Croatia, a member of Brown Hotels, is new luxury boutique hotel located on the Dalmatian coastline, just 5km from Split international airport. It is housed in a restored historical property built in the early 20th century as a tobacco shipment station, now styled and remodelled by Amsterdam interior designer Saar Zafrir. It features 25 designer suites with 1 and 2 bedrooms, most with views of the Adriatic Sea and the old town of Trogir. The hotel also features an infinity pool and sundeck overlooking the sea, lounge, banqueting halls and spa facilities. A high end Mediterranean styled restaurant, "Cartina", is due to open in summer 2017, as well as a fully equipped spa with indoor pool and Jacuzzi tub, beach club and 24 more luxury suites.

The newly renovated Hotel Bellevue is situated in Orebić, Pelješac Peninsula, the famous wine and gastronomic region of Croatia. Wedged between the coast and the foothills of St.Ilija´s Mountain, Orebić is the pearl of the Pelješac Riviera and the hotel is located just above the beach and only 600m from the centre of Orebić. The luxurious rooms offer high comfort with a comfortable bathroom and bathtub and double rooms with shower come equipped with AC, telephone, satellite LCD-TV, mini-bar, safe and WiFi. The gastronomy offer is broad, with facilities including a buffet restaurant with a terrace and beautiful view of the old town of Korčula, an a la carte offer and a Piano bar with a large sea view lounge terrace. There is also a meeting room for 50 people and a business centre.



GLASGOW INDIVIDUAL GRADES 2016 Natural and cultural factors: 


General and transport infrastructure:  4.56 Tourist infrastructure:


Meeting infrastructure:


Subjective grade:


Marketing Buzz:


ICCA index:


Number quality of life index:


Global Peace Index:








ings of tartan, Scottish bagpipes, glorious history and fabulous whisky are all the kinds of images and stereotypes that have always helped form the mythical image of Scotland. Romantic Scotland has certainly won my heart, because of the fact that many years ago my wife and I chose this country as our honeymoon destination. It seems that Scotland has been waiting patiently for me to return once again and experience something new. Whilst the Highlands haven’t changed a lot, I have been astonished by the dynamic transformation of Glasgow. The city is not only one of the fastest growing congress destinations, but also an inspiration for any emerging congress destinations that are seeking a breakthrough to the first congress league. Glasgow made it there with its positive energy, stakeholder involvement and also with its rebel stubbornness. We could already sense that during the referendum on the independence of Scotland, which was in the end rejected, but the interesting thing is that in Glasgow most people voted for independence. The idea of a new country and a better future was appealing mainly to the young people who represented 45% of the vote, but the vote of the old and wealthy, who believed the risk of going it alone was too big and that the 307 years of common history were worth continuing, prevailed at the end of the day - the voice of the separatists echoed, but it did not tip the scales. The Scots are a proud and brave nation and it can be felt everywhere, especially in Glasgow. Throughout their history they have fought both the Romans and the British. They have shown pride and courage and that has only reinforced the steely image of Scotland. PEOPLE MAKE GLASGOW The people of Glasgow are very warm, straightforward people with an incredible sense of humour and an amazing accent that occasionally requires an additional effort to be understood. My first contact with Glasgow was a pinkie cab that was equipped with a new city campaign slogan: People Make Glasgow. With every hour of my stay in the city it became increasingly clearer how well the slogan matches the spirit of the city. The campaign was launched in 2014 and more than 1,500 people from 42 countries and over 400,000 Facebook and Twitter users worldwide were involved in its creation. The slogan hit the heart and soul of the city and really sums up its character. Today it is successfully administered on different levels all the way from the city's taxis to a strikingly painted façade of one of the city's skyscrapers and on the nicely branded gadgets. To understand the full story, it is necessary to look deeper into the city’s history. POST-INDUSTRIAL TRANSFORMATION In the middle of the 19th century Glasgow was renowned for innovation and science, ranking among the world's top industrial metropolises. At that time Glasgow had well over a million inhabitants. Immediately after the end of the Second World War, however, the industrial recession began, until by the 90s Glasgow came to be recognised as a gray industrial


city that was in the middle of a painful process of transformation into a post-industrial city. The transformation of the city largely began in 1990 at the time of the European Capital of Culture project. Glasgow searched for solutions to its structural problems through culture, events and the congress industry. Much of today's infrastructure that attracts many tourists and serves as a dynamic MICE industry magnet was built at that time. EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE Glasgow holds a special place on the list of European Capitals of Culture, as they managed to carry out a successful urban regeneration that began at least a decade earlier. With the European Capital of Culture title Glasgow endeavoured to improve its image and offer a marketing platform for all of the city’s creative industries. The project gave further impetus to the cultural life of the city as we know it today - it got rid of the image of urban decay, poverty and violence, and transformed into a fashionable post-industrial city. The European Capital of Culture kick-started and dictated the processes of transformation of the city. The project stimulated the congress renaissance of the city, because it demonstrated the positive legacy effects of major events. CONGRESS TOURISM AS A PART OF THE CITY’S TRANSFORMATION Shortly after the European Capital of Culture project in 1990 the focus turned to the revitalization of the former port along the River Clyde, where the famous architect Norman Foster designed The Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre. When the centre opened in 1997 it was one of four in Europe with a capacity for more than 3,000 participants. The creation fulfilled in the spirit of the shipbuilding traditions of the River Clyde still amazes and inspires people with its stylish industrial design. With no exaggeration, this is definitely one of the most iconic conference centres in the world that offers superior functionality, has great acoustics and will persistently defy the passage of time. Since 2013, the new events heart of Glasgow is richer for yet another masterpiece by Norman Foster - the Hydro multipurpose hall can accommodate 12,500 visitors and has a technical, acoustic and architectural solution for a venue that is today replicated by numerous other halls. The entire area - with new hotels, such as the recently opened hotel Village - is the heart of a congress revolution and forms a kind of a congress quarter of Glasgow. THE CITY OF CUTTING-EDGE DESIGN Glasgow is also world renowned for good design, which has its roots in the Art Nouveau period and the time when the city was a large industrial centre, commercial port and the headquarters of the largest shipyards in the world. The Glasgow four movement was led by Charles Rennie MacKintosh, while Herbert MacNair and Margaret and Frances MacDonald also participated, the result being an elegant architectural style of


clean lines with barely marked romantic images. You can see the Glasgow style in The Lighthouse and their understanding of the new style has become a kind of unspoken code of local art. The end of their era of activity was coincidentally also that of a major economic crisis (1929) that completely paralyzed Glasgow. Scotland's Centre for Architecture Design is a popular conference centre in the heart of the city, which at the time of our visit was buzzing with various events. CREATIVE CITY AND THE CITY OF MUSIC Together with the Italian city of Bologna and Spanish city of Seville, Glasgow is the third UNESCO City of Music and has joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. The appointment of Glasgow as a city of music arose from the fact that every week the city hosts over 130 musical events of different variety, from contemporary to Celtic music. Many famous musicians have sprung from the city, such as the group Franz Ferdinand and the Fratellis. Most event organisers will get the best musical feel of the city at a very special venue, the former church ÒranMó, which means "great melody" or "big song". The church, dating from 1862, was rebuilt in 2004 to be a crossover between an event space, a restaurant, a pub and a gallery of modern paintings. The space, which can

barely be compared with any other venue space, demonstrates the openness of the Glasgow spirit that lets a sacred building be transformed for other purposes. SILICON GLEN The industrial transformation is now broadly complete and most of Scotland's modern industry is concentrated in the band from Edinburgh to Glasgow. In the middle of the 90s the IT sector experienced a real boom, which today is no longer in the best condition due to its relocation to the East. Nevertheless, over the years the city has developed a specific entrepreneurial and start-up culture, which can really be felt today in one of the specific venues, the Glasgow Science Centre. This building full of interactive experiments can be transformed into a specific venue for events, with its atrium that can accommodate up to 500 participants a popular venue for corporate functions, particularly for award shows and gala events. The list of events here is very long and includes those such as Gordon Ramsay's Gala Dinner, the Scottish Fashion Awards and many others. SCIENTIFIC-RESEARCH POTENTIAL The University of Glasgow was founded in 1451 and is the fourth oldest university in the United Kingdom. It is ranked in the top 1% of universities worldwide and is a member of the 96

prestigious Russell Group of research-intensive UK universities. It enjoys a long-standing reputation as a research powerhouse with a focus on research excellence. It is one of the UK's top 10 earners of research income, with total earnings over £180m per year, and has a base of over 2,000 active researchers. This database represents an enormous potential for conferences of international professional associations. Since the 1990, the Professors Emeritus joined the ambassador club, which has more than 1,700 ambassadors who last year organised 158 congresses and created £68 million in revenue. SPECIAL VENUES Like any modern congress destination, Glasgow also offers a number of special venues that meet the expectations of organisers with a variety of wishes. The venues range from traditional to contemporary and to some of the most unusual industrial sites. The building of the Museum of Transport in Glasgow was designed by the architectural bureau Zaha Hadid Architects and was built in 2011. The museum is dedicated to the industrial heritage of the area. Its structure with curved walls is already reminiscent of the shipyard walls on the River Clyde. The collection of models of ships built in the shipyard tells the story of shipbuilding in Glasgow and makes a


great setting for a reception or get-together. Among the more traditional options is the Kelvingrove Art Gallery. The building was built in Spanish Baroque style in 1901. Its impressive main hall is mainly used for receptions for congress participants.In the very centre of town we can find a popular venue of the Corinthian Club, which was once the seat of the Bank. Today it is a venue for events, a brasserie, piano bar and The Club. The Victorian architecture is an appropriate backdrop for corporate entertainment and is these days fully occupied with parties for New Year. The more hipster of event organisers will be captivated by the Drygate brewery. Meetings in the industrial environment of the brewery with a guided degustation stunned us, also because of the beer revolution being carried out by the brewery staff. As event organisers, we are aware of how difficult it is to organise a ‘Dine Around’ event. This is only possible in cities that can be designated as walkable cities. For any such events, however, Glasgow has the solution in the form of Merchant Square. It is a combination of bars and restaurants of different styles, which you can rent for your event. The space can accommodate from 500 to 1,500 guests and is probably the biggest Dine Around space in Europe.

CONGRESS VOX POPULI Recognition as the Best UK Convention Bureau 2007 - 2016 speaks for itself - the motor of the congress revolution in Glasgow is represented by a team of 16 professionals led by Aileen Crawford. Last year they managed to bring to the city 556 conferences that were attended by 150,000 delegates. GCMB's Convention Bureau secured an average conference revenue of just over 2.7 million every week between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016 to end the year on 141 million, the city's best ever annual return. This is the result of a well-planned Ambassador programme, which last year generated 49% of all events. The programme connects 1,700 experts in a well-functioning system, which is a guarantee for the future development of Glasgow. The hotel offer with its own conference capacities and a dynamic development is also successfully keeping up with the fast pace. The whole infrastructure, with DMCs and experienced marketing agencies, works as a welloiled machine that constantly attracts events and new investment in hotels, bars, restaurants and the congress offer. As a whole, we can without a shadow of doubt say that Glasgow is one of the most competitive congress destinations in Europe.



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


INDIVIDUAL GRADES: Natural and cultural factors: 4.69 Two milestones set the development of the city on its trajectory to what it is today. The establishment of the university in the 15th century was the main reason for the city to become the centre of the Scottish Enlightenment rich with Victorian architecture in the 18th century. At the same time the expansion of the industrial revolution brought the city an unprecedented boom and these factors contributed to today's appeal of the city which, despite the de-industrialization in the sixties, knew how to find the right path to revitalization and is now attracting tourists to the completely renewed former industrial areas. General and transport infrastructure: 4.56 Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and the third largest city in the UK. At the beginning of the millennium the city set itself an ambitious goal of becoming one of the best places to work and study and an attractive place for tourists and events. The city has become a major construction site and the results of many investments are now visible. An efficient public transport system was built in the mid-eighties and the great air accessibility is supported by the airports of Glasgow and Edinburgh, which are connected by an excellent public transport system that all works perfectly. Tourist infrastructure: 4.86 There are more than 9,000 hotel rooms in Glasgow city centre and almost 18,500 in the greater metropolitan area. The average room occupancy rate that is higher than 80% confirms the need for new hotel facilities. The city is therefore soon to acquire more than 500 rooms. This high occupancy rate is the result of sound policies, winning big events (Commonwealth Games, 2014 Ryder Cup, MTV Europe Music Awards) and congress tourism. The generators of the development of tourism are in particular events and congresses, which are carefully followed by a rapid development of the hotel sector (10 new hotels were opened in the last three years).

contemporary society, the modern development of Glasgow’s congress tourism is an example of how the meetings industry becomes the driving force behind the transformation of the destination. Due to its tangible and measurable results Glasgow is an example of good practice primarily for the new urban destinations of New Europe, one to which I highly recommend a visit and also recommend the implementation of Glasgow’s best practices into their forward planning. F. Marketing buzz 5.00 The recognition Best UK Convention Bureau 2007 - 2016 again speaks for itself. This year the Convention Bureau is celebrating 25 years of successful work. The bureau boasts 16 professionals in various fields. Glasgow has been one of the first cities to develop an ambassador programme. The city excellently uses the fresh and innovative People Make Glasgow campaign and sets a benchmark for the entire meetings industry in all areas of marketing of a congress destination. COMPARISONS WITH THE REGION Glasgow has realised an urban transformation and has become the congress city in which people want to organise events. This is supported by excellent infrastructure and the connectivity of all players. In the field of infrastructure the King is the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre. It is an events hub that can’t be compared to any other venue in Europe, as it combines a comprehensive range of hotels, special venues and excellent accessibility. It is not surprising that on the ICCA scale last year, if we look at the number of participants, Glasgow surpassed destinations such as New York, Munich, Washington, Dublin and Beijing. Looking at the number of events, Glasgow is even ahead of cities such as Melbourne, Geneva, Chicago, Florence, Cape Town and Los Angeles (of 400 cities, Glasgow was ranked in 28th place in 2015). Within the UK, only London has surpassed Glasgow. Destinations in the region of New Europe can learn a lot from Glasgow, especially on how to get congress tourism among the sectors, which can transform the city and provide a breakthrough in development.

Meetings infrastructure: 4.95 The long-term targeted marketing of Glasgow has provided excellent results. In the last decade the meetings industry has generated revenues of £1.2 billion. Conference attendees currently account for one in five hotel beds sold in Glasgow. This places Glasgow among the world's leading congress destinations. On the ICCA scale Glasgow is proudly holding on to its second place, right behind London. E. Subjective grade 4.88 Scotland is a small country, with 4.2 million inhabitants, but compared to similar sized Central European countries its impact on the meetings industry is impressive. Just as the Scottish Enlightenment influenced the understanding of 98


DID YOU KNOW Glasgow is a UNESCO City of Music, with over 130 live music events every week. Glasgow Museums display Europe’s largest civic art collection across 7 free museum sites. The Riverside Museum, the city’s transport and social history museum and Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum each attract over 1m visitors annually. There are 91 parks in Glasgow, more than any other UK city. Glasgow is a university town - there are 5 universities with over 150,000 students, and did you know that the University of Glasgow was inaugurated in 1451 and is the 4th oldest in the World?

MEET BUSTERS As of 2015, the SSE Hydro is the third-busiest music arena in the world in terms of ticket sales, handling 1,021,038 tickets. World's Busiest Arenas – 2015: The O2 Arena, London, UK 1,819,487
 Manchester Arena, Manchester, UK 1,130,794
 The SSE Hydro Glasgow, UK 1,021,038
 Madison Square Garden, NY, USA 1,013,453
 Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, NL 821,475

WHAT‘S HOT 2017 1. DIA, Drug Information Association, the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre hosts this flagship meeting for the healthcare industry, 29-31 March 2. Euroheat and Power, researching new ways to look at energy demand from District Heating, 15-17 May 3. International Society of Architectural Historians, in its 70th year this prestigious US-based conference chooses Glasgow, a city of outstanding architectural heritage, 7-11 June conferences-and-programs/2017-conference-glasgow 4. European Academy of Management, 1,000 delegate conference hosted by the University of Strathclyde, 21-24 June, http://euramonline. org/annual-conference-2017/conference-theme-flyer.html 5. International Conference on Europeanists, hosted by the University of Glasgow, 12 – 14 July news/24th-ces-conference-sustainability-and-transformation

BEST INCENTIVE IDEA Blending the creativity and energy of the city of Glasgow with the staggering beauty of Scotland’s Loch Lomond, just 40 minutes from the city centre, offers new and engaging incentive itineraries to get your clients excited. You may know Scotland, but do you know Glasgow? It’s now on the incentive map with a focus on the creative industries, music and cultural tourism. Blend your own whisky or do a brewery tour, take part in your own Highland Games, sail on Loch Lomond to a BBQ on your own island, or try speedboats along the River Clyde.

COOL MEETINGS Haggis, which means nothing other than sheep’s innards seasoned with onions and other northern spices and tucked into sheep stomach before being cooked. It is a very lovely dish – well, if you don’t think too much about the raw ingredients, that is. WHO TO CONTACT Aileen Crawford Head of Conventions Glasgow City Marketing Bureau P: + 44 141 566 0817 E: Photo credit Glasgow Convention Bureau 99


GET INVOLVED! THERE ARE SO MANY FANTASTIC CITIES IN THE WORLD…BUT THERE IS ONLY ONE GLASGOW! Exclusive interview with Aileen Crawford, Head of Conventions at Glasgow City Marketing Bureau Interview by Nina Praprotnik

Q: How do you assess the Glasgow meeting market today? For many years Glasgow has been known as an ‘association’ city, with 50% of the economic impact from conferences linked to an area where the city has excellent academic strengths. Over 40% of meetings are in the field of Life Sciences, 20% in the field of science and engineering and 13% in low carbon industries. More recently, the city has seen an increase in city-wide corporate meetings hosted at the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre due to the flexibility and attractiveness of the venue, giving a ‘campus’ feel with over 1,000 hotel rooms on-site. Q: What do you see as crucial marketing elements to lure meeting planners? Logistics, access and infrastructure are critical information for a meeting planner and this detailed information is what a client should expect from any city convention bureau. So, if logistics is a ‘given’ how do we in Glasgow convince a meeting planner to come to our city? Our partnership approach across the city’s venues and suppliers, government and industry offers the meeting planner a team who are available to help them deliver their vision for the meeting. Finding connections and links to their areas of interest allows us to help promote the meeting to a new local audience and this in turn helps grow delegate numbers, and we engage with commercial suppliers based locally who may not have exhibited at the conference in the past to support the exhibition. Q: How is your city positioned as a meeting destination today and what are its positive attributes that are often overlooked?

According to ICCA, in 2015, Glasgow welcomed more international delegates than any other UK city, outside London. People Make Glasgow is the city brand and for our clients and delegates we know that People Make Glasgow…Connect, People Make Glasgow… Innovate and most importantly People Make Glasgow …Welcome! Q: How hard is it to get the message out about all that your city has to offer? There are so many fantastic cities in the world that offer meeting facilities …but there is only one Glasgow! To reach key decision makers and encourage them to consider Glasgow rather than other larger or more well-known cities can be a challenge but when we bring clients to the city and they experience Glasgow for themselves this helps us get the message out, because these clients become huge supporters and they in turn spread the message.

museums as venues for gala dinners and drinks receptions for the conferences coming into the city. Promoting the museum venues allowed me to meet the clients on site visits with the Convention Bureau team and I was intrigued by this conference world! When I was approached by the Head of the Convention Bureau to join their sales team, I was delighted and remain as enthusiastic for our industry now as I did then!

Q: Your best incentive idea in Glasgow? An incentive for Glasgow should really blend the creativity and energy of the city with the staggering beauty of Scotland’s Loch Lomond, just 40 minutes from the city centre. Glasgow offers new and engaging incentive itineraries to get your clients excited. You may know Scotland but do you know Glasgow? It’s now on the incentive map with a focus on the creative industries, music and cultural tourism. Blend your own Q: What would whisky or do a brewery you recommend to tour, take part in your "Glasgow hosts more meeting planners? own Highland Games, Remember to contact take the seaplane, or sail international delegates the local Convention on Loch Lomond to BBQ Bureau when you are on your own island, or than any other UK city, considering a new try speedboats along the outside London" city. A Convention River Clyde. City Centre Bureau exists to offer boutique hotels, such as free and impartial One Devonshire Gardens, advice and is your Blythswood Square or partner in making your event a success. Dakota partnered with resort hotels such as Cameron House on Loch London, Blair Castle Q: Tell us something that might surprise or Trump Turnberry. meeting planners about your city? Glasgow hosts more international delegates Q: On a personal note, what would be your than any other UK city, outside London. We have ideal event to host in Glasgow? more parks (91) than any other UK city and we An ideal event for me would be anything that have Europe’s largest civic museum collection, involved going on a site visit! There is nothing on display across 7 of the free museums that our better than getting out and about around the delegates enjoy visiting. Home to Scottish Opera, venues and meeting the teams and reminding Scottish Ballet and the Royal Scottish National myself what a great city and great team we have. Orchestra, Glasgow is a cultural powerhouse of creative industries and creative people. As Q: To change the MICE world you need to…? UNESCO City of Music, there are over 100 live Get involved! Think about joining a professional music events in our city every week! body that fits with your role and use the association to meet your peers. Remember that the Q: What sparked your enthusiasm for the Millennials are coming and consider how best meetings industry? to engage and include these leaders of the future in your plans. Embrace technology and consider As the Events Officer for Glasgow Museums I had the enormous privilege of promoting the how Meeting Design could support your networking aims. 100







MICE oglas 204x255-21.3.2016-novo 21. marec 2016 13:28:10

Hidden Congress Guest




LOCATION The majority of Hotel Yasmin guests are businesspeople arriving at the hotel by car, guests who appreciate both the location and the free car park. The hotel is actually located on the edge of city centre, within reach of all the key attractions and institutions. The famous cultural venue of Tabačka is located across the street and other key attractions of the European Capital of Culture are easily reached on foot.

OPEN SINCE 2009 MEETINGS STAR City Meeting Hotel STANDARD Hotel with Conference Facilities NUMBER OF ROOMS 113 Superior Rooms, 40 Deluxe Rooms, 12 Junior Suites, 1 Deluxe Apartment INTERNET PRICE 72 - 133 EUR (November 2016, Trivago) ADDRESS Tyršovo nabrežie 1 04001 Košice, Slovakia T: +421 55 795 11 00 E: reservation@hotel-yasmin.skwww. FACILITIES Summer Garden, Restaurant Caffe Yasmin, Steakhouse Montana, Club Yasmin, Wellness, Conference Centre, Catering Service EXTRAS Summer Garden: Nice oasis in the middle of the city, which allows for organising coffee breaks, lunches or receptions. RESULTS OF ANALYSIS Location Accessibility First impression Lobby Employee attitude Reception Hotel room Hotel bed Bathroom and restroom Hotel breakfast Bars and restaurants Congress hall Additional offer TOTAL:   FINAL GRADE Premium City Meeting Hotel Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

4,69 3,65 4,15 4,23 4,54 4,64 4,52 4,69 4,79 4,04 4,43 4,66 4,63 4,44


ACCESSIBILITY At a very highest level of accessibility the biggest drawback is the poor flight availability, but this is improving with the introduction of several new flight connections (Turkish Airlines). The city has a modern and urban look and in terms of public transport it is friendly to congress guests. The hotel also offers a spacious car park for 42 cars, with 62 spaces available in the underground garage. COLD APPETISER – Architecture and aesthetics The hotel is the result of the renovation of the former Hotel Hutnik building that was thoroughly overhauled with many new design elements, the most notable being the golden façade elements that added an exclusive touch to a modernistic hotel façade. It is a very elegant and stylish hotel that, according to guest ratings, is considered the best in Kosice and is also often cited as the first Slovak design hotel. In the interior there are many fine details and well-selected pieces of furniture that look prestigious and raise the overall satisfaction levels of the hotel. WARM APPETISER – Staff and Food  Like most places, we particularly remember our stay in a city for the people and the hotel staff. It is therefore without any hesitation that we can definitely accord this indicator in Hotel Yasmin with a very good grade. Besides the attention and kindness, you are also made to feel very welcome. The culinary story of the hotel begins with breakfast, which is solid and at the level expected of hotels in this category, with a sufficiently wide choice for all tastes as well as real Italian espresso. It is true, however, that it is here where some improvements could be made. The guest-praised Steakhouse Montana hadn’t been evaluated by the time of this visit.

★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★


Final Score

MAIN COURSE – The hotel's congress services The hotel was recently renovated and the rooms are attractive, spacious and with modern décor. The modern design, practicality and very nice bathroom with excellent bedding makes an impression on guests. The modern, multifunctional Yasmin hall can accommodate up to 300 delegates. The hall has daylight and can be split into three smaller halls. The offer is complemented by a further three smaller meeting rooms. The terrace for coffee breaks is popular among event organisers, especially in warmer months. DESSERT – Additional offer Club Yasmin – a nice club that can be privatized for event after-parties.


FLOP – negative surprises A few culinary inconsistences that don’t really harm the overall impression and a bit of a tight lobby that would benefit from some more space.


TOP – positive surprises Very good value congress package. You will get much more than in comparison with other European meeting destinations. Overall impression and credibility The designers of Hotel Yasmin’s renovation have done a good job that is best appreciated in the interior: all the fittings look prestigious, pleasant, fresh and modern. Whist perhaps not to absolutely everyone’s taste the overall impression is certainly a positive one.There is very good balance between what you pay for and what you get here – this is in fact also a feature of Kosice’s broader offer. For reasonable amounts of money you will get a very good congress package that to be perfect needs just a few improvements on its culinary aspect. Undoubtedly this is the hotel that forms the heart of the meetings offer in Kosice.

Hidden Congress Guest




LOCATION At the time of opening in 2009 the hotel was the first of this chain in Eastern Europe, located in the centre of Košice and next to a large shopping centre. The new hotel welcomed the European Capital of Culture title that was held in 2013 and it’s one of the main reasons why Košice become more visible on the European tourist map. With its offer and quality, the hotel has improved the general hotel offer of Košice and today it is the beating heart of the city’s modern congress scene.

CATEGORY ★★★★ OPENED SINCE 2009 MEETINGS STAR City meeting hotel STANDARD Congress Hotel NUMBER OF ROOMS 170 INTERNET PRICE 77 - 144 EUR (November 2016, Trivago) ADDRESS Hlavna 1, 04001 Košice, Slovakia 
T: +421 55 3251 500 FACILITIES Olive Tree restaurant, Lobby bar and Cafe Slovan, Casino, Shopping passage

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

EXTRAS DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookie for the welcome on arrival at the hotel

ACCESSIBILITY The city centre is within walking distance and the hotel is also well connected to the airport, which is just a 15minute taxi ride away. Flight connection possibilities are gradually improving, although an alternative is to arrive at Budapest airport and then connect onwards. For guests arriving by car, the hotel garage is available. Taxi services in Košice are very affordable, although the hotel location makes it ideal to explore the city on foot or by bicycle. All of the main tourist attractions are nearby. COLD APPETIZER - Architecture and Aesthetics A modern and dynamic design is reflected in clean lines and in minimalist furnishing in the hotel rooms. The façade is stripped of anything unnecessary and it certainly looks modern. Overall the building is modern, functional and a guest friendly hotel.

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

4.73 3.65 4.09 4.14 4.54 4.59 4.61 4.67 4.63 4.15 4.48 4.65 4.65 4.43

FINAL GRADE Premium City Meeting Hotel


Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

WARM APPETIZER - Staff and Food The personnel offer the proverbial friendliness of the Hilton hotel chain and it is everywhere apparent that the hotel is well managed. Despite the hotel occupancy, levels of cleanliness and tidiness were flawless. The hotel breakfast is a real winner, as the Hilton pays a lot of attention to its culinary offer and a personal relationship with their guests. There is also traditional Slovak cuisine to enjoy, which is combination of Hungarian and Czech. Upon arrival or departure you’ll be pleasantly surprised by a DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookie, which is the trademark of this hotel chain.


Final Score

MAIN COURSE – The hotel's congress services The hotel rooms are modernly decorated and technologically advanced, as befits a hotel of this chain. Natural materials, warm earthy colours and carefully selected textile décor are dominant features in the rooms, making for a pleasant feeling within a space that is sufficiently luxurious. The wireless internet works perfectly.Over 1,200 m2 of meetings area with natural daylight is available on the first floor of the hotel. This is the largest hotel and meetings area in Košice, which has modern facilities and can accommodate up to 400 participants. DESSERT - Additional offer Superb choice of desserts in Caffe Slovan.


FLOP – negative surprises In a hotel of this size, we would expect a larger spa and wellness area. A hotel pool is also a notable omission.


TOP – positive surprises Functionality and practicality of the hotel congress centre, which boasts natural daylight. Overall impression and credibility The hotel is one of the top choices among congress organisers in Košice. This is a reliable hotel that will not disappoint. The main feature of the hotel is a dynamic and attractive look and tailored hotel services for business guests. This puts the hotel at the top rank of the current hotel offer in Košice. Moreover, this is the only hotel of an international hotel chain in the region. In Košiče you generally receive good value for money and this is also the case with this hotel. It may not have a distinctive character but it is very functional and practical, so you will not be disappointed.

Hidden Congress Guest




CATEGORY ★★★★ OPEN SINCE 2014 MEETINGS STAR City Meeting Hotel STANDARD Hotel with Conference Facilities NUMBER OF ROOMS 127 rooms, 4 junior suites, 1 premium suite INTERNET PRICE 77 - 144 EUR (March 2016, Trivago) ADDRESS Sinjska ulica 6, Croatia T: +385 21 644 200 E: FACILITIES Restaurant Nodilo, Restaurant Kralj Tomislav, Terrace Lounge, Wine bar, Panorama bar, Wellness, Souvenir Shop, Conference halls EXTRAS Terrace Lounge: with jacuzzi and unbelievable view over the city it is suitable for welcome receptions.

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

4.67 4.06 4.27 4.32 4.74 4.72 4.63 4.71 4.68 4.73 4,43 4.19 4.21 4.49

4.49 ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

LOCATION This city hotel in the old town of Split quickly gained the affection of famous visitors to the city who have made it their base, in part due to the location but also helped by the fine cuisine and available car park. It also attracts a good following of the locals, who now like to gather at this spot. The hotel was developed at the time of Split’s tourist blossoming and it fulfils an authentic story of a city hotel that breathes the unique soul of Split and the wider Dalmatian region. The very best opportunity to absorb this spirit is on the terrace with a magnificent view over Dalmatian islands and all the symbols of Split with Marjan. ACCESSIBILITY The central location near the entrance to the Diocletian palace is a major advantage of the hotel. Should you be arriving by car, the hotel will enable you to park in a nearby garage, with a hotel speciality being an electric vehicle for city centre driving and friendly hotel staff who will drop you off at your desired destination. In recent years Split has greatly improved its accessibility and at the moment the number of flights is on the verge of the airport capacity. The airport is located just a 20-minute drive from the hotel and the prices of taxi services are not overly expensive, so for getting about the city it is a good idea to hire one. Also, public transport is getting better and better each year. COLD APPETISER – Architecture and aesthetics This charming city hotel was created by combining a renovated Student Centre building with a neighbouring business building, with the result that the demanding project has brought a new architecture to the city that blends nicely with it and respects the ancient city dimensions. Within the deluge of more or less similar hotels they have clearly wanted to create a facility that will be connected with the soul of the city and will tell stories about its tumultuous history. Local architects and designers have designed an interesting combination of traditional and modern in a more than 100 yearold building. WARM APPETISER – Staff and Food  For the hotel personnel it can safely be recorded that they sit at the top of the hotel offer in Split. Their kindness and youthful spirit amazes guests and ensures a pleasant first impression. The story of Dalmatia that connects the hotel architecture also pervades the culinary arts - at breakfast you have the opportunity to savour some typical Dalmatian deserts and other local 104

Final Score

culinary specialities with an offer based on modern Dalmatian and Mediterranean cuisine combined with international dishes. The restaurant with a well stocked wine cellar is the ideal environment for enjoying good food and good wine. MAIN COURSE – The hotel's congress services With their equipment and quality the hotel rooms will undoubtedly satisfy even the more demanding of guests. Rooms are spacious, functionality is satisfactory and comfort is at a high level. In hotel rooms you will also find a tablet with all the information about the hotel and what is on offer in Split. The new conference hall that was definitely lacking in the city centre was already booked for many events soon after opening. It can be combined with a restaurant and small atrium that appears suitable as a space for informal chatting and coffee breaks. Overall the facility is distinguished by its intimate atmosphere and excellent technical equipment, and seasoned by creative cuisine. DESSERT – Additional offer Concierge App – provides an overview of all hotel services and news from Dalmatia. Through the app you can order room service or get in contact with the reception desk.


FLOP – negative surprises The most meticulous guests may be disturbed by the fact that the hotel does not have any of its own parking spaces – but it is in the city centre and the friendly staff will also take care of this.


TOP – positive surprises Positive energy of the personnel aiming to satisfy every need of their guests. Overall impression and credibility The hotel, with its personnel striving to exceed guest expectations, is renowned for its superior and personal care of its guests. For all their efforts guests have rated them on TripAdvisor among the ten nicest hotels in Croatia. The hotel has quickly become one of Split’s trademarks, mainly because of the different approach and integration with the tourist offer of the city. When arranging the interior they were definitely monitoring every single detail, because they wanted their guests to feel the heart and soul of Split.

Hidden Congress Guest


CATEGORY ★★★★★ OPENED SINCE 1890, renovated 2007 MEETINGS STAR Resort Meeting Hotel STANDARD Congress Hotel NUMBER OF ROOMS 103 rooms and suites, 50 apartments INTERNET PRICE 179 € - 239 € (November 2016) ADDRESS Schlosspark 1 
A-9220 Velden 
 T: +43 4274 52000-0 FACILITIES Restaurant Seespitz, Restaurant Schlosstern, Schloss Bar, Spa Caffe, Acquapura SPA 3,600m2

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

EXTRAS Wellness Centre Aquapura SPA extends over 3,600 m2 and is one of the most prestigious wellness centres in this part of Europe.

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

4.90 4.45 5.00 4.98 4.92 4.89 4.97 4.99 4.97 4.72 4.91 4.82 4.98 4.88

4.88 ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

LOCATION The hotel is located on the western shore of Lake Wörthersee at the spot where castle Velden dates from 1590. The warm waters of Lake Wörthersee, also known as the Austrian Riviera, makes it one of the most visited tourist spots in all of Austria. The hotel has been in operation since 1890 and was for many years a popular location for both the local and international jet set scene. It has always been the spot for the beautiful, famous and rich to meet and have fun and many movies and series have been filmed in the hotel as well. Some of you will surely remember the cult series Castle on Worthersee lake, in which the unforgettable Roy Black played the boss and entertained both young and old. ACCESSIBILITY The hotel is easily accessible, close to main traffic roads and located just 2km from Klagenfurt airport, although many guests prefer to fly to Ljubljana and then connect on to Klagenfurt. It is set on the picturesque lake promenade. One potential drawback of the wider environment is the inaccessibility of the lake, as it is mostly fenced off. COLD APPETIZER - Architecture and Aesthetics The unique architecture of the mansion with its yellow façade dominating the lake’s shore makes for photogenic surroundings that call out for incentive events, and it is easy to visualise a car launch. In 2013 the Karl Wlasch real estate company from Vienna took over the Castle Hotel and the Falkensteiner chain took over the management of the hotel. After the take-over the hotel has been refreshed and is distinguished by an exceptional combination of old and new; the interior décor is characterized by clean lines and minimalistic design, dominated by beige and dark brown colour, and golden details add a touch of luxury to the interior. WARM APPETIZER - Staff and Food Superb cuisine is on offer, executed by chef Paul Schrott and prior to him by carinthian Stefan Lastin and the world renowned Silvio Nickol. It is a fusion of Mediterranean and local flavours – does it get any better than this? The wine cellar offers absolutely everything (and if something is missing they will provide it for you in a very short time). The Beach Club Restaurant “Seespitz” on the shore of Lake Wörthersee is especially suitable for events. Overall, the personnel is extremely professional and friendly and a personal concierge is available for the most demanding of guests.


4.88 Final Score

MAIN COURSE – The hotel's congress services The guest rooms are luxurious and both beautifully and tastefully decorated. In the old section some rooms are equipped with fireplaces, marble bathrooms and many gadgets, making them very romantic, alongside the more modern, minimalistic rooms in the new section. Schlosshotel Velden is no ordinary hotel and the congress centre is a factor in its stories that stimulate the imagination. It is a space where time passes slowly, where the provision of the right equipment in the halls is inherently understood, where the largest congress hall can accommodate up to 120 participants and where due to many external areas and its amazing photogenic qualities it is eminently suitable for car launches – and there have already been quite a few of them here before! DESSERT - Additional offer The whole region is full of different incentive ideas and service providers. For the more active of congress participants a private marina and swimming pool are available, as well as a few hidden spots for a special party under the stars.


FLOP – negative surprises Very high price in the summer season, but it is justified by a high level of service and a prestige location.


TOP – positive surprises Professional and helpful personnel and kindness everywhere. Overall impression and credibility Upon entering the hotel you instantly feel positivity and calm. The natural colours and wood blend nicely with the green surroundings, which can best be observed from the outdoor pool. Privacy is guaranteed by the many hidden corners simply intended for events. This was also one of the reasons why the hotel has acquired numerous titles as best hotel and has become a trademark of Carinthian tourism. At the time of our last assessment there has been a change in hotel management, which is today clearly at the peak of the regional hotel offer. Steered by German precision and Austrian charm it is the concept of excellence in every field.


HOTEL LEV, OLD CHARM VS NEW MEETING CONCEPT More than half a century of top quality service, a pleasant ambience and many exceptional guests



Even before the hotel was officially opened, the first guests came from America to stay at this brand new hotel. Soon after the official opening, the then President of the Republic of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, visited Lev. In the course of the first few years the hotel hosted a banquet organised by famous Japanese company Mitsubishi, a fashion show by Milanese clothing manufacturer Rhodiatoce, and also had journalists reporting about the Ice Hockey World Championship held in Ljubljana in 1966...

The Karantanija conference hall, located on the ground floor of the Hotel Lev and its largest conference hall that can host up to 400 guests, was completely refurbished during the summer months. Union Hotels’ vision to create the perfect conditions for productive and creative conferences and meetings finally came true. There is nothing ordinary about this new concept that offers different events and great networking that will deliver even better results.

ack then ….

For more than half a century now, ever since October 1964, the Hotel Lev has been opening its doors to welcome guests. Set in the city centre, where the former, renowned Pri Levu restaurant was once located, the construction of the modern and luxurious hotel started in 1961, following the architectural plans of Emil Medvešček. Building on the tradition of its predecessor, the hotel was aptly named Lev (Lion).

The range of top class hotel and culinary services has over time made the Hotel Lev more and more popular amongst business as well as leisure guests. Its long tradition has helped this mighty hotel become an important city, business and regional conference hotel, well-known throughout the world. After more than 30 years running the hotel, they signed a contract with the InterContinental hotel chain. In 2002 Hotel Lev became the only five star hotel in Ljubljana. Important people from all over the world have chosen the Hotel Lev and departed feeling very satisfied! The luminaries have included:Agatha Christie, Orson Wells, Louis Armstrong, Janet Jackson, Bob Dylan, Sting, Claudia Schiffer, Luciano Pavarotti, Ivo Pogorelich, Josipa Lisac, Eros Ramazzoti, Seal, 50 Cent, Valerij Gergijev, Zubin Mehta are just some of the many renowned guests to have been creating the hotel’s history.

Photo credit Marko Delbello Ocepek


At the end of August, Union Hotels unveiled a new meeting concept that is now offered to meeting planners at Hotel Lev. The concept was launched at the Conventa Crossover Conference, an international conference for the future of MICE and travel marketing. The combination of “out of the box” conference with an unconventional meetings setting worked perfectly, surpassing all of the delegates’ expectations.

Intrigued? A new, modern meetings concept together with the old, established hospitality is a perfect fit!



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

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

LJUBLJANA EDINBURGH *Numbeo Quality of Life Index 2016 4,20 / 187,89

Population: 279.756

Sunshine hours: 1.712 per year

ICCA Country and City rankings 2015 64 place - 41 meetings Global peace index: 4,07/ 1378

Population: 492.680

Numbeo Quality of Life Index 2016* 4,40 / 203,32

ICCA Country and City rankings 2015 35 place - 67 meetings

Sunshine hours: 1.380 per year

Global peace index: 3,14 / 1830

✚ Ljubljana has events written in its genome. Long before the emergence of the meetings industry, as we know it today, in 1821 Ljubljana hosted the Congress of the Holy Alliance.  The city is picturesque, attractive and friendly to congress guests. 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. Ljubljana is friendly and favorable to the meetings industry while competitive in terms of price and quality at the same time. Among all regional capitals it also has a very good image.

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

Ljubljana meetings flashpoints: 1. Grand Union Hall – a wonderful example of an Art Noveau conference hall tailored to the needs of modern congress organisers 2. Compact size – Once delegates are in the city no transfers are really needed, as most of the meeting venues, hotels and points of interest are central and at a walking distance. 3. Convention Centers – In the wider region, no city of Ljubljana size or even a tad larger, can offer two larger, flexible and efficient convention centers (Cankarjev dom and Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre). 4. Ljubljana Castle – special historical venue for different types of events 5. The city with a green soul – Ljubljana received the prestigious title of European Green Capital 2016. In recent years Ljubljana has been completely redesigned with sustainability in mind.

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

STAY: Grand Hotel Union

STAY: Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa

4.17 / 5




Think out of the box. Surprise your clients. Exceed your goals. THINK BLUE. hotel cubo OGLAS 1/14/16 2:22 PM Page 1 C







We mean business, Expect the Best.



Congresses, conferences, business events




INCENTIVE: A daylong exploration of the Kolpa

Nature Park, which takes place near the “Šokčev dvor” farmstead in Žuniči. The trip will lead you through history and the traditions of people living in Bela Krajina, which you will be able to capture with your camera. The photo safari is great for OVERVIEW: most exciting teambuilding Prekmurje, and lets you the experience the nature part of Krajina Slovenia, isauthentic a part ofway. the Pannonof Bela in an

ian plain. Here you will experience the sentiment, hardship of the Wow factor: the joy, and Thethe Kolpa and the natural “people from the plains”. Since people sights of Bela Krajina from Prekmurje live a good distance from Category: CSR experience central Slovenia, they are even more hosBest time of thethey year:get Allayear pitable when visit. Duration: Our “Gibanica” (Prekmurian All day layer cake) programme is a of combination of PrekmuriMin./max. number 1 – 10 an melody, outstanding cuisine, a modern participants: business environment and a broad set of Base: Hotel Balnea, Dolenjske various incentive programmes. Toplice/100 rooms Location:

Kolpa Natural Park, Žuniči

1. MOMENTS OF ZEN: Pannonian sentiment 2. QUALITY TIME: Listen to the mill on the Mura river and take a look at how the best flour is produced 3. MUST SEE: A stork in its nest 4. MUST DO: Indulge yourself with

Team-building programmes

Every step counts, so be wise and organize your events with the help of BLUE.



Motivational meetings





10:00 Arrival at the Graz or Zagreb airport


11:30 Arrival at the hotel Livada Prestige 12:00 Rafting on the Mura River – Round trip Rafting on the romantic Mura River guided by experienced competitors in kayaking and canoeing on wild waters. At the last INCENTIVE : The Prus homestead in Krmačina functioning mill in Veržej (the Babič mill) near Metlika is the centre of viticulture in Bela Krayou will be served lunch known under the jina. The wine cellar of the Prus family, decorated name “büjraška malica”, which includes with countless medals and awards, is renowned for regional specialties like krüj, zasiits naturally sweet wines. Thepajani blind tasting accomka, česnek and žganica. panied by outstanding culinary delights will open doors a completely different wine experience. 15:00 toVisit to the beekeeper The wines range from sec white and red wines to The Bee’s Castle is an ecological beekeepsweet wines, including naturally sweet wines.

ing farm in the beautiful nature of the Goričko nature park, far away from the Wow factor: premihustle and bustle ofAlongside everydaytasting life. You will um quality wines, particiobserve the beekeeper’s work, the life of will also how a bee family and getpants to know howlearn honey to bake the table. “belokrajnska “gets” from the flower to the pogača” flat bread

17:00 Arrival at theCulinary Hotel Livada Prestige, Category: experience CulSava Hotels & Resorts tural experience Best time of the year: year in the black 17.30 Quality time!All Relax thermal known for its Duration: mineral water, 3 hours therapeutic effects, particularly on rheuMin./max. number of 1 – 30 matism and musculoskeletal system probparticipants: lems, as well as on general wellbeing.

Hotel Balnea, Dolenjske Toplice/100 rooms 19:00 Gibanica – The Prekmurian layer cake is a peculiarity Krmačina, among desserts Location: Metlika and Base:

is considered to be a Slovene national culinary specialty. It prides itself with the European label Traditional Speciality Guar109 anteed. Learn how to make the best one. 20:00 Dinner, Prekmurje style

BELA KRAJINA 09:30 Visit of one of best preserved

houses in Prekmurje and a meeting with craftsmen from Prekmurje: a potter, a roofer, a pumpkin seed oil producer and a genuine ham producer from Prekmurje.



12:00 Lunch a tourist farm 14:00 Transfer to the airport Other options: Photo Safari or Golf and Goulash INCENTIVE: The participants will return to

school and spend some time in a classroom furnished in 1960s style. Those HOURS OF who are not obedient may get punished by having SUNSHINE: 1830to kneel on corn grains, or even by getting lashed with a rod. In one school lesson, which will last for 45 minutes, the “pupils” will learn about the old times, Bela KraTHERE: Theinmotorway to funny jinaGETTING and its characteristics a simple and way.Prekmurje A visit to a nearby tourist farm will follow. was built only recently.

Now getting from Ljubljana to Murska Sobota odyssey, but a Wow factor:is no longer Belaan Krajina in a different, hop, skip, and a jump. funny and playful way Category:

Cultural experiences


3 hours (45 minutes in

ACCOMMODATION: Best time Livada, of the year: AllHotels year & Resorts Hotel Sava EAT AND DRINK:class) Tourist farmsofwith local food Min./max. number 1 –authentic 20 participants:

GATEWAYS: TheHotel MuraBalnea, river connects Base: Dolenjske

the Slovenian region of Prekmurje Toplice/100 rooms and the Croatian Međimurje.


Kolpa Natural Park, Žuniči













INCENTIVE: Glamorous camping in Stari pod. INCENTIVE: Participants will get acquainted Three glamping houses were named after the indigenous sheep breads from the Kolpa river area, namely Pramenka, Tkalka and Pisanica. The glamping experience will be spiced up with boating on the river and a competition for the best barbecue chef. Wow factor: Category:

Combining nature and fun Active experiences

Best time of the year: May – September Duration:

All day

Min./max. number of participants:

1 – 10


Kamp Janković, Stari Pod


Kamp Janković, Stari Pod

with the centuriesold tradition of hanging and curing smoked ham from Prekmurje. They will also learn how to cook the “prekmurski bograč” stew and participate in a competition for the best one. The programme will be spiced up with a visit to a greenhouse in Renkovci, where the Lušt tomatoes, probably the best tomatoes in the country, are grown. The group will get to know the “prekmurski bograč” stew , smoked ham, the meat specialty “tünka”, the traditional desert “posolanka”, the potato dish “dödli” and “gibanica”, a famous pastry dish from Prekmurje. Wow factor:

Culinary art by the Mura river


Culinary experiences

Best time of the year: All year Duration:

10 hours

Min./max. number of participants:

1 – 50


Moravske Toplice


Moravci, Markišavci, Renkovci


INCENTIVE: 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. Wow factor:

Carpe Diem


Active experiences

Best time of the year: May – September Duration:

10 hours

Min./max. number of participants:

1 – 30




Domačija Javornik, Krka











ESTATE INCENTIVE: 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. Wow factor:

The first open air museum with hayracks


Historical experiences

INCENTIVE: You will actively acquire knowledge

on the organic processing of oilbearing plants and crops into organic oils, spreads, and plain and wholegrain flour. In a short lecture you will learn how to respect natural systems and cycles without using genetically modified organisms. The entire programme will be in the form of a workshop on preparing healthy homemade food, led by the host Urška and the topclass chef Slavko Adamlje. You will reminisce about and taste long forgotten recipes, and learn how to prepare healthy dishes.

Best time of the year: May - September

INCENTIVE: A unique fishing experience. Fly

fishing for graylings and brown trout, spin fishing for metrelong pike in the heart of Ljubljana, and winter adventures – huchen fishing on the entire Ljubljanica river. Wow factor:

The king of the Ljubljanica river – the huchen or the Danube salmon


Active experiences

Best time of the year: All year


4 hours

Wow factor:

In harmony with nature


3 hours

Min./max. number of participants:

1 – 30


Cultural experiences

Min./max. number of participants:

1 – 10


The Pule estate / Šmarješke toplice


Ljubljana – hotel of your choice




The Ljubljanica river and its tributaries

Best time of the year: All year Duration:

4 – 5 hours

Min./max. number of participants:

1 – 10 (by prior arrangement)


The Trunlja Estate/Apartments Tritikala, Konoplja, Koruza and AjdaFor larger groups accommodation in Ljubljana


Črna vas, Ljubljana CONTACT US: Blue Ljubljana Office, Štihova ulica 4, SI1000 Ljubljana, T: +386 (0)1 430 51 03, F: +386 (0)1 430 51 04, E:, W:


Inside Ljubljana


Text by: Tatjana Radovič Photos: Tadej Bernik, GoodPlace Ljubljana – the European Green Capital 2016, recently hosted a resounding conference on sustainable tourism, Global Green Destinations Day, which took place on 27 and 28 September 2016. Organised by the international organisation Green Destinations and the Institute of Sustainable Tourism GoodPlace, its main partner and co-organiser was Ljubljana Tourism, in cooperation with the Slovenian Tourist Board. The event attracted over 300 delegates from destinations around the globe to discuss the challenges that destinations are facing with regard to their sustainable development, new technologies, and to celebrate the 2016 Top 100 Sustainable Destinations precisely on the World Tourism Day.


o better recap could be used than the words of Tracy Johnson, Associate editor of The Place Brand Observer, a sister publication of Sustainability Leaders, who attended GGDD 2016: “ I can’t think of a better place to host a celebration of international green destinations than in Ljubljana. From the lush forests that encircle the city to its dedication to reduced traffic, clean drinking water and its Slovenia Green sustainable tourism strategy, the city oozes green from its pores”.

The Convention Bureau within Ljubljana Tourism designed an alternative way to present the city through a “green lense”, moving the event from the venue – Grand Hotel Union, into the streets. To stir up the energy, attendees first embarked on an urban adventure - Unlock Ljubljana, that kept them busy unfolding the secrets from its past through different tasks taking them across four bridges. Not only do bridges represent architectural masterpieces, as they also carry the symbolic meaning of connecting: two riverbanks, different worlds or unknown people, which was our ultimate goal. As the next step, participants joined one among four offered programmes, each focusing on a different aspect of sustainable practices in the destination: Sustainable Mobility, Local Goods, Green Accommodation, and Social Responsibility. Those who opted for the Sustainable Mobility tour were presented the closing of the city centre to traffic with a focus on the central Slovenska cesta street (now nicknamed Ljubljana's living room), the BicikeLJ public bicycle system, Kavalir (Gentleman) electric vehicle, which offers free of charge rides in the pedestrian area, and more. The discovery was partly »pedals-on«, as bikes

of the BicikeLJ system, which has impressive user statistics, were used as a means of transport. This allowed the time to venture into the Tivoli Park, where the Kavalir brought a »drive-in« surprise: delicious snacks from the Taste Ljubljana culinary project. During the walk that followed special attention was drawn to the underground storage tanks for separate waste collection.

Green Accommodation featured the first two Travelife certified properties in Ljubljana, Park Hotel and Hostel Celica. The Park Hotel terrace is more than just a rooftop with breathtaking views, as it is a home to diligent urban bees and honey plants. Guests learnt how their Urban&Green story started, how the bees “flew” into this frame, and how their initiative is spreading beyond the property, opening up to the community in the Tabor city quarter and nearby park. The take-aways were: home-made sweets as a treat during the active visit, a small jar of honey and valuable information on the many future plans. Enej Vitrih, the hotel's Marketing Manager, says: »We are happy that the reaction and comments were very positive, and with lots of helpful suggestions. Hopefully the participants had as much fun as we did while guiding them up and down our hotel and that this year’s GGDD will be one to remember”. 112

In Hostel Celica guests learnt about its unique concept, where the artistic transformation and sustainability went hand in hand. The development from a once degraded ex-military prison to one of the most original hostels with 20 art-themed rooms behind bars, which is also the first eco-certified hostel in the world, was illustrated. As Tanja Lipovec, Project Manager at Celica, says: »The GGDD delegates were intrigued by our sustainable philosophy and local art used to transform a negative prison vibe into a warm and welcoming place. The highlight of the tour was definitely the tasting of local delicacies grown in the hostel's herb garden, home-made bread prepared with wild yeast, super spicy chilli oil and a variety of organic fruit syrups. A true attraction was reading the funny quotes on small info plates, located around the hostel, addressing the guests and visitors on how they can participate to our more sustainable and green operation«. As we are very proud of our clean, chemically untreated drinking water and culinary delights, Local Goods showcased the system of public drinking fountains in Ljubljana and emphasized the importance of locally produced food, which also meant that attendees participated in a culinary workshop and prepared a traditional

Inside Ljubljana

local dessert together. This took place in Gostilna dela, a restaurant that was established as a social entrepreneurship project with the aim to train and employ young people from various vulnerable groups. At the same time the Green Supply Chain was presented - a pilot project in the region of Central Slovenia, connecting local producers and local tourism providers with the aim of giving the latter an opportunity to purchase reasonably-priced food, produced 100% locally, regionally or nationally. Tita Destovnik, director of CenterKontura, which runs Gostilna dela, adds: »Among other, our guests had questions on recycling, food delivery, our daily offer, managing the operational costs (i.e. electricity, water), and applauded our social entrepreneurship concept. Not to forget – all enjoyed very much tasting the dessert they baked with joint efforts«!

The idea behind the Social Responsibility tour was to explore local social enterprises and get to know the fair trade principle. "It makes us extremely proud to see how much visitors value the originality and dedication of creative social economy projects in the city that we present as part of our ‘From Ljubljana with love’ tour. Moreover, they appreciate the approach we take at CurioCity,

which is that they have a feeling of being taken around Ljubljana by a friend. The participants of the GGDD have been no exception - they’ve followed with interest the stories behind innovative local solutions and this makes us proud,” says Dragan Barbutovski, co-founder of CurioCity, who organised the programme. The Druga Violina (Second violin) management revealed how they implemented a successful model to integrate young adult persons with disabilities into the working


special Ljubljana experience was staged at Cafe Čokl, famous for the fair trade coffee that they roast by themselves. Needless to say what the attendees tasted. The day did not end after such an active afternoon, as the evening featured an original award cerprocess. In the 3MUHE shop, which only sells products grown, produced or manufactured to fair trade standards, participants learned about the Fair Do global education project. The »Second hand – New use« social entrepreneurship project & shop was also presented, as well as Smetumet (their slogan is Glamourous garbage), a trio of practical and ecologically-minded ladies

hooked on creating a range of useful items by recycling diverse materials. The final touch to this

emony to honour the Top 100 Sustainable Destinations around the globe, right at the top of the city – the Ljubljana Castle. And, the day after, another inspiring set of presentations wrapped up a successful and sustainable GGDD 2016.

Inside Ljubljana

Festive and magical December in Ljubljana


he festive season in Ljubljana will this year begin before the first Sunday of Advent, starting on Friday, 25 November. This is when the Christmas lights will switch on and the Festive Fair, which Tourism Review recently listed among the top 10 Christmas markets in Europe, will open, adding a tinge of fairy-tale spirit to the city until 1 January 2017. Ljubljana is widely known for having one of the most original and magical Christmas lights displays, which visitors will have the chance to admire until 8 January 2017. As each December in Ljubljana, the festive atmosphere will once again lighten up the downtown areas, with the historical quarter turning into a major hub of social life where locals enjoy meeting up with friends even when temperatures occasionally drop below zero. And visitors are welcome to join our tradition! During this time, numerous free events will take place on open-air stages in the magically decorated Old Town. The traditional ones include the St. Nicholas and Festive fairs, Santa Claus Parade, the Good Fairy, who makes all wishes come true, street art and organ grinder perfor-

mances, the Christmas concert in front of the Town Hall and diverse concerts in numerous squares around the Old Town. In addition to the rich programme that will take place in the open air, several institutions have designed a range of festive initiatives and activities, including, among others, Kinodvor art cinema, the Ljubljana Festival, Ljubljana Castle and Ljubljana Puppet Theatre. The New Year’s Eve will be marked by a variety of concerts by renowned musicians of different genres and at midnight, the fireworks from organic and biodegradable materials will brighten up the sky above Ljubljana. Some of the December highlights are listed below, while the detailed programme is published at As an extra tip, on 2 January 2017 a special concert will mark the conclusion of the year when Ljubljana proudly wore the prestigious title of European Green Capital 2016. December in Ljubljana is truly enchanting – come and live your magic Christmas fairy-tale with us!

25. 11. 2016 at 17.15: Ljubljana's festive lights switch-on event 25. 11. 2016 - 1. 1. 2017: Festive Fair / Christmas Market 3. - 6. 12. 2016 at 10.00-20.00: St Nicholas Fair 5. 12. 2016 at 17.00: St Nicholas Procession 16. - 20. 12. 2016 at 19.00: Street theatre performances 24. 12. 2016 at 17.00: Christmas Concert 26. - 30. 12. 2016 at 17.00: Grandpa Frost processions 31. 12. 2016 at 21.00: New Year´s Eve celebrations

Photos: Ljubljana Tourism, D. Wedam


Inside Ljubljana

A quick look at 2016 and an overview on congress Ljubljana in 2017


he Slovenian capital, which has been present on the international association meetings market for more than thirty years, can be regarded as an established, yet fresh destination that can welcome meetings with up to 2,200 delegates in the two largest congress venues. The compact layout and “walking city” dimension of Ljubljana, the European Green Capital 2016, is definitely one of its advantages, making it a logistically easy destination. Although 2016 is not over yet, it can be definitely considered a positive year with regard to the business volume growth in the meetings industry sector and tourism overall. Although there was no congress going beyond 800 delegates, a considerable number of mid-sized ones attracted from 300 to 600 delegates. The largest event organized this year by regional, European or international association at CD – Cankarjev dom Congress Centre Ljubljana was WINFOCUS World 2016 - the 12th World Congress on Ultrasound

in Emergency & Critical Care Medicine, with 780 attendees, followed by the EU Robotics Forum, with 500 delegates. At the GR – Ljubljana Exhibition & Convention Centre, instead, 6th European Congress on Geosynthetics EuroGeo 6, NMDPD 2016 (on Parkinson disease) and the 17th World Lace Congress of OIDFA attracted 600 delegates each. The Grand Hotel Union was the venue for the 21st EUMASS Congress of Insurance Medicine and Social Security (600 delegates) and 15th Congress of the European Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society - EVECC 2016 (400 delegates) and the 11th European Quality Assurance Forum (400 delegates). Among the academic venues, the largest event, CEEISA-ISA 2016 Joint International Conference, »Politics for International Relations«, at the Faculty of Social Sciences, attracted 700 delegates. Among the congress highlights in 2017, similar in terms of size to the larger congresses this year, are:

Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport back to growth


jubljana Jože Pučnik Airport has swung back to growth following six consecutive months of declining figures. Slovenia’s busiest airport handled 132.081 passengers in October, an increase of 2.8% compared to the same month last year. The number of aircraft movements stood at 2.788, up 0.4%. The passenger decline, which began in April, was solely a result of Adria Airways, which made significant cuts to its network under new ownership this summer season. On the other hand, foreign carriers saw their numbers improve by 13% on their services to and from Ljubljana. As a result of the protracted downturn, the airport’s annual figures are still softer to that of last year. It welcomed 1.210.414 travellers through its doors during the January – October period, a decrease of 4.2%. Aircraft movements were down 1%, standing at 27.906. This winter season, Ljubljana Airport expects to see strong-

er numbers. Adria Airways has boosted frequencies on five of its routes (Amsterdam, Paris, Sarajevo, Warsaw and Zurich), although it no longer flies to Berlin, unlike last winter. Foreign carriers will also be adding flights, with low cost airline easyJet to introduce new services from London’s Gatwick Airport to complement its existing flights from Stansted Airport. Overall, there will be over 180 scheduled flights per week out of Ljubljana this winter, operating to 22 destinations in eighteen countries. The airport, management which sees strong competition from larger nearby rivals such as Zagreb, Venice and Budapest, says it is holding its own. “Slovenia’s main airport is attracting a growing number of Slovenian and cross-border passengers by competing successfully with other airports in the region”, it said in a statement. 115

In February:

• 2017 EFMD Conference for Deans & Directors General Faculty of Economics / University of Ljubljana, 350 del.Availability of networking areas • T. Harv Eker's Millionaire Mind Intensive EventGR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre, 1.000 del.

In April:

• 10th International Congress of the Vascular Access Society – VAS 2017 CD Congress Centre Ljubljana, 600 del.● • 2nd South Eastern European Joint Meeting of Thoracic Anaesthesiologists and Surgeons Grand Hotel Union, 200 del.●

In May:

• 36th EBC Congress - European Brewery Convention 2017 CD Congress Centre Ljubljana, 600 del.● • 4th World Landslide Forum CD Congress Centre Ljubljana, 500 del.

In July:

• 10th Liquid Matter Conference CD Congress Centre Ljubljana, 800 del.

In September:

• Open Educational Resources – OER CD Congress Centre Ljubljana, 500 del.● • European JAZZ Conference and EJN General Assembly CD Congress Centre Ljubljana, 250 del. ● • 29th Congress of EFSUMB – Euroson 2017 GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre, 700 del. This venue has three more potential projects from 500 to 1,800 del. in negotiation process at the moment.

In October:

• European Academy of Paediatrics Congress and Mastercourse - EAP2017 CD Congress Centre Ljubljana, 600 del.● • Europa Donna Pan-European Conference 2017 Grand Hotel Union, 300 del.● • 13th European Lighting Conference - Lux Europa 2017 Grand Hotel Union, 280 del.

The largest convention hotel in Ljubljana is between January and July also hosting five meetings of the Forum Train Europe – FTE on the harmonisation of freight and passanger traffic on railways (150 participants each), which have been returning to the same venue for years.

Confirmed congress bookings are in place for as far as the year 2021, and it is already clear now that 2018 will be a record congress year for Ljubljana! Destination partners focusing primarily on the corporate / incentive markets, both hotels and DMC's, are also reporting a positive business outlook in 2017, following a well busy year 2016. Check out the congress calendar for the updated list of major association events in Ljubljana.


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

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

GLASGOW ZAGREB *Numbeo Quality of Life Index 2016 4,10 / 178,93

Population: 606.340

Sunshine hours: 1.265 per year

ICCA Country and City rankings 2015 49th place - 54 meetings Global peace index: 3,14 / 1830

Population: 792.875

Numbeo Quality of Life Index 2016* 3,90 / 159,03

ICCA Country and City rankings 2015 64th place - 41 meetings

Sunshine hours: 1.898 per year

Global peace index: 3,14 / 1830

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

✚ Zagreb makes a good impression on the visitor. Zagreb is a great small place in terms of accessibility and transport. For a foreigner, the first impression is certainly Central European. Generally, the city is safe, clean, comfortable and friendly to congress participants. The good ratio between price and quality is especially attractive; this has a positive impact on the competitiveness of the destination. As its main advantage, we would highlight the compactness and high quality of hotel accommodation, which combined with cultural and historical heritage, is the formula for success. Everything is seasoned with the right dose of metropolitan character and friendliness of the locals. It is well established in the international congress market and in addition to Ljubljana and Belgrade it represents the future backbone of the meetings industry in the region.

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

Zagreb meetings flashpoints: 1. Emerald Hall in Esplanade hotel – probably one of the most beautiful congress halls of the region with Orient Express old times glamour 2. Old Tram Incentive – incentive story on a nostalgic tram ride 3. Sheraton Zagreb – a classic hotel convention centre of the highest level 4. Croatian State Archive – one of the most beautiful special venues of the region 5. Gourmet Zagreb - exploring the culinary delights found in the historic Croatian capital through its farmers markets and gourmet spots.

STAY: Village Hotel Glasgow

STAY: Esplanade Hotel

4.38 / 5

4.14 / 5




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Conventa Addendum



Explore the emerging destinations of Europe over a cup of coffee

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



18 - 19 JANUARY 2017, Ljubljana—Slovenia

Conventa Addendum



They say that many hands make light work but in Conventa’s case we could say that few hands make work more personal. Meet the small team behind Conventa 2017 that knows how to create an unforgettable experience for exhibitors and hosted buyers.

is also a development project so things are changing every year. One of them is definitely positioning Slovenia and South East Europe on international meetings map. The next one could be uniting the meetings industry of the region and developing its product, its potential but also demonstrating its value and contribution to national economies.

has given me a lot of knowledge and connections. It was a long time infection that still lasts to this day. In the meantime, I also tried myself as a hotelier, but my passion for the meetings industry and organisation has led me to my own company in which in addition to other projects we are also co-creating the Conventa.

Career high: I am in the middle of my professional career. First half have been great, looking forward for the second half.

What is the most positive thing about the Conventa? Definitely a special energy that we have managed to create at the event and which much larger congress organisers envy us. Energy is the result of Conventa being prepared by highly experienced organisers who are trying to understand buyers’ needs as well as the needs of exhibitors. At the same time the whole event is conceived as a boutique experience.


Let’s get personal... 4:

Three words that describe you best: work hard, play hard, being me

If you weren’t working in the meetings industry what other profession would you care to attempt? Global top innovative blue chip corporation 5:

If you could fly off to any destination in the world which destination would that be? Winter/spring/summer/autumn/alone/with partner/family/friends/weekend/week/ month/year – How many answers may I give you? 6:

What always makes you smile? Friends and some colleagues but also passionate people 7:


Exhibition Director  How did you get into the meetings industry? 15 years ago when working for the largest tour operator in the country, the M&IT department head invited me to join the team. Haven't left the industry since than despite few years later changed to the convention hotel and eight years ago to the national convention bureau. Challenging but rewarding experience contributing to the development of the industry. What is the most positive thing about the Conventa? It is difficult almost impossible to name the most positive one. There are so many and they are connected to each other. Conventa

Career high: In the long career there have been a lot of events that could be described as peaks depending on the period. Among congresses the highlight was definitely the largest congress in Slovenia's history, the Apimondia Congress, which was organised in 2003 in Cankarjev dom . Today, the biggest challenge and at the same time satisfaction is managing my private firm and I am especially excited by changes in the field of content marketing, which we are trying to promote through the production of Kongres magazine. 3:

Let’s get personal... 4:

Three words that describe you best: Rock'n'roll.

If you weren’t working in the meetings industry what other profession would you care to attempt? As a geographer by heart, I would probably travel around the world and write travelogues about the most unusual places I visited. 5:





Head of Marketing  How did you get into the meetings industry? For the meetings industry I was first inspired at Cankarjev dom, where I worked as a student. It was then virtually the only convention centre and PCO in Slovenia, which 1:

If you could fly off to any destination in the world which destination would that be? I would travel through the length and breadth of Russia and explore the endless expanse of Siberia. 6:

What always makes you smile? The morning walks with my flatcoated retriever, whose name is Bodo. 7:

Conventa Addendum

tion in the world which destination would that be? I am dreaming about Africa 7:

What always makes you smile? Nice sunny mornings.


If you could fly off to any destination in the world which destination would that be? Tokyo, Japan. 6:

Exhibitors and Social Programme Manager  How did you get into the meetings industry? During my study at the Faculty of Arts I was working as a hostess in Cankarjev dom, Congress and Cultural Centre in Ljubljana. At that time I first had a chance to get in contact with congress participants. It was a very interesting experience. When there was an opportunity to start working in the PCO department, I knew that this is what I want to do. And I stayed there for 10 years… What is the most positive thing about the Conventa? I was involved in the organisation of the biggest congresses held in Ljubljana with very complex logistic. But Conventa is special. First because we did it from scratch. And every year it is a challenge how to make it even more effective for providers and hosted buyers. Career high: After 17 years in the meetings industry, I still see a lot of challenges. For sure I will continue my work as a congress organiser and share my experiences with younger colleagues that would like to work in the meetings industry as well. 3:

Let’s get personal... 4:

Three words that describe you best: 3C: calm, creative, curious

If you weren’t working in the meetings industry what other profession would you care to attempt? Hmm… if not a meeting planner, than I would probably try it as a designer. 5:


If you could fly off to any destina-

What always makes you smile? Animals and the crazy things they do. People and the crazy things they do :) 7:



If you weren’t working in the meetings industry what other profession would you care to attempt? If you want a serious answer than I would stay in marketing, but those who know me really well know that it is hard for me to stay serious so writing children’s science fiction stories would be great! 5:


Content Manager  How did you get into the meetings industry? Actually it was Conventa that first introduced me to the meetings industry. Three years ago organizers needed someone to help out with on-location press and Conventa TV so I stepped in at the last minute. Agreeing to work on the project I did not know what to expect, but obviously I was pleasantly surprised so I have been working on and for Conventa ever since :) 1:

What is the most positive thing about the Conventa? I think idea of connecting people in the SEE region. The business model might look complicated on the outside but it is actually quite simple and works very well. Another thing I would say is the opportunity to mix serious business with pleasure. 2:

Career high: That’s a tough one. I am interested in so many things and you never know where life will take you. If I would have to pick one thing from the past that I hope to continue working on I would choose the Intercontinental Advertising CUP – The CUP. I love to feed of creativity which I believe we are often lacking in life. 3:

Let’s get personal... 4:

Three words that describe you best: Direct, organized and creative.


Content & Marketing  How did you get into the meetings industry? As with mayor events in my life, I believe that there are no coincidences. Looking back, I always say that some of my previous work experiences lead me to where I am today. After many experiences in public relations, marketing and corporative communications, you see that all is connected in some sort of way. 1:

What is the most positive thing about the Conventa? Meeting all the most important people in this industry under one roof! We are in constant lack of time and resources and this is truly the best way to optimize your time and business. And what better way is doing this at Conventa which is also strongly focusing on personal part of the business? As I say, business is still personal and the connections you get at Conventa truly last! 2:


Career high:


Conventa Addendum

My personal life goal is to have a small B&B where I could personally express my personality – I love to travel and I think hosting people is a way you can bring the whole world to you. My goal is to manage and own a B&B where I could be focusing on extreme hospitality and friendliness, local food and amazing Slovenian wines, topped with activities with locals. Let’s get personal... 4:

Three words that describe you best: Talkative, direct, organized.

If you weren’t working in the meetings industry what other profession would you care to attempt? All in all, I always say that you never know where life will lead you. But all things considering, owning and managing my own B&B is on top of my list for me :). 5:


If you could fly off to any destination in the world which destination would that be? Too hard question for someone who would go anywhere. But a location where wearing flip flops and reading a book, discovering good food, culture and people is always a good choice. 6:

What always makes you smile? Friendly people, spontaneity, enjoying good food and wine in good company. Just the small things that spice up the life. People too often forget that the smallest things can make a total difference – from sharing a smile to people and positive energy, saying hello to a stranger on the street, plain kindness. 7:

How did you get into the meetings industry? I started my journey in tourism in one of the leading tourist agencies in Slovenia as a travel counsellor. During my studying years I discovered my love for meetings industry and since then I wished to work in congress field. After graduation, a bit more than one year ago, opportunity came and I joined the Toleranca Marketing team which is also organizer of Conventa trade show. Since then I worked on many different and exciting projects and I just fell in love with the congress industry. 1:

What is the most positive thing about the Conventa? I would say the most positive thing about Conventa is that it is boutique. Small, energetic and passionate Conventa team that wants to make hosted buyers and exhibitors feel truly welcome in Slovenia and of course focusing on high personal note and productiveness. In the business, time is precious and with Conventa business model we try to make the participants time as productive as possible. 2:

Career high: My journey in meetings industry has just began and I am looking forward to new challenges. 3:

Let’s get personal... 4:

Three words that describe you best: Enthusiastic, vigorous, independent.

If you weren’t working in the meetings industry what other profession would you care to attempt? Since I like everything connected to sport, food and working with people, I would definitely be working somewhere in this area. 5:

If you could fly off to any destination in the world which destination would that be? That's an easy one. I would fly to Japan and discover its rural areas and beauties. 6:

What always makes you smile? Walk, hike or run in the woods - I have special connection with nature. But a delicious medium grilled burger is also never superfluous. 7:


Hosted Buyer Manager 

Conventa Addendum

FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE LIKE NO OTHER Hosted buyers attending Conventa will have a chance to upgrade their experience and personally get to know the region by going on a familiarization trip of their choice A record number of 11 meetings destinations in Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Italy are extending their warm welcome to hosted buyers. Experience the local world of meetings on a two-day trip!

Ljubljana, Slovenia: 16 – 17 January 2017 (pre-tour) Mrs. Tatjana Radovič, Ljubljana Tourism / Convention Bureau: “Our attentively designed programme is a shortcut to unveiling the many qualities of Ljubljana for meetings & incentives in just more than one day. Hosted Buyers are invited to embark on a 2-day journey to European Green Capital 2016. The concept is to showcase the destination in a different, experiential and fun way. Our guests will have the opportunity to see a selection of meeting- and special event venues alongside the main city attractions. Some time will be reserved for tasting the enticing local cuisine and the surprising Slovenian wines, even in a more “hands on” way. Small tasks and encounters with interesting personages from various backgrounds will spice up the Ljubljana experience. We do not wish to reveal all the details, but If we have awaken your curiosity and you are keen to discover a cosy and vibrant city do not hesitate to join us for a special welcome to Ljubljana!”

Maribor - Pohorje, Slovenia: 16 – 17 January 2017 (pre-tour) Ms. Sanja Simonič, Terme Maribor: “Maribor, the second largest city in Slovenia, by the river Drava, between Pohorje’s forests and wine growing hills, give the congress destination a special charm, and simultaneously offer abundant possibilities for relaxation, recreation, exploring and entertainment. Let the throb of the old town core with its thriving history and the rich wine tradition of the oldest vine in the world convince you that Maribor has an attractive soul, where history and tradition mix with dynamism. The Old Vine House will enchant you along with medieval towers, castle, museums and one of the largest wine cellars in Europe. Picturesque wine roads crisscrossing over vineyards await lovers of tranquillity, nature, culinary delights and exquisite panoramic viewing points. Top-level convention centre Habakuk and other capacities places Maribor in a society of European most attractive cities for meetings. Have a colourful business or congress day in Maribor! You will love to return here – on leisure also! “

Brdo Estate, Slovenia: 19 – 20 January 2017 (post-tour) Ms. Darja Remic, Brdo Estate: “Be next to experience top services at the Brdo Estate – the threshold of the Alps that has hosted the most eminent guests from around the world. An enchanting combination of picturesque nature and rich history, located between Ljubljana and Bled, just 10 km from the international airport Jože Pučnik. Brdo Congress Centre, venue for up to 550 guests, offers numerous possibilities for event organization and provides stunning views of the green spaces, lakes and bridges of the park Brdo. Our advantage is that we take care of everything – from planning to execution, topping it all off with superb cuisine and a wide range of incentive ideas. Brdo Congress Centre received “Brand Leader Award 2016” that recognizes leaders in setting new standards in professionalism, reliability and quality in the domain of MICE Tourism in SE Europe. Welcome to Brdo Estate, the domain of Delights.”


Conventa Addendum


Bled, Slovenia: 19 – 20 January 2017 (post-tour) Mr. Jaka Ažman, Tourist Board Bled: “With its emerald-green lake, church on an island, a medieval castle clinging to a rocky cliff and peaks of the Julian Alps, Bled is Slovenia’s most popular resort, drawing business and leisure guests who like to merge their stay with outdoor activities.In addition, Bled boasts excellent infrastructure for meetings and incentives with a Congress Centre accommodating up to 500 delegates and several state-of-the-art meeting facilities and hotels of all categories, reachable within a walking distance. With rich tradition of being present on the conference map for over 25 years, Bled’s meeting professionals ensure that every event in Bled turns into an inspirational story of success. Doubtlessly Bled is a synonym of a perfect destination for doing business with pleasure and creating iconic meetings with character. To get a taste of it, we warmly invite you to join us on Bled Fam Trip.”

Portorož & Piran, Slovenia: 19 – 21 January 2017 (post-tour) Mr. Igor Novel, Tourist Board Portoroz: “Portorož & Piran easily fit your schedule. Don’t lose your precious time, here everything is at your fingertips. Enjoy your business meetings with a breathtaking view of the sea. It’s easy to achieve success and wellbeing surrounded by air full of natural scents that promote brain activity. And after business is done, you can restore your energy by taking advantage of one of the most comprehensive wellness offers in Europe, enjoying your favourite sports activities or simply savouring the beauty of the many natural and cultural gems of this charming region. Enjoy your business with “a pinch of the Mediterranean”.

Kranjska Gora, Slovenia: 19 – 21 January 2017 (post-tour) Mrs. Tjaša Šuvak, HIT Alpinea: “Winter time in Kranjska Gora is really magical, with joining us on our Fam trip to Kranjska Gora, we will take you to our winter wonderland and offer you active time in Kranjska Gora with lots of outdoor activities, great food, casinos, hotels presentation, … We designed the Fam Trip to show you all the secrets of organizing a great event in Kranjska Gora, surrounded by mountains, nature, great people and traditional culinary adventures. We are warmly welcoming you to join us on our Fam trip to Kranjska Gora and discover 8 great reasons for coming to Kranjska Gora where business and nature go hand by hand.”

Zagreb, Croatia: 19 – 21 January 2017 (post-tour) Mr. Zlatan Muftić, Zagreb Convention Bureau: “Allow us to present you Zagreb, one of the oldest European cities and since July 2013 the youngest metropolis of the European Union. By taking part in the Zagreb Fam Trip you will get a unique opportunity to explore and get to know Zagreb, its conference and event venues and facilities both historical and new, get fresh ideas for incentive programmes, see major landmarks, enjoy tasty local dishes, learn about Zagreb proverbial hospitality. We take pride in being your hosts and are looking forward to welcoming you in Zagreb!”

Conventa Addendum

Split, Croatia: 19 – 21 January 2017 (post-tour) Mr. Ozren Kovačević, Le Meridien Lav Split: “Croatia’s second-largest city Split is always buzzing and has just the right balance of tradition and modernity. Step inside Diocletian’s Palace (a Unesco World Heritage site) and you’ll see dozens of bars, restaurants and shops thriving amid the atmospheric old walls where Split life has been humming along for thousands of years. In a unique setting where a dramatic coastal mountains act as the perfect backdrop to the turquoise waters of the Adriatic see you can find Le Meridien Lav Split. The hotel provides you with a new way of seeing Dalmatia through a selection of unique experiences offered along this exciting coastline. Take advantage of approximately 2,500 m2 of total conference space including grand ballroom with natural light equalling 800 m2 and eight meeting rooms.”

Trieste, Italy: 19 – 21 January 2017 (post-tour) Mrs. Brenda Lee Fabbro, PromoTurismoFVG, DMO Friuli Venezia Giulia Region: “We would be more than delighted to give you the opportunity to discover Trieste, the Italian city located in the centre of Europe, where you will breathe a multicultural atmosphere, which will charm you with historic cafés, art, heterogeneous architecture and enchanting sea.Trieste achieves a perfect balance of styles in its history, literature, art and architecture: Art Nouveau, eclectic and Baroque buildings stand cheek-by-jowl with Roman remains and solid, self-confident eighteenth-century Habsburg piles. But also, a journey on tastes where traditional dishes and amazing food rituals can give you a variety of flavours and aromas.The ideal destination where every event becomes an unforgettable experience, a wonderful place for everyone’s enjoyment.”

Montenegro; 20 - 22 January 2017 (post-tour) Mrs. Milica Antic, Montenegro Convention Bureau: “Montenegro – The country, with its area of only 13,812 square kilometres, provides excellent facilities for conferences, incentives and team building activities and being a relatively small country, this wide array of experiences – from sunny beaches to mountain hiking and white-water rafting – is no more than a day trip away from where ever you are staying. The topography of Montenegro ranges from dramatic coastline, to magnificent mountain ranges, to the world’s second deepest canyon (after the Grand Canyon), and, incredibly, the only Fjord in the Mediterranean. It is also home to cultural and heritage sites listed by UNESCO.”

Belgrade, Serbia: 19 -21 January 2017 (post-tour) Mrs. Ksenija Lubarda, Radisson Blu Old Mill Hotel, Belgrade: ,,We warmly invite you to join us in Europe’s unique new destination for meetings – Belgrade!It is here where the Sava River meets the Danube and old-world culture gives way to new vibrant city with tons of interesting sights and attractions, splendid architecture, great people, fast-paced nightlife, affordable shopping, as well as a thriving cultural and gastro scene. Belgrade is definitely a starting point of every successful business gathering, therefore with our dedicated program you will discover the matchless charm of the city that never sleeps and enjoy Radisson Blu Old Mill Hotel, multiple award-winning business and design hotel with unique historical background, diverse possibilities for events organization and exquisite local cuisine.Looking forward meeting you in 2017!’’


Croatia Addendum


Croatia Addendum



Croatia Addendum

AQUATIKA KARLOVAC - EVENTS SURROUNDED BY 5.000 FRESHWATER FISHES Newly opened biggest freshwater fish aquarium in Croatia is not just an interesting tourist attraction, but also a unique and exciting meeting and event venue. text by Daniela Kos



quatika - the biggest freshwater fish aquarium in Croatia, and one of the biggest in this part of Europe - opened its doors to visitors in October. This attraction will help position Karlovac as a tourist destination, not just transit city on the way to Adriatic coast. Besides exploring wildlife of Croatian rivers, visitors will also enjoy the architecture of this interesting building, which was designed by award winning 3LHD studio. But, what's more important for meeting planners - Aquatika is also an interesting event space! The whole complex is situated on the bank of Korana river, and you might not even notice it from the distance. Namely, majority of the complex is below the ground and the part that is above the ground is covered with earth embankments. Once you get in you will be surrounded by 25 aquariums that hold over 5.000 fishes and 100 fish species (40 of those being rare, endemic species). Besides that Aquatika

has a souvenir shop, library, educational playroom, meeting room and in-house cafĂŠ bar. If you prefer open sky, for receptions of coffee breaks, you can use public area/plateau placed in the center of complex. It's no wonder Aquatika is situated in Karlovac. City that lies on four rivers (Kupa, Korana, MreĹžnica, Dobra) and its residents have deep and lasting relation with freshwater wildlife. The project was co-funded by EU, and its total cost was around 4.9 million Euros. AQUATIKA AS EDUCATIONAL AND EVENT VENUE Aquatika is defined as a local tourist attraction that will be appealing to various groups of visitors interested in learning about freshwater fish and plants: families, school groups, aquarists, environmentalists, fisherman, nature lovers... But don't be surprised if you see a group of businessman in Aquatika's halls! It's really an interesting meeting venue, where you can

Croatia Addendum

129 rent one of the meeting rooms for seminar/workshop or even the whole aquarium for reception/ special event. Central meeting room can host up to 100 persons in theatre style seating and there is also a smaller educational room. Both are situated in the center of aquarium complex, below the ground, meaning you can actually take a look in one of the aquariums from the meeting room! In the office part of the complex there is a small meeting room for 8 persons, and if you need even more breakout space library is an interesting option. You don’t have to worry about coffee or refreshment

- in-house café-bar is also at your service. It's worth noting that interior is pretty dark and has minimalistic, theatre-style feel. In other words: aquariums are stages, and fishes are the stars of the venue. Similar theme continues in the two meeting rooms - black walls and ceilings, minimalistic chairs, theatre lightning... all with purpose of putting emphasis on speaker and presentation content. If you’re looking after different and unique event space not far from Zagreb you should definitely consider Aquatika!

Croatia Addendum

NEXT YEAR ŠIBENIK WILL WELCOME A NEW CONVENTION CENTRE The biggest convention center in Croatia is being built within Solaris resort, near Šibenik. It will be introduced in 2017 under new brand Amadria Park text by Daniela Kos Katarina Lilić, Brand Manager, Amadria Park



olaris Beach Resort, one of the biggest hotel resorts in Croatia, is continuing with its ambitious investment plan. Their next goal is to become one of the leading convention destinations in Croatia, and in order achieve that goal new convention center is being built. With the largest meeting room capacity of 1.500 persons it will be the biggest of its kind in Croatia, and the opening is scheduled for spring next year. But that's not all, next year will also bring introduction of new brand Amadria Park which will unite Solaris hotels and Milenij hotels in Opatija. Having all that in mind it was right time to talk about these exciting news with Katarina Lilić, ‎Executive Director at Solaris Beach Resort. You recently introduced new brand Amadria Park. What are the reasons for presenting this new brand?Milenij hotels and Solaris are among the most successful tourism companies in Croatia. Besides ownership structure and long tradition, we are connected through high quality of services, continuous investment and innovation that make our guests stay a truly unique experience. Now we decided to unite all those values under one brand – Amadria Park – and intensify our investments in quality. We are confident that Amadria Park will have positive impact on attracting new guests in

Croatia, and that will help position Opatija and Šibenik as attractive both tourist and meetings destination. Q: How do you plan to communicate your new Amadria Park brand? At this point Amadria Park brand will be used for hotels Milenij, St Jakov, Royal, Grand hotel 4 opatijska cvijeta and Agava in Opatija and Solaris hotels Ivan, Jure and Andrija. New brand will also feature Solaris resort's attractions such as Gastro World, Royal Beach Club, Dalmatian ethno village, En Vogue Beach Club, Galija and Aquapark. Over the next three years all other hotels and facilities, which are now under Milenij hotels and Solaris, will be integrated under Amadria Park, after they meet the high standards set for our new brand. Q: What does the new brand bring to guests? Amadria Park is based on freedom of choice between various quality options, continuous improvement of service quality and personal approach to guest. Our goal is to provide warm, family atmosphere for our guests that are in Croatia for vacation and to be their partner in discovering the beauties of Adriatic coast.

Croatia Addendum

131 ŠIBENIK CONVENTION CENTER FOR MEETINGS AND EXHIBITIONS Although you are well known on meetings and incentives market, and you hosted many events, next year you are taking the next step. You will open new convention center with 11 meeting rooms. What will be the biggest difference between this convention center and meeting capacities in hotels?Šibenik convention center is first of its kind in Croatia - built only for meetings and exhibitions. It's well known that Croatia lacks this kind of proper meeting venues. Some hotels have solid meeting capacities, but more often you can see hotel venues that don't meet the modern event planners demands. Our convention center in Šibenik will be the biggest and the most modern meeting and exhibition venue in Croatia and it will effectively put Šibenik on event organizers maps as one of the most attractive congress destinations in Croatia. Here are some key facts about convention center: total surface is 6.000 square meters and it will have 11 meeting rooms on three floors. The biggest room has 1.100 square meters (ceiling height 7,5m), which means it can host up to 1.500 persons. Separate registration/check-in area, wardrobe and a big exhibition area mean that organizers and participants will have full comfort during events. Last, but not least, I would like to point out that in the proximity of new convention center we have 5 hotels with 1.500 rooms, more than 20 restaurants and bars, 1.100 employees and 1.400 parking places. Q: New convention center will definitely help you prolong the season, but is there potential to stay open all year long? In the beginning we will extend our season, focusing on period from beginning of February to end of November. Over time, as the destinations air accessibility improves we will prolong this period even further. Q: Besides new meeting rooms, what other services will you provide for event organizers? Variety of facilities and services make our hotels in Šibenik and Opatija favorite venues for business and private events. As I mentioned before, organizers can count on 1.500 rooms in our hotels, 20 restaurants/bars and support of 1.100 employees. That unique synergy of meeting and accommodation

capacities, together with organizational support, means we can meet every request. Q: How satisfied are you with this year's business results and what are your plans for next year? This year's results are better than planned, which gives us additional strength and resources for investments. We will continue working on service quality and development of unique product that can meet the needs and demands of our guests. Q: You are part of Solaris team for the past 14 years. During that time you climbed your way up to Executive Director position. How does the experience you gained at previous positions help you today? Sales and marketing are still important part of my job description. Executive Director means I have additional operational activities related to development of accommodation facilities in our hotels. Sure, my previous experience in sales and marketing helps me a lot, but no marketing strategy or sales approach won't be successful if you don’t know your guests needs and you don’t understand importance of service quality. Q: What are the biggest sales/marketing challenges for your company? How will the new Amadria Park brand be represented in digital communication channels? Today's biggest challenge is how to design your product/services and market them in such a way that a customer recognizes their uniqueness and quality. There are more and more accommodation choices for travelers these days, but you can never miss with an investment in quality. In our hospitality business personal approach to guests is an imperative. That is one of the key pillars of Amadria Park brand. Social media means two way communications with guests, and that is what we are focusing on. Listening to guest’s needs and demands, and providing timely response, is a necessity in promoting your brand in digital environment. In that sense we are very dynamic: we constantly evaluate our communication channels and practices and explore potential of new technologies. And the ultimate marketing goal is at the same time quite simple and very exciting: we want to show potential guests what they can expect when they stay in our hotels and make them feel the emotion of Amadria Park.

Croatia Addendum

WI-FI IN HOTELS AND CONGRESS CENTERS - RADIO WAVES OF SATISFACTION You probably won’t find a single hotel in the modern world that will brag about their guests being able to enjoy warm water or a toilet in every room. It should be the same with Wi-Fi! text by Krunoslav Koščak



en years ago hotel Wi-Fi service was a necessity for only 1 out of 10 guests. Your Wi-Fi system only needed to support an Internet connection to a couple of laptops so your business guests can send their e-mails. Today your Wi-Fi system needs to ensure perfect Internet connection for every guests two devices! And the story doesn't stop there... Ten years may seem as a short period, but guests’ needs and demands are extremely different. Wi-Fi networks then and Wi-Fi networks today are just as different as Neanderthals and a modern man! Business guests in 2006 were happy with any Internet connection (event when it was limited to the lobby area); all they really needed it for is manage their e-mails. Back in the days it was easy to meet the needs of tech-enthusiastic guests: there were only a few and they didn't ask for much. But then 2007 came and the first modern smartphones appeared. Number of users that need Internet access through Wi-Fi networks started to grow exponentially. It still is, and it will not stop! Hotel with 200 guests needed to serve 20 devices ten years ago. Today it needs to serve 400 devices! You read it right, the number of rooms and guests is the same, but the number of devices increased 20 times! Every guest uses, on average, two devices that need Internet connection and they expect full speed on hotels Wi-Fi system. Wi-Fi just in lobby? Don’t be funny! Today’s guests expect strong Wi-Fi signal everywhere, even in toilets. To sum it up - stabile and fast Wi-Fi became just as important as a good bed. Just as you won't find a single hotel in the modern world that will brag about their guests being able to enjoy warm water or a toilet in every room, it shouldn't be a question whether you have Wi-Fi or not. Of course you have it. You must have it. The only question is how good it works and how satisfied are your guests. Each Wi-Fi system has two main components: access points that are the first to communicate with users’ devices and a controller. Controller is in the center of the system - it is where all the settings are regulated: from Wi-Fi network name and network speed to connection protocols. The whole

system works under IEEE 802.11 standard that defines rules by which devices communicate. It's a really comprehensive and complex set of rules and standards, but communication is happening at great speeds (2.4 and 5GHz frequencies) and users have the impression that everything on their devices happens instantly. How to boost sales with Wi-Fi? Let's imagine following situation: it is peak of the season and a hotel terrace is packed with guests. Everyone wants to make an order and wants to be served as fast as possible. If the waiter is young and inexperienced it will end up having a lot of problems: wrong orders, slow service and frustrated guests. Will they have understanding for inexperienced waiter? Probably not. On the other hand, experienced waiter will do the job with ease. Orders will come out on time, guests will be satisfied and might even opt for a desert or a glass of wine they didn't plan to order in the first place. If you have more than one of such professionals you can rest assured that guests will be perfectly happy with your service. It is the same with Wi-Fi access points - you need to have more of them and they need to be able to serve a big number of customer’s requests. You need to have antenna system that will hear even the quietest device in busy environment. That's the main difference between simple/cheap home system and professional Wi-Fi system. The latter will serve all users devices, even if it’s a little starwatcher on your guests’ wrist somewhere on a crowded terrace. But that's not all! Good Wi-Fi system can do much more you just need to understand that it's your direct link to each of your guests. You can think of it as having a private broadcasting station and your guests are in fact your audience. It's possible to connect your Wi-Fi system and your guest management system - and the options you're getting out of it are numerous. The most important thing is that your guests are connected to your network. Once they are connected you have the tools to manage messages you push through the system. You can display ads for your services or special offers. You might even

Croatia Addendum


advertise cities attractions or your partners’ offers and make money out of it. You can track your guests’ location in hotel/ resort and use that information to improve your business. As you can see, the options are numerous and many of them can make your revenue go up. Just make sure your guests are connected to your network! Internet of things - future of hospitality Future is going to be even more exciting and it’s coming under abbreviation IoT – Internet of Things. Variety of sensors that help manage hotel resources are already in use - fire sensors, movement sensors, light sensors, cameras... and real revolution is just coming! Many of those sensors will use the same Wi-Fi system as guests’ smartphones. Here are a few examples how will things work: if a guest enters a wrong room door PIN you can automatically get security alert, when a guest leaves the room heating/cooling gets turned off and when guest comes back it turns on again. Freshly ironed shirt can be delivered to guest at the moment system gets notification that guest came back to hotel. Do you see these examples as possible savings and better service – it's up to you. Quality of hotels’ Wi-Fi system is one of most sensitive issues for guests and it can significantly affect hotels’ position on review/booking websites. Losing a few points can

make a huge impact on your business as many travelers make their booking decision based on other travelers’ experiences. In fact, they are more likely to believe in someone’s review, then in your staff’s claims or marketing messages. If your Wi-Fi scores low it won't matter that your beds are great. They will book another hotel that has good Wi-Fi and good beds too. When talking about investment, we are always looking at costs and revenues. Of course, setting up a high quality Wi-Fi network isn't cheap, but it’s an investment worth every penny. It can prevent bad customer reviews, it can make your guests happy and it can support all other systems in your hotel (property management, communication & marketing, sensors). If this article got you thinking about improving your Wi-Fi network, here's one more advice: let professionals take care of it! Just like you wouldn't buy a regular, home-use dishwasher for your hotel, you shouldn't think about setting up Wi-Fi network with components from local computer store. You need a proven, reliable equipment and experienced professionals that will design/ build the stabile, fast and possibly future-proof system. When you do that you can rest assured that your guests will be surfing radio waves of satisfaction!

22 – 24 February 2017

Istanbul Congress Center – ICC & Istanbul Lutfi Kirdar – ICEC

Don’t Forget to Take Your Place at AME 2017!

AME 2016 In Numbers Exhibition Area of 6.246 m2

750 Hosted Buyers

14.496 Visitors

9.843 B2B Meetings

339 Exhibitors

62 Speakers at 25 Sessions for 3 days

This fair is organised with the permission of TOBB in accordance with the law No: 5174

21-23 March 2017 Shanghai • China

Shanghai Convention & Exhibition Center of International Sourcing

Discover A Wide Range Of MICE Solutions And Destinations Proven to showcase the widest range of destinations from across China and around the World FOCUS ON THE CHINA MARKET A dedicated MICE exhibition showcasing destinations, products, and services across China and internationally, with exclusive presentations and briefings that make sourcing a breeze. 76% of Exhibitors Expect Orders After The Event

SOURCING EFFICIENCY Through our unique business matching system, up to 100% of your business appointments can be scheduled ahead of the event to maximize your discussions on the show floor. USD 170 Million Procurement Value Generated On The Show Floor

KNOWLEDGE GOALS Educational sessions curated for relevance by industry experts on salient topics impacting the industry. Benefit from the Opening Keynote Address, Campfire Knowledge Sessions, Association Days @ IT&CM China Forums and more!

NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES Explore new collaborations and ideas with key industry players in hosted functions, dinners, cocktails and tours. Daily Networking Events Guaranteed!

HOSTING PROGRAMME Hosting places are offered to our best Chinese and International Buyers, covering flight and accommodation for fully-hosted buyers. More Than 400 Hosting Places Available! I enjoyed lots of opportunities to exchange views with industry peers, establish a platform for cooperation and seek common development through the pre-show appointment system. I benefitted tremendously from the educational forums during the event! VIMEI-TOURS CO., LTD., CHINA Managing Director | Vicki Zhang-Lehne

I am glad that our participation in IT&CM China was very fruitful as we were able to confirm partnerships with several suppliers.

I have broadened my business contacts by interacting and exchanging information with many different participants at the event.


PT. MULTI HOLIDAY, INDONESIA Managing Director | Rudy Techrisna Satyadi

Associations | PCOs | PEOs | AMCs | Agencies | Meeting Planners | Incentive Houses Register Here For Priority Hosting Consideration Event Website: | Email: | Tel: (65) 6395 7575

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November 2016