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/ 10 / CONVENTA CROSSOVER QUICK TALK with best experts in MICE marketing and tourism in one place / 38 / OFF THE BEATEN MICE TRACK Technopolis Athens / 46 / BEHIND THE SCENES Falkensteiner Schloss Hotel Velden / 54 / MEETOLOGUE Mostar / 30 / BEEN THERE Between east and west Congress study trip from Ljubljana to Tirana

/ 71 / INSIDER’S GUIDE Villach for meetings and events / 62 / TOP Top new and newly renovated hotels on the Adriatic 2016





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.


THE PEOPLE WHO MADE THIS ISSUE 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.

Page 40 Viewpoint The pen is mightier than the sword Page 66 Inside Ljubljana

Global green destinations day to be held in Ljubljana

MATEJA KOREN A dedicated tourism professional, working for over a decade in fields of business development, marketing and project management. She focuses on digital trends,but gets truly inspired discussing ideas and projects with interesting people. Her focus in Kongres magazine is presenting interesting people and destinations. In her spare time she loves to travel all over the world.

Page 71 Villach for Meetings and Events

- Quick Talk - Off The Beaten Mice Track - Villach Self- Sufficient Congress Destinations In Austria Briefing Page 37 Grand Hotel Union Page 61 Terme Maribor Page 89 L  ubljana Exhibition and

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.

Convention Centre Page 91 Bernardin Hotels Page 90 Kongres Face2face

Maribor vs Košice Page 92 Hidden Congress Guest

HOTEL TERMAG, Jahorina ATHENAEUM INTERCONTINENTAL, Athens FALKENSTEINER HOTEL & SPA, Jesolo HILTON ATHENS, Athens Page 97 Kongres Telescope by Robert Cotter

- Sculpting a shanghai success - Hyatt’s highest of highs - Darren Ng: Defining Asia’s MICE Industry - South Africa: One country, many stories Page 108 CROATIA ADDENDUM by Daniela Kos

- Influencers – Brand proponents in new age tourism - The biggest incentive in hvar’s history impressed 650 dutch guests - Dino galvagno: We need to seek inspiration in our rich heritage for the development of culinary tourism in croatia

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.


G Editor in Chief Gorazd Čad Assistant to the Editor in Chief Mateja Koren, Nina Ozanič Design Nenad Cizl DTP and Prepress Premedia, Andrej Juvan Proofreading Rob Cotter ISSN Number 1855-8615 Photo credits: archive of Kongres magazine and partners destinations The Kongres magazine is entered into the media register under sequence number 1423. Magazine issued in January; March; May; July; September; November Publisher, Production and Marketing Toleranca Marketing d.o.o., Štihova 4, SI-1000 Ljubljana, t: +386 (0)1 430 51 03 f: +386 (0)1 430 51 04 v e: Issue date July 2016 For the content reproduction it is required to get the written editorial consigment.

Official magazine of the Slovenian Convention Bureau Member of

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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“LIKE IT HAPPENED ON MY OWN DOORSTEP” The aftermath of the recent attack in Istanbul

Gorazd Čad, Editor, Kongres magazine


ith all of the terrorist attacks that have happened in Istanbul, it seems that people have now got used to it. On the one hand people still feel shock, but on the other it seems that news like this doesn‘t affect us or shock us at all any more, unless it happens right under our own noses. In this case we then react differently, but the fact is that these shocking events have become a part of the new congress normality. An attack targeted at an airport - a place through which people of almost every nationality go through - can be read indirectly as an attack on the congress industry. An attack on Istanbul, however, should resonate even more strongly with the public and the congress fraternity, as it is one of the world‘s most popular meetings destinations. The Ataturk airport is the third busiest airport in Europe, right after London Heathrow and Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. Last year there were more than 61 million passengers transiting the aiport, which took it to eleventh place on a global scale. I have therefore been surprised at the unbelievably weak response from the international congress community. After the initial shock of this news that we woke to, the key question then arising regarded crisis communication on congress destinations, where safety has become the most serious matter. More than what the weather is like or any other prosaic issues, congress organisers want to know what the actual situation in the city is – and this means safety.


The most important thing is therefore to have answers to some quite delicate questions honest and real answers, as a terrorist attack or even the risk of it can definitely affect the long term trust and reputation of a destination. In these cases crisis communication really helps. Important information therefore needs to be well organised and quickly channeled to the wider congress society. With that in mind, the key activity is direct contact and proactive steps of communication, and any absence of relevant or key information is unacceptable in an age where social media is so dominant and readily available. As with communication, in destination promotion it is also vital to build your reputation on ethically indisputable material, otherwise the market will quickly learn whether your promotional message is flawed, faked or exaggerated. The best thing for a destination to do is to therefore establish a line of measures to reassure crisis communication; taking into account the scale of the crisis, destinations might be thinking of opening special virtual media centres. Events like this need to be talked about extensively until the situtation is normalized. After the attack the unbelievably rapid response of Turkish Airlines and also the local congress industry was a welcome fillip, as almost immediately a normal schedule was established again. Yet the fact remains that certain congress participants will now avoid Istanbul until conditions settle; part of the new normality will definitely be tighter security at every level.

We feel a deep sympathy for the victims of the recent tragedy and condemn this kind of gruesome and senseless violence, which leaves so many suffering and us suffering with them.


I personally believe that the beautiful city of Istanbul is an incredible organism that can withstand even the worst of disasters. The metropolitan city has become a target for terrorists, as it has the most cultures living in coexistence. I am certain that the city‘s rich history and premium congress offer will continue to attract congress organisers – the local congress scene is unbelievably vital and Istanbul isn‘t stopping business because of terrorist threats. We feel a deep sympathy for the victims of the recent tragedy and condemn this kind of gruesome and senseless violence, which leaves so many suffering and us suffering with them. Crisis connects us colleagues to help each other make the quickest recovery of a destination possible. We need to adapt to this new congress normality and, perhaps unrealistically, hope that Europe can remain isolated from similar such events.

Conventa Crossover

Join meeting planners, meeting providers, congress destinations and professionals working in tourism and marketing at Conventa Crossover conference, international conference dedicated to the future of MICE and travel marketing. When & Where: 29 – 30 August 2016 in Hotel Lev, Ljubljana, Slovenia.


CONVENTA CROSSOVER MENU: The Future of MICE and travel marketing



Focus: Events and Experience Marketing

Focus: Hotels And Venues

Moderator: Jan-Jaap In der Maur

Moderator: Jan-Jaap In der Maur

Registration and Crossover caffeine start

09.00 - 09.45

Registration and Crossover caffeine start

08.15 - 08.45

Welcome address

09.45 - 10.00

Welcome address

08.45 - 08.55

Content Bar: Inspire with content marketing

10.00 - 11.00

Workshops: Marketing first aid workshops for hotels and venues

09.00 - 10.30

Simple steps to Win BIG in the Conference Market Ciara Feely, Conference Converter & FindaConference, Ireland

Damjan Obal, UX & Design at GVC group, Slovenia Ivana Preiss & Filip Vasic, 52 Hours Design, Czech Republic Slaven Reljić, DMC/PCO agency Coral Group, Croatia Ognena Ristovska, Momentum, Macedonia Juraj Holub, Slido, Slovakia

Marketing Ring: Why customer experience is the ultimate marketing tool

11.00 - 12.15


Colja M. Dams, Vok Dams, Germany Jens Oliver Mayer, Jack Morton Worldwide, Germany Antonia Radić, EX-ALTO d.o.o., Croatia

Content Bar: Innovative tools and solutions

Elevator Pitch Corner & Chit Chat

12.15 - 12.45

A kind of Hyde park Speakers corner. Candidates test their elevator pitch in front of an audience. Ziferblat, Tresor Hostel, Hotailor, Dream Travel Box, Sava Hotels and Resorts. May the best one win!

Tattooed chefs are here creative break

12.45 - 14.00

Content Bar: Motivate with digital and social marketing

14.00 - 15.00

15.00 – 15.30

Key-note: Future trends on the tourism and travel industry

15.30 – 16.20

Rene Massati, Trend One, Austria

Marketing Ring: Stories of Success

16.20 – 17.30

Thorsteinn Orn Gudmundsson, Meet in Reykjavik, Iceland Petra Stušek, Ljubljana Tourism, Slovenia Leyla Koray, Turkish Airlines, Turkey

Conventa Crossover party

17.30 – 18.30 Union Pub

Brainstorming Q&A round table: The way luxury travel is changing

19.00 – 22.00

Connect with Conventa Crossover crowd by downloading the conference app powered by Superevent. Search for “Superevent” in the Apple or Google app store. To get the latest news follow Conventa on social media!

10.45 - 11.35

11.35 - 12.20

Roko Palmić, Regent Porto Montenegro Ana First, Falkensteiner Hotels & Residences Punta Skala, Croatia Ninoslav Vidović, Terme Maribor, Slovenia

Marketing Ring: New generation hotel & event marketing


10.30 – 10.45

Ottavio Cambieri, The Mo’Joes OÜ, Estonia Marcel Wassink, Superevent, Austria Juraj Holub, Slido, Slovakia Matej Grabrovec, Novelus, Slovenia

Tattooed chefs are here creative break

Aoife McCrum, SoolNua, Ireland Magdalina Atanassova, Kenes Group, Bulgaria Lea Lipovšek, Madwise, Slovenia Jovana Miljanović, Serbia Andraž Štalec, Red Orbit, Slovenia

Mash Machine warm up

Storytelling Workshop Martijn Timmermans, The Red Line Project & Event StoryBoard canvas, The Netherlands

Tomislav Čeh, Union Hotels, Slovenia Dominik S. Černjak, Collegium Mondial Travel, Slovenia Ante Grancarić, Hostel Swanky Mint, Croatia

12.20 - 13.30 13.30 - 14.50

Conventa Crossover

THE WORLD IS FULL OF BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE Jan-Jaap In der Maur, Founder-Moderator at Masters in Moderation, The Netherlands


Jan-Jaap In der Maur is the founder of the Masters in Moderation agency. He is a firm believer that a carefully selected moderator-facilitator will make meetings more effective, more fun and definitely more worthwhile. His dream is to raise the standard of meetings worldwide, by providing them with the best moderators. His mission is to upgrade the moderator profession by training both professional and inexperienced moderators, offering personal coaching, incompany training and the very successful Mastering Moderation workshop.

As a moderator, he’s well respected worldwide and considered to be one of the thought leaders on the subject. Q: How did your passion for moderation start? I was asked to be a moderator some 17 years ago and at first said ‘no’ to the request, but in the end decided to give it a try. Then, from the first moment, I felt at home on stage. I loved being able to have a direct impact on the success of meetings and to have people really listen to each other. I’m convinced that great moderation can help make the world a better place. Q: What makes a good moderator? Are there some characteristics you need to be born with or can anyone develop moderating skills? Yes, you can develop skills, but some basic things need to be in your DNA. A great moderator knows how to be a leader-servant, guiding participants and at the same time knowing this meeting is not about you. It’s a rare combination of high charisma and low ego. Furthermore, you need to be able to value every human being, be thankful for everyone who has the guts to speak and be very sensitive to everything (verbally and non-verbally) that is happening in the room.

Q: How can a carefully selected moderator-facilitator help improve an event, conference or congress? Simple: by making sure that what is on paper (objectives, meeting design) gets executed in the most effective way. And this is not as easy as it sounds. A true professional knows, every step of the way, what decision to take: on the level of content, work formats, toneof-voice, group dynamics etc. All thought leaders in the industry on ROI and Meeting Design stress the importance of great moderation. Careful selection is important, since no two meetings and no two moderators are the same. So there needs to be 100 % alignment in skills needed and personality. Sometimes you need a great MC or interviewer, other times it’s about debate, work formats etc. Sometimes you need a friendly builder of bridges, sometimes an agent-provocateur. Q: In your opinion, what kind of events are the hardest to moderate? Ill-designed ones, without any clear goal or objective. If the combination of clear objectives, great meeting design and the best-suited moderator is there, any meeting will be magic.

Conventa Crossover

Q: You are the founder of the Masters in Moderation agency. You also offer personal coaching, in-company training and workshop Mastering Moderation. How hard it is to train people to become masters in moderation and how many have passed through your classroom? Training is both hard work and lots of fun, if you focus on personal learning points and if you make everything about the ‘experience’. We do not do theoretical workshops. We throw people in at the deep end, and help them swim. The only way of learning how to moderate, is by doing. Over the past 3 years some 250-300 people have been trained. Q: We assume that along with the meetings industry also the business of moderation is changing. What is trending right now? The profession at this moment in time is very much about balancing event tech and human2human interaction. And about balancing content with entertainment, fun, engagement, gamification etc. In the slipstream of meetings changing from speaker-oriented to participant-focussed, the art of moderation is becoming a true and respected profession, rapidly. And I love that  Q: If you look back, which was the best event you have ever moderated and why? This one is soooo hard to answer. On the one hand, every meeting is great. On the other, in every meeting there was room for improvement. More generally speaking, meetings where people hardly notice that I’m there are the most magical ones. If I can make people feel that moderation is easy, I’m happy.

Q: Do you ever “freestyle” or are you always thoroughly prepared? You can only freestyle if you are well prepared. If you don’t prepare, please don’t call it freestyling … call it a lazy attitude. In daily life, sometimes as a moderator you are forced to freestyle. Like the time when one of my colleagues got sick and I had to take over last-minute. But then again, it’s not freestyling… it’s saving the day. Q: You are coming to Ljubljana this August to moderate the Conventa Crossover Conference. How will you prepare for this “out of the box conference”? I will dive deep into the meeting design, in order to truly understand the set-up and how I should act, every minute of the day. I will talk to the meeting owner, maybe suggesting some typical moderation-solution to add value to the meeting. I will talk to all speakers, in order to make sure we are on the same frequency and to be able to introduce/interview/engage them in the most effective way. Q: Will this be your first visit to Ljubljana and Slovenia or have you been there before? It will be my first visit, but Slovenia was high on my wish list.

Jan-Jaap In der Maur quick quiz: Your favourite type of event is: when everyone goes home feeling he/she was part of something special; part of real change. You never like to hear the audience say: nothing… a completely silent room is the moderator’s nightmare. A professional will know how to change this, but it’s hard work. If your microphone dies in the middle of an event you… Will be very happy that I’ve got a “voice like a foghorn” (as we say in Holland). I can handle a big room with no mic. And if that doesn’t work, I will set up a messenger system, bringing my announcements to the rest of the room. The weirdest thing you did on stage to amuse the audience is: show them my butt, just after I have completely torn my trousers. Your favourite destination in the world is: Home. With Ljubljana in second place. When you travel to a certain destination for the first time you like to… learn the language and talk to the ‘real people’. The best thing you learned by becoming a moderator is… The world is full of beautiful people. You advice to people coming to listen to you at Conventa Crossover is: Do not listen to me. Interact with as many participants as possible.


Quick talk

I EXPECT ONE NEW EVENT THAT INSPIRES Magdalina Atanassova, Marketing Communications Manager, Kenes Group, Bulgaria


Q: What kind of knowledge will Conventa Crossover participants gain from attending your lecture? I would hope to inspire them with some of our examples of what one can do to motivate an audience through digital and social marketing. How to look at marketing more strategically, and which tools could be used to set the tone for their events.


Q: How would you describe your job in under 50 words? A challenge every day that inspires me to stay creative. Q: What advice would you offer to those soon to be working in marketing in the meetings industry? Learn everything there is to know about event management and then seek inspiration from other fields. While our industry is very colourful and full of great ideas, I find that looking beyond our borders yields the best results. Q: What is the best way to develop talent and help people grow to the next level? I believe that first of all people have to want to grow themselves. Once they realise this, it is easy. You just give them your hand, your advice, and show them the way. The rest is magic. Q: What are you most excited about at the moment? It has been about half a year since I joined Kenes Group and I am very excited about every single day. We are working on many new projects that truly push me to stay on top of my game, and that is what makes me happy.

Q: Your advice/suggestion for turning a boring event into a memorable one? I believe in engagement, in provoking the audience, starting even before the event, setting the tone for something different. Then they come with open minds and ready for new experiences. For me, this is how all meetings should be set – from the small office meeting with colleagues, to a huge congress.


Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning? Usually my smart alarm. Even if I cannot get up as early on my own, I actually love spending my mornings with my dog in the park. It is the perfect start to the day. The rest I welcome with open arms. Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I don’t like setting such long-term visions for myself as I like to stay flexible. I do see myself continuing to do what I love and what makes me happy.

Q: What do you expect from Conventa Crossover? I expect one new event that inspires. The fact that this is the very first event in our industry dedicated to event marketing is outstanding. We have needed this recognition for a long time, as well as dedicated education. I am honoured to be taking part and I am looking forward to learning new tricks of the trade from the best in the business. Magdalina Atanassova was recognized as a Top Young Professional by PCMA in 2015 as well as being one of the Finalists for the inaugural IAPCO Innovation Award. She has been an invited speaker at a number of international events including IMEX and IMEX America, IBTM, IAPCO AGM, Eventex Conference, and more, and has written and published various event management related articles. Magdalina is also known for her passion for sustainability - she was part of the International delegation for the development of ISO20121 and has been on the Advisory Board of the Sustainable Event Alliance (SEA) since its inception.

Quick talk

BECOME A SPONGE AND SOAK IN ALL THE IMPORTANT INFORMATION Jovana Miljanović, Multi Passionate Entrepreneur and Travel Blogger, Serbia

make my small contribution, whether it is helping out a client, a random person on the street or online. Contribution to me is sharing what you know to inspire others. Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I see myself everywhere and nowhere in particular, location wise. I think I will still be a global nomad. I have a hunger for continuous improvement, I am on a knowledge hunt and wherever my work and hunger takes me, I will gladly follow. Regarding work, I believe I will still be doing marketing consulting, writing and hopefully will publish my first book.


Q: How would you describe your job in under 50 words? I would describe my job as intellectually stimulating, occasionally mind boggling, but always very rewarding, as it helps me grow. Q: What advice would you offer to those soon to be working in marketing in the meetings industry? If you are new to this industry, the best advice I can give you is to listen. Become a sponge and suck in all the important information. Educate yourself on the internet, find a mentor and give yourself time and space for making mistakes. They are not to be avoided, because you will never grow if you don’t mess up from time to time. Q: What’s the best way to develop talent and help people grow to the next level? You need to find out what drives your people besides work. If your designer has a passion for French language, send them to a design course in French or let him or her travel through France and work remotely for a month in the summer. The point is to make people understand that you really, genuinely care about them. In that way, they will grow and care for your company and they will contribute more than you can imagine. Trust me on this one.

Q: What are you most excited about at the moment? I am excited about the summer, because it is absurdly the time when I get most work done. I can’t stand the heat, I put AC on high, close the window blinds, open my Macbook and rock on. Q: Your advice/suggestion for turning a boring event into a memorable one? I believe that every event needs a magic moment that can come in various shapes and forms. It can be a rockstar keynote speaker, interesting food or drink choice, or a unique networking event. Anything that will get people talking is what differentiates a boring event from a fun one. If you do everything as expected, why would anyone talk about it :)


Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning? The fear of wasting time. If you’ve seen the movie In Time that is basically how I live my life, except that I don’t have a clock on my arm that counts down how long I have to live :) But the clock is ticking and that’s all I need to know. I feel the urge to live every day as if it is my last and

Q: What kind of knowledge will Conventa Crossover participants gain from attending your lecture? They will get crucial tips on how to use their creativity mixed with digital marketing tools to be the drivers of change in the travel marketing world. Q: What do you expect from Conventa Crossover? I expect to meet a lot of people who share the same passion for the travel and marketing industries, hear their stories and see how I can contribute with my knowledge and network to what they are doing. Jovana Miljanović won 1st place in Austrian Airlines, Wow Air Iceland and FlyDubai Global Blogger Challenges. Co-founded 3 mobile apps and was Awarded by the City of Belgrade for extraordinary achievement in the field of art for organizing SUND Festival. Cosmopolitan Magazine Lifestyle Editor was invited on several accousions to be an official Blogger at events like - Spark.Me Conference 2016 and CocaCola Network Adria Blogger.


Quick talk

STOP SELLING AND WIN MORE Ciara Feely, Hotel Conference Sales Specialist, Conference Converter &, Ireland

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In our new home, living a lot more self sufficiently, working 15 hours a week (most weeks!), while still being able to reach a lot more people, making an impact on how they work with clients and how they win more business. The last time I was asked this question was in a job interview by my then boss. I answered her: that I’d like to have her job. I was offered it 3 years later. So here’s hoping this one is realised!



Q: How would you describe your job in under 50 words? I help hotels WIN BIG in the conference/ meetings market. I show them how to win more market share from their competitors by thinking like their clients. When you understand your business from your client’s point of view, everything changes. Q: What advice would you offer to those soon to be working in marketing in the meetings industry? - Ask your clients brilliant questions. - Write down their answers. - Find out what their problems and challenges are - Focus your marketing around those. Q: What’s the best way to develop talent and help people grow to the next level? Match the personality of the person to their role; ensure they are passionate about what they do. Constantly invest in up-skilling and find a mentor. Every time I have invested in myself, it’s paid off within a few months. Q: What are you most excited about at the moment? The way the conference market is chang-

ing. It’s becoming so much more participant centric – focusing on involving the participant, them sharing their expertise and experience and learning from each other. Conferences are about building better communities and helping people build better relationships and I love that. Q: Your advice/suggestion for turning a boring event into a memorable one? Make the invitation a WOW experience if it’s boring or standard, they will expect the event to be that too. Don’t set the room theatre or classroom. Mix it up a little so when people walk in to the room, they know they are about to experience something different. They will stay more engaged that way.


Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning? For the last year, earning an extra hour of quiet time to spend writing my book on how to Stop Selling and Win More. Literally, most of the time my 5-year old twin boys get me out!

Q: What kind of knowledge will Conventa Crossover participants gain from attending your lecture? It won’t be a lecture! I’ll deliver a fun workshop and people will walk away with the following knowledge: - How to WIN more market share from their competitors by focusing on 5 key steps - How to stand out and sound different - 3 key areas to get right in writing proposals that WIN. Q: What do you expect from Conventa Crossover? I expect to meet people who are as curious and passionate about the conference industry as I am. I know I will learn brilliant tips from the line up of fellow speakers. And I can’t wait to come back and experience Slovenia. I haven’t been back since our honeymoon exactly 10 years ago when I experienced the best welcome ever to a country. I’ll tell you that story when I meet you there. Ciara Feely shows sales teams how to attract & convert more group leads and win more market share. She has developed a Simple 7 Point System on how to do this. Ciara speaks at international industry shows such as IBTM world, MPI, The International Association of Conference Centers and Incentive Works Toronto.

Quick talk

BIG THINGS START SMALL, SO DON´T UNDERESTIMATE ANYTHING Rene Massatti, MBA, Brand Ambassador TRENDONE, Hamburg, Germany & Co-Founder and CEO PLAYROOM, Vienna, Austria

Have good music. Be as experimental as you can. Surprise your guests. Offer enough space and opportunities for great networking. Always have cold beer in the fridge, available at any time. 13


Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning? When I am at home: my daughters. When I am travelling: good rock or jazz music. When I am on holidays: the chance to take a morning swim or do an early morning surf session.

Q: How would you describe your job in under 50 words? My job is to to transfer trends into business. For that I anticipate relevant, technology trend-based developments and constantly work with clients on the development of new products, services and business models. I love working with an international crowd and discuss different approaches from different cultures, which I am able to for my business and when I teach “future trends in business” at universities in Europe and Asia. Q: What advice would you offer to those soon to be working in marketing in the meetings industry? There´s a couple of them: Stay hungry - you´ll need it. Always expect the unexpected. Big things start small, so don´t underestimate anything. And always look out for interviews with John Cleese on creativity. He´s a genius and a great source of inspiration. Q: What is the best way to develop talent and help people grow to the next level? Innovation and creativity needs time and

space. We started a side project called Playroom, where we build agile innovation rooms made out of cardboard into big corporations, where employees can freely ideate and learn about new technologies as well as adapt the room to their own, individual needs. Why do we do that? Because we saw that innovative workshops are good, but you need to bring the magic back into the enterprise, build up a true innovative culture and give people the chance to express themselves. Most of your employees have way more potential than you might think. Q: What are you most excited about at the moment? Three things: The impact that the upcoming AI revolution will have on communication and on humanity. Combine AI with robotics and you have the next big topic. And finally the merge of augmented and virtual reality and the possibilities these technologies offer for marketing. Q: Your advice/suggestion for turning a boring event into a memorable one? It´s like the rules for a good party:

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Older and wiser but not less active I hope. Maybe I will be able to only travel to the interesting and fun events - like Conventa Crossover - and have my own personal digital avatar for the boring stuff.


Q: What kind of knowledge will Conventa Crossover participants gain from attending your lecture? I will show some of the latest technologies relevant for travel marketing and communication, talk about their possible impact and show what we might learn from other industries. Q: What do you expect from Conventa Crossover? Interesting keynotes. New insights. Great people. Good networking. Cold beer. Rene Massatti has a master degree in International Marketing and Management and is a lecturer at the Vienna University of Economics and Business and WU Executive Academy, HWZ University of Applied Sciences in Business Administration, Zurich, Switzerland and University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

Quick talk

MAKE DIFFERENT PEOPLE DO DIFFERENT THINGS SIMULTANEOUSLY Ivana Preiss, Design Strategy & Filip Vasic, Creative Brand Strategy at Lead 52:HOURS, Czech Republic

Ivana: I’m looking at myself still curious and engaged with the many facets the world has to offer. If that is in place, I can do wonders as a designer.


Q: How would you describe your job in under 50 words? Ivana: I’m naturally inquisitive and intuitive which helps me greatly in noticing opportunities where design could bring added value, whether as a product, a service or a system. There’s a lot of Aha! moments popping into my head when noticing a gap in the market merging with an idea of product solutions. Filip: In even less words, my job is to figure out how to make brands or products somehow significant for their users or customers. That is a lot of research and probing and imagination. And fun. Q: What advice would you offer those soon to be working in marketing in the meetings industry? Filip: Get real and use your common sense. There is a lot of bullsh... in marketing, but there is also ingenuity, sincerity and integrity. Q: What is the best way to develop talent and help people grow to the next level? Filip: That’s too big a question - I suggest you read some of those heavy books on that topic. Every human has the start and stop buttons somewhere in their soul. Press the right buttons, in a timely way. Ivana: Challenge them to question the status quo, make them “uncomfortable” to see what they’re made of, nurture their skills and inspire them with your values and vision.

Q: What are you most excited about at the moment? Ivana: We’ve been designing and developing a great product for the last year and a half and will soon be launching it. It takes time to bring something into the world, but it will be all the more worth the effort. Filip: I am excited about our projects. It’s intense work and actually there might be even too much excitement sometimes. Q: Your advice/suggestion for turning a boring event into a memorable one? Filip: Make different people do different things simultaneously. Then they will go on and explore the next one and if they are caught by a genuine surprise along the way, you’ve got them.


Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning? Ivana: Coffee :) Filip: The dog, literally. But at a deeper level, I guess it’s a sense of responsibility that comes with the privilege of living on this beautiful Earth. Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Filip: Anywhere around clever, passionate and honest people that inspire and support each other.

Q: What kind of knowledge will Conventa Crossover participants gain from attending your lecture? Filip: I hope they will be able to take a fresh look at design and get an idea of how to improve their competiveness. We’ll be there to help, anyway. Ivana: We will try to demonstrate the value of uncovering insights as a basis for developing great marketing campaigns and innovative product design. Q: What do you expect from Conventa Crossover? Ivana: I’ve never been to Ljubljana and I heard there is a lot of people doing smart things there. So, I hope to meet some of them. Filip: I am looking forward to meeting interesting people, to learn from them and perhaps even find some common ground for cooperation. About Filip: Anthropologist and Creative Lead at Nydrle Digital, Publicis, Havas and BBDO. Author of awarded brand strategies and advertising campaigns for clients such as Komerční Banka, Citibank, Raiffeisen Bank, Mondelez, Renault and many others. Conducted and coordinated ethnographic research at several international projects in Serbia, Montenegro and Hungary. About Ivana: Product UX Designer and Head of Service Design Department at Kindred Group. Conducted ethnographic research and developed brand and service design strategies for corporations and start-ups. Pioneered the concept of service design and innovation strategy in the Czech Republic. Official keynote speaker at international conferences in the Czech Republic, Poland and Croatia.

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TAKE IT OUT OF CONTEXT – DO SOMETHING UNEXPECTED Ognena Ristovska, Founder and General Manager of Momentum Inc., Macedonia

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Still gaining Momentum  hopefully with a larger team & working internationally to a greater extent.


Q: What kind of knowledge will Conventa Crossover participants gain from attending your lecture? Let’s try and make our customers buy without selling to them. Let’s deliver the right content, in the right context to make the right audience have an unforgettable experience. That’s what my talk will be all about. Q: What do you expect from Conventa Crossover? I expect a fusion of energies, experiences, opinions. Looking at the speakers and their profiles, I expect it to be a fantastic event opening up new perspectives for everyone involved. Q: How would you describe your job in under 50 words? Dynamic, stressful, exiting. It’s a job for someone with nerves of steel and a very strong vision and love for what they do. Q: What advice would you offer to those soon to be working in marketing in the meetings industry? Hold on tight, it’s gonna be one hell of a journey.  Q: What is the best way to develop talent and help people grow to the next level? Motivate, nurture a shared vision and establish ownership over the projects and work. Then jump in the fire together. And give them all the answers they won’t have on their own. Q: What are you most excited about at the moment? All the possibilities for growth. We are indeed gaining Momentum and its extraordinary, intimidating and exciting at the same time.

Q: Your advice/suggestion for turning a boring event into a memorable one? Take it out of context. Do something unexpected. What I love about this time that we live in is that there seem to be no limits to what you can do with an event. The only thing limiting us is our mindset and the fact we’ve been trained and taught how something should look like for so long. Traditional formats are being abandoned everywhere. Not only can you do anything you want with an event, but people actually expect you to exceed their expectations. When it comes to thinking creatively, really, try and think like a 5-year old 


Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning? This mission I’ve set myself on and the never-ending drive to do something extraordinary.

Ognena Ristovska has a vast experience in event planning, delivery & evaluation of major international and national events including trade shows & fairs, congresses and conferences (with up to 800 delegates), corporate & product launches. After an intense experience in both the NGO and the agency sector, she has founded her own events agency whose “goal is not simply to create events; but rather to create unique, memorable and extravagant experiences for everyone who comes into contact with the events of Momentum Inc.”


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STAY HUNGRY STAY FOOLISH Martijn Timmermans, Co-founder, Creative Director, The Red Line Project & Event StoryBoard canvas, The Netherlands


Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning? The idea that I can feel, hear, see and smell the world waking up as I get up at 05.00 in the morning. Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I don’t, carpe diem. I really love what I do and there is still so much work to be done that really is my focus. I have a busy family with 3 amazing kids and quite a bunch of animals. And the best wife on the planet to support me. Maybe in 5 years she wants to swap jobs with me.



Q: How would you describe your job in under 50 words? I love my job and made it exactly how I envisioned it. I meet new people all day and can physically work wherever I want. People share beautiful stories and connect to others in a way they haven’t before. Out of that they create compelling storytelling experiences. Q: What advice would you offer to those soon to be working in marketing in the meetings industry? Focus deeply on the consumer/client, dive into their needs and visualize their experiential journey. Q: What is the best way to develop talent and help people grow to the next level? Stay hungry, stay foolish. I borrowed the last one from Steve Jobs who borrowed it from the Whole Earth Catalog. Try to find a master. I mean, books and school you can learn from, but the real learning lies in

finding someone who is as passionate about it as you, but has more experience. Passion works like a catalyst for knowledge transfer. This is the way we learned before it was institutionalised with schools. Q: What are you most excited about at the moment? To see the merging of knowledge and tools of experiential marketing and events (I mean the whole spectrum of conference/ seminars etc. and brand-related corporate and public events like festivals, public events etc). I am convinced we need this for our industry as a whole; we can learn so much more from each other. Q: Your advice/suggestion for turning a boring event into a memorable one? Download and apply the Event StoryBoard Canvas. I know it’s shameless self-promotion, but I created this tool to help the industry do exactly that.

Q: What kind of knowledge will Conventa Crossover participants gain from attending your lecture? We are competing for time. It’s the ultimate luxury and to compel others you need to tell a good story. My session will be about how to create a storytelling experience. Q: What do you expect from Conventa Crossover? Positive and eager to learn energy as I have experienced in other counties in this region. And with the Conventa Crossover blend I expect it to be magical! Martijn Timmermans started his career in experience marketing at Disneyland Paris, Marriott and Singapore Airlines, and transitioning into events as a meeting designer and facilitator. Martijn believes the MICE market is sitting on a holy grail

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Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning? Being older, I have learned that we can enjoy many different small things, events and results that we can achieve – every day. Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Enjoying life and business on a new level, with more colleagues in the agency team.


Q: How would you describe your job in under 50 words? Working on overall business strategy, promotion and sales of the country and agency products/services. It also includes project & event management, marketing & PR, finances, operational work, human resources management, a touch of psychology spiced up with creativity, business intelligence, everyday learning and research & development activities. Q: What advice would you offer to those soon to be working in marketing in the meetings industry? Travel whenever you can and talk to as many different types of people and businesses as you can. Leave your own perspective aside and get out of your comfort zone whenever it’s possible. Q: What is the best way to develop talent and help people grow to the next level? Be curious and always experiment a little bit (or a lot). Talk in person (or online) to “crazy”, different and experienced colleagues, customers, suppliers, friends or family members. Read the professional

Q: What kind of knowledge will Conventa Crossover participants gain from attending your lecture? I hope that the main benefit will be the understanding of different perspectives which people and businesses use in their lives and jobs. In marketing and market communication we have to talk about the core content, as well as to provide values and solutions to our customers. (digital) media, in order to easily gain global knowledge and best practices. Attend the professional conferences and events. Move. Do sports. Do site inspections. Adopt and apply new experiences and knowledge to your local business and concrete cases. Q: What are you most excited about at the moment? I have recently bought a used car for the first time in my life, so I am excited to see if I’ve made a good investment and picked-up a good car for 1/3rd of the price of a new one. Q: Your advice/suggestion for turning a boring event into a memorable one? Never forget about the basic ingredients, but probably the most memorable ones: exquisite food & drinks, entertaining music/ show and a pleasant atmosphere so that all invitees can SOCIALIZE. Plus a useful client’s give-away at departures. Never forget those. The ROI for the client is guaranteed.

Q: What do you expect from Conventa Crossover? To learn something useful for my life in general + meeting new great colleagues from the industry. Slaven Reljić. With over 20 years of experience in tourism and business events organization, Slaven started his professional career as a Project Manager in business events department of Atlas Travel Agency – at that time biggest DMC (destination management company) in Croatia. In 2013 he accepted a position on the national tourism level and was an Assistant Director for Strategic Planning and Marketing in the Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB). He is also a co-founder and the Secretary of the Croatian Meeting Professionals Association (CMPA), a member of SITE (Society for Incentive Travel Excellence) and Croatian Academic Business club (HAPK) and a certified manager of the Travelife sustainability system in tourism.


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GREAT, FUN, CHALLENGING, INSPIRING, DYNAMIC AND FULL OF OPPORTUNITIES… Thorsteinn Örn Gudmundsson, Managing Director, Meet in Reykjavik, Iceland


Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning? Hanging upside down for 7-10 minutes in the morning and swimming in the cold Atlantic all year. Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Fundamentally enjoying what I do.



Q: What kind of knowledge will Conventa Crossover participants gain from attending your lecture? Better understanding of “challenges in marketing a nature destination on the MICE market” and the potential rewards.

Q: How would you describe your job in under 50 words? Great, fun, challenging, inspiring, dynamic and full of opportunities… I have been building up and further developing Meet in Reykjavik, the national Icelandic CVB, from its start in early 2012, where my focus areas are to develop a sound, long term vision, strategy and stable operation. Q: What advice would you offer to those soon to be working in marketing in the meetings industry? Enjoy it first and foremost, as it is a very interesting industry that offers a peer crowd of people that are in general very likeable, sophisticated and with an endless drive and aspiration that makes it such an enjoyable industry to work in. Q: What is the best way to develop talent and help people grow to the next level? Build a broad team of people, make sure all of them are full of drive and aspiration, challenge them and always take time to give constructive feedback. Let them know from the get-go that their growth is your success,

as motivated, growing talent is the most efficient driver of success. Q: What are you most excited about at the moment? How we can ensure that the explosive growth of interest for Iceland after the European football championship (underdog story that everyone likes…) can be channeled into further success for the MICE market and not just leisure market. Q: Your advice/suggestion for turning a boring event into a memorable one? Be “disruptive” in the flow to a certain extent to challenge people and move away from “what we always do and always expect” without ruining the flow and ending up just being silly. By being “disruptive” I mean disrupt the NORMAL flow and how you do things and be a bit hip and cool to excite people (also them that just want to listen and to be left alone with their smartphone). A bit of a challenge, but a good balance in this area is highly rewarding.

Q: What do you expect from Conventa Crossover? Fresh structure, somewhat disrupted format and interesting content delivered in shorter sessions rather than lengthy lectures. Thorsteinn Örn is the Managing Director of Meet in Reykjavík. He has vast experience and knowledge as a senior manager within the tourism and airline industry, as well as years of experience as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company in Scandinavia and Singapore. He holds an M.Sc. degree in Civil Engineering from the Technical University of Denmark.

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most critical thing to help people grow is to foster their desire to never stop and always strive for more. Q: What are you most excited about at the moment? Our team. I’ve never worked with more passionate, talented and dedicated people in my life. Each one of my colleagues has a unique personality that contributes to our company culture and makes it so rich and stimulating. I learn something new from them every day. The previous question was how to help people grow. The answer is bring together amazing people that share the same passion, care for one another and dream big. And everyone will flourish.

Q: How would you describe your job in under 50 words? Marketing, communication, sales, and customer success mixed in all possible combinations. I love each element. Q: What advice would you offer to all soon to be working in marketing in the meetings industry? If you’re new to marketing, read everything that you can lay your hands on. Then find companies or marketers that are the best at what they do and observe meticulously how they got there. Get inspiration from them and turn it into practice. Finally, start building relationships with other meetings industry professionals, because network always wins. Q: How to develop talent and how to help people grow to the next level? There is an old saying that a teacher is not able to teach anything to students. A teacher can only present knowledge, mentor or point the way, but ultimately it’s up to a student on how she develops her skills and knowledge. Therefore, I believe that the

Q: Your advice/suggestion for turning a boring event into a memorable one? Well, I could write an entire book on this topic [laughter]. But to simplify it drastically, design your meeting with interaction at heart. People want to engage and interact with speakers as well as with one another. 5-min long Q&A sessions and death-by-powerpoint presentations are not acceptable any more. So always try to think of the points where you could inject some interaction in order to engage your audience.


Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning? I’m a coffee fanatic. I prepare my coffee manually every morning. The promise of improving my skills, while making a delicious beverage always kicks me out of bed. And professionally, I love my job so unless I have a particularly dull task to handle that day, I can’t wait to get to the office, meet others and get down to work. Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? On the 30th floor of the building with a huge “Slido” sign on. Haha - just joking! As they say, the best way to predict the future is to create it. And with Slido, we want to help create better, more meaningful events that will inspire people and

help them grow. And I want to be part of that mission in 5 years time and beyond. We’re just at the beginning, there’s so much work to do!


Q: What kind of knowledge will participants of Conventa Crossover gain from listening to your lecture? I’ll be sharing some of the top content marketing and meeting design insights that we picked up along the way of working on more than 17.000 events across the world. Q: What do you expect from Conventa Crossover? I expect a bold event that is not scared to experiment and shake things up. I expect an event that will bring a truly engaging experience to its audience. Juraj Holub is the 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 or Eventex.


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Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning? My son. And not the happy thought of him, but him jumping on my head. Metaphorically speaking, it is the curiosity for what the day will bring. I open our team Slack and… begin the day.


Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? As a content writer turned editor, turned designer, turned design researcher, turned entrepreneur, turned head of UX… it’s hard to predict. But I see myself surrounded with T-shaped creatives, communicators and product designers who work on solving wicked problems.


Q: How would you describe your job in under 50 words? I build products and design interactions that make people happy. The most exciting part of my job is to take care of the journeys our customers take when using mostly digital products. Do they enjoy themselves, do they have fun, will they come back? These are the questions I ask myself every day. Q: What advice would you offer those soon to be working in marketing in the meetings industry? Both marketing and the meetings industry are about one thing, that is, creating story-full experiences for the customers. So it is essential that we understand the power of stories when we create dialogues with our audiences. As a marketer you help create this magical place full of interaction. It’s all about creating memories and triggering happy emotions. So, stop being narrow. Q: What’s the best way to develop talent and help people grow to the next level? As you know, there’s no secret formula for growing talent. There, I said it. What you can do, is to create an environment for

people to feel good, challenged, yet encouraged to try and to experiment. Like a sandpit - a playful place for creativity, but also a place with clear boundaries, expectations and most importantly thought leadership. I’m a strong believer in the master/apprentice model and believe that great talent is not discovered, but made. Q: What are you most excited about at the moment? The future, because it looks really promising for all creative, design-minded people. Even the most conservative industries are looking for inspiration in the creative industries. Today is the best time to be a design thinker or a fresh marketer. Q: Your advice/suggestion for turning a boring event into a memorable one? Challenge people. Both speakers and participants. Turn the event into a story where each participant plays an active role. As an avid fan of role-playing games, I always look for inspiration there. What’s the “lure” of the event, what’s the plot, what will I remember forever? And ever.

Q: What kind of knowledge will Conventa Crossover participants gain from attending your lecture? Hopefully the story of my unstructured professional journey can inspire the participants to rethink what they’re doing. And see the world of content marketing with another pair of eyes. Q: What do you expect from Conventa Crossover? To laugh. To have fun. And to learn from the participants as much as from the other speakers. And yes, to have fun. Wait, did I say that already? Damjan Obal is a manager, UX strategist, product designer and design researcher. His Computer Science PhD talks about integrating users in the design process and he defended it while crafting products for the likes of CNN, AP, United Arab Emirates, Deutsche Bahn, Gorenje, Iskratel, Mayo Clinic. As well as a bunch of cool startups and some of the best NGOs (TED, Challenge:Future). He has launched a couple of products and 2 startups. Last one was Edgar ( The startup that brings the power of brand storytelling to small businesses.

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DO THE UNEXPECTED, TURN THE AUDIENCE INTO CONTRIBUTORS! Colja M. Dams, CEO, VOK DAMS Agency for Events and Live-Marketing, Germany

Q: How would you describe your job in under 50 words? Simply the best job in the world. And that’s no “marketing speech”, but I truly believe this mixture of emotion, of creativity and strategy at their best, and this pure, direct impact on people cannot be beaten. It’s the “wow” that comes with the job, which wows me everyday. Q: What advice would you offer to all soon to be working in marketing in the meetings industry? Over the past few years we have seen how quickly people change their behavior and expectations – you only need to look at how smartphones have changed us. A lot of people in our industry see this as a challenge, we believe it is a huge chance, especially for our industry. Instead of trying to turn people away from their “smartphone habits” we actively encourage them to use them – and to have them apply attitudes and skills they are acquainted with in the virtual world, such as co-creation, in the event itself. We integrate and actively embrace these changed behaviors. So my advice would be: stay on top of what is hot,

and make sure you know how to utilize it. We need to screen the newest trends and look at how they affect the social behavior and expectations of people. In a way, it is more than just trend-scouting (which has always been an integral part of what we do at VOK DAMS), but also studying the sociological impact. And if we look at our industry, it has been profoundly shaped by what is happening. You only need to look at the use and integration of social media and of voting apps etc. in the meetings industry. At VOK DAMS we are convinced that our industry benefits from this development. Because events increasingly move into the epicenter of a campaign, with other communication channels merely supporting the content generated at the event. We call these type of events “Live Campaigns”. And they are not just a trend, they are a development, they are here to stay. So my advice to all those soon to be working in marketing in the meetings industry: learn to utilize Live Campaigns to fully unleash the potential of your target groups, make smartphones work for you turn members of your target group into brand ambassadors. But to do this properly, you need to break up the old distinctions of sender and addressee, of standard marketing and of viewing smartphones as a threat. There is still a lot of potential to be unleashed – my advice: just go ahead and do it! And be aware that you are in one of the finest and most exciting industries. Q: How to develop talent and how to help people grow to the next level? Integrate them as early on. Let them have their say. And let them have responsibility. At VOK DAMS we believe that we need to listen and learn from young talents. And merge their experience with those of the “old talents” to come to some exciting new results. In a way, we try and keep hierarchies low to encourage people to speak up and have their share. Far too often, in our industry, people turn along the well-trodden paths, because they seem safe. But they are not as effective as they used to be though. So we need to keep our eyes and ears open and see what new trends and developments are emerging all over the world.

That’s the basis of talent development. And then we encourage young people to take on responsibility early on. To travel to one of our offices abroad and try their hands at, say, a Chinese event. To learn as much as possible about different cultures – what makes them different and what they have in common. Also, we do not think so much in terms of levels, we think more in terms of ideas and strategy. And what better way to develop talent by having them voice and later realize their ideas and input. Q: What are you most excited about at the moment? Difficult to say. In my private life: about going away on holiday with my three kids and spending as much time as possible with them. Professionally: well, we have just won our first entry into the Guinness Book of World Records. And if course, I am excited about each Live Campaign I see successfully implemented. And I just today I had a very important client thanking our team profusely for the creative ideas and professional, minute implementation. Of course I get excited about such moments, just as much as about every award we win. But to be honest, I stay with German football legend Sepp Herberger who once said “After the game is before the game”. And maybe that’s what drives all of us in this mad and fast industry: the buzz of the next big thing, of the new idea, that is “in creation”, of the next pitch that is being prepared for, of the next brainstorming. So right now I am excited about joining a presentation rehearsal prepared by one of our teams to convince a completely new client to work with us. And I am excited to see how they want to “wow” not just me, as their first audience, but the client and, most of all, the audience. To cut a long answer short: it’s the next “wow” that gets me most excited. Q: Your advice/suggestion for turning a boring event into a memorable one? There are such things as boring events? It has been a long, long time since I last encountered one. My suggestion would be to not just integrate but to activate the audience, to turn them into makers and


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doers and have them design the event and outcome. By using media apps, but also applying co-creation elements on site and in the real world. Nobody wants to be bored, so they will be eager to contribute. One example: At VOK DAMS we have conducted a research that three minutes into a speech, people will have checked their smartphone. So why not let them use it, and have them work with their smartphones throughout the speech? And then have them come together and think and contribute and create new solutions? So my advice on breaking up a “boring” or conventional event would be by doing the unexpected, by turning it onto its head and turning the audience into contributors. This way you gain in two ways: you stop boredom immediately and you unleash the formerly unused potential of your target group. And in doing so, you can make sure the vital messages hit home.


Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning? If I am at home: (the excitement of seeing) my three kids. If I am at working away at a client project: (the excitement of ) experiencing first hand this unique mixture of creativity and strategy, and seeing how we sincerely and deeply move people. Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Hopefully still doing the same thing as I am now, albeit a little greyer and looking back on even more amazing experiences and projects.


Q: What kind of knowledge will participants of Conventa Crossover gain from listening to your lecture? How they can turn their event into a Live Campaign and thus ensure that it becomes the epicenter of a campaign, rather than just one communication channel amongst many. How to utilizes trends and their impact on audience behavior, in getting the most out of an event and fully unleashing the potential of the audience. Also, some ideas on what ideas we have had to encounter changed

expectations. And, last but not least, hopefully some insight into some of our “wow” projects. Q: What do you expect from Conventa Crossover? Exciting insights, inspiration, meeting new people and old acquaintances, in short: time well spent. 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 LiveMarketing, which are developed by VOK DAMS Consulting constantly.

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USE DIGITAL MARKETING TOOLS TO BUILD SUPERB CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES! Lea Lipovšek, Chief Marketing Officer, Madwise digital agency, Slovenia Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? As a Chief Marketing Officer of Madwise - a digital agency that has grown internationally and brings state-of-the-art digital solutions to its clients. As a part of a great team that has become even greater.


Q: What kind of knowledge will participants of Conventa Crossover gain from listening to your lecture? In my 20x20 seconds, I will explain the value that advanced digital tools such as marketing automation can bring to meeting industry. You can expect simpler meeting organization, building relationships with potential and existing customers and of course - higher sales results. Q: How would you describe your job in under 50 words? Making sure that digital marketing tools are used to build superb customer experiences, creating inspiring content and having a good time with my team. Q: What advice would you offer to all soon to be working in marketing in the meetings industry? Develop the passion for your customer. Make sure you understand how he or she makes her decisions and don’t hesitate to use the abundance of digital tools that are available today. Be bold and try new approaches and channels! Q: How to develop talent and how to help people grow to the next level? By understanding yourself and what in the meeting industry (or anywhere for that matter) really makes you tick. There will be tough moments, I can assure you - but identifying your true interest will help maintain the stamina and determination to be better one day at a time. I believe that respect is the crucial ingredient of team work that enables everyone to grow. When colleagues respect

each other, they will collaborate, share their experience and strive for better future. Q: What are you most excited about at the moment? We are currently revising the strategy and vision of Madwise. I’ve always been the “big picture” thinker and the picture we’re painting is really something :) Q: Your advice/suggestion for turning a boring event into a memorable one? Am I supposed to use digital tools? :) Well, we need to make our guests feel good. Maybe encouraging compliments or sending surprise SMS-es to everyone.


Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning? A very hungry cat. And the opportunity to make people happy - from pleasant conversation with a neighbour in the elevator to building great marketing strategies with my team and our customers. Each day gives me the possibility to grow a bit more.

Q: What do you expect from Conventa Crossover? A vibrant event with a huge amount of knowledge sharing, positive energy and proactive people. With marketing and therefore customer at its heart, it should set a bold vision that MICE and travel marketing needs. Lea Lipovšek is an expert on modern marketing technologies and approaches, focusing on digital customer. She has vast experience in public and private sector. Lea was a part of EU presidency of Slovenia and organized some of the first IoT events in the country. Before joining Madwise, she lead marketing department at Spica International, managing company’s presence in 26 countries. Currently, Lea is also heading the B2B marketing section of Slovenian Marketing Association.


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I THINK THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO BE AUTHENTIC Marcel Wassink, CEO and Co-founder Superevent, Austria


Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning? Getting up in the morning is easier when I have interesting meetings or calls planned that day. If not, I typically try to keep fit by working out or going for a run if the weather is nice and then try to arrange such meetings/calls for the days to come.


Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I will travel around the world with my wife, discovering new places and visiting friends, children and grandchildren.


Q: How would you describe your job in under 50 words? I do not have a job. I have a hobby, which is trying to make our customers happy with our Superevent platform and team of super stars. Fortunately, after a difficult start, we have started to grow fast and the increasing number of happy customers who create word of mouth for Superevent is giving me most pleasure! Q: What advice would you offer to all soon to be working in marketing in the meetings industry? Only start working in this industry if you like it and if you can forget small daily disappointments fast and focus on the (small) daily wins. In this way you keep yourself going in a positive way whatever your responsibility is. Q: How to develop talent and how to help people grow to the next level? I think the most important thing is to be authentic: be clear in setting overall objectives, assign tasks within the team, define processes and compliment people if they cut corners in case these processes fall short. I

develop people by giving them honest feedback about good stuff and about the things to improve. I also believe that the basic attitude towards any person is to trust they work hard and are always willing to do a great job. Q: What are you most excited about at the moment? That finally our product is where we want it to be, our customers give us great feedback and our business starts to take off through word of mouth. Now we need to start to pay more attention to marketing, which we haven’t really done yet. Q: Your advice/suggestion for turning a boring event into a memorable one? I can just speak for myself: memorable events are those events where (1) I really felt I learned something new (2) I felt I could contribute and felt that my input was taken seriously (3) I had fun because of a great party!

Q: What kind of knowledge will participants of Conventa Crossover gain from listening to your lecture? Get ideas on making events more interactive and how to easily create an interactive and innovative event app for only â‚Ź750 including all features such as: Program schedule, push notifications, social wall, links to relevant event data, off-line pages, voting, q&a, chat between delegates etc. Q: What do you expect from Conventa Crossover? A nice stay in Ljubljana - i love the city! I hope to meet some people from the previous Conventa and make new friends.

Marcel Wassink has a MSc Computer Science TU Delft. He is a long-term executive who 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 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.

Quick talk

BE BRAVE AND ALWAYS GO FOR EXTRAORDINARY WORK Jens Oliver Mayer, Managing Director Germany, Jack Morton Worldwide


Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning? My family waking me up :) Besides that, the rising challenge of creating extraordinary work for our clients that stands out and creates relevance in a world were amazing has become the new normal…that gets me out of bed. Q: Where do you see yourself in five years? I love what I am doing right now, so I hope, over the next 5 years, that I will learn and experience many new things, and I hope to still have the opportunity to apply this knowledge within the industry.

CROSSOVER Q: How would you describe your job in under 50 words? Communicate and be brave :) Actually, my role is kind of split into two parts. On the one hand I have an external role, as I am involved in most of our client relationships. On the other hand I obviously do have an internal role, as I am responsible for managing the Jack Morton office in Germany and making sure it operates smoothly and that we involve the right talent and everything is done in a “Jack Morton way”. Q:  What advice would you offer to those soon to be working in marketing in the meetings industry? Be brave and always go for extraordinary work. Q:  What is the best way to develop talent and help people grow to the next level? As a creative, idea-led agency, fostering creativity is highly important to us and we have a culture that places great value on this. All of our work is reviewed and critiqued internally and we have an annual global internal awards programme (the Jack Awards) which recognizes extraordinary work that is based on ideas, as well as effectiveness.

We also have a global creative council, led by our Chief Creative Officer, Bruce Henderson, whose job it is to chart the agency’s creative vision and inspire and mentor our creative talent across our global network. We are talking about a way of thinking, not a way of delivering the creativity. Our creative work doesn’t look the same in different projects, but the way in which we build the creative process creates the unique Jack Morton style which you can see all over the world. Q: What are you most excited about at the moment? In my work, each event I’ve been involved with has left me with a vivid memory, because it is such an intense and immersive experience, and really becomes central to your life at that time. So I am always most excited about the next challenge coming up.  Q: Your advice/suggestion for turning a boring event into a memorable one? Be human. Be useful. Invite participation. Build community

Q: What kind of knowledge will Conventa Crossover participants get from attending your lecture? I will show you how to build and deliver a tech strategy into your events to amplify and extend reach. Q: What do you expect from Conventa Crossover? Meeting interesting people and getting new ideas. 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 the offices for the German-speaking 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.


Quick talk



Q: What kind of knowledge will Conventa Crossover participants get from attending your lecture? Key elements to having a successful partnership with a leading airline. Q: What do you expect from Conventa Crossover? Sharing of as many out of the box suggestions and experiences from all speakers as possible. I am also looking forward to meeting some new colleagues and learning from them during and after presentations.


Q: How would you describe your job in under 50 words? Making sure Turkish Airlines partners with as many MICE events as possible and the event attendees travel with Turkish Airlines. Q:  What advice would you offer to those soon to be working in marketing in the meetings industry? Make sure you are a people’s person and a multi-tasker with a strong memory. Q:  What is the best way to develop talent and help people grow to the next level? Take risks and make sure to value experience over anything. If you know your people

and different segments of them, you will have no trouble designing events and answering to people’s needs. Q: What are you most excited about at the moment? We have some on-going projects that might be game-changers for the MICE industry that are pretty exciting. We also have some soon-to-be announced new partnerships. Q: Your advice/suggestion for turning a boring event into a memorable one? Know your crowd and make sure you leave some space for flexibility in order to turn around certain flows according to the reactions from the event attendees.

Leyla Koray is the manager of the M.I.C.E Department at Turkish Airlines. She spent some time both abroad and in Turkey working for different areas of the meetings industry, from an association to MARCOM to event planning, before finally joining Turkish Airlines in 2010. Having grown up in a country that takes pride in its top notch hospitality, Leyla is a strong believer in the importance of the “human touch” in every industry. She tries to adapt this approach to all areas of her professional life and describes her role in Turkish Airlines as the intermediary between the aviation and meetings industries.

Quick talk

LISTEN AND PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT PEOPLE REALLY LOVE TO DO Ottavio Cambieri, Co – Founder of The Mo’Joes OÜ, Tallinn

having fun. The thought of being able to design something that can generate so good emotions is simply priceless :) Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Possibly playing Mash Machine in an island in the Mediterranean.


Q: What kind of knowledge will participants of Conventa Crossover gain from listening to your lecture? I would like to point out the importance of a creative use of technology. Very often technology is becoming the message of events, whereas storytelling goes into background. Q: What do you expect from Conventa Crossover? I expect to meet event marketing professionals from across the globe. Q: How would you describe your job in under 50 words? Being the co-founder of a startup I need to deal with different tasks, from keeping up with external relations to project management to taking care of written and visual communication. It’s a very challenging position that pushes me to keep on learning new things all the time. Q: What advice would you offer to all soon to be working in marketing in the meetings industry? I would recommend them first to find a way to cultivate their creativity: read and be curious about this constantly evolving world is the best recipe for keeping this profession fresh and interesting. Q: Hot to develop talent and how to help people grow to the next level? I think that the first step to develop talent is to listen and pay attention to what people really love to do. If people are naturally allowed to grow in the direction that they genuinely want to take, they will more easily succeed and become great at it.

Q: What are you most excited about at the moment? I love to see how technology has been evolving in the past years to create even more immersive social interaction experiences, effectively allowing people to experience together things that were impossible just few years ago. Q: Your advice/suggestion for turning a boring event into a memorable one? I think that the best way to design a memorable event is to focus on the social interactions between the participants and offer them a purpose.


Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning? A large cup of coffee! After that it’s the knowledge that because of my work people will get closer to others through music. The best motivation to do my work comes when I have a chance to participate to the events we design technology for and see participants genuinely

Ottavio Cambieri is a technology entrepreneur with a passion for creating interactive activities that can engage people of different ages and background. In 2011 he founded The Mo’Joes as an agency to deliver new experiences to events through technology. Although based in Tallinn, Estonia, the company has worked with clients across the globe. Conceptualized and led innovative interactive activities for clients such as Coca Cola, Teliasonera, Swedbank, FIAT, MTV, Saku (Carlsberg group), Philip Morris. Ottavio co-developed Mash Machine as a interactive entertainment tool that allows anyone to play music as if they were musicians.


Quick talk

‘BE RELENTLESS AND PERSISTENT IN PURSUIT OF COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE’ Ana First, Director of Sales at Falkensteiner Punta Skala Resort, Croatia However, and in short, it is important that a company nurtures and possesses a development culture as well as tools for motivation and rewards both of intrinsic and extrinsic values. I am happy to be working for a company that nurtures the development of staff as one of the core values of its existence. That’s why we have the Falkensteiner academy, through which we develop and grow our people. People should be looked at as human capital, not only as a task completion work force.


Q: How would you describe your job in under 50 words? My job (the best in the world) is to help in creating demand for people to enjoy travel experiences in destinations we operate and Falkensteiner hotel/s by achieving targeted revenue and other values. Q:  What advice would you offer to those soon to be working in marketing in the meetings industry? To be relentless and persistent in pursuit of competitive advantage in one’s work. That is indeed demanding and requires lot of self-motivation, but it is possible. In addition I would advise all young professionals to attend as many travel industry events as possible and to do cross exposures in big worldwide business hubs where the event industry flourishes - it is creative, diversified and inspirational. Q:  What is the best way to develop talent and help people grow to the next level? This requires a broad and elaborate, as well to a certain extent scientific answer, as developing talents and people growth is a special field of human resources.

Q: What are you most excited about at the moment? Achieving a work-life balance excites me the most. Being productive and efficient but not overworked or burnt out. Business-wise I am excited to see that destination Zadar is developing in the direction of attracting more and more millennials that bring an interesting and new outlook to what they seek and request from a destination. I am excited to be part of that change. Q: Your advice/suggestion for turning a boring event into a memorable one? I think with a bit of humour and improvisation you can do a lot. I remember when I was still a MICE coordinator that we managed to elevate events with some last minute creative solutions, good presentational skills and some self-observant humour. Clients, in essence, do react well to it.


Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning? It is hard to remain in bed sleeping when you have a dog. Every morning at 07.00am he is so happy to take me out for a walk J Q: Where do you see yourself in five years? I am trying not to think and plan in five years periods. However, I see, or hope for, three things for myself: health, mindfulness and laughter.


Q: What kind of knowledge will Conventa Crossover participants get from attending your lecture? I hope that participants will get inspired about the trends in the upscale leisure industry and, provided the relevance of this information to their personal businesses, choose to apply some of them. We will be discussing international trends of top end leisure travel that have changed dramatically under the influence of technology and with globalisation so many of these trends are applicable to the domestic surroundings. I would love to see participants take some of these trends home. Q: What do you expect from Conventa Crossover? I personally expect to learn a lot from key speakers and audience comments, to have fun and to share the positive vibe of the Conventa movement. Ana First is the Director of Sales at the Falkensteiner Punta Skala Resort near Zadar in Croatia. She is responsible for implementing sales strategies through different market segmentation and opening of new markets for the region of North Dalmatia. In addition to this she participates in the positioning of Falkensteiner Hotel & SPA Iadera and Punta Skala as a lifestyle property/destination. Before joining the Falkensteiner team Ana worked as the Cluster Sales Manager MICE at Hilton Imperial and DoubleTree by Hilton Zagreb, Dubrovnik/Zagreb. For a long period she was the Head of Department MICE at Elite Travel of Croatia, a DMC actively participating in the development of Dubrovnik destination as a preferable MICE one. She is passionate about lifestyle properties/hotels sales & positioning, the event industry and destination management. Ana holds a BS in Hospitality Management from RIT and is currently enrolled on a Masters in Hospitality Management from the Free University of Bolzano, Bolzano (Italy).

Quick talk


Been There

BETWEEN EAST AND WEST GO SOMEWHERE NEW AND BEAUTIFUL Part 1 Text by Gorazd ÄŒad Photo Kongres magazine


Been There

‘You are going to places where everything is deadly, seasoned with gunpowder and untamed passions’, said my colleagues before this year’s Conventa Experience tour. And it is precisely this kind of thinking that fatally attracted me to the tour, as well as the search for that undefined border between East and West that the fierce procedure at the Schengen border with Croatia reminded me of. The term ‘Balkans’ is in general much more than just the name of one of the peninsulas. Through ten years of visiting its regions with a colleague we have thoroughly discovered it, learned about it and shattered many of its stereotypes. Today I can say that I properly feel it and understand it as one of the most promising regions of European congress tourism. I would like to share with you here a few impressions of this year’s route through the Balkans…

In the legendary industrial area of Zenica the motorway starts, which by the signage of the new ring road leads directly to the centre of Sarajevo. It was built by a Slovenian company, which has ingloriously collapsed and left the Bosnian people with a bitter aftertaste. We get involved in a discussion about who actually are the Muslims (Bosniaks), one of the constituent peoples of Bosnia. According to religious beliefs they are Muslims of the Sunni sect, as a result of occupation during the Turkish reign. As a nation they are recognized by the Constitution of BiH (Bosnia and Hercegovina).


Distance: 541 km, Sleeping: Hotel Europa, Sarajevo

All the way from Ljubljana to Sarajevo we were escaping the looming clouds. The first part of this route was marked Highway of Brotherhood and Unity, for which the name at one time promised dreams of a better future. I suddenly thought that the highway is in excellent shape, much more so than the brotherhood and unity of the peoples of the former Yugoslavia. The lion’s share of the road was built by youth brigades that with today’s neo-liberal reality might seem like fantasy. At the time of the highway’s opening the former state was experiencing its largest economic development and was raising living standards, something that when driving once again on this highway evoked in me some positive associations for past times. Heading towards Sarajevo the road splits in Slavonski Brod. This second crossing of the symbolic border between East and West takes us over the mighty river Sava in the Republic of Serbia. Year by year the infrastructure becomes more improved and only the bare remains of old houses stand as silent witness to the front line of the war in the nineties. At this point we consider just how long it takes for vegetation to completely cover the buildings; traces of destruction, hatred, distrust and division we encounter all the time on the long way to the main road to Sarajevo. It will take many years and many generations for these nations to once again live a life with each other. The bell towers and minarets of churches and mosques in roadside villages represent progress and evidence that they live next to each other and yet another folklore addition along the road are the frequent radar controls that mysteriously disappeared due to impending storms on the date we passed by. In the past we haven’t been so blessed and have already payed the penalty for speeding several times over... 31

We arrived in Sarajevo in the dark and just before getting to the town the rain came down so heavily that I could hardly drive the last few kilometres of the highway. The logical end point of this stage of the trip was the famous »čevapčiči« on Baščaršija. “Burekdžinice”, “Ćevabdžinica” and stores of all types were mostly already closed, but the magic of the city on an atmospheric night like this is amazing.

INCENTIVE IDEA ON THE WAY: Valley of the Bosnian Pyramids Until recently it would’ve been science fiction to think that Bosnia has also the pyramids, but thanks to Semir Osmanagić this is one of Bosnia’s controversial tourist attractions, which defies all official archaeology. If you’re on a journey through Bosnia with an incentive group, a visit to the Earth, Dragon, Sun, Moon and Love pyramids is an interesting alternative to the more well-known tourist attractions. The pyramids are accompanied by a network of underground labyrinths and megalithic structure. “Visoko” is about 30 kilometres from Sarajevo.

Been There

The late arrival in Podgorica meant that only a handful of restaurants and bars were open and we had no other option but to head to apparently the only Balkan Hard Rock Cafe. Definitely not an authentic experience with the richness of the local cuisine.


Distance: 231 km Sleeping: Hotel Ramada, Podgorica

Rasim Bajrović is a confident entrepreneur and owner of the Hotel Europa which occupies an elite spot in the city centre. He says that they don’t need any special marketing for his hotel, as due to the location it is fully occupied virtually all of the time. The formula of his success is perseverance and mutual solidarity and the main accumulation of capital was formed in the time of reselling junk dinars for foreign currency during the disintegration of the country. Today, Rasim is a renowned hotelier who is seeking quality hotel services in their hotels. Newcomers from “Sandžak” today belong to the business elite of the city, which triggers different reactions from the old Sarajevo folk, although it seems that mostly the “Sandžaklije” understood the neoliberal opportunities, as today they practically dominate the economy of the city. From the perspective of the congress offer from the old “Olympic times” very little remains; the complete modern congress facilities and offers are concentrated in the hotels of new entrepreneurs of Sarajevo and slowly the international hotel chains are paving their way in the city. In the decade since my first visits to the city its famous multicultural image has changed considerably. The cost of the war was high for everyone and the process to make up for lost time in Sarajevo will be long. Yet the city of Sarajevo always touches me in its own way, even though it has lost some of its traditional charm in recent years. Every year there are more girls who dress in accordance with Islamic culture and it is the formation of a new Islamic way of life. Muslims

are different from Serbs and Croats, and when every one of them will have the right to be themselves, have their own identity and be willing to respect differences and live in harmony, peace will once more return to Bosnia. However, another side of the city’s reality is the endless cemeteries, Sarajevo flowers (the places where grenades fell) and tunnels of salvation, which you have to witness to really understand the cruellest siege in the history of mankind. “Dark” tourism is on its way in Sarajevo and includes everything from the place where the crown prince Ferdinand was killed, to the relics of the Bosnian war with the demolition of the Olympic facilities. According to Semir Efendić, Chief of the Municipality of Novo Sarajevo, it is part of the future of the city’s congress tourism. They plan to build a convention centre as a generator of development. The value of the investment is estimated at 150 millions Euros and we are excitingly waiting for the project to get started. Thinking ahead to the road to Podgorica, this time we chose the route through the territory of the Republic of Serbia, past Foča to Trebinje and then on towards Nikšić and Podgorica. A picturesque road leads straight into the heart of wild nature with Bosnian Sutjeska, which may itself be an independent incentive story. The Bosnian karst fields, which due to heavy rains had a magical aura, are particularly interesting. From Gacka field to Trebinje, however, the great road suitable for car promotions is over in an instant… The route to Montenegro continued on a rather wild local road undergoing renovation to Nikšić. Passing by Lake Krupac and Salt Lake I remembered that a few days ago the world premiere of Jaguar was held here. The organisers could not imagine better roads for testing. 32

INCENTIVE IDEA ON THE WAY: Sutjeska rally The road to Sutjeska is a special experience – the narrow mountain roads with many cows, sheep and other obstacles are a special experience for drivers used to European roads. The goal is the valley of the river Sutjeska, where one of the toughest battles of World War 2 took place in 1943. The Germans, together with allies, surrounded the Partisan units, but they were still able to make a breakthrough towards Jahorina. Moreover, the area is also the oldest national park in Bosnia, in existence since 1962. Any remains of these historic times are mostly deserted, or were looted, but the great outdoors and attempts at renovations of the “Valley of Heroes” still remain. The park is ideal for the more inquisitive incentive groups who are interested in history and natural wealth, and you will be rewarded with untouched nature, which is amongst some of the most magnificent in Europe.

Been There

wouldn’t create four columns, scissor overtaking and then ahead of all that of course an even heavier traffic jam… To navigate an almost 10km traffic jam took us two hours and we got to see up close the law of the road here, where only the strong survive on Albanian roads. There is also very agitated driving, with much use of the horn and extortion. I was already tired of this driving. Arriving in the city centre the Hotel Rogner seemed like arriving at an oasis in the desert. The hotel has a beautiful garden with terrace and excellent hotel services. The centre of Tirana is also nicely decorated, a place full of surprising contrasts at every turn. With our Albanian colleagues we visited the Blloku, or Ish-Blloku, area. Among the residential block apartments this is where you can find the best clubs and restaurants of Tirana. In the communism era this area was closed to the public and it is where the villa of the former dictator Enver Hodža is located. Once opened up the area has become a popular destination for young people and the night beat of the city impressed us.


Distance: 155 km Sleeping: Hotel Rogner Tirana

Renovation of the former Hotel Montenegro is finally coming to an end and Podgorica will be a new Hilton hotel richer by the end of this year. This was confirmed to us by agile director Haluk Bilgi, who has high hopes for congress tourism. The hotel will become a major convention hotel of the country and will change the perception of Podgorica, which is not normally found in the list of most attractive congress destinations in Montenegro. Given the enormous potential of the Montenegrin capital it will gradually have everything needed for a breakthrough in comparable convention destinations. In recent years since I had been coming to Podgorica; following the model of other European cities the city developed rapidly around shopping centres, like in other Balkan capitals. During my previous trips I was more of a transit guest and usually pretty quickly moved to the shore or towards the hilly interior. In this period, however, I have witnessed the rapid transformation of the city, which actually lies in the midst of wild beauty that is available at every step and makes for a great adventure of landscape diversity. Less known is the fact that it is one of Montenegro’s oldest cities, which is not reflected in its current image. Today’s modern image of the city is in fact the result of bombing during the Second World War, when the city was almost completely destroyed. After liberation the city took the name of Tito and until 1992 was called Titograd. Today the city is home 186,000 people, nearly a third of the population

of Montenegro, so it is no longer just an appendix of the more developed Montenegrin coast. Visitors to the city will be surprised by the low prices of taxi services, which are among the lowest in the Balkans, and with the taxi drivers also being a good source of information about politics, history and the pulse of the city. We quickly find ourselves in a debate about the times of former Yugoslavia and the compulsory military service. The journey from Podgorica to Tirana requires quite nerves of steel and the patience of a saint, and is like a memory of the good old journeys of childhood. Good highways here remain in the realm of wishful thinking and you simply must take your time for the route along the main road, although the road from the border to Skhodre was new and broad, something that we certainly didn’t expect. Almost every kilometre we encounter the police and therefore driving in line with the regulations seems like the only alternative. On the recommendation of a colleague from Podgorica we stopped at an excellent restaurant, Tradita, and I can honestly say that the lamb and the friendly staff here were one of the culinary highlights of our trip. The prices were also incredibly low and a massage to the wallet. In the afternoon we continued our journey towards Tirana, where we were surprised by a wild highway with a speed limit of 110km/h, cut through by roundabouts and with every chance that on the way you’ll come across horses and carriages. And then came the shock that showed the true face of Albania’s traffic chaos: less than 20km from Tirana unbelievable congestion due to road works. We could somehow survive the potholes on the road, if only the Albanian drivers 33

INCENTIVE IDEA ON THE WAY: Visit to the Šipčanik wine cellar The Šipčanik wine cellar is just a hop away from Podgorica. The Ćemovsko field rounds a canyon of the river Cijevna that forty years before was just a stony desert with the Golubovci airport. Šipčanik arose from the rehabilitated underground aircraft hangar to become a wine cellar wonderfully arranged as a special events venue. They host everything from protocol events to conferences where participants can learn about the unique culture of wine production.

Kongres Magazine


Distance: 193 km Sleeping: Hotel Splendid, Budva Communism in Tirana is long past but in its architecture it will live long. The view from Hotel Rogner is over many new buildings that have been sprouting like mushrooms after the rain and are competing to be tallest. The hotel’s surroundings are part of the renewed city centre, which seems very European. The image of the city is colourful, which is also because of former mayor Edi Rama, who stimulated the painting of facades and made the city quite green. Just a stone’s throw away, however, is a totally different image of Tirana, which does not meet the

standards of the capitalist glamour - stray dogs, a cacophony of electric cables and rough roads. Tirana is a city of great contrasts that you need to bear in mind if you are thinking of organising an event here. A giant pyramid in pretty bad shape beside the hotel was a surprise to us and it was explained that it was built in honour of the deceased Enver Hoxie. Today, it is a kind of playground for the youth of Tirana and in the evenings is a popular concert venue. I have been asked by colleagues about the feeling of safety in Tirana and I must admit that I felt completely safe – apart from the traffic chaos there were no special surprises. Much

INCENTIVE IDEA ON THE ROAD: Sveti Štefan Iconic village on the island of is regarded as one of the most beautiful places in the Mediterranean. The pride of Montenegrin tourism is today a luxury hotel and part of the Aman Resorts hotel chain. Recently it hosted journalists for a Jaguar world premiere and we recommend a visit also for its exceptional cuisine. You can also stay in Villa Miločer, the former summer residence of the royal Yugoslavian Karađorđević family.


of this feeling was also because of the positive contact with the creative team of DMC agencies - young professionals with a desire to succeed. The road to Ulcinj fitted the rhythm of Albanian roads and the drivers that we had somehow managed to adapt ourselves to. In addition to the modern petrol pumps that you find at almost every corner, we were surprised to see so many car washes, which are obviously the most promising new-age business for Albanians. The province on the border is wild, with great potential for the development of active incentive programmes. This is especially true for the area along the picturesque Lake Skadar. This short trip to Albania managed to break some of the myths and stereotypes about this country. Exit formalities were quick and after entering Montenegro and being in contact with “home” sites it was a little bit easier to breathe. The whole coastline is eagerly preparing for the start of this year’s tourist season. Everywhere, however, there are still the echoes a recent mega event, which was provided by the Slovenian agency Intours. The World Premiere of the Jaguar F-Pace was held at the most picturesque waterways of Montenegro and occupied the Aman resort of Sveti Stefan for a whole month. According to Marina Rađenović from Aman resort it was an extremely demanding and successful project, as well as a big promotion of Montenegro. The quality hotel facilities and offer definitely contributed to the decision of the choice of location, as Montenegro has become an epicentre of luxury tourism in the region. We have excellent cooperation with the Montenegro hoteliers and DMCs and meeting them is like visiting old friends. In accordance with the noble tradition we ended our day in the magical Pržna bay.


Kongres Magazine

Feel the people. Taste fresh ideas.


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Union Hotels Briefing

Grand hotel Union is launching a new concept of wellness recommended by top celebrities Union Hotels continue with investments in their properties, all to offer their guests a refreshed and complete high-end congress offer. After revealing a new look & feel of the Karantanija hall in Hotel Lev, a re-opening of their wellness centre newly run by Andreja Medvedič, the wellness master that has in the past also hosted celebrities like Andie McDowell, Lou Reed, Pink, Ben Affleck and Petar Grašo, will follow. In attractive environment with an oriental touch Grand hotel Union Business offers a holistic approach to care and revitalization of one’s body. They have created a fusion of the finest and most effective elements of both traditional and modern massages and care techniques from all over the world-from Thailand to Philippines. From luxurious Penthouse swimming pool to an intimate VIP suite with an infrared sauna, whirlpool-bath, and massage rituals ... treat yourself to a true celebrity treatment!

Smrekarjev hram with a new look, feel and a live cooking experience Smrekarjev hram, one of Ljubljana’s most famous restaurants where Chef de cuisine Jorg Zupan with a top team of chefs is responsible for an ultimate culinary treat entwined with a range of quality wines is getting a new look and feel. The restaurant run by Union Hotels will open its doors and welcome guests looking for a new culinary experience in the middle of August 2016. The rebirth of Smrekarjev hram will perfectly compliment the already diverse culinary offer that Union Hotel’s congress guests can enjoy when staying in Ljubljana. New name and image of the restaurant will be topped off by a top end bistro concept with live cooking.

Veterinarians from all over the world gathered in Grand Hotel Union In June, Grand Hotel Union hosted the 15th Congress of the European Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society that attracted a record number of international delegates. Local Organizing Committee of EVECCS was extremely satisfied with the event and the support of the local partners: “Organizing a congress in Grand Hotel Union allows a pleasant and professional atmosphere in the heart of the city. We believe that the location of the congresses is very important because the participants, in addition to lectures, are eager to explore the city and its offer. We were extremely satisfied with the location and with collaboration with Ljubljana Tourism, but also with the professionalism and quick response of Grand Hotel Union’s staff. “


Off The Beaten Mice Track

TECHNOPOLIS ATHENS Events full of industrial power

• WAY OUT THERE... • Abandoned industrial buildings are in most cases left to decay and such was the case with the old Gas Works in Athens. Fortunately, however, the balance of opinion tilted to the view that reusing these kinds of buildings had a lot of benefits to offer, not solely environmental and economic, but also social and helping with continual growth as well as also keeping alive the memories of the past. With all of this in mind the reuse of an abandoned industrial site has a positive effect on the quality of life for the near vicinity and it is also reasonably cheaper and ecologically friendlier than all the new buildings sprouting up today. After almost thirty years of lying fallow the former factory opened its doors in 2004 under the name of ‚Technopolis‘. Its transformation opened up fresh options of using old and outmoded infrastructure in new and innovative ways. The „Art City“ is suitable for different kinds of meetings and offers incredibly inter-

esting spaces with an industrial feel, topped off by museum collections and loads of space for organising events. • WAY TO STAY • Picking a hotel in Athens is more a thing of taste than anything else, as the offer is so diverse. Hotels that offer panoramic views of the city are the perfect getaways from the surging Athenian energy. Amongst the most famous congress hotels are the Intercontintenal Athenaeum and the Hilton Athens, both offering a well rounded and quality offer. In their vicinity is also one of the best hotels in Athens, the Grande Bretagne, which features the legendary hotel terrace where you can enjoy frst class Italian cuisine and incredible views. Looking at the Acropolis and the vibrant city we feel really thankful that Athens is an eternal city and that it will keep attracting visitors with its almost magnetic charm.


• MEET IN STYLE • An event in the former factory, where you can still almost smell the coal in the air, is an unforgettable experience. The charm of a bygone area, conveyed through its stacks, enormous cauldrons (gasometers), chimneys and ovens, „conspires“ with a certain reverence to establish the site as a „factory“ for the protection and production of art. The major facilites in it are named after famous Greek poets; Andreas Embirikos (Room D1), Angelos Sikelianos (D4), Yannis Ritsos (Amphitheatre „Athina 9 ,84“ radio station), Kostis Palamas (D10), Takis Papatsonis (D6), Constantine Cavafis (D7) and Kostas Varnalis (8). Hundreds of events have been staged in the premises since May 1999, including: Exhibitions of visual art, Sculpture, Photography, Videoart and Technology; Conferences; Seminars: International Festivals; Concerts; Theatre and Dance performances; Forums on employ-

Off The Beaten Mice Track

ment and entrepreneurship; Educational programmes; Product presentations and much more. Most of the spaces are very flexible and especially suitable for corporate events as well as fairs. The factory offers very efficient branding and can adjust the space to specific events and needs. • OFF THE BEATEN TRACK • Technopolis is situated in a pleasant part of town with many bars and coffee shops, as well as the Psirri and Gazi neighbourhoods, which are known for their vibrant night life and restaurants. It is especially lively in Psirri, where the Six d.o.g.s. amusement centre is located and is open throughout the day. This year Technopolis is offering the world famous hit Dinner in the Sky®, a culinary experience, where you enjoy your meals while sitting 50 metres in the air. The views of Athens and the top notch cuisine can be enjoyed by 22 congress guests at a time.

• LOCALISM • The gasworks were founded in 1857 in order to cover Athens’ need for public lighting. They were the country’s first energy plants. By the end of the 19th Century the gas network had been expanded to provide gas to industries and households. It was the last factory in Europe that was functioning in a traditional way until the day it closed. The symbol of “Technopolis” is an original sculpture titled „The Millennium Globe“, a work by Nikos-Yiorgos Papoutsides that illustrates the globe surrounded by olive branches and symbolizes the wishes and hopes that peace and humanity prevail across the whole world. • GETTING THERE • Technopolis in Gazi can easily be reached by METRO, the “Keramikos” station only 50m away from the venue’s entrance on Iakhou street. Aside from the METRO (Line 3, “Keramikos” station), there are many bus lines (049, 815, 838, 39

914, Β18, Γ18 and Tram 21) that will take visitors to Technopolis, in which case, they will have to disembark at the “Fotaerio” stop on Pireos street. • DID YOU KNOW • Europe’s largest gasholder is located in the town of Oberhausen in Germany and has a holding capacity of 347,000 cubic metres. The largest gasholders in the Athens Gasworks (Gasholder 3) had a holding capacity of only 15,000 cubic metres. DIRECTORY Technopolis City of Athens 100, Pireos str. 118 54 Gazi - Athens T: (+30) 210 3475518, (+30) 210 3461589 E:


Only exceptional convention bureaus truly understand the meaning of “public relations” Text by Gorazd Čad Photo Shutterstock




n May this magazine’s editorial board carried out an experiment: we sent out a request for a short interview (Quick Talk) to 42 key persons of congress offices and in the invitation we specifically pointed out that for the needs of our experiment we would assess the accessibility and responsiveness of each of the convention bureaus. Most of these offices work in the public interest and the purpose of our experiment was to create a publication of in-depth content for which the mission was to provide information about congress communities. Given the complexity of answers we needed, the deadline was a full seven days. Within the allocated response time we received 18 responses, or 42.68% of the total, which together with responses coming late but sent in a timely way (4 in total) came to 52.38%. All of the invited partners from Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia answered the questionnaire on time, as did colleagues from Istanbul, Athens and one convention bureau from Croatia. From the results it would then appear that the Central European EU border is at the same time a border regarding the culture of communication with the media. It is probably no coincidence that the director of the world’s leading congress destination, Christian Mutschlechner of Vienna, was the first to answer our questions, in fact within just a few hours of us sending out the invitation. Indeed all of the region’s leading positions on the ICCA scale were the first to answer our questions. None of this is a coincidence, and they have an equally well-developed culture of communication with potential clients. The broader Southeastern Europe (SEE) region, however, is one in transition, a transition that is also reflected in this realm of public information. In SEE it is clearly inadequate and as a consequence the individual is unable to develop a clear image of the functioning of specific congress bureaus or conference destinations. Meeting planners most likely confront a similar problem when deciding on whether to organise a congress in this part of Europe.

ships with potential partners interested in the destination, but a shortcoming with this is when we don’t know who our customers are or what their needs are. When this foundation is laid, it can be followed up by targeted communication through relevant storytelling and whilst this may sound easy in the era of total digitalization, it is an entirely different challenge to find good and worthwhile stories. For this the cooperation between convention bureaus and their partners is key. One of the best examples of this is the content network the Slovenian Convention Bureau has built in recent years - only a few congress bureaus have developed a good CRM system associated with marketing automation tools for this kind of communication. Of the other various responses received one that it is worthwhile pointing out is the answer that the best thing a destination can do is to bring the client to the destination and convince them ‘live’ of their advantages, so they can become familiar with the stories that they have previously communicated to them. New destinations have the prevailing opinion that the fact that they are undiscovered destinations is an important factor regarding the general public interest. They mostly rely on their own channels, including the most popular social media and digital marketing, and most of them believe in the personalization of customer relations, but they believe that it is a long-term process. In these cases there are very few innovations in the field of relationships with existing congress participants, who are the best ambassadors of convention destinations. Only a few congress bureaus really work in this area and better communication innovation is lacking here. The story of Athens, which has had to face waves of negative publicity during the European economic crisis, is an interesting one. As a congress destination and precisely during this period they made the highest investment in intensive communication with their customers, with a big role in this also played by the positive experiences of individual organisers and participants.

Personal contact is crucial

The meeting industry is an industry of storytellers. It’s therefore one where content marketing fits in very well. ‘Without content there are no congress participants’. It’s hard to disagree with this statement and we were pleased that 98% of those interviewed said that content marketing today is the foundation of marketing congress destinations. It is important to emphasize, however, that the absolute foundation is a quality infrastructure and a renowned level of service, something the Vienna Convention Bureau’s Christian Mutschlechner was particularly keen to emphasize. It is only upon this kind of platform that quality content marketing can begin to be built and only honest, real stories that do not promise experiences that the destination cannot

The more the congress destination is developed, the more effort must be invested in consolidating its image and what sets it apart from the competition.

It is therefore very interesting when we look more closely at each destination’s response to the question “How hard is to get the message out about everything that your destination has to offer?” Respondees believe that the more the congress destination is developed, the more effort must be invested in consolidating its image and what sets it apart from the competition. An important role is here played precisely by their media relations, in the form of press trips and partnerships in key industry events. Moreover, a generally held opinion is that the most profitable route is that of building long-term individual relation-


A resounding ‘Yes’ for content marketing


deliver will help bring success to a destination. Content marketing therefore has to be coordinated with the promise of the destination as a brand. The keywords for this are clear, relevant, authentic, useful and, finally, inspiring. The generic, easy-destination content of yesteryear no longer works today and more often than not ends up as spam and respondees were also keen to highlight that content marketing is much more than the basic SEO prevalent in digital marketing today.

Only a small proportion of stories attract our attention The connection between experience marketing and content marketing is also interesting and was highlighted by a number of those who responded. Good content is the basis of the live experience, which congress organisers have been leaning on since time immemorial. The biggest innovation in this field is, of course, in the organisation of fam trips. In this context Istanbul CVB uses video statements of congress organisers, which has proved to be a very effective method of promotion. Through this organisers become promoters of the destination and the response to Istanbul CVB’s campaign was very positive. Today only a small proportion of stories attract our attention, as more and more we focus our attention on what is useful to us or entertains us. Through content marketing, however, we offer our buyers the kind of stories that are relevant to them and as a result they reward us with their loyalty and business. If we do not bother to tell such stories by ourselves, it is highly likely that clients will create their own stories, which may sometimes even be negative ones. But when positive and effective stories connect with effective sales, the path to success is wide open. Communication starts with basic information exchange and it is always a two-way process. Content marketing, namely the deliberate creation and distribution of relevant content for the purpose of enthusing organisers, is one of the great tools of communication.

From our own practice we offer below some tips, experiences and also some of our concerns: 1. Customer database The success of content marketing is primarily driven by pinpointing the right target groups. Only then can it be followed up by creating the right stories and nurturing creativity in communication methods. Often, a meetings destination devotes much attention to branding and external appearance rather than finding the audience that matches their product and story. If we successfully select the target group we can significantly and quickly acquire new customers, and in doing it this way quality definitely rises above quantity - the properly identified buyers will be drawn to the well-developed content. To reflect on: Do you use modern CRM tools to manage a database of potential congress customers?

2. Understanding the needs of meeting organisers Meeting organisers are overwhelmed with stories these days. For meeting planners the important stories are the ones that address their concerns. According to our analysis of news published on the IMEX system, only 25% of stories are relevant to meeting planners (‘MICE newsworthy’), meaning there is significant room for improvement in in this area. We need to think firstly of for whom, or to whom, we are writing and understand that our content is there to help solve others’ problems. The most widely read stories are therefore best practice, practical tips for organising events, background stories about providers, presentations of the key event planners, ideas for event organisatio and other such useful topics. To reflect on: Are you measuring which content is most read on your website, and consequently which most interests congress organisers?

3. Inventory of meeting stories The key to successful communication is not in the extent of content generated or frequency of publication, but in the context of what is interesting for meeting organisers. A lot of effort must therefore be invested in finding the right stories that are in line with the business thinking of your customers and potential customers. The key to success is in knowing at any given moment the kind of content you have to provide to your customers on each occasion. Congress stories can in this way be seen as a kind of ‘seed capital’ for 42

successful convention destinations. To reflect on: In your communication do you have content prepared for different target groups, from associations through to corporative clients?

4. The intelligent distribution If you know your target audience and know what can help guide a user to making a particular positive business decision, the decision on the method of distribution is easy - you need to communicate at the key points where customers collect information. A powerful anchor web (web portal) therefore plays a big role in this, as it is the basic medium of communication and also enables smart analytics. Alongside that several destinations have also built a community on one of the social networks, but direct marketing is still very much alive with all the tools that are available today. To reflect on: Are you planning weekly publications on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube or Slideshare and do you have a weekly plan for this?

5. Personalisation and Automation Marketing information systems and analyzing web traces is the basis for quality communication personalisation. A marketing system allows monitoring of potential customers through every phase of the purchase process. Such a system also allows the personalisation of digital experiences and connection with the CRM system, which leads to personal sales. According to our observations, meetings destinations that are already using content marketing invest very little investment, or none at all, in measuring the effects of this and adapting the project ends. This is crucial, and not just any measurement, but those relevant for long-term business success. To reflect on: Does your destination use the appropriate CRM tools and marketing information system?

6. Social media tolls are congress story boosters Today social media and content marketing are a winning combination. With social networks you can create awareness about your brand and at the same time you can direct customers to additional content on your website. With their viral potential social networks are also evidence that your congress service is trustworthy, which can be done by


using the various tools of content marketing, from the publication of informative articles and webinars to demos, videos, case studies of good practice and white papers. To reflect on: Have you set key performance indicators (KPIs) for the social networks and do you know how to measure social media analytics tools?

7. Events are a part of content marketing Event management is not just the implementation of the programme and all the supporting logistics, but it is the story and everything else that goes with it, from exciting the client and participants about the destination to the positive experiences that happen at the event, including how best to communicate with participants. It is the quality of relations with stakeholders that we create through content marketing that is a crucial aspect of the success of the event. Events are key tools for preserving, nurturing and upgrading relations with stakeholders and their efficacy is made in synergy with other content marketing tools. To reflect on: Think about events that you remember most and why.

8. Excellent texts, attractive design Content marketing is often equated to preparing texts, which is very far from the truth. Professionals

in the realm of content distribution (photographers, graphic designers, video producers, journalists) are certainly all key to the success of content distribution, but communication is a skill that is becoming increasingly important and today it is not possible to think of convention destination representatives without also thinking of public speaking and communication skills. To reflect on: Are you thinking about employing a content marketing manager, social media manager...?

9. Create your own media In the digital age the creation of your own media is easy, logical and certainly cheaper than in the analog age. It can be as easy as a LinkedIn profile with the relevant target group, a corporate magazine or just a blog. Good content is the communication capital of your company. Just think of incentive programmes that you have developed and maybe even protected by copyright – this is a kind of seed capital that can yield great results. Of course, such capital is totally valueless if you do not take care of properly distributing the content, and preferably through your own media. To reflect on: Which media you have developed at your destination: a web page, corporate magazine, blog, social network LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter‌?


10. Destination editorial Planning, preparing and effectively curating content is a key part of a convention and destination organisation’s activities. With social media the importance of relevant, timely and appropriate content is even bigger. Destination organisations have to teach their partners how to recognize a good story and how to use the various modes of digital and social content, and are thereby becoming more and more a destination guide editorial board. Destination organisations also have the task of verifying which posts are suitable for publication and which are not. It is therefore surprising that 65% of online portals are offering outdated and irrelevant news. To reflect on: How many useful stories did you post on your website last month and how do you measure their readership?

PS: The right to information is at the heart of democracy! The majority of constitutions of European countries give everyone the right to obtain information of public interest, which is one of the fundamental human rights. In addition, public institutions have to provide the public with their work by providing timely, complete and accurate information on issues within their working areas.

CONTACT: 'ORAZD²AD Editor-in-Chief E: T: +386 1 430 51 03



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Behind the Scenes


Behind the Scenes

FALKENSTEINER SCHLOSS HOTEL VELDEN More personal luxury meetings


RESIDENCE FOR A CARINTHIAN NOBLEMAN In 1590 the Carinthian aristocrat Barthlmä Khevenhüller, whose genealogical tree stretched back to 1396, decided to build himself a residence for which he could look forward to his latter years. It took more than a decade to build and in 1603 the manor shone in all its beauty. In the second half of the 18th century the building was destroyed by fire, but was later bought by a Viennese industrialist who with the help of architect Wilhelm Heß had turned it into a hotel in beautiful Neorenaissance style by the end of the 19th century.


THE CROSSROADS OF THE RICH, FAMOUS AND BEAUTIFUL Ever since the hotel opened it has been the centre of social life for the rich and famous. It has also been the backdrop for numerous movies and TV series, most notably the „Ein Schloß am Wörthersee“ cult series in which the unforgettable Roy Black, in the role of a hotel manager, impressed the young and old audience. The hotel also made an impression on David Hasselhof, who even posted a video about the historic place on his Facebook profile. Sir Paul McCartney‘s wife even bought an apartment in the picturesque site overlooking the Caribbeanblue coloured lake. There is no shortage of good stories like these ones and they are important because they further strenghten the image of the resort.

Behind the Scenes

GĂœNTER SACHS ERA In 1990 the hotel found itself in the German and Austrian tabloids, as it was bought by GĂźnter Sachs, the notorious heir to the throne of Willy Sachs. He was also the great-grandson of Wilhelm von Opel, one of the pioneers of the German automotive industry, and also husband to the then hollywood star Brigitte Bardot. Besides his many occupations as a photographer, art collector, author of documentary films and astrology analyst he was also recognised as the main playboy of the 60s and 70s. WELCOME HOME STYLE RENOVATION In 2013 this castle-like hotel was taken over by a real estate company owned by Karl Wlaschek from Vienna, who is also owns the Billa chain store. The management part is now run by Falkensteiner, who have refreshed the building and now made it a combination of old and new. Characterized by clean lines and minimalistic shapes of beige with dark brown and gold tones, the hotel has a very luxurious feel to it. Try to imagine fusing together elegant architecture from the 16th century with elements from marble and gold together with the latest in technology - an amazing combination where you can turn on the lights in your room by pressing a screen hidden beside your bed, or watch TV that is tucked behind a mirror, while at the same time taking a bath in a huge marble tub. 48

Behind the Scenes

CONGRESS CENTRE WITH A PERSONAL SIGNATURE Schlosshotel Velden is no ordinary hotel and even the congress centre contributes to the fact that it awakens the imagination in people‘s minds. It is a place where time starts running more slowly and first class tech support is taken for granted. The hotel is ideal for car launches, as the biggest congress hall has space for 120 guests, along with numerous smaller spaces and very photogenic architecture. For the more active congress participants there are also many options in the marina or the swimming area, as well as some hidden nooks for a truly special experience under the stars. HOLISTIC WELLNESS CENTRE Wellness centre Aquapura SPA puts medicinal aesthetics at the forefront and offers guests experienced doctors in the fields of prevention, spiritual health and world renowned methods for rejuvenation. The centre stretches out over 3,600 m2 and houses a garden pool, an outdoor Finnish sauna with panoramic views of the lake, a relaxation room with swings, and a cinema inside the spa space. The centre for medicinal spa treatments works wonders and has brought new life to Falkensteiner‘s venerable lakeside beauty. The innovative design can be ascribed to Bea Mitterhofer from the South of Tirol. 49

Behind the Scenes

EXQUISITE CUISINE A first class culinary offer with a mix of the Mediterranean and local flavours has been established by chef Paul Schrott and before him Carinthian chef Stefan Lastin and world renowned Silvio Nickol. Can it get better than that? Perhaps, as their wine cellar also boasts an incredible offer and if something is missing they will bring it to you in no time at all. The Beach Club Restaurant „Seespitz“ on the shore of Lake Wörthersee is also excellent, a perfect spot for special events. PERSONAL WITH LOTS OF PRIVACY When first stepping through the front door, you can feel positivity and a relaxed attitude. The natural colours and wood fit in nicely with the surroundings, which can be fully appreciated from the garden pool. Privacy is assured in many hidden corners tailored for events. It is also because of this that the hotel has received so many Best Hotel awards and has become a trademark for Carinthian tourism.


Behind the Scenes

ART FUND As in any castle or manor, Falkensteiner Schlosshotel Velden also has some very special hidden treasures. In this case, however, it is not quite so hidden, as a 200m2 suite that was turned into an art facility by no less than GĂźnter Sachs himself is situated in one of the towers. It has 10 different spots where you can admire graffiti artworks by Dareo and Toast, which gives the space an impressive tension and depth. Part of this mysterious hideaway is also the hotel marina, with 15 quays for private yachts and a yacht owned by the hotel.


Behind the Scenes

FACT SHEET Falkensteiner Schloss Hotel Falkensteiner Schlosspark 1, AT-9220 Velden am Wörthersee T:+43 4274 52000 - 0 E: ACCOMMODATION 104 spacious and elegantly furnished rooms with historical ambiance meet the modernity of the 21st Century • Rooms: Superior Room king 28sqm Superior Room twin 31sqm Grand Deluxe Room 52sqm Deluxe Room 53sqm Junior suite 58sqm Schloss suite 65sqm Turm suite 61sqm Seeblick suite 60sqm Roy Black suite 99sqm Graf Khevenhüller Suite 95sqm Kaiser Suite 300sqm / 1 room • Free wireless super fast internet access in-room • In room entertainment systems • Personal bars • Spacious and elegant bathrooms • Luxury bath menu • Room and laundry service RESTAURANT, BAR & LOUNGE - Seespitz: restaurant Seespitz is located directly on the water, offering stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains. The a la carte cuisine from local ingredients and homemade refreshments is as delightful as the friendliness of the staff. - Gourmet restaurant Schlossstern: restaurant Schlossstern is awarded 5 stars from the A la Carte magazine and 4 forks from Falstaff. If you wish to impress your business partners then this restaurant would be a perfect choice for an unforgettable dinner. Summer nights are perfect for you to enjoy on the restaurant balcony with breathtaking views of Lake Wörthersee.

TRANSPORTATION Klagenfurt Airport: 33-minute drive Central Bus Station: 22-minute drive Main Railway Station: 22-minute drive

- Restaurant Bartholomäus: A daytime restaurant that offers local cuisine at a high level. Restaurant Bartholomäus is awarded 3 stars from A la Carte magazine and offers menus for everyone‘s taste. - Schlossbar & lobby lounge: the Schlossbar offers a very extensive wine and spirits list. During the weekends you can enjoy live music on terrace. - Spa lounge bistro: offers fresh, healthy and light meals made from local ingredients. Spa lounge bistro is also the right place where you can combine business activities with the wellbeing life concept. RECREATIONAL FACILITIES Acquapura Spa with medical spa, panoramic garden pool, Bio-herbal sauna, outside Finnish sauna, infrared cabin, gemstone steam room, private SPA suite for two and exclusive private sauna for up to six people, beauty & vitality treatments and Acquapura SPA treatments. Beach club SERVICES & FACILITIES • Outstanding conference facilities with spectacular ballroom • Free wireless super fast Internet access • Room service • Laundry service • Miles and more programme • Dog friendly POINTS OF INTEREST · Hochosterwitz castle · The pilgrimage church of Maria Saal · Klagenfurt with new square and the Dragon fountain · The Landhouse and the Emblem Halls · Minimundus · water sports activities on Worthersee · Klagenfurt cathedral · Regional museum of Carinthia · Viktring Abbey · Botanic garden · Reptilienzoo Happ

VISITOR INFORMATION Language: Austria Currency: Euro Electricity: The hotel operates on 220-volt power Visas: Visa requirements are determined by nationality.

LOCATION Velden is a beautiful Austrian city located on the west coast of Wörthersee, surrounded by mountains and beautiful nature. It offers a lot of different activities for more active holidays in the Carinthia region.


Behind the Scenes



MOSTAR INDIVIDUAL GRADES 2016 Natural and cultural factors: 


General and transport infrastructure:  4,00 Tourist infrastructure:


Meeting infrastructure:


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Global Peace Index:








iving competitions from the Old bridge into the Neretva river hold a tradition of nearly four and a half centuries. It was back in 1566, when the bridge was first built, that the first divers to ever leap off the bridge tested their manhood from a height of 21 metres. The tradition never died down and Mostar is now central to the world famous Red Bull Cliff Diving spectacle, which gives the town a special recognition. The diving ties together the spirit and heart of the city: the famous stone bridge and the Neretva river. The initiative to build the bridge came from none other than Suleiman the Magnificent. Legend has it that its builder, Mimar Hajrudin, who was the student of Sinan, a famous architect of the Ottoman era, left Mostar the day before it was built, as he was afraid the bridge would colapse. Not only did it survive Mimar Hajrudin‘s disbelief, but it also survived the centuries that followed, until it was completely destroyed by the war in 1993. A total of 86 grenades thrown by Croatian forces sent the huge mass of stone falling into the river. It was an event that shook the world, not only because Mostar lost a piece of priceless heritage, but also because it was the death blow to a city in which Serbs, Muslims and Croats had lived in coexistence for decades. In 2004 a „new old“ bridge was built as an exact copy of the old one and is today listed as a Unesco World Heritage site. It represents a symbol of reconciliation and hope for a peaceful cohabitation of different cultures, etnic values and religions, which were divided by the catastrophic war.


KRIVA ČUPRIJA Many people won‘t know that the famous Mostar bridge has an older brother. On the Radobolja river, which flows into Neretva not far from the Old bridge, stands ‚Kriva Čuprija‘, a small stone bridge built in 1558 that is the oldest known monument of the Turkish era in Mostar. It was supposed to be used as a prototype, as it bears an obvious resemblance to the real thing, although this is a lot bigger. A few years ago, however, it was washed away by the floods, but fortunately as a piece of cultural heritage it was rebuilt. This part of town is a romantic special venue, infused by the energy of the Radobolja river. MOSTAR BAZAAR During the era of the Ottoman Empire, Mostar became a centre for trade and a place where most merchants and craftsmen worked between the Old bridge and the Musala. Today it is the city‘s main tourist attraction and while you stroll through the „shopping centre“ you can still admire goldsmiths at work. This urban whole kept all the characteristics of the Turkish times: alongside the towers and mosques you will also find lots of small craft workshops with oriental style doors and successfully rearranged restaurants. The workshops offer numerous traditional hand built products and the restaurants numerous authentic gastronomic specialities. Thanks to international financial funds this part of town has been completely renovated and includes the gracious houses of rich merchants and landlords built in Ottoman style.


MOSTAR FAIR The biggest congress provider in town is Mostar Fair, which has been successfully organising their fair for almost two decades (next year will be its 20th anniversary). It is a general fair, which is quite popular in BiH, and you can get an idea of its size by looking at some of the stats – 30,000m2 and attended by 750 exhibitors from 20 countries. In parallel with this is also the organisation of the Wine and viticultural equipment fair and also the Tourism Fair. All of the seven conference rooms for accompanying events are well equiped and the ensemble reminds you of a serious congress centre, currently sufficient for 20,000 covered exhibition spaces. TOURISM The city that lives and breathes tourism is home to some great motels, hotels and suites. According to official statistics there are over

1,300 beds in Mostar. The main challenge is making sure tourism is seasonal, but despite the huge potential of the city Mostar has poor airline connections. Similiar to other regional tourist destinations it is constantly recording a growth in visits, but the question is how to keep visitors there for more than just one day. This year they are expecting around 90,000 visits, which could dramatically increase by extending the season with congress tourism. Despite all of this you won‘t be disappointed by the offer of restaurants, bars and nightlife, as long as you steer clear of the gastronomic tourist traps in the vicinity of major tourist attractions. A CITY OF SPECIAL VENUES Despite being packed with options for special events (and some might even say there are too many!) right now the local agencies hardly ever take advantage of them for congress guests. The Muslibegovic House is a case in point: it is 56

a national monument, which houses a museum and a hotel with preserved details of Ottoman architecture. The covered garden with vivid flowers and palms is particularly interesting, perfect for receptions in case of bad weather. Of the historical buildings is also the Bishops Residence, a neorenaissance structure suitable for corporate receptions, and The Kajatz house that belongs to Turkish residential architecture and is filled with memories of the past. The Metropolitan Palace Neo-Baroque court is also Interesting and quite a few great venues can also be found outside of the city centre, such as Vila Radobolja. The exquisitely renovated Vila is run by the owners of City Hotel and is popular among wedding planners. LOCAL CUISINE AND WINE ROADS NEAR MOSTAR When visiting Mostar, tasting trout (pastrmka) or any of the tasty Hercegovian wines from the


KONGRES VOX POPULI The congress offer in Mostar is for now very unconnected and is concentrated on hotels with congress capacities, Mostar Fair and a few other DMCs. Hotel Mepas is a five star hotel in the city centre that houses a larger congress centre with space for 700 guests. The hotel is part of a big shopping centre, which besides their own spa and swimming pool is one of the advantages. Hotel Mostar is also one of the congress providers in the city and offers 3 congress halls for a maximum of 150 people. Hotel City is a pleasant business hotel, which offers a multifunctional conference room for 150 guests. The owners of the hotel also run a restaurant by the Neretva called Del Rio, a few bars and a nightclub called Pink Panther, which embellishes their congress offer. Hotel Bristol is also one of the congress providers, with two conference halls.

vineyards by Neretva, such as Žilavka, Kameno vino, Vranac and Blatina, is definitely a must. Bosnia and Herzegovina is known for its quality food, which is fresh and prepared by amazing chefs, so visiting Mostar is a real treat for gourmets and Balkan food lovers. The food in Mostar, even in some of the higher class restaurants, is not expensive, so you won‘t have to worry about the depth of your wallet. The city is home to simple restaurants specialized in grilled food, and they are practically on every corner. When they turn on their grills the seductive smell of čevapi will definitely stimulate your taste buds. They can be enjoyed at 10 in the morning or late at night and are served together with a special bread called somun. Mostly made out of lamb meat, čevapi go great with kajmak, but the locals like to finish their meal with some yogurt.


Some larger DMC companies in Mostar have focused their offer on incoming incentive groups, but the city is also covered by agencies from Sarajevo and Dubrovnik. What is missing are the specialized teambuilding agencies, which are hard to find and would be great to round up the offer. When it comes to developing congress tourism, Mostar has quite a few advantages. It is very diverse, has a quality offer, good prices and great cuisine. Unfortunately the offer is scattered and has no focussed market point with a Mostar convention bureau, so its breakthrough is going to be hard and slow. It takes more than just building a hotel or a congress centre to put a destination on the international congress map - beautiful scenery is a good start, but when it comes to incentive stories in Mostar you are the one that will have to make it up.


Destination grade: RECOMMENDABLE 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:


A great sense of attraction and adventure comes from the contrast between the Mostar valley, shaped by river Neretva, and the karst mountains. The Neretva river is the main reason for the Mediterranean climate, which pervades the whole valley. Mostar also gets its special character from the Ottoman legacy, which can be seen in all the main tourist attractions and has been under Unesco‘s protection since 2005. Mostar‘s surroundings are also very diverse and rich with natural and historical monuments. Among the main tourist attractions is the town of Blagaj and „Derviška tekija“, which lies at the source of the river Buna, where the Neretva canyon slices through the mountains. B. General and transport infrastructure:


The roads leading to Mostar are solid and will get you from Sarajevo to the capital of Herzegovina in less than two hours. The city was once an industrial epicentre and was also the home of Soko, a hightech airplane company. Today barely any of the once renowned company names still exist, but it is nice to know that Mostar is slowly making a full recovery from the war and is now focused mainly on tourism and the service industry. War affected the overall state of the infrastructure, especially communal, but tourist workers still praise Aerodrom Mostar, which is becoming international and with its infrastructure helping the airline accessibility of the city get better each year. C. Tourist infrastructure:


The platform for tourism development is definitely the rich cultural and architectural heritage of the city. Right now, one-day tours are the prevailing type of tourism, and that can also be seen in the infrastructure. Hotel capacities are persistently getting better and are slowly adapting to congress guests. The biggest boom is happening in boutique hotels, which have been sprouting like mushrooms throughout the city. Systematic investment in tourism and destination marketing should probably showcase the advantages of congress tourism, which are currently not in the foreground. Mostar has an incredibly wide culinary offer, which is unfortunately also adapted to the average one day tourist.

E. Subjective grade:


It is very clear that the wounds that occurred at the foot of the Velež mountain will hold memories of the absurd politics during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Despite that, the city is starting to look more and more like it was before the war happened. Streets packed with tourists are bringing optimism and are changing the entire destination. A fondness for congress tourism is strenghtening, but they still need to make that big step forward. Looking at prices and hospitality, Mostar is a huge competitor and has loads of potential to become a proper congress destination. F. Marketing buzz:


From a PR aspect Bosnia and Mostar were most recognizable during the war and it is only in recent times that the true values of the city have come to the forefront, and these are the ones that are attracting tourists from all over the world. Adding to its recognizability are events like Red Bull Cliff Diving, which definitely sent a message across the world. Unfortunately the rest of the infrastructure that could be marketed is completely out of date and needs renovation and digitalisation. Information about the congress offer in Mostar is practically impossible to find in one place and providers have a lot more work ahead of them.


LG'S www.kongres-m


COMPARISONS WITH THE REGION The city of sun, greenery and flowers with a Mediterranean climate is currently a sleeping congress destination that overwhelms visitors with its historical story. Mostar is a lot more than just the Old bridge and stereotypes - it has all the neccessary conditions to develop congress tourism, yet it has somehow been put in the background and overlooked as a tourist product. With more focused development, initiating a convention bureau and better connectivity with congress providers, Mostar could easily compete with Adriatic congress capitals like Sarajevo or in Dalmatia.

The congress offer is falling behind the actual potential of the city and consequently the standard palette of congress providers is lacking major players. Mostar is quite a renowned tourist trademark, but is practically unrecognisable on the international market. The most positive change has been with congress hotels, which are starting to introduce their congress product through weddings and maybe later on more serious events. If Mostar wants to connect providers a convention bureau is needed, and when that happens the entire offer will need thorough inventarisation.

COOL MEETINGS Herzegovinian Japrak - The dish is sometimes called Herzegovinian Japrak, sometimes collards rolls. It originates from Lebanon, Palestine and Syria and is prepared with collards and minced mint. Collards are globally considered to be among the healthiest foods and for a reason - they are low-calorie and rich in vitamins and minerals. Collards give meat a specific aroma and you will certainly enjoy this traditional dish when in Mostar.

D. Meetings infrastructure:



WHAT‘S NEW 2016 1. Mostar Fair / 12. - 16. APRIL 2016 – International Economic Fair Mostar is the most important and the most popular economic event in BiH, creating a pleasant business environment and top-quality business networking of its exhibitors and visitors by also organising round tables, conferences and events. 2. Mostar Blues and Rock Festival / 14. - 15. JULY 2016 – From initial enthusiasm the Mostar Blues & Rock Festival has grown into a respectable event that has found its way on to the European festivals map and is one of the most significant festivals in the region. 3. Mostar Summer Fest / 24. - 25. JUNE 2016 – Over the past three years the Mostar Summer Fest has proved it can bring the spirit of world famous festivals to the region. Sixteen bands will perform on two stages at this year‘s Mostar summer fest. 4. The Old Bridge Diving Competition / 31. JULY 2016 – A centuries-old traditional diving event, during which competitors jump from Stari Most (Old Bridge) in the old town of Mostar. The competition drew hundreds of spectators, who sat along the banks of the Neretva river watching the competition. 5. Red Bull Cliff Diving / 24. SEPTEMBER 2016 – For the second year in a row, the Old Bridge will host the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Championship, when the global diving elite will arrive in Mostar.

BEST INCENTIVE IDEA 1. Wine tasting event. Herzegovina is one of the most important wine regions, mostly because of its Mediteranean climate. They are especially proud of their native Žilavka and Blatina wines, which can be tasted in the vicinity of Mostar. We recommend a visit to the Zdravko Rožič and Velmir Ereš family winemakers, or a hop to the centre of winegrowing at Čitluka, which also offers guided degustations. 2. Rafting on Neretva river. An unforgettable experience not to be missed, especially for fans of extreme sports and anyone else who would like to experience direct contact with nature, is rafting on the rapids of the river Neretva. The adventure begins in Konjic, a magical town seventy kilometres from Mostar and famous for the manual processing of wood. 3. Karting Arena SpeedXtreme Mostar. Gather your team together for an exciting team building event structured around the exciting race dynamic of a karting competition.The overall goals of team building are to increase the teams understanding of team dynamics and improve how the team best works together. 4. Photo safari in Hutovo blato. Hutovo Blato is a nature and bird reserve located at this unique sub Mediterranean swamp in Europe. When you visit this unique nature park you can enjoy a series of beautiful lakes, canals and rivers that are home to over 200 types of birds, such as wild ducks, geese, coots, herons, pheasant, hawks and many other species.

DID YOU KNOW Mostar Bruce Lee statue. The Mostar statue was the first public monument to Bruce Lee anywhere in the world, with one being unveiled in Hong Kong a day later to mark what would have been the Chinese star‘s 65th birthday. The statue project was spearheaded by the Mostar Urban Movement youth group, who saw it as „an attempt to question symbols, old and new, by mixing up high grandeur with mass culture and kung fu“. Bruce Lee was chosen by the organisers as a symbol of the fight against ethnic divisions. Lee, who was an American of Chinese descent and a famous martial arts actor, represented to the residents of Mostar a bridging of cultures: „One thing we all have in common is Bruce Lee.“

5. Canoe Safari, Čapljina. An unforgettable experience not to be missed, especially for fans of extreme sports, but also for all others who wish to experience direct contact with nature, is the canoe safari on the Trebižat River. The river is very calm and quiet at the beginning of excursion routes, but later becomes fast and exhilarating. WHO TO CONTACT A contact point in the form of a convention bureau doesn’t yet exist, so you will have to contact one of the DMCs in Mostar.

Photo Credits:



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Terme MB Briefing

Maribor partnering with China, already shows results Maribor hosted a Chinese delegation in spring 2016, where they discussed the cooperation in the various fields of economy, tourism and sport. When visiting Maribor they were positively surprised by the concern for the environment and cultural heritage and impressed by the possibilities the region has to offer. The discussion of a possible future cooperation is already turning into realization of joint projects.

Maribor and Graz joined forces and announced a new cooperation Graz and Maribor submitted a joint candidacy to host the UCI World Cup Mountain Bike in 2018. The two mayors Mr. Siegried Nagl, the mayor of Graz and Mr. Fistravec Andrej, the mayor of Maribor, told the public that with mutual cooperation they can better promote the Styria region.

Maribor waiting for its “Trail Marathon Pohorje Queen and King” The city of Maribor with Pohorje and its green forests enables a whole year activities, from winter skiing and sledding, to summer hiking, cycling, adrenaline park and other sports. So it is no surprise that Maribor Pohorje Trail, one of the biggest trail running events in Slovenia, “uses” precisely the area of Pohorje for its traditional event which is happening every year in August. This year the event will took place on 27th August, with this year addition, Bike maraton Pohorje, which will take place on 28th August 2016.


In Focus

FRESH AND NEWLY RENOVATED ADRIATIC CONVENTION HOTELS 2016 Throughout the year we’ve kept track of any new hotel openings that include conference facilities, and along the Croatian coast our abacus has notched up an impressive total of 40. Most of them offer high quality facilities that are helping change the image of the individual meetings destinations. Of the bounty of new openings the Kongres Magazine editorial Board has selected those that are worth paying attention to, or even better, visiting.

MIND HOTEL SLOVENIJA, PORTOROŽ Official category: 5     

Careful attention to detail can be seen throughout the hotel and spaciousness is the key element of each room, but the most captivating feature is the glass wall that stretches the entire width of the room and creates the feeling that you’re on the open seas. The hotel offers a gourmet restaurant, private beach area, spa and wellness centre, and a congress hall for meetings and events hosting up to 30 people. The location is perfect for team building and they also offer culinary tours and private ceremonies. Category: Hotel with conference facilities Wow factor: One step and you’re by the sea

Mind hotel is the newest five star hotel, situated directly by the coastline in Portorož. This luxurious 8-floor hotel offers a direct connection to the swimming pool area and it is a paradise for foodies; the hotel’s TreeTop restaurant offers Istrian delicacies and you will also find a modern restaurant with Istrian tapas at the hotel, as well as culinary offers by the beach, breakfast served in your room and other bars that are oriented towards the healthy Mediterranean and Ayurvedic diets. It is the ideal location for more demanding guests, where atmosphere blends perfectly with comfort and luxury. Category: Convention Hotel Wow factor: A luxury experience set directly by the coastline HOTEL NAVIS, Opatija Official category: 4    

SOLARIS BEACH HOTEL JURE, Šibenik Official category: 4    

Solaris Beach Hotel Jure is set on Sibenik’s White Beach and is part of the Solaris Beach Resort. Opened in 2016 it offers 384 rooms in contemporary décor and with colourful tones. The open plan concept can be really felt at the bar and in the restaurant, as here the interior and exterior are definitely intertwined and gently separated by sliding glass walls. The hotel offers an outdoor pool, entertainment area, a spa zone, and all located just a couple of metres from the beach and 6km from the city centre. Category: Convention Hotel Wow factor: Set among the pine trees it is a perfect blend of relaxation and party

When building the Navis hotel comfort was clearly high on agenda. Today the hotel offers 40 designer-decorated rooms and 4 suites, all having their own terrace and sea views.


In Focus

SAN CLEMENTE PALACE KEMPINSKI, Venice Official category: 5     

This perfectly positioned high-end hotel is situated just 7km from piazza San Marco, yet far enough away to be very private. Surrounded by lush gardens on a private island with lagoon views and a luxurious décor the hotel offers complimentary transfer boats and has three restaurants and two bars, as well as a conference centre with six meeting rooms. There’s also an outdoor pool, as well as tennis courts and a fitness centre. Category: Convention Hotel Wow factor: Boat transfer to the hotel gives it a luxury feel


FALKENSTEINER HOTEL & SPA, Jesolo Official category: 5     

Hotel Adriatic is Rovinj’s oldest hotel that was this year given a makeover and now stands as the latest acquisition of prestige for Istrian tourism. The hotel has 18 suites with beautiful views of St. Catherina Island and Rovinj’s old town. On the ground floor can be found the à la carte restaurant, offering dishes inspired by the French Riviera, and a bar with the biggest selection of whiskeys in Croatia. The hotel walls are adorned by paintings of local and foreign artists.

The design is the work of the world-renowned American architect Richard Meier, with the hotel interior designed by architect Matteo Thun. Together they have created a fusion of precious materials, fresh colours and elements of pop culture - strict but fashionable on the outside, yet playful and eccentric on the inside. The hotel offers three conference rooms for a maximum of 130 guests.

Category: Boutique Meeting Hotel Wow factor: Probably the best bar on the Croatian coast

Category: Hotel with Conference Capacities Wow factor: Tempting Alpe Adria cuisine in the hotel

ALHAMBRA, Lošinj Official category: 5     

D-RESORT, ŠIBEnik Official category: 4   

HOTEL KOMPAS, Dubrovnik Official Category: 4    

The boutique, five-star Alhambra is one of the most charming hotels in Lošinj, where the spirit of past times blends with modern amenities and a superior service. The luxuriously equipped hotel boasts 35 rooms and 15 suites, a restaurant, lounge bar, indoor swimming pool, spa centre and a private beach. This is a hotel for the most demanding of congress guests.

D-Resort Šibenik is a recently opened hotel with 69 luxurious rooms and suites, as well as a rich offer including wellness and a sports centre, kids club, restaurants and bars, an outdoor pool and a conference centre. In addition to this, three exclusive villas with a private terrace, garden and a swimming pool complement the offer of this excellently designed hotel. The harbour, constructed in the only Croatian marina with a 5 anchor category, can handle super yachts.

After extensive renovation Hotel Kompas has become a four star hotel with 173 rooms decorated in a contemporary Mediterranean style and a new wellness and spa centre. The conference hall can accommodate up to 400 people. This is a sophisticated, modern hotel that impresses with its functionality, and a pleasant surprise can be found on the top floor, in the new Zenith bar, which offers splendid views of Lapad Bay and the Elafiti islands.

Category: Convention Hotel Wow factor: Superb contemporary Croatian architecture

Category: Hotel with Conference Capacities Wow factor: Zenith bar for events with a view

Category: Boutique Meeting Hotel Wow factor: Comprehensive offer in Čikat Bay along with the Hotel Bellevue


In Focus

HOTEL KORČULA DE LA VILLE, Korčula Official category: 4    

The only hotel in old town of Korčula is legendary, as it has hosted many famous names, among them Jackie Kennedy, Sophia Loren, Tito and many others. This year it was re-launched with a new image and offers an intimate stay for tourists in one of the most beautiful Croatian islands. The hotel has 12 rooms and 8 suites, all of which are luxuriously furnished with stylish furniture, luxurious chandeliers, a rich décor and wallpapers from Paris. Beyond the rooms the modern, well-equipped hotel is stylishly decorated in the spirit of old Korčula, its interior based on the rich history of the island and the hotel itself.

JW MARRIOTT VENICE RESORT & SPA, Venice Official category: 5     

This hotel on the island of flowers is just a 15minute drive from the centre of Venice and is fit for the most demanding of congress guests. The hotel has 191 rooms in the middle of a beautifully landscaped 16-hectare garden. Fourteen halls are available for events, the largest of which can hold up to 380 participants. In addition to the first-class service on the island, you will also be spoiled with a cooking school and a wine academy. Category: Convention Hotel Wow factor: Paradise hotel garden

Category: Boutique Meeting Hotel Wow factor: Hotel with old Korčula’s soul at its core HOTEL PARK, Split Official category: 5     

One of the oldest and most prestigious hotels in Split, Hotel Park has a prime location next to Bačvice, Split’s most famous beach. This year the five-star hotel expanded its capacity, so it now offers 73 rooms, including six luxury apartments. The interior is dominated by its art deco style with a timeless elegance, and a sense of the hotel’s soul can be had on the large, luxurious terrace with sea views and a prestigious conference centre. Category: Hotel with Conference Capacities Wow factor: The hotel’s terrace for unforgettable outdoor receptions

SHERATON DUBROVNIK RIVIERA HOTEL Official category: 5     

The biggest investment in Croatian tourism this year has completely changed the image of Srebreno and with it Croatia welcomed the largest hotel convention centre and a hotel with 250 rooms. The hotel is modern and furnished in pleasant hues, many considering it architecturally one of the finest Sheraton hotels on the Adriatic. Category: Convention Hotel Wow factor: Largest hotel conference hall in Croatia


VALAMAR ISABELLA ISLAND, Poreč Official category: 4    

The 4-star Valamar Isabella Hotel, a resort with a hotel and villas offering 180 rooms with 387 beds, is located on the traffic-free island of St. Nikola, so guests are greeted by rich vegetation, beautiful beaches and noble history rather than the honking of horns. Here guests can enjoy numerous activities, from a Mediterranean style wellness centre, outdoor and indoor pools, and a blue flag sandy beach, to the à la carte restaurants, bars and terraces that offer breathtaking views of the old part of Poreč. Category: Convention Hotel Wow factor: Diverse activities and incentive programmes

Kongres Magazine


Inside Ljubljana


A global conference on sustainable tourism will be taking place from 27 to 28 September 2016 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The event will bring together leading global experts in sustainable development and green tourism, opinion leaders, representatives of destinations, associations, hoteliers and tourist operators who strive for sustainable development in tourism. The 2-day international event is supported by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and organised by the international organisation Green Destinations and the Institute of Sustainable Tourism GoodPlace. Its main partner and co-organiser is Ljubljana Tourism, in cooperation with the Slovenian Tourist Board. The organisers’ and partners’ aim is to promote a brighter, more connected and sustainable future in tourism.

Meet and get inspired by green destinations leaders from all over the world The main topics of the event will be debated at special discussion and study panels, which will address the key aspects of sustainable development in tourism, the development of smart cities and local communities, green transport, social change, sustainable management and education on green tourism. Delegates will get inspired by speakers from Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), Sustainable Travel International, Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), TUI Group, Travelife, NECSTour and others. In addition, 2016 Sustainable Destinations Top 100 will be presented. The competition, initiated by National Geographic Traveller, is a unique opportunity for ambitious destinations to strengthen their profile in the

field of responsible and green tourism. Among the candidates running for the title is again Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital. Learn about the state-of-theart green solutions for the tourism industry The Green Lab presents a special part of the venue, which will be dedicated exclusively to green solutions for hospitality, especially in the following fields: environment, soft mobility, local experience and green marketing. Get to know Ljubljana as an outdoor classroom & study tours across Slovenia A great added value to the conference content is the fact that delegates will have the chance to experience a green journey of Ljubljana and Slovenia. On the first day of the conference, licensed Ljubljana guides will take participants through the green points of the city, explaining 66

about all the sustainable measures that brought Ljubljana the title of the European Green Capital 2016. Participants will be able to choose from the following topics: (1) Green mobility, (2) Local assets, (3) Green accommodation and (4) Green and active. After the conference, the study tours will enable participants to taste the best green experiences in Slovenia, the land between the Alps, the Mediterranean Sea, the Pannonian plains and the Karst. Come and celebrate the World Tourism Day in Ljubljana, European Green Capital 2016 Since 1980, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation has marked 27 September as the World Tourism Day, which is also the start of the Global Green Destinations Day event. Why not celebrate it in Ljubljana? Registrations and more information about the event are available at

Inside Ljubljana


Inside Ljubljana

Slovenian Escape Room Association Established “Have you ever experienced the thrill of trying to escape the room? If not, you’re missing out,” explained the members of a newly established Slovenian Escape Room Association. The association GIZ ER.SI was established to further develop the escape rooms’ market, to leverage service quality and to promote good business practices and ethics. “Together we can do better,” the members added, “because we have common goals: to create an unforgettable experience and to put Slovenia on the world map as the best destination for escape games.” Europeans as creators of the best escape games The first escape room in the United States was opened in 2014 and today there are more than 900, indicating a growth of almost 4,000 per cent. The escape games concepts have been completely embraced on other continents as well, while Europeans are known as creators of the best games. In Slovenia, the first room opened in summer 2014 and by the end of that year there were 6 rooms. Today, there are almost 30 different forms of games in Slovenia and some of them have also received the “Certificate of Excellence 2016” by TripAdvisor. Escape Rooms as Incentive Programmes Team members in the company can also be challenged with programmes that can improve their teamwork, creativity and communication. You can also check the Escape rooms as incentive programmes on the Ljubljana Convention Bureau website.

Slovenia is the 10th Most Peaceful Country in the World According to the Global Peace Index 2016 (GPI), Slovenia is among the top 10 most peaceful countries in the world. Ljubljana welcomed this news in the middle of a year in which the city also proudly holds the title of the European Green Capital 2016. The Global Peace Index, provided each year by the Institute for Economics and Peace, ranks 163 independent countries, states and territories and is composed of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators, the main ones among them with an emphasis on safety and security within society and the extent of involvement in domestic or international conflicts. The five most peaceful countries in the world, according to GPI, are Iceland, Denmark, Austria, New Zealand and Portugal.

Tips for Incentives from Ljubljana

Who will Escape the Room First?

Meet with your team at the main square in Ljubljana, divide into groups of five, find your way to one of the eight escape rooms hidden in the city centre and try to be the first to come back to the initial meeting point. Up to 45 delegates can be in the rooms at the same time. However, if your team


is bigger, the programme can be adjusted with extra activities. Teamwork, concentration, creativity, communication and observation will be required from you, as you will have to search for hidden objects, solve puzzles and unravel riddles to find your way out.

Inside Ljubljana

A Different View on CD Congress Centre Ljubljana: Fashion Rules!

to venues where it is presented to professional and general public. When Mercedes-Benz Slovenia, the local organiser of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Ljubljana (MBFWLJ), searched for a suitable venue, CD came up as a smart choice. In present times, when tighter budgets may pose a restriction to the planners’ imagination, a series of magical events (two per year, as of October 2015) has been created, each surpassing the previous one in terms of unorthodox setting and superb execution. The MBFWLJ stands out as something different and highly original in the event arena.

Photos: Pristop

An immediate thought when mentioning the name of Cankarjev dom, or CD Congress Centre Ljubljana, is top cultural productions that have been delighting audiences for more than three decades, as well as prime international scientific events which have gathered a high number of renowned academicians, researchers and experts in the Slovenian capital. But there is more to it... The building, set in the city centre and overlooking its main modernist square, is in the vicinity of the major national institutions. Its location, the Republic Square, is paramount to Slovenia in terms of urban, architectural and symbolic relevance, and is since 2014 protected as a cultural monument. At the time when it was gradually created – from the early 1960’s to the early 1980’s, the image of this area was completely overhauled. On a symbolic level, Republic Square is associated with events that have transformed the history of Slovenia during its passage to independence, which was reached 25 years ago. Cankarjev dom - CD Congress Centre Ljubljana is also a well-established brand in terms of cultural & art content (programme) and as an architectural landmark. Signed by architect Edvard Ravnikar (student of the famous Jože Plečnik, who left a strong print on Ljubljana), this architectural gem was created in the era of modernism and is considered a prime example of monumental architecture, comparable to Alvar Aalto’s Finlandia Hall in Helsinki. A number of smaller details are still surprising, yet the most astonishing fact is that the architecture’s significance has not diminished in the 36 years since its construction. And here is a fine example of a successful blend between different concepts – lifestyle, design and architecture. Fashion is not just what we wear or consume, but is also connected


Saying that in this specific week fashion rules in the city we think it literally. The MBFWLJ has definitely brought a breath of worldly flair to Ljubljana – a lifestyle defined by freedom, creativity, exclusivity and uniqueness, complemented by the artistic aspects of more extravagant theatre staging. Both the great functionality and flexibility of Cankarjev dom – CD Congress Centre Ljubljana thus came into full light, while top fashion was under the limelight.

IMEX in April? Whatever next - Christmas in November? As regulars to IMEX in Frankfurt know, the show always takes place in May. But not in 2016. That’s right – for one year only, the meetings industry’s annual three-day exhibition in Frankfurt will take place in April instead. So pencil in 19–21 April 2016 for your next fix of business productivity, networking and creative inspiration at the most engaging event in the meetings industry’s year.

The worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events.

Insiders’s Guide

VILLACH FOR MEETINGS AND EVENTS Insider’s guide to meeting destination Photo Credits: Region Villach Tourismus GmbH


Insiders’s Guide



s the seventh largest settlement in Austria and second largest in Carinthia Villach manages to captivate visitors with its easy-going, Mediterranean lifestyle. The town is also an important transport intersection for the whole Alpe-Adria region, with the Italian and Slovenian borders just a short hop away. Villach is a small town with a big conference knowledge and a hunger to become even better at it. Situated in central Europe, rich in natural beauty and influenced by a multilingual culture and, it also offers state of the art infrastructure for meeting professionals. Villach has gained an international reputation as a charming conference destination in southern Austria not just by offering high quality services, but mostly for their very welcoming hospitality. Understanding their advantages and any shortcomings has made them work harder and pay more attention to detail, which helps them rank

higher in overall hospitality. Combining a professional support service for meetings along with an attractive holiday destination is quite impressive. Those working in Villach are professional, but at the same time would like to show you their true nature and make you feel very welcome. Carinthia is a destination where the desire both to do well and to feel good could not be more strongly connected. In Villach the standard of service is very high and what might elsewhere be considered luxury is here seen as necessity. With a constant eye on professionalism, every guest gets to feel the warm hospitality that is part of the culture and way of living here.

TOP 5 PLACES WHERE PEOPLE MEET The best places to meet, stay and incentivise in Villach. HOLIDAY INN AND CONGRESS CENTER VILLACH Congress Centre Villach is directly connected to the Holiday Inn hotel. The impressive property positioned right on the banks of the Drau river offers spacious conference rooms with amazing views. The congress centre offers several smaller meeting rooms for 30–200 participants and two bigger halls, one for 530 and the other for up to 1,060 participants. Foyers on different levels can be used for receptions and events as well as for exhibitions.

Thermenresort Warmbad Villach This luxurious complex offers four congress rooms that are perfect for smaller meetings for 10 participants right up to 150 in Parksalon, their biggest room. All rooms have a flexible set-up and new state of the art technical equipment. They offer direct access to the spa area and the nearby 5 star hotel, with possibilities for team building exercises in the surrounding outdoor areas.


Karnerhof resort is an amazing property, set right by the Faaker See, and has been family run for over 40 years. They cater to every need and wish of meeting planners, offering four fully equipped conference rooms appropriate for 10 to up to 140 participants. Every conference room has direct access to the panorama terrace that gives stunning views over the Faaker See. The hotel has a big spa area, an awarded kitchen and more than 100,000m2 of free space around it that can be used for incentive programmes.


Naturel Hoteldorf Schönleitn

Their main motto of “So fun can business be” sums it up perfectly. The possibilities here are endless, from renting the whole village to team building academies and seminar rooms with a homely environment. Offering five fully equipped conference rooms from 18 up to 160 participants.

Hotel Zollner

Hotel Zollner is a smaller, family-owned and run property conveniently positioned just off the A2 motorway, but still far enough to find yourself in a peaceful, green oasis. A charming and traditional hotel that offers four completely equipped conference rooms for 10-70 participants containing everything that is required for a successful business event – with TV, video, beamer, slide projector, video camera, overhead projector, flipchart and Internet connection, the technical conditions are complete.

Insiders’s Guide

ESSENTIAL MEETING EXPERIENCES STAY LOCAL The idyllic combination of crystal clear lakes and alpine landscape takes you back in time, to a kind of fairytale scene in which you can stroll around, dip your fingers into the lake, ride a bike or eat delicious local food. Dating back to Roman times, they still like to preserve and respect their culture that can be seen in the historical buildings, monuments and souvenirs. Take your time to sit by the Drau river or try a locally brewed beer. Villach is awakening from its beauty sleep and upgrading their charm with additional services, without in any way compromising their heritage. The combination of the historic and the modern sets a new vision for the future, one that is appealing and bright. FEEL THE VIBE Villach is a cultural town that likes to celebrate life through various festivals throughout the year, with everything from entertainment at the Villach Carnival to fairytale festivities during the Christmas market. They are proud of their active summer events, jazz festival and the Villacher Kirchtag, a special family-oriented celebration with food, dancing and a big amusement park that takes place in August. The local hospitality shines through most of all when they are in festive mood, so there is rarely a month you wont find an interesting event happening.


A perfect opportunity to explore how business and passion go hand in hand, this peaceful lemon sanctuary offers shelter during a hot summer’s day, refreshing drinks and food from the lemons grown there, creative incentive options such as cooking classes and lectures, or even the necessary inspiration to start creating your own oasis. It can all be as simple as starting with one lemon plant.


When you need to blow off some steam there is nothing better then visiting the Landskron hill, a place where you can completely relax and let your mind wander. Landskron hill is the home of the macaque monkey and where you will be able to feed them while they run freely inside their monkey resort. On top of that, you will have the chance to watch a magnificent show of predatory birds circling freely around the famous Landskron Castle, all taking place within a backdrop of amazing views. It will make an impression guaranteed to stay with you for some time.


Insiders’s Guide


Museum of Doll Art Elli Riehl Puppenwelt is an art museum where you have the chance to view more than 700 dolls made of porcelain, vinyl and wood and all arranged in beautiful country life scenes. Villachborn artist Elli Riehl has been making the dolls for more than 46 years and they tell you a lot about the region and its people. This impressive collection that also includes other craftwork of the talented artist is a mecca for collectors and craftspeople.

WHEN IN VILLACH MUST TASTE – GASTRONOMY Austrians are very proud of their beer and so you shouldn’t miss a visit to Brauhof Villach run by the local brewery. When sipping some of their finest, don’t miss on the chance to savour some of the food that goes so well together with their beer. Whilst we might all be familiar with the Wienerschnitzel, you will find a bit more flair in their traditional Kasnudln (dumplings filled with meat and veggies) or Bierfuhrebrot (pastry filled with meats, cheese and radish). These dishes might sound complicated, but have no fear – the dishes are simple, but delicious, a great reflection of the culture and the friendly people.


CARRY ME HOME There are many local craftsman in Villach, who sell products made of different materials. Quite known is Holzart, a very known and crafty designer shop where they make everything from jewellry to gift baskets and knifes. If you prefer to impress your guests with designed glasses, you should visit Alois Hechl Glasbläserei and get your original and unique set.

Kongres Magazine

Talk to Us Andreas Griessler Kärnten Convention & Mitgesellschafter GesbR



In Focus



he non-governmental organization and the national certification body for fair trade Austria had officially certified Villach as the first city in the Austrian state of Carinthia as Fairtrade city. Villach has been knowned for its fair energy and environmental policies even before certification of green destination. Known for using fair trade products from coffee to textile shopping bags, a variety of food and other products in restaurants and cafes, tourist accommodations and shops. Fairtrade Austria main mission is to educates citizens from

early age on about the importance of buying and understanding fair trade concepts. Fair trade cannot eradicate social unbalance, but can help to balance social justice. It is a trading partnership, where producers from poorer countries with their crops and products (such as coffee, tea, bananas, various handcrafted products ...) enter the international market and sell at a price which, in addition to covering costs of production includes a fair premium, which enables them to decent life, continue to invest in its activities and contributes to the well-being of the wider community.


Solar power plant on degraded land industrial zone in Villach is an example of public-private partnership between the company Kelag, which is the largest supplier of renewable energy in Austria and the city of Villach, in the framework of its project Smart city. Many households in Villach decided to use solar panels to support initiatives that use renewable energy sources. The eco friendly environment does not stop here. The nature park Dobratsch, at the site of the nearest mountain became a park, after it was noticed that it would not bring enough revenue

In Focus

to stay a ski resort. Now known as the first natural park in Carinthia and the first ski resort in Europe, which has been transformed into a protected area, serves as the he main source of drinking water for Villach and the other two municipalities near the mountain. Park Dobratsch is also part of the Natura 2000 network, so all the tourist activities are tailored to the requirements of the European security system. The most popular activities are hiking, birds watching and exploring the nature. On top of the mountain on the view platform, visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the Hohe Tauern and the Julian Alps. Botanic enthusiasts can also spend the day in the alpine botanical garden and get some herbs as a perfect souvenir of the locations itself.

Fair trade cannot eradicate social unbalance, but can help to balance social justice.


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VERY SPECIAL MEETINGS IN A HOTEL VILLAGE QUICK TALK: Ms. Heidrun Heber, banquet manager and Ms. Claudia Guani, Sales & Marketing, Naturhotel Hoteldorf Schönleitn Photo Credits: Naturhotel Hoteldorf Schönleitn

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly!” Saint-Exupéry wrote in “The Little Prince”. And nature has so much to give, to show, to discover, to live – it would be more than a pity not to look at it with the heart and to enjoy the encounter.

Q: First I would like to ask you to tell us about the history of this resort, about the whole idea behind it. A local architect called Robert Rogner built it up at the end of 80s. He had really great ideas for that time, 40–45 years ago, to build a hotel village with apartments. At first it was just an apartment area, which was really authentic for Carinthia, and he started first of all with apartments by the lake, but had many problems with it, as people were against it. He wanted to develop this idea and make it real, so at first he built it down by the lake and in 1979 it was open, then one year later he built the Sonnleiten village and later he built five more all around Carinthia. To be able to build five more,


he needed to sell Sonnleiten and Seeleiten to the TUI touristic company to have money to build other ones. TUI owned the properties from 1983 until 2011, after which our manager, Mrs. Vitnigh, decided to make a management buyout, so she bought two villages and made them private. We have been the privately operated Naturel hotels and resorts for more than five years now. Q: As we can see this is really different from other hotels or properties, so what is different for MICE clients if somebody wants a MICE experience here? MICE clients often think about going to the hotel with modern design, fully equipped seminar rooms and a hotel area, so when they come here they are surprised. They love the tranquillity in this village and also they have their own

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apartment that is fully equipped and spacious. The apartments are big enough for a family and sometimes there is only one person in it. Our kitchen is also very good and they love that. Q: Can you tell us more about the sustainable actions and sustainability of the village? Our hotel is build from very old wood from the area, which is part of our culture, and people coming for the first time sometimes think they are visiting a museum. It even happens down by the lake that some people want to pay an entrance fee for walking into the hotel! People really react positively to our village style and idea that, after all this time, still works. Being sustainable is part of our daily routine; ecologically we try to save water, not use wrapping paper when buying groceries and other goods, use the hotel bus while organising excursions, encourage people not to use their cars... It is simply our way of life. Q: You said that you have good connections with local community - can you expand on that? This is the other side of sustainability; we try to cooperate with local suppliers. We have our philosophy of buying local products - for fresh sea fish we go to Piran and we get everything else within a max radius of 300 kilometres. Local suppliers are a max 100 to 120 kilometres away, as Carinthia is a large region. We always tell our guests where the product came from; we are open and honest about our food sources.

We try to bring the same philosophy into the MICE business when we make offers that could include, for example, a quality slow food offer, and we always try to cater to our guests according to their wishes and bring authenticity and quality into the offer. When people have seminars here we always ask what kind of variety they would like to have, what kind of brunch etc. Q: Tell us more about team building facilities that you have. We have the rope course, which is a perfect team building platform that people love to use. Being set in the forest where it is always clean and fresh offers another plus point. We also offer other team building tools that can be organised here in the hotel - groups can have their own trainer or our own guide, Ule, who can make it happen for them. People love to use both options and 50% of customers love climbing and use our facilities, the others have their own trainers with their own programmes. Q: Why Villach, why Carinthia for meetings? Why should people come to Villach? I believe people appreciate that they get more for their money here. We have a good quality of MICE business, hotels and infrastructure, but the climate, the area and the landscape is unique. What you can feel, smell and experience stays with you and you take that feeling with you when you return home. The combination of both is just magical. 79

Yesterday, when I was driving home, I turned the corner and saw the lakefront and said ‘wow, I’m fortunate enough to live here!’ The colour of the lake was so blue. This authenticity is really important for MICE clients. Q: How do you actually sell it – what are your main activities? The first activity for us is to be a partner of Carinthia convention. I believe this is a must, since this is a main company in Carinthia that goes outside Carinthia selling the product, of which we are part. Variety is also good – we are not one of many hotels, because we are so different, and Patricia sells our part of the offer from the convention bureau and through her team. So this is one of our major steps in promoting our accommodation. We also have our own activities, selling the property through our website and being active in the local areas. Q: What advice would you give to younger colleagues starting a career in travel and MICE business? You must have fire inside you and just do it. Q: What is your favourite place in Carinthia? I love my home, because every day when I wake up I see the Mitagskogel from my window and it feels like paradise.

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WE TRY TO KEEP THE ATMOSPHERE HOMELY QUICK TALK: Barbara Soffritti, Sales & Marketing at Thermenresort Warmbad Villach Photo Credits: Thermenresort Warmbad Villach

“Villach is the hot spot – it is an easily accessible location that offers you plenty of incentive opportunities”

Q: What makes your resort different? It is a unique incentive place with a warm, homely feel, a unique place in this part of Europe that is open all year long. We are proud to be able to offer rich and unique experiences throughout all the four seasons. We live up to expectations of this Alep-Adrian region and its mix of three cultures and offers, where we can cater to every taste and wish through the variety of the hotels we offer. There is also the culinary offer, as our food is really good too. You can start with the Käse-Nudl (my favorite dish) for which even if you go into a small guesthouse or walk up the mountain for it you will never be disappointed. Being in the heart of Carinthia, Villach is the hot spot – it is an easily accessible location that offers you plenty of opportunities. Q: What could you say about the future of the meeting industry in this region? I would love for this region to host car launches.

With so many international flights coming from Ljubljana airport we could actually bring car dealers whom we would offer three region tours, pick-ups from the airport and special deals to more fully explore all three regions. Having lakes, mountains and special spots reachable in just a couple of hours I strongly believe this could be a great incentive product that people would love to use and explore. It is a great product that could be offered in every season offering different products through whole year would make it a diverse and fun opportunity for people to enjoy every time of the year - and it is a great off-season attraction. Q: So you do believe in regional cooperation? Yes, I do. For me it is important to establish this cooperation, since I’m married to an Italian and I do look at those things more openly. We are all Europeans, so borders are not a limitation. Of course we should cooperate, even more so with North Italiy and Slovenia - why not? Q: How do you see cooperation at the local level among the region’s hoteliers? We have a really great cooperation with Naturel Hotels; I love to cooperate with Claudia Guani, their sales manager. We have great relations with hoteliers in the region, exchanging ideas, topics and discussions. But, of course, we can always get better and improve on things. Q: What would you suggest, for example, if a German company (for example BMW) wished to organise team building in Villach? Well, first you need to know where are they coming from. If it is a Bavarian company, I know they would not be to keen to visit our brewery, as they have lots of them. But we know they really appreciate good food and love to eat, and in July we have a culinary festival called “Brückenschlag” in Villach, basically it is a long table across the bridge “Draubrücke” where well-known Chefs of the region cook and present an exceptional meal incorporating the produce of the Alps-Adriatic-Region that I believe that would really be something interesting for Germans. If BMW is bringing other car dealers then we would need to work together with other hotel providers, as we couldn’t take care of all of the accommodation by ourselves.


Kongres Magazine

and is very passionate about the art, so you will see that some pieces are specially made for the resort and we also have a very good cooperation with the Museum of Historic Art of Vienna and the Museum of Modern art in Klagenfurt. The artwork and antiques are essential ingredients of the hotel that we would like to preserve for future generations.

Q: What is your favourite place in Villach? I have so many amazing favourite places; it always depends on the mood. It is nice to walk up to the Burgarena Finkenstein, which is an historic fortress after work to see the sunset; it is such an amazing and relaxing experience. If you go up to the mount Dobratsch you can see the whole of Carinthia spread out in front of you – this is very magical. If you have a bike there is always cycling along the lakes. Every experience is different and unique, depending on the mood you are in. Q: What difference does a guest feel when staying in a family run hotel? We try to keep the atmosphere homely, even though offering higher standards of comfort. You get a stronger feel of home in Warmbaderhof, as this place has a long history,

while Karawankenhof is a newly designed and built hotel. Every corridor is part of a history and they really can feel it – all the family is around, the history wall tells the story. The Thermenresort is one of the biggest companies in Carinthia, employing over 650 people and owning eight companies, so it is a holding company. We also have a treatment and medical centre. It is all family run, but it is very structured, so we know what we have to do. It is perhaps different when you have only one hotel and you meet the owners and the reception, at the thermenresort the owners, the families Lukeschitsch and Mayerhofer are primarily in CEO positions. Q: The hotel looks pretty much like an art gallery... Yes, Dr. Leonore Lukeschitsch is the art curator

Q: What is your own story - how come you started working in tourism? I grew up surrounded by the tourism industry and later attended the Salzburg tourism school. I’ve worked in tourism in various countries and came back to Austria five years ago. I believe everyone should try and work in every field and work their way up. I started at reception working my way up to Sales. Now working in sales and marketing at this resort, I can easily say this is a very good company to be working for.

About Thermenresort Warmbad Villach For more than 200 years the Warmbaderhof engages its guests with quality and commitment. The idyllic setting in the natural park of Warmbad in the middle of healthy meadows and woods as well as the relaxing atmosphere of the five stars Hotel guarantee a lasting success of your event. The Hotel Warmbaderhof is known for decades for its outstanding cuisine. Head chef Jürgen Perlinger and his team create innovative seasonal à la carte menus incorporating local produce from the AlpsAdriatic region with international influences. It is worth mentioning that the à la carte restaurant “Das Kleine Restaurant” at the Hotel Warmbaderhof*****, has been awarded many times by Gault Millau and counts to the finest places to dine out in Carinthia. Location The Hotel Warmbaderhof ***** is nestled in the idyllic landscape of the thermal spa resort Warmbad, in the south of Villach. Just around the corner … enchanting hideaways in an extensive park, which lies on the foothills of the mighty mountain Dobratsch. Warmbaderhof ThermenHotel GmbH, Kadischenallee 22-24, A-9504 Warmbad-Villach, Telephone +43 4242 3001 1301 E:


Off The Beaten Mice Track


• WAY OUT THERE... • The Citrus Garden is one of Carinthia’s many pride and joys for so many different reasons - it can be a peaceful sanctuary for relaxation time, a creative place where great ideas can be shared and discussed, a place to seek refuge from the heat of summer, a delightful gastronomic experience or simply a new destination to be experienced and enjoyed. It is therefore no wonder that this oasis has been a focus for creative incentive getaways for quite some time now, and as Carinthia is known for its top quality service and unique experiences they often invite such creative and local businesses to join them while presenting the region at home and abroad. Partnering up with Zitrusgarten has proven to be quite a memorable presentation of the region and its people, as Michael is a perfect example of how passion can be transformed into business, without losing any of its ‘juiciness’.

For the past 25 year, Michael’s passion has been in agriculture and he never thought that his interest in growing his own lemons might mark out his future life. Today, however, he has a collection of over 67 different types of lemons, most of which have been carefully collected through his worldwide garden network, and his garden stretches beyond its main covered area with everything growing directly from the soil as well as inside the greenhouse. One of his most prized lemons, a pride and joy of his Zitrusgarden, is one that grows only in Asia and is called ‘Buddha’s Hand’. All of his lemons are naturally grown and with no chemicals added, which has made Michael one of the rare lemon producers sought out by famous chefs to buy his citric gold. Lemons can grow for up to 80 years; the oldest in his lemon family is already 65 years old, so the chefs have a healthy supply line.


• WAY TO STAY • Nearby this special citrus garden is the family run Hotel Zollner that is ideal for relaxation, sports and small and unique congress meetings. It is a charming and traditional hotel located between Villach-Warmbad and Lake Faak and conveniently connected with the A2 motorway. Four conference rooms contain everything that is required for a successful business event and the state-of-the-art technical equipment leaves nothing wanting – with TV, video, beamer, slide projector, video camera, overhead projector, flipchart and an Internet connection, the technical framework conditions are complete. The conference rooms are suitable for 10 to 70 people.

Off The Beaten Mice Track

• MEET IN STYLE • Hotel Zollner takes care of all your needs – after some networking sessions you can enjoy their culinary highlights, use their swimming pool or visit the nearby golf course. Their warm and friendly service is waiting to welcome you at the door and here you definitely feel special, particularly when witnessing your food come directly from their home-grown garden. • OFF THE BEATEN TRACK • The Lemon Garden is a pilot project that has become one of the best incentive ideas in Villach. It is a place where you can find a large, open kitchen with a dining room that is used for cooking classes, conferences and meetings. The different chefs who come with their team to really understand the product and get to know the process of how to prepare them properly often take the chance to use the kitchen as well. As it is so special and unique a place it has

proved to be an excellent spot to relax and to concentrate at the same time. • LOCALISM • Besides meetings, Michael is also offering tours and tastings of products that are made from lemon. You should definitely try the jams made out of fresh lemons and if you want to take home a piece of lemon heaven, you can take a fresh jar of marmalade or a lemon plant as a souvenir of this charming place. The facility is a unique example of how to transform a business out of a passion. The saying ‘if someone gives you lemons, make lemonade’ makes perfect sense here! • GETTING THERE • As the second biggest city of the region and known for its natural beauty and alpine town feel, Villach lies in the heart of Carinthia. This charming town has good connections 83

with Klagenfurt (40km) and Ljubljana airport (100km). If travelling by road from Slovenia take the A11 Karawankenautobahn, if coming from Italy or Vienna take the A2 South highway. The motorway around Villach has two exits at Faakersee, which take you to the centre of the city, and Ossiachersee, which take you to the north of the city. DIRECTORY Der Zitrusgarten Michael Ceron Blumenweg 3 A - 9583 Faak am See, Austria T: 0664 / 540 33 21 E: |

Off The Beaten Mice Track


• WAY OUT THERE • Overlooking the valley of the river Drau with its lakes and backdrop mountains, Landskron hill is one of the most impressive viewpoints of Villach. Besides the excellent views, it also offers tons of interesting things to do. On the hilltop that can be used as a hiking point you can find the remains of the old fortress of Landskron castle. These remains are still used today as an event location and one part has even been transformed into a roost for predatory birds. Then there are the scheduled shows that depending on the season and the weather play a 40-minute long demonstration of birds circling around the castle and just above your head. This really is a mesmerizing experience. Once you’ve soaked your lungs with fresh air and eyes with great views and the shows of majestic animals there is another special place just near the castle that is guaranteed to steal your heart – the monkey park really should not be missed.

The words ‘monkey therapy’ will have a completely different meaning for you after a visit to this place. Landskron was established to provide a natural habitat for the macaque monkeys where they can roam as freely as in the wild. They are accustomed to people, so you can really feel that you are part of their daily playground routine, which is to make them relaxed, unless you decide to have a private tour and feed them, which is when you will become their favourite target, albeit in a very fun way (however, do not look the monkeys directly in the eyes, as they feel threatened by this). ‘No monkey business allowed here’ could be a short strapline for this amazing place, which will leave you smiling for hours. It is a really satisfying way to spend a couple of hours, just watching this amazing creatures acting and playing out in their own private backyard.


• WAY TO STAY • In the heart of Villach and not too far from Landskron you can find a business complex combining the Holiday Inn hotel and the congress centre Villach. This impressive and noticeable complex offers everything a meeting planner could wish for. It is the first 4 star international business and conference hotel in the south of Austria and its congress centre offers all the necessary equipment you may need for your congress, from flip charts through to simultaneous translation equipment. They offer several smaller meeting rooms and two bigger conference halls, where they can cater more than 1,000 participants. • MEET IN STYLE • Being green is no extra here, it is part of their daily routine. Congress centre Villach received an eco-label award for its green meetings in 2013 and they have been improving in the area of eco

Off The Beaten Mice Track

friendly destinations ever since. They aim to make an active contribution to the environment, but also strengthen awareness of sustainability without compromising the quality of service they offer. Knowing that they have chosen a destination that takes care of the environment to such a deep level is very satisfying for meeting planners. • OFF THE EATEN TRACK • If staying at the Holiday Inn you simply cannot leave before trying the amazing food prepared in their hotel kitchen. Chef Jurgen Perlinger is one of the most recognizable names in Austria, well regarded by many food critics and the awarded mastermind behind the hotel restaurant kitchen. They like to use local ingredients and prepare menus with Italian, Austrian and Slovenian flair, inspired by the proximity of these three cultures.

• LOCALISM • Villach is an altogether pleasant, eco-friendly and charming city, with a focus on locally produced goods and where everything is easily available. This happily walkable city prides itself on local products such as food, wine and crafts. • GETTING THERE • Being centrally located, Villach has perfect transportation links from every direction, making it easily reachable by car, train or plane. Villach lies on one of the most eco-friendly motorways in Europe, so if coming by car the Holiday Inn can be reached directly by using all the main routes. The journey takes about an hour from Ljubljana, two hours from Zagreb and about three hours from Munich or Vienna. The motorway around Villach has two exits at Faakersee that lead to the centre of the city and one at Ossiachersee that takes you to the north of the city. If coming by air, Klagenfurt airport is about 40km away and you need less than 30 85

minutes for the onward journey, with the second nearest airport at Ljubljana, approximately 80km away. DIRECTORY Abenteuer Affenberg Schlossbergweg 18 9523 Landskron Tel.: +43 4242 – 430 375 E:

Off The Beaten Mice Track


• OUT THERE • In the most southerly parts of Austria the unmolested and incomparable natural settings are by far its greatest assets; they are the source of a high quality of life and also an opportunity to develop a wonderful tourist offer. In the region there are more than 200 glacial lakes suitable for swimming, amongst them the famous Faaker See that can instantly be recognized by it‘s deep turquoise colour. The lake is home to the annual Harley Davidson meeting, where more than 10,000 Harley enthusiasts gather for the European Bike Week in September. In this idyllic setting, congress organisers can also find a tourist village called Naturhotel Hoteldorf SCHÖNLEITN, a village that can be fully rented for your next incentive trip or special event. The founder of the village, Robert Rogner, came up with the idea in the late seventies and his goal was to preserve the authentic Carinthian architecture. He built the village while keeping in mind the traditional offer, preserving the eth-

nological heritage, the old folk customs and the traditional infrastructure. What came about was a very special venue that has to this day been impressing visitors with its authenticity. • STAY • When you first step into the village you immediately feel the sublime atmosphere created by the wooden buildings. The complex stretches over 45,000 m2 and offers 177 cosy suites. Sleeping in the boutique apartments is a special experience and a unique example of the progressive but respectful development of tourism, an idea that was developed way before it became a trend. The solid furniture, natural bedding and ecologically considerate materials all add to a pleasant stay. The rich offer at the Natural Spa, with an outdoor and indoor pool, saunas, steam baths and massage rooms, offers even more opportunity for relaxation. The relax room is extremely special, as here you will find Carinthian hay beds and a lovely terrace with views of Mittagskogel. 86

• MEET IN STYLE • The smaller conference centre was in built in 2002 and quickly became popular with organisers of corporate meetings and even wedding planners. The halls are nicely furnished and have embraced the same authentic atmosphere as in the village suites. The biggest conference hall can take up to 150 guests and the lobby for exhibitions and all the accompanying spaces are also well thought out. The latest addition to the infrastructure was an adrenaline park first built in 2010 and the ability to organise green events is also worth a mention, as the resort is one of the Austrian Eco Label certified locations. • OFF THE EATEN TRACK • You have to take your time when it comes to food and drinks at the village and the best option is to do it on the sunny and picturesque terrace of the Dorfwirt restaurant. The cuisine, which respects the culinary tradition of the region, is

Off The Beaten Mice Track

TOP 3 INCENTIVE IDEAS 1. High Ropes Course - a training facility right inside the hotel area at Naturel Hotel Village SCHÖNLEITN, for which the Pole, Flying Bridge and Kings X are just three convincing reasons to have a go at it. As this is activity-oriented and not desk or idea based the learning process is complete. Security is of paramount importance here, so the panoramic high ropes course is supervised by skilled guides. 2. Low Elements Teambuilding - the Low Elements are accompanied and supervised, if required, by the hotel’s own trainer, your own coach or in combination with your workshop coach. The Low Elements aim at issues like teamwork, interpersonal contact, time management, schedule & strategy, work quality, role allocation, communication, guidance, reflection and cooperation. 3. Baking bread the old fashioned way - a local tutor will show participants the entire process of bread making, from kneading the dough to baking it in the farmhouse stove. You will get to know the classical way of bread making, which has long been known in the surrounding farms. It contains no additives and only the best quality flour.

based on seasonal ingredients that come from the surrounding farms. All of the cooking is carried out along the lines of local recipes that have been passed on by housewifes from one generation to the next. Dishes from their local kithcen are complemented by the best quality prosciutto from Slovenia, Friulian wine and sea bass from Piran‘s finest Irena Fonda. The combination of both worlds makes for top class cuisine that is deserving of the highest grade.

and habits of the established hotel practice, an eco friendly aproach for which the hotel was awarded the Austrian Eco Label certificate.


From Vienna: Motorway A2 Südautobahn towards Villach/ Italy – main road towards Faak am See. From there it is signposted. From Vienna: 360km.

Naturel Hotels & Resorts has ambitious plans for continual growth and the regional food, coming from ecological production in the near vicinity and where everything is seasonal, is a very important part of their plans. The resort is also keen on promoting transportation with a low environmnental impact and managing their green surfaces by mowing grass in the traditional way. A vegetable and herbal garden complement their offer and the hotel aims at changing the attitude

• GETTING THERE • From Germany: Motorway A10 Tauernautobahn towards Villach/Italy - exit Faaker See – follow the road to Faaker See, Drobollach. From there it is signposted. From Munich: 330km.

Own hotel shuttle service from Villach station (for a fee) or Faak station (free).


Directory Naturel Hotels & Resorts Dorf SCHÖNLEITN **** Dorfstraße 26, 9582 Oberaichwald, Carinthia, Austria P: +43 42 54 / 23 84 F: +43 42 54 / 23 84-450 E:


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GR-L JUBL JANA Exhibition and Convention Centre

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GR– Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre Breefing

Busy autumn for GR– Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre In next months, GR, the leading venue for organizing events in Slovenia, will be hosting three large international congresses and four large corpo events, including the biggest event of the year also for the city of Ljubljana that will welcome 2000 delegates from medicine and sport field. The preparations have already started and the GR team is looking forward to a busy autumn. From 25th to 28th September 2016 GR will host EUROGEO - 6th European geosynthetics congress that will bring together around 600 participants and large exhibition from the field of civil engineering and geotechnology. The largest congress in 2016 not just for the GR, but also for Ljubljana will be from 29th September to 2nd October, the 34th FIMS – International Federation of Sports Medicine Congress, expecting up to 2000 delegates from medicine and sport field. And yet another international medical event from 6th to 9th October will be held at GR- the NMDPD - 11th international congress on non-motor dysfunctions in Parkinson’s disease and related disorders. The NMDPD congress was brought to Ljubljana by Kenes International, GR’s old partner from the meetings industry. Participants will be greeted by the Ljubljana dragon, the symbol of Ljubljana that will hospitable show them European Green Capital 2016 and will make sure that the events will sound like fairy tale: a peaceful, healthy, full of fun and memorable. This will be opportunity for the GR and Ljubljana to prove once again that they are perfect international center for showing presentations of scientific ideas and achievements in various fields and also the right address for organizing international congresses.

GR-Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention centre in London The Meetings Show in London has after 3 years from its first edition became a must spot for providers of meetings services to meet their potential clients. GR-Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre is successfully using the platform of The Meetings Show to build the network of association and corporate clients that have potential to bring their congresses, conferences and other event to Ljubljana.

Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre is one of the finalists for the AIPC award The AIPC Innovation Award reflects AIPC’s mission of “Encouraging and recognizing excellence in convention centre management”. It is made for projects or initiatives that represent “innovation” in the true sense of the word; that is, the development of a new, more creative or more effective approach to any aspect of convention centre management, operations or marketing. GR- Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre has presented a new inovation of sustainable stands made of wooden crates. It is highly inovative, ecological, multifunctional, very adaptable and cost saving system for events and exibitions. The model of the stands had already won the Sustainable Stand Award at EIBTM 2011, global meetings & events exhibition.



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

*Numbeo Quality of Life Index 2015 3,80 / 260,69

Population: 240.668

Sunshine hours: 2.072 per year

ICCA Country and City rankings 2014 NA for 2015, 2 meetings Global peace index:: 3,87 / 1478

Population: 95.881

Numbeo Quality of Life Index 2015* 4,20 / 187,89

ICCA Country and City rankings 2014 NA for 2015, 4 meetings

Sunshine hours: 2.037 per year

Global peace index:: 4,07 / 1378

✚ If Bratislava is the capital of the country, then Kosice can be declared its creative centre, one that impresses with vibrant urban zones, positive diversity and an urban transformation of the city throughout layers of history. Košice seems pleasant for the accommodation and organisation of congresses and also seems a very tolerant city. A border location has greatly contributed to that, which has made residents more tolerant, but it is precisely this border diversity that defines the vitality and resistance of the city. The specific local identity gives the city its charm and soul, and it ranks it among one of the most promising Eastern European convention destinations. Košice is internationally known primarily as a city of culture, and the successful European Capital of Culture project heavily contributed to that. The city is less known on the international conference map, despite the obvious advantages it presents. So the city still has a lot of work to do in the field of branding and all forms of modern communication.

✚ Maribor has everything bigger ones have (only in a smaller format). Compared to other Slovenian Meetings destinations like Ljubljana, Portorož and Bled it possibly has a bit less experience in the field of meetings industry, which it compensates with friendly attitude of suppliers, that give the client a feeling that he or she is wanted. Maribor is one of the most promising meetings destinations in Slovenia. The city is historically, ethnically and culturally extremely interesting. It gives an impression of familiarity and warmth. Unfortunately the city lacks an attractive story that would also attract foreign event organisers. I have a feeling that the lack of knowledge in the field of meetings industry stems from the influence of the past and industrial thinking. Maribor has everything that is necessary for development. On the other hand people are not fully aware of the potential the meetings industry could have

Kosice meetings flashpoints: 1. Hotel Yasmin: Completely renovated in 2009, today it offers designer rooms and a very pleasant congress centre with daylight. 2. Authentic Košice: A funky retro tour in a legendary 1970’s car Skoda 120 through the off-the-beaten-track places of the communist past 3. Tokaj tasting: The winegrowers themselves present the best types of this ancient drink in the wonderful underground cellars 4. Tabačka: Multifunctional centre can be a unique platform through which you can spice up your event with a dose of diversity and mix it with the urban creative scene. 5. Doubletree by Hilton: The hotel boasts 170 rooms in addition to the largest conference hall in the town for 400 people.

Maribor meetings flashpoints: 1. Mariborsko Pohorje: Pohorje is the green oasis of the Styrian region, offering wonderful natural attractions for incentive programmes 2. The Old Vine House: A temple of wine tradition that honour the culture of wine making and very special venue 3. Regional Museum Maribor: The museum has an excelent central location and is suitable for smaller private events, aswell as bigger celebrations 4. The Vinag wine cellar: Maribor’s true oenophile’s treasure trove of underground tunnels stretching for 2.5 km and covering 20,000m2 5. Escape Room ENIGMARIUM: Fully intertwined with local history combined with high-tech gadgets that will take you back centuries!

STAY: Hotel Yasmin Košice

STAY: Hotel Habakuk, Terme Maribor

3.98 / 5


3.84 / 5

 tuality 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 Q 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




GH Bernardin Briefing

3 conferences were recently held in Grand Hotel Bernardin 16th Joint Vacuum Conference (JVC-16), the 14th European Vacuum Conference (EVC-14) and the 23th Croatian Slovenian International Scientific Meeting on Vacuum Science and Technique was held in Grand Hotel Bernardin. The guests and participants enjoyed in variety of different topics, discussions and activities, which were executed perfectly. With the help of the professional congress team of GH Bernardin, conference was a mayor success and unforgetabble experience for all who were part of the experience.

Translation for Dialogue Conference in GH Bernardin gathered 100 experts and cultural actors

Around 100 experts gathered in Bernardin on 23rd of June to participate in the “Translation for Dialogue” Conference, which was co-organised by the Anna Lindh Foundation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia and the Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI). Organizer Ms. Elisabeth Guigou of the Anna Lindh Foundation pointed out the importance of understanding the dialogs among people. The main guest of the conference was also Karl Erjavec, the minister of foreign affairs of Slovenia.

AWEX launches Portorož – Belgrade flights

Irina Bokova, director general of UNESCO said for this occasion: “The crossroads between Africa, Europe and the Middle East, the Mediterranean is a crucible of rich and unique diversity of peoples, cultures, religions, and languages.“

Start-up airline AWEX Croatia has secured a Swiss charter contract to operate services from Zurich to Belgrade via Portorož. Flights are expected to launch today and operate once per week until September 24, each Saturday, with a 34-seat Saab 340B turboprop, with exception to today’s inaugural service which will run with a smaller ten-seat aircraft.


Hidden Congress Guest




OPENED SINCE 2005 MEETINGS STAR Resort Meeting Hotel STANDARD Congress Hotel NUMBER OF ROOMS 71 rooms, 21 suites, 1 presidential suite INTERNET PRICE 88 EUR (July 2016, Trivago) ADDRESS Hotel Termag Jahorina Poljice bb, Bosnia and Herzegovina P: +387 57 270 422, +387 57 272 100 E: FACILITIES Hotel Restaurant, Wellness Zone Swimming Pool, Teambuilding programmes, Fireplace room, Winter outdoor activities, Summer outdoor activities, Bowling, Billiard room EXTRAS Koliba - a restaurant, cottage and après-ski scene is a multifunctional space, which can be booked for your next event. 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:

4.69 3.95 4.56 4.76 4.82 4.32 4.61 4.67 4.21 4.82 4.67 4.89 4.07 4.54

FINAL GRADE Luxury Resort Meeting Hotel


Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

LOCATION For all of us who cheered on the skiers at the 1984 winter Olympics in Sarajevo the skiing centre is dear to our hearts. The Jahorina Olympic mountain, with its 20km of ski slopes, hosts one of Bosnia’s best hotels, one for which we could add another category to our Hidden Congress Guest section, as the Hotel Termag is a genuine alpine/mountain congress hotel. The most luxurious hotel on Jahorina was opened in 2005 and was a boon in terms of extending the winter season with congress tourism, hiking and mountain biking. The skiing centre is also developing from season to season and according to the locals it now provides a reliable coat of snow from November to March, adding up to 175 snow days. ACCESSIBILITY Jahorina is just 30km from Sarajevo and 32 years after its construction the road to the peak remains in good shape. The best form of transportation is therefore by car, or by bus from one of the agencies in Sarajevo. A good 9km will get you to Pale COLD APPETIZER - Architecture and Aesthetics The hotel is situated adjacent to the ski resort, surrounded by mighty trees and the dramatic mountains. Its creator is a renowned architect from Sarajevo, Amir Vuk Zec, who has been able to achieve an excellent sense of being very much in touch with nature. The use of wood and natural materials like tree trunks in the halls are hallmarks of what makes the hotel so unique. A very specific and recognizable architecture has been formed that now symbolizes an iconic spot on Jahorina. The hotel meets all of the strictest standards of the hotel industry and has quickly gained a lot of attention and positive feedback from both locals as well as tourists and a professional clientele. WARM APPETIZER - Personnel and cuisine Traditional hospitality, a general sense of kindness and attention to professionalism are all trademarks of Hotel Termag. The food in the hotel is superb and the service is also deserving of praise. The staff are incredibly considerate and ensure that guests are taken care of like they are in their own home rather than tourists. Bosnia and Herzegovina is definitely an excellent choice if you like to eat well without spending a fortune. They make fantastic ćevapi, sudžukice, uštipci, kajmak and mix it up nicely with European cuisine. MAIN DISH - The hotel’s congress services The hotel rooms all have a bit of traditional flavour 92

left in them but also feature very elegant and modern furniture. An excellent choice of materials, warm colours and touches of wood all combine to give you a feeling of comfort and homeliness and the views of the surrounding forests from the balconies are simply amazing. The hotel offers a congress centre with views of the ski slopes and a very nicely thought out lobby for coffee breaks or exhibitions. The hall is suitable for 350 guests and can be split into 4 smaller halls. Despite being very modern even the congress centre has a pleasant, comforting feel to it. DESSERT - Extras For entertainment the hotel offers ping pong tables, billiards and a bowling alley, which seems to be pretty popular amongst guests.


FLOP – negative surprises Out of the winter season the offer is focused mainly on the hotel and the incentive activities that revolve around it, which have to be organised separately. On the other hand, getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city is the number one advantage of Jahorina.


TOP – positive surprises A traditional brand of kindness and the hospitality of the staff. Overall impression and credibility In Sarajevo and its surroundings the spirit of the 1984 Olympics is still present and there is no better way to experience it than up in the mountains. The Olympic rings, Vučko, and all of the infrastructure that is slowly decaying might just be the best backdrop for a top selfie. With Hotel Termag, Jahorina has acquired a fresh verve, as this is an excellent congress hotel. It has the right mixture of design, functionality and broad offer that allows for the organisation of corporate events - this hotel is definitely changing Sarajevo’s congress offer.

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.


Final Score

Hidden Congress Guest




CATEGORY ★★★★★ OPENED SINCE Built: 1982, Renovated: 2009 MEETINGS STAR City meeting hotel STANDARD Congress Hotel NUMBER OF ROOMS 543 rooms INTERNET PRICE 77 - 144 EUR (March 2016, Trivago) ADDRESS Athenaeum Intercontinental Athens 89-93, Syngrou Avenue 11700 Neos Kosmos, Athens, Greece T +30 210 9206000, E: FACILITIES Atrium Rooftop restaurant Premiere, Premiere bar, - CaffeZoe, PoolZoe, Cafe Vienna, Bistrot Vienna, Swimming Pool, Spa, Gym EXTRAS Ethniki Asfalistiki (Hellenic General Insurance Company) Conference Centre - set in the building next door, it is run by the team at Intercontinental and is adding up to the already rich congress offer of the hotel. RESULTS OF ANALYSIS Location Accessibility First impression Lobby Employee attitude Reception Hotel room Hotel bed Bathroom and restroom Hotel breakfast Bars and restaurants Congress hall Additional offer TOTAL:

4.05 4.72 4.08 4.59 4.75 4.61 4.59 4.61 4.43 4.52 4.49 4.81 4.45 4.52

FINAL GRADE Luxury City Meeting Hotel


Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

LOCATION The best hotels in Athens are fighting for views of the Acropolis and the Intercontinental, with its terrace, is a strong competitor for top spot. The hotel is located in the middle of a business district on the Syngrou avenue and close to the city centre. The more lively parts of town are close by, but you will probably need to take a taxi or the hotel shuttel bus to get to them. Looking at the number of rooms, the Intercontinental in Athens is a huge hotel building, also acting as a business centre and occupying an entire city block. It is therefore the ideal place for congress guests, as it offers a combination of available hotel rooms and great congress capacities. ACCESSIBILITY Situated on the Syngrou Avenue and close to the Monastiraki metro station, the hotel is only a 15minute walk away from the Acropolis. The airport is a 45-minute drive and the roads, which were first built for the Olympics, are in great condition. The once chaotic traffic of Athens is now just a bad memory and today‘s city infrastructure allows for getting around town fast and easily. For guests coming with cars the hotel is also well taken care of, as it has a big garage. COLD APPETIZER - Architecture and Aesthetics The virtues of the hotel‘s exterior design and architecture can be discussed at length, but this debate ceases as soon as you step through the front door. The spacious lobby has a pleasant feel to it, also because of the atrium that lets in daylight, and the entire hotel is based on an architecture where functionality is more important than form. On the inside that approach has been more softened and complemented by some excellent pieces of art. Among the 350 works of art is also the Blu Man by George Lappas that hangs in the reception, or the giant pendulum that characterizes the congress lobby. WARM APPETIZER - Personnel and cuisine Hotel service at this level must be top-notch, but what really amazes in this hotel is the authentic kindness and professionalism of the staff. Buffet breakfast in the Zoe restaurant is quite diverse and at a level appropriate to the hotel. The offer at the Bistrot Vienna, where they offer a wide selection of snacks in a pleasant environment of the lobby, is also very pleasing, but the gem of the culinary offer has to be the Premier restaurant on the 9th floor - besides the pleasant interior and the views over the Parthenon, their mediteranean cuisine with seasonly changed menus will undoubtedly impress you. 93

Final Score

MAIN DISH - The hotel‘s congress services When you find yourself in the beautifully furnished hotel room it becomes clear that you are staying in a premium class hotel. The quality of materials and the hotel gadgets let you know that they haven‘t tightened their belts when it comes to comfort and you get that feeling even in the most basic rooms. You are sure to get a sound and relaxed night‘s sleep in any of the 3 room categories: the more traditionally furnished Superior and Club rooms or the more modern Deluxe rooms. Guests sleeping in Club rooms are also granted access to the Executive Lounge on the 8th floor. The bathrooms, however, don‘t quite follow the latest trends, but nevertheless feel solid and of good quality. The hotel‘s congress centre is the biggest in Athens and has 35 conference halls across 3,500m2. It is popular with organisers and always fully booked because of its high ceilings and functionality. DESSERT - Extras Wi-Fi access is not completely free, which is quite an unusual business practice in such hotels across Europe.


FLOP – negative surprises Though the hotel is located in the centre of town, it is in a business district and you will have to take a taxi to the main attractions if you want to truly experience Athens.


TOP – positive surprises The perfect ratio between the number of hotel rooms and their capacity is the formula to an excellent congress hotel. Overall impression and credibility Judged purely on size, you will have a tough time finding a hotel like this in Athens. It is a pure-blooded business/congress hotel, where they know how to treat a congress guest. The hotel can pride itself on the biggest congress centre in town, which has space for 2,000 participants in its 30 halls. The only complaint that I could levy was that the prices in the mini bar, hotel bar and restaurant exceeded the average expectations I had for Greece. Despite the quality of the hotel this can leave a bitter aftertaste.

Hidden Congress Guest




OPENED SINCE 2015 MEETINGS STAR Resort meeting hotel STANDARD Hotel with conference facilities NUMBER OF ROOMS 126 rooms INTERNET PRICE 440 EUR (July 2016, Trivago) ADDRESS Falkensteiner Hotel & Spa Jesolo Piazza Le Corbusier 6 IT-30016 Lido di Jesolo (Venezia) T: +39 0472 975650 E: FACILITIES - Hotelska restavracija - Acquapura Spa na več kot 1500m2 - Fitness - Cigar Lounge - Beach club EXTRAS Beach Club with a private beach suitable for different outdoor gatherings or private events.

4.95 4.68 4.59 4.76 4.79 4.62 4.89 4.91 4.73 4.51 4.62 4.47 4.78 4.72

FINAL GRADE Luxury Resort Meeting Hotel


Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

ACCESSIBILITY Today the tourist offer of the destination is very diverse: Jesolo doesn‘t offer just sandy beaches, but rather a lot of opportunities to wander its lively streets, take up the interesting natural science itineraries along the laguna and participate in the historical itineraries of the old city centre (along the antique wall). Jesolo is also just a few kilometers away from Venice and the motorway connections in both directions are excellent - it only takes a few minutes to get from the San Dona di Piave exit to the hotel and the Venetian airport is also just a stone‘s throw away. One very cool advantage is that from Jesolo you can also take a boat to Venice and explore the canals, so with this accessibility Jesolo is a great starting point if you want to organise interesting incentive programmes and explore Venice. COLD APPETIZER - Architecture and Aesthetics Falkensteiner is famous for working with world renowned architects and this hotel is no different. The exterior was designed by the famous American architect Richard Meier and the interior by Matteo Thun, who is responsible for the first-class furnishings in most of the Falkensteiner hotels. The modern Mediterranean architecture is characterized by bright, soothing colours and an air of ease that can be felt as soon as you step inside. What Falkensteiner has built is a minimalistic, natural and clean hotel space. On stepping through the doors one can admire how they have played with light and how they have used interesting materials, like with the reception counter made from worn-out piers of the Venetian laguna. The open space design really stands out and shows how you can make hotel aesthetics something very special. WARM APPETIZER - Personnel and cuisine The hotel cuisine combines Alpine and Mediteranean influences in a not particularly lengthy a la carte menu 94

that offers some very appropriately priced, sophisticated dishes. In advance of the start of the main tourist season the staff might not be completely in tune, but friendly interactions with guests makes up for any occasional faux pas. Breakfast is luxurious, with warm dishes being cooked in front of the guests and real italian coffee made according to your wishes. MAIN DISH - The hotel‘s congress services Planned and designed by Matteo Thun, the rooms were built by the Slovenian company Stilles. They feature pastel shades of blue that interwine with touches of beige, reminding guests of the Adriatic. The solid woodblock floor creates a feeling of warmth and the special canopy bed gives a sense of romance and also protects from mosquitos. Matteo has created an excellent combination of beautiful pieces of furniture, from the lights right through to the chairs and loungers. The hotel‘s congress service offers 3 conference halls, with the biggest one being able to accept 126 guests. The Miami Penthouse suite that can be used for smaller gatherings is an exciting feature. DESSERT - Extras Acquapura Spa spreads across 1,500m2 of indoor and outdoor areas and together with the Miami Penthouse on the top floor it is a great place to organise a smaller sized event (150m2 and a 100m2 terrace).


FLOP – negative surprises Perhaps with Venice being so close the prices are really high, especially if you want to grab a drink in the hotel bar.


TOP – positive surprises A wide offer of incentive and teambulding programmes in the city, which you can incorporate into an excellent event. The hotel also offers free bike rentals. Overall impression and credibility A trendy hotel that perfectly complements the existing Falkensteiner offer and has a perfect location right beside the Venetian laguna in the middle of a very opulent region. It is distinguished by its first class interior and exterior design and characterized by a high level hotel service. For the green purists it has loads of modern continual solutions and sits among the new generations of hotels (zero CO2 Energy Management).

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.

LOCATION The small town of Jesolo near Venice is famous for its beaches, kilometres of sand and a rich tourist offer, with the biggest Italian aquapark, Aqualandia, along with numerous hotels, bars and restaurants. In the near vicinity you can also find many golf courses that are popular with golfers due to the pleasant climate throughout the year. About a year ago the Falkensteiner hotel chain took a front row seat here and opened its new resort right by the sea. Besides the usual combination of prime cuisine and an excellent hotel offer it also features a small congress centre, ideal for corporate incentive groups.


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 Score

Hidden Congress Guest




Photo credit HILTON ATHENS

LOCATION April 20, 1963 was written into the Athenian history books as the day when the Hilton Athens was born. The two day opening ceremony was attended by Conrad Hilton and many other famous celebrities. For its time the building was state of the art and Emanuel Vourekas‘s architecture has survived to this day and is still a great architectual creation. The hotel was thoroughly renovated for the 2004 Olympics and was the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee. Its prestige location is a stone‘s throw away from all the main attractions of the Kolonaki area.

CATEGORY ★★★★★ OPENED SINCE opened: 1963, renovated: 2004 MEETINGS STAR City meeting hotel STANDARD Congress Hotel NUMBER OF ROOMS 506 rooms INTERNET PRICE 209 EUR (July 2016, Trivago) ADDRESS HILTON ATHENS, 46 Vassilissis Sofias Avenue 11528 Athens | Greece T: +30 210 7281 000, F: +30 210 7281 111 E: FACILITIES Executive Lounge, Hiltonia Spa, Shops, Swimming Pool, Oasis Bar & Grill, Galaxy restaurant, Galaxy Bar, Mylos restaurant, Byzantino restaurant, The Aethrion Bar & Lounge EXTRAS Galaxy Bar & Restaurant - on the top floor sits a bar with one of the most beautiful views in town and is known as one of the best bars in Athens. It is also a special venue, popular among event organisers. 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:

4.81 4.75 4.68 4.61 4.78 4.68 4.76 4.83 4.52 4.65 4.54 4.87 4.56 4.70

FINAL GRADE Luxury City Meeting Hotel


Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

ACCESSIBILITY The most popular areas of Kolonaki and Plaka – Kolonaki is known as the more prestige part of Athens – are both reachable on foot and the Evangelismos metro station is basically at the entrance of the hotel. Hilton‘s underground parking is standard for such hotels and in normal traffic conditions it will take you about 35 minutes to get to the airport, which is very easily accessible. After the Olympics the city traffic has become smoother and has been flowing more freely, so you most likely won‘t encounter any problems in getting around the city. COLD APPETIZER - Architecture and Aesthetics Due to its monumental architecture the Hilton has definitely been a controversial building – one can either love it or hate it. Four top Greek architects (Emmanouil Vourekas, Prokopis Vassiliadis, Spyros Staikos and Antonis Georgiades) worked on its construction from 1958-1963. In 2003, Alexandros Tombazis and Charis Bougadelis added a seven-floor northern wing with 74 rooms ahead of the 2004 Athens Olympics. Of all the architectual details what stands out the most is the facade, which is the work of famous Greek artist Yiannis Moralis. WARM APPETIZER - Personnel and cuisine In terms of professionalism and overall care, the Hilton almost never dissapoints. The same goes for the self-service breakfast in the Byzantine restaurant, which is a true experience. Besides the standard offer of dishes we were surprised by the Greek selection of pies, cheese and bougatis. The special story starts in the Galaxy Bar and Restaurant, which is known in the city as „the place to be“ – here you experience excellent Mediteranean cuisine coupled with stunning views of Athens. No hotel of this caliber can be perfect without an exquisite wine offer and with its first class wine labels from Greece and abroad the Hilton is no disap95

Final Score

pointment. A combination of innovative cooking and professional service, as well as good coffee breaks and delivering the most challenging of receptions, is the formula for a reliable offer tailored to congresses. MAIN DISH - The hotel‘s congress services Ceiling windows in the executive rooms make for a great first impression and allow you to see the Acropolis and Lycabettus Hill. The rooms are spacious and practically equipped. With regards to the decor, an attention to detail has been considered down to the very last corner of the room. Excellent air conditioning and comfortable beds are also big positives. The congress centre is one of the biggest in Athens and has space for 1,300 participants in the 22 conference halls that are available, along with lots of exhibition space. The design of the congress centre is modern, functional and timeless. DESSERT - Extras The swimming pool is not directly connected to event organisation, but if you love swimming you have to try out the city‘s biggest hotel pool, which is 25 metres long by 15 metres wide.


FLOP – negative surprises If you are planning to carry out an event in Athens, try to avoid the high summer tourist season, as the low season will be a much more pleasant experience for both you and the guests.


TOP – positive surprises Incredible architecture, which survived the ravages of time and keeps amazing congress organisers with its originality and timelessness. Overall impression and credibility A hotel that is loved by guests like Aristotle Onassis, Frank Sinatra, Ingmar Bergman, Anthony Quinn and the Rolling Stones has made it the place to be. The area around the hotel is known among locals simply as the Hilton area. It impresses with its professional congress service and a modernistic design with Mediterranean touches, creating a visually perfect and pleasing image. Hilton has successfuly been following all of the latest trends in terms of cuisine and overall service, which is why it is the perfect choice for organising events. A special option, which is one of our favourites, is to book the legendary pool for your next pool party.


Conventions don´t have to be conventional A business trip to Madrid seems less like hard work than most. Sunny weather, conveniently located conference venues and gourmet lunches are just some of the bonuses for when you visit on business. A„er a busy day, Madrid’s famous museums and elegant stores are a great way to recharge before sampling the vibrant nightlife. (+34) 91 758 55 28

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








hen Shanghai’s Grand Hyatt hotel opened in 1999 it was the crowning gem of the city’s prestigious Jin Mao Tower located in the centre of the Lujiazui business and financial district in the Pudong area. Checking in at the tower’s 53rd floor, the hotel climbs all the way up to the 87th, Guinness officially recording it at the time as the highest hotel in the world. With the world’s highest hotel came also the highest expectations, so whilst at this year’s IT&CM China Kongres magazine took the chance to catch up with General Manager and Area Vice President Richard Greaves, as well as Director of Sales and Marketing Amane Karazawa, to see how they ensure such high expectations have not only been met, but have been exceeded.

“I’ve been working in Grand Hyatt hotels for 29 years and my career actually started with Carlton Hyatt hotel,” explained Greaves. “I’ve also worked in various Asian cities, including Macao, Hong Kong and Taiwan, so I wasn’t new in the region and have considerable experience of working in China. When I first came to Shanghai, however, I was fascinated by the phenomenal growth of this vibrant city; Shanghai is a truly international metropolis in which the economic prosperity and cultural attractions are comparable to those of London, New York, Paris and other international counterparts.” Possessing such a wealth of experience and familiar with the region and its demands equipped Greaves with the insight necessary to focus on the qualities that ensure that a luxury hotel delivers on its promise. “The most important part of managing a luxury hotel is finding the appropriate associates and providing professional training – people are the key element in the hospitality industry and finding the right ones can take time and effort,” said Greaves. “Luxury hotels are not just about high-tech hardware; they are also about great service provided by great people. At Grand Hyatt Shanghai we have a proud heritage of making guests feel more than welcome and we strive to make a difference in the lives of the guests we encounter every day by providing authentic hospitality.” “International 5-star hotels in Shanghai have mushroomed over the years, so to maintain a competitive advantage we make refinements and strive for perfection in everything, from choosing art décor for the hotel, conducting staff communication training, obtaining customer feedback and selecting food ingredients right through to organising events and activities.” Given the full range of hotel facilities, with its rooftop bars, high-end gym and no less than ten prestige restaurants covering every global culinary taste, staying on top of hotel trends is no mean feat. Add to this mix some excellent meeting facilities and it becomes a labour of love. “We are an iconic Shanghai location for prestigious meetings and events, ideally situated in one of China’s most iconic buildings in the heart of one of its busiest financial centres,” said Karazawa. “From our state-of-the-art meeting rooms to our expansive 920 square metre ballroom, as well as 665 square metre Crystal Ballroom, the hotel offers a wide variety of premium spaces that can be custom-tailored to suit any event, supported of course by some of Shanghai’s most innovative food and beverages and award-winning service. Several events, from 10 to 2,000 people, can all be held at the same time, be it a gala dinner, corporate function, wedding or just using the small function rooms for workshop meetings.” “The Grand Hyatt Shanghai continues the Hyatt tradition of association with landmark architecture by making its home in the stunning Jin Mao Tower, which has been profiled in a few famous movies that bring its attention to a worldwide audience and definitely help us with both awareness and business,” she added. “We have also recently cooperated with an airline company to design in-flight menus for business class passengers on their international routes, a brand collaboration that is successful for both parties. We will seek more such marketing activities to enhance our brand awareness.” 98


Working at such levels of altitude is something most of us will never experience, but is something that is enjoyed with panoramic views over one of the world’s mega-cities, with the occasional return to ground level to re-engage with street life. “I actually stay at the hotel; working at this high level always provides a wonderful mood, simply by looking out of the windows at the fascinating view of the Bund below,” said Greaves. “In the morning I’ll have a short briefing with my team to know the working tasks of each department and then I spend most of my time dealing with guests, walking around in the lobby, the restaurants, Club lounge and the public areas of the hotel, as I believe in providing a human level of care and a considerate level of service, meaningful gestures that are reflected in dealing with guests on a daily basis and making them feel emotionally connected to the brand.” “When I have some leisure time my wife, daughter and I love nothing more than strolling through the city’s Shikumen alleys eating dumplings and experiencing the lifestyle of the people of Shanghai,” he added. “Shanghai is also a story of the city that attracts travel enthusiasts from all over the world: the Puxi old temple, the century-old Shikumen buildings and Pudong’s rapid development as a financial centre all show off a very unique sense of style and charm.” 99



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dynamic event that brings together the best elements of a region’s MICE industry, is getting better year by year and is held annually in a welcoming capital city – does that sound familiar? Well, just as the Conventa event showcases the best of South East Europe every January, for the better part of the past decade Kongres magazine has also been partnering with IT&CMA held in Bangkok, Thailand, an event that is the annual showcase for the very best of the South-East Asian MICE world. For 2016 expectations will again be running high for one of Asia’s most eagerly awaited MICE events that has been bringing the world to Asia and Asia to the world for more than two decades. This year Kongres magazine took the chance to speak directly to Darren Ng, Managing Director of TTG Asia Media and the man who has been behind the significant growth not only of IT&CMA, but also of the MICE industry right across Asia.


Q: Your regional event of IT&CMA has been running successfully for more than two decades, twice as long as our own regional event of Conventa in South East Europe. What do you consider to have been its greatest achievements as an event for the region over this time? “Our greatest achievement is remaining relevant in an increasingly competitive and demanding business landscape. Over the last decade, the marketing landscape has changed dramatically. With customers now having a myriad of choices in connecting with their buyers beyond the traditional exhibition and roadshows, the event industry has been impacted by these macro changes. In addition, it should be noted that international markets are also growing at different rates. While some are just getting into the MICE industry, others have reached varying levels of maturity. Each of these customers thus seeks to target different MICE buying segments. To connect with such diverse buyers/sellers segments, IT&CM Events ensures that our event value propositions, i.e. connecting with the right buyers and between buyers and sellers, are spot on. With needs constantly evolving and increasing in sophistication, every event organiser seeks to keep up and deliver solutions that work. To achieve this, our events have leveraged on partnerships/capabilities that will be able to help our customers enhance mutual business prospects throughout the year. In addition to that, IT&CM Events also offers customised, smaller-scale events for more targeted business prospecting, where buyer and supplier invitees are focused on select criteria in line with an existing campaign.


Q: Having started life in Hong Kong, IT&CMA has now made its home in Thai capital of Bangkok, just as Conventa’s home is in Ljubljana. What makes this city your ideal host i.e. what do you consider to be the benefits of being based there for a regional event and what do you think are the benefits of cementing a staple host city for a regional event? Thailand holds plenty of capability as a global meeting destination. Combined with its world-class accommodation and facilities, rich and welcoming culture, diverse attractions and incredible Thai hospitality, Bangkok has all the necessary attributes to host any international MICE and Corporate event such as ours. These can be seen by the awards and accolades Bangkok has received in recent years. Last year, Bangkok was ranked within the World Travel Awards Top Ten Best Cities Survey 2015*. The city also came out top in the MasterCard Worldwide index of Global Destination Cities 2013, and ranked 3rd in the 2013 Euromonitor International’s 100 Top City Destinations Ranking, and was also placed within the top 20 cities for international association conventions meetings by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) the same year. Additionally, our decade-long partnership with the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) brings tremendous value for both the destination and TTG Events. Independent surveys confirmed significant delegate spent in Thailand. TCEB has in return offered support via local partners, including suppliers, educational bodies, trade associations, and government. Its sponsorship on our key programmes have contributed to the growth of new initiatives that have helped make the event relevant. The exceptional service and collaboration of our partners enables us to put forth a quality event annually with confidence. * Travel + Leisure Survey 2015 Q: As the key regional event of the IT&CM portfolio, what benefits do you think a regional event can offer contrasted with your national IT&CM events in China and India?

Q: Kongres magazine has been an affiliate of IT&CMA for the past 5 years and has seen the show improve year on year and often against a backdrop of political and even climatic challenges. What new initiatives can be expected at IT&CMA 2016? Over the last year we introduced “stepped-up” engagement opportunities for groups of buyers targeted by selected exhibitors. Both buyers and exhibitors have found such opportunities meaningful and fruitful and many have confirmed their continued support of such initiatives to build their brand presence and offering in a competitive marketing environment. Moving forward we intend to build on this success and leverage on our rich databases and partnership to offer delegates more targeted and hence meaningful connections. We also have found that many of our sponsors are leveraging on IT&CMA and CTW Asia-Pacific to present their thought leadership positions. This confirms the industry acknowledgement of the quality of our attendees. We will be supporting our sponsors efforts in engaging our delegates in helping to build industry knowledge and contribute to the development of the industry. Q: Lastly, since IT&CMA starting off back in 1993, the Asian MICE market has developed rapidly and exponentially, and in very ambitious and progressive ways. Would you say that today it is the case that the European MICE industry has more to learn from Asia than vice-versa? If you look at the ICCA ranking table, European cities still rank ahead in many areas when it comes to Association meetings. In the incentive space, the large Chinese incentive outbound is sought after by almost every market. As the investments in MICE facilities throughout Asia mirrors Asia’s own economic development, it is natural that with improved infrastructure and capabilities, destinations will want to tap not just their domestic markets, but also international meetings and business events to support their growth and contribute to travel business receipts. In this regard, all regions have much to learn from each other in order to be able to effectively support the growth of MICE throughout the world.

Both China and India have huge domestic outbound markets and exhibitors at these shows target these focused segments during these national events. IT&CMA on the other hand attracts a balanced mixed of international and regional MICE and corporate buyers procuring for the world. This allows exhibitors to engage a diverse range of buyers during the event. Q: In what areas has the event evolved most strongly over its 20+ years and how do you think these have helped it to become a now unmissable event on the international MICE calendar? Our strong education offering helps attract the right buyers and our strong partnerships with international media have helped us reach out to the broader market. Partnerships with the likes of ICCA, SITE, IAPCO, ACTE, etc. have also resulted in mutually supportive arrangements that allowed us to “co-create value”, which have contributed to our collective growth.





t this year’s Meetings Africa, Kongres magazine was granted an exclusive interview with Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, Chief Convention Bureau Officer at the South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB). With South Africa a richly diverse and multi-faceted destination offering great value and solid organisation for events across the country, Kongres wanted to begin by asking about the elephant in the room when South Africa is being discussed for either leisure tourism or business events: security. “The issue of South Africa and security is an issue of perception,” said Kotze-Nhlapo. “Over the years we have done more than a thousand events and I can’t tell you of any incidents or any unsuccessful meetings. I just can’t tell you of any. There may have been some petty incidents, but no different to anywhere else in the world, yet because of the perception we always have to prove ourselves.” “What we do as an organisation is simply to say beforehand that safety and security is important as a part of any meeting – we give it up front, but not in a way that you must have security because it’s in South Africa,” added Kotze-Nhlapo. “It’s the issue of perception and in tackling this perception from our side – and it doesn’t matter which city in South Africa you are going to – we with our national convention bureau organisation expertise are absolutely bringing in everyone to assist, so it’s a one-stop-shop, one-stop solution; just come in and we’ll bring the service providers and make sure of everything. People have come to us with at times ridiculous requests for an event and I promise you there has not been a single one that we didn’t actually adhere to.” This year’s hugely successful Meetings Africa was the perfect showcase for how one-stop-shop South Africa can be and testament to the wonderful organisation attributes of SANCB, and with the world descending upon the main city of Johannesburg it was clear that new source markets were elevating in importance for the South African industry. “Europe is still important for us, but Eastern Europe is exciting and it’s not the traditional delegate, because we have the traditional source markets – mainly USA, UK and Germany – and especially for holidaymakers,” said KotzeNhlapo. “Looking forward I think for the Eastern part of Europe, the Middle East, China and India the potential is

so huge for the industry, for corporates and businesses that actually have that link.” “With our ruling government the historical link with China has resulted in a very good relationship,” added KotzeNhlapo. “And it doesn’t matter in which language you want to do business, because we’ll bring them to you. We don’t have any challenges with Chinese groups who are coming, because we have a thriving interpreter scene here already and it’s better to add another person to the meeting group. Our offices are also very good and with Chinese staff who can understand South Africa, so we are there to make a difference.” Not only in the field of bridging language differences, but also that of sustainability is where Meetings Africa – and by extension Africa – is making a difference. “We are absolutely committed to greening and sustainability, as if we want to be the leader in business events then our show needs to be a leader in that field,” said Kotze-Nhlapo. “Meetings Africa got the award for the best greening and sustainable show in South Africa, so we compete with the biggest, like Indaba. We have also received so many SITE Crystal awards for DMCs that actually did sustainability and CSR projects and for South Africa, in any proposal bid that we do, we always have it as part of our offer.” South Africa’s complete commitment to nurturing its MICE industry and elevating it to among the world’s best is evident, no matter through which angle of the industry prism it is viewed. On top of everything else is the story of South Africa – or rather, its many stories that make it such an alluring destination, and especially that of Meetings Africa’s home of Johannesburg. “I think the story of South Africa is in Johannesburg; the richness of the story is here, the diversity of the people is here and the friendships are authentic,” said Kotze-Nhlapo. “The African story is different in different parts of our country – I may look like a European but I am absolutely an African and there is stuff in me that makes me so African. It’s people like yourselves, who come to the city and tell the story of what you expected and what you actually got, and then keep on saying so. For us it’s really important that you have an authentic experience when you come to South Africa.” The story of South Africa is undoubtedly a good one with authentic experiences at every chapter. To tell too much of the story would be to spoil it for others who want to write their own – all we can say is go and create your own story. You won’t regret it.

“The issue of South Africa and security is an issue of perception,” said KotzeNhlapo. “Over the years we have done more than a thousand events and I can’t tell you of any incidents or any unsuccessful meetings. I just can’t tell you of any. There may have been some petty incidents, but no different to anywhere else in the world, yet because of the perception we always have to prove ourselves.”





t is sometimes hard to fathom that the Chinese industry is still a relative newcomer to the global MICE scene, not only because of the size and potential of the Chinese market, but also because of the quality of events already showcasing its MICE industry, of which the annual IT&CM China is undoubtedly the leading light. From 6-8 April at the Shanghai Convention & Exhibition Centre of International Sourcing (SHCEC) IT&CM China notched up its tenth outing (alongside the second outing of its sister CTW event) and demonstrated that with their sharpened chisels the organisers are continuing to sculpt what is annually proving to be a very fine event for the Chinese industry and those keen to learn more about it. On its decade’s journey so far IT&CM China has experimented with different venues, a range of supporting hotels, alternative education formats and event layouts, each year bettering the previous one. This year’s event wasn’t spared the chisel and had a number of new initiatives for delegates, but importantly at this year’s event the delegates had also come under the sculptor’s craft to ensure a heightened presence of the local Chinese market and stronger buyer-seller synergies than previously, creating an almost boutique level of detail to matching buyers to sellers but for the world’s biggest MICE market. “One of our most notable achievements over the last ten years was to progressively raise the participation of the local Chinese market so that the event truly encapsulates the best of best of China’s MICE supply as well as its buying power,”

said Darren Ng, Managing Director of TTG Asia Media. “For the last several years this has become increasingly apparent, although this 10th instalment of IT&CM China best showcases the success of this endeavour.” “Undoubtedly, it is the show’s ability to consistently bring together the best of China and the world’s buying powers that make IT&CM China a choice event by leading global and local MICE destinations and corporate brands as their preferred showcase and engagement platform to reach the Chinese MICE market,” added Zhang Shou, Deputy General Manager of CITS International M.I.C.E. The strengthened local Chinese market could benefit from the glut of new initiatives, one of them being this year’s introduction of a WeChat (China’s top social media tool) account for better engagement with local industry players. The account was launched at the event opening and throughout the days of the event offered much broader communication between organisers and delegates as well as between delegates themselves. A further key initiative was an addition to the education programme, with a new ‘Spotlight’ session held following the official opening. For this year the topic was incentive travel and Kongres magazine was honoured to be invited to moderate this session with two key industry speakers, Joost de Meyer, Trustee of the Incentive Research Foundation and who provided a wonderfully comprehensive and enlightening presentation of incentive travel, and Alicia Yao of SITE’s Global International Board of Directors. The full-house 104


“Undoubtedly, it is the show’s ability to consistently bring together the best of China and the world’s buying powers that make IT&CM China a choice event by leading global and local MICE destinations and corporate brands as their preferred showcase and engagement platform to reach the Chinese MICE market,” added Zhang Shou, Deputy General Manager of CITS International M.I.C.E. session emphasised the power of Incentive Travel as a motivational tool and explored the major trends surrounding inbound and outbound Chinese incentive in relation to the international market. “The show’s opening Spotlight on Incentive session was a wonderful opportunity to get IT&CM China’s delegates to notice the benefits of Incentive Travel and how they could employ it to advance their company’s objectives,” said Yao. “Our commitment to supporting IT&CM China’s business front through quality and meaningful education and networking efforts is another aspect of our continued success,” added Ooi Peng Ee, General Manager of TTG Events. “The draw of the Chinese and International MICE community to the show also has much to do with the multiple platforms made available here to connect, learn and engage with the best minds and expertise in the industry.” A further draw for both the Chinese and the international MICE community was through the new format media briefings, where a host of lesser explored Chinese destinations – such as Hangzhou, Xiamen, Ningbo and Chengdu, as well as Taitung in Taiwan – were all able to present their wonderful MICE offer in a presentation centre set in the midst of the show floor, attracting the curiosity of passing delegates and creating a healthy interaction between the presenters, the media and the wider delegate pool at the event. All of these initiatives help deliver another successful IT&CM China outing, with more than 3,000 MICE professionals engaging in more than 14,000 business appointments over its three days. Alongside this were also more than 50 business, education and networking sessions cover a healthy array of Association Management/Meetings and MICErelated topics, always a key attraction for delegates wishing to top up on their industry knowledge. Of course, as with all IT&CM events, the social events were also the chance to mix some good networking with enjoying some wonderful celebratory hospitality of both hosts and organisers. As the closing of the event led as always to the customary post-show tours, this year’s IT&CM China had an interesting

extension, with just one destination available and that being to Fukuoka in neighbouring Japan. “Fukuoka has flourished as a gateway for cultural and economic exchange, and is easily accessible from other Asian countries, like Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and China,” said Izumi Shimada, Director of Marketing, Sales & Business Development of FCVB. “The ease of access is what makes Fukuoka unique from other Japanese destinations. It also helps in reducing the stress on MICE participants in terms of transit and wait times, so they can efficiently spend their time on business negotiations and/or sightseeing. There are many tourist spots for MICE participants to visit, including temples, shrines, hot springs, advanced technology plants and seasonal fruit picking.” Having showcased a number of new initiatives and really showing that the event is being tailored to match buyers and sellers at an almost boutique level of detail for the world’s biggest MICE market, Kongres magazine very much looks forward to participating in and reporting back from IT&CM China 2017.






Croatia Addendum


Croatia Addendum



Editor: Daniela Kos

Croatia Addendum

INFLUENCERS – BRAND PROPONENTS IN NEW AGE TOURISM Famous Instagram influencers recently visited Zagreb and Dubrovnik - for more about this trend, their social networks profiles and their visit to Croatia, read on...

text by Daniela Kos



UP Zagreb, one of the leading hotel companies in Croatia, has for the first time ever recently brought together the world’s influential bloggers who otherwise primarily communicate through their own profiles on social networks, mostly Instagram. This was not a classic press trip, as there was not a single word that journalists from traditional media would utter. “Influencers”, as they call themselves, all have a significant number of followers on the Internet and are publishing their works, photos, videos and writing their thoughts. Their online influence has been noticed by many of the world’s brands and destination organisations, which is why they engage them as promoters of their products, services and destinations. The new age traveler is primarily interested in experiencing various adventures and witnessing authentic local lifestyles rather than exploring already well worn tourist attractions, then at the end sharing all the experiences on their social networks with their friends and followers. On a five-day trip the influencers visited two leading Croatian destinations – Zagreb and Dubrovnik. Beside the city views, rich gastronomy and Croatian tradition, they were introduced to three hotels from the HUP Zagreb and Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel groups, being the Westin and Sheraton in Zagreb and the Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel in Mlini near Dubrovnik. They were already during the journey actively reporting about their experiences on many social networks, as well as after it, on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter etc.… For example, Saul Aguilar (@saaggo), who at this moment has 325,000 followers on Instagram, posted a series of photos from Zagreb and Dubrovnik. The picture of the Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera hotel was captioned with this description: “Breakfast with a view!”, followed by hashtags @ sheratondubrovnik @croatiafulloflife #sheratondubrovnik #croatiafulloflife #experiencedubrovnik. This photo received 3,603 likes and 43 enthusiastic comments from his followers. Sean Byrne (@byrnephotography), an English photographer, posted on his Instagram profile a picture of Dubrovnik’s city walls with the caption: “I spent five beautiful days in Croatia, thanks to a call from the great team of the Sheraton Hotel! One of the hotels I was staying at was @sheratondubrovnik, just outside the town and a 10-min drive to the famous Dubrovnik Fort. This place was stunning and I can totally understand

why “Game of Thrones” is filmed here.” The post got 4,022 likes and 125 comments. This new type of marketing for tourist companies is targeting the new generation of young travelers – Millennials and Generation-Y - who are not being reached through the traditional marketing activities and PR. Zagreb and Dubrovnik hosted eight influencers and each of them is intimate with their audience and market, with dozens or even hundreds of thousands of followers on the Internet. Some of them are professional influencers living by posting on social networks, while others are on a good path to building their professional career from a love of photography and writing. During their visit to Zagreb, we had the opportunity to talk to some of them.

Who are the influencers?

The majority of participating influencers have never been in Croatia before, with the exception of Larissa Olenicoff, who has visited Croatia several times. Writing a blog called Blonde Gipsy, focused exclusively on the itineraries and experiences from her travels in Eastern Europe and the Balkan countries, Larisa spent her entire life traveling and with no permanent address – hence the name of the blog. She is currently living in Pristina, Kosovo, where she works for an international organisation dedicated to the development of tourism. On her specialized blog she publishes stories about places she visits and, as she says, it’s all about locations outside the classic tourist routes, as she loves the thrill of discovering new places and experiences without much planning. Most often she travels alone, but she rarely feels as safe as she does when traveling in the Balkans in her own organisation. Being skilled in writing, she is often hired by tourist organisations to write articles about destinations she was sent to. The texts are of the type that cannot be found in brochures, as they are written by a girl who simply likes traveling and loves the people she meets along the way. Other influencers also pointed out the friendliness of the people they met during their short stay in Zagreb, as well as the very interesting character of the capital, which is certainly very attractive for photography.

Croatia Addendum


Photography is one of the main communication tools of these influencers on their social networks and Instagram is the primary channel that numbers thousands of followers who regularly comment on their works. Saul Aguilar and Lesia Odobreska (@thebestdestinations) are a French couple whose Instagram profiles together number more than half a million followers. They have turned their hobbies – traveling and photography – into a professional career. When they started, they did not think about an income and free traveling around the world, but they first wanted to build a network of friends around the world with whom they would spend time while traveling. As a self-taught photographer they had to invest in equipment, but later they began to receive equipment from sponsors – photo equipment manufacturers. They enjoyed sharing pictures from trips on social networks, but the pictures quickly found their way to the right audience. Thus came the first income, when advertising agencies and brands were interested in their work. They have already worked for Coca Cola, HP, L’Oréal, Canon and BMW, taking photos and recording videos, or creating interesting on-line content for various brands. Besides that, companies are hiring them for the promotion of products on their Instagram profiles, which have a large number of potential product users. “If you become an ‘Instagramer’ only to earn something, you will not succeed”, Saul is convinced. We were curious, how much are they getting paid for this kind of promotion, and received an answer: “Everything depends on the brand and how you are able to negotiate. There is no official fee for a certain number of followers, it is all about the agreement. A photo which I make by brand order can be sold for 300€. On the other hand, if I post it on my profile, it can reach an amount of 600 to 800€, depending on how long it takes to make a post.” London-based Sean Byrne has an interesting story. Besides his primal employment as a truck driver he has been a photographer for quite a long time and began to post on social networks in 2011, other than on Instagram, where he only began posting half a year ago on two different profiles - Byrne photography (136,000 followers) and Bowlerman (31,000 followers). “There is no ‘real way’ how to make a professional career on Instagram. You must be passionate about photography. Photos must be the best, to be liked by people. So, over time, your au-

dience will grow and you will then be recognized by different brands. Beautiful images can inspire people and encourage them to travel. Three years ago it was impossible to deal with this as a profession, I did this just for fun, but now I hope that this will soon become my professional career. The market increasingly recognizes the importance of investing in social network marketing.” He has already been on press trips to Canada, Switzerland and elsewhere, but in Croatia for the first time. His main form of communicating with his followers is through Instagram, although he is active also on Facebook, Twitter and his own website and blog. It was just four years ago that he began to photograph with iPhone, studied and followed what others were doing, watching video courses on YouTube and now he is even holding the courses! He said that “Instagram is only a tool, but my goal is to become a professional photographer and get paid for it. In the UK this is not easy at all, since the market is already saturated. My advantage is that I already have a significant number of followers.” Marc Bächtold (@marcbaechtold), a young German professional photographer who works a part-time job and is studying and building a career on Instagram, is focused on adventure travel. Most of the audience attracted to his profile is young people looking for adventures and mainly from Europe and the United States. “Sometimes the brands are only offering me their products in exchange for photos, while larger companies pay. It all depends on what am I doing for them.” Thanks to his activities on social networks, he has been on a lot of trips organised by tourist boards, such as Turkey, Switzerland, Australia, Finland, Germany and, after Croatia, he is going to Greece and Indonesia. Some might think it is quite pleasant to live like this, but it takes a lot of time and effort to attain a sufficient number of followers to be interesting to advertisers. For new age marketing at the time of the liberalization of the Internet, where anyone can post product reviews and the public express their experiences, tourist organisations increasingly recognize the importance of addressing their market through influencers on social networks. HUP Zagreb have already realized this and only time will tell whether and when the Croatian tourist organisations will recognize this new trend.

Croatia Addendum

THE BIGGEST INCENTIVE IN HVAR’S HISTORY IMPRESSED 650 DUTCH GUESTS An incentive for a Dutch IT Company with 650 people was held this May on the island of Hvar. How is such a great incentive organised and just what is involved in that?

text by Daniela Kos



nder the organisation of Intours DMC and host Sunčani Hvar Hotels, a huge incentive - for 650 people - was held on Hvar from May 5 to May 7, 2016. On the occasion of 20th anniversary a Dutch IT company brought its employees from The Netherlands, Belgium and Croatia, so for the organisation of this special event having a kind of master logistics was crucial. Croatian–Slovenian agency Intours DMC, in cooperation with the Dutch incentive agency, worked on the organisation of this incentive trip for nearly two years and were “competing” against Malta for it. The destination inspection lasted just one day, as the clients planned to visit Malta after Hvar

and then return to the Netherlands to make a decision. In the end they decided to not even go to Malta, despite flights and the cost of logistics, transfers and catering being favorable. As they exclaimed, they knew that Hvar was the destination for the company’s 20th anniversary as soon as they strolled through the city, spent the night at the Hotel Amfora and visited the “Pakleni” Islands. The Island of Hvar convinced them by offering a very dynamic programme, a beautiful space for the celebration and a wide spectrum of activities, from those filled with adrenaline and cultural experiences to those intended for anyone interested in actively exploring the island.

Croatia Addendum


A spectacular celebration – whipped cream on the cake

The arrival of guests to Croatia was organised by four private charter flights to Split airport, where 16 buses were waiting to transport this large group to Split and then on to the island of Hvar by catamaran. The Hotel Amfora in Hvar was exclusively reserved for the group, mostly employees of the company, while additional staff from the organisations and agencies (more than 70 people) were housed at the Hotel Palace. During their stay in the hotel guests had a gala dinner, access to an open bar and an organised DJ party at the cascade pool. To experience the destination in the most authentic way, the guests had the opportunity to choose from among many discovery activities, and in less than 15 minutes they had been divided into 10 smaller groups that went on tours with jeeps, safaris in VW Beetles, bike tours, a culinary discovery of Hvar and many other activities. The festive evening to celebrate the 20th anniversary and the award ceremony for employees and their contribution to the success of the company was the focus of the trip - and also the most complex task for organisers. A concert with four DJs, singers, a drummer, violinist, saxophonist, two trumpeters and a group of dancers was organised in Veneranda club. Preparations included the reconstruction of the building, which took three months, and an extra six days for the more detailed preparation and improvements. It took seven trucks to bring all the necessary equipment for sound, lighting, stage, furniture and decoration. Everyone involved - from the director of the concert, performers, technical support staff, to event organisers and catering - gave their best to create an amazing concert experience. The guests were also served with typical Dutch snacks such as Bitterballen and Kaastengels, purchased especially for this occasion from a Dutch supplier. “The guests were not aware that there was going to be the concert in the evening, and it was important to prepare every single detail without guests finding out in order to completely surprise them,” said the organisers at Intours.

Two years of preparations for a successful event

Tomislava Vrgoč, head of the MICE sales department in Sunčani Hvar, said that as the hosts they are very satisfied with the event. “It was a great challenge, one of the biggest ones we have done in recent years. As the event was organised at the beginning of the season, this can be an excellent indicator of how the season can be extended, which is our strategic aim and can be achieved with the implementation of projects like this. Cooperation with partners who support the promotion of Hvar as a tourism destination is crucial.” When asked how many hotel staff would be needed to support such an event, Vrgoč stated: “The numbers also surprised me! For example, for carrying the luggage we had to use 18 porters. From housekeeping, reception, kitchen, service staff and back office - at any time of preparation more than 100 people were working. In the sales department, the focus on this event lasted for almost two years, since June 2014, when we received the initial request for a destination inspection.” Twenty event organisers from Intours DMC were involved together with a group of trusted suppliers and associates. Special attention was given to the impeccable organisation of this logistically very challenging event to make sure it ran smoothly. “We worked with our long-term suppliers who guarantee an excellent service in all circumstances. Starting with the Intours DMC team, the hotel team and technical support team to support staff, they were all well prepared and coordinated in order to complete their piece of the puzzle and contribute to a successful event.” Considering also the size of the event, Intours DMC took care of all the requirements of security, medical and fire support. “As we are local experts and are aware of possible changes at the last minute, especially due to weather conditions, a backup plan is always in place. Another factor of success is the excellent cooperation between the client, tourist agencies and our team, who have worked side by side from September 2014 to May 2016” they revealed.

Croatia Addendum

DINO GALVAGNO: WE NEED TO SEEK INSPIRATION IN OUR RICH HERITAGE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF CULINARY TOURISM IN CROATIA Dino Galvagno, one of the greatest Croatian chefs, is currently working as a freelancer on various projects and events. text by Daniela Kos



ino Galvagno is a famous Croatian chef with extensive experience. He has studied and worked in Croatia, Germany and Italy, and has opened and managed several of his own restaurants in Croatia, but to the general public he is most widely known as a judge in MasterChef Croatia. Today, he works as a freelancer on projects in different locations and levels. Following his recent participation in the laudable “Days of Visual Culture” project in Knin, we talked to him about gastro-tourism development in Croatia and the state of the local gastronomy, as well as about some other interesting topics too. Q: How long have you been cooking and what took you to this profession? Under whose influence did you develop as a chef the most? I have been cooking for about 25 years now, but my primary motivation for choosing this profession was the fact that it is a creative profession. As for the impact, most of the work experiences I developed under my own influence – learning and exploring, slowly I formed myself and the fact that I do my work in a certain way.

Croatian gastronomy – unused potential Q: What inspires you most? Which ingredients or way of gastronomy are the most interesting for you at the moment? To realize my own idea in a creative way! I could say that I am inspired by the surroundings. I often say that nature is an eternal source of inspiration, so…the nature the surrounding in which I prefer to spend my time. Often I draw inspiration from the location or a conversation…or current trends on the gastronomic scene. I am particularly interested in local cuisine, how it occurred, what is its history, origin etc. Q: Today you are working as a freelancer. What does that actually mean? Are you cooking just for tourist, business and cultural events?

The job of a freelancer involves primarily a lot of resourcefulness and time spent behind the wheel. You specified that well - I cook for various more or less thematic events, but the majority of my job is to create a menu for different restaurants. Q: During your study and also afterwards you travelled and worked in different environments, but always returned to Croatia. Can tell us where Croatian gastronomy is on the gastronomy map in relation to Italian or German cuisine? What does Croatian gastronomy need to become a leading gastronomic destination in the region? Oh well, I wish to find that out… Despite feeling like at home anywhere I go, I return to Croatia as it is interesting and full of potential. Croatia is at the same time a domestic, gentle and exotic country, under the nose of Europe. Hmm, what are we lacking? We do not lack anything other than the will and common sense. Neither Germany nor Italy or any other neighbouring country has any better conditions than us - we have a land on which everything grows, we have shared a history with Italy since ancient times, including the gastronomic impact. It seems to me that we have a complex, not that we are missing something. Q: How much is gastronomic tourism developed in Croatia? In which direction and for what kind of guest must we develop the gastronomic offer in the future? Gastro-tourism in Croatia is developing more and more from season to season. Well, there are a lot of “copies” and less original ideas on the menus, so perhaps it would be better if the restaurant owners or chefs sought inspiration in its heritage, rather that in cooking shows, the Internet or other people’s menus. Q: In last few years you have opened and managed a few restaurants. We know that in the last few years street food and fast food has become very popular, so what is your recipe for successful restaurant business in Croatia? I really do not know. Even a handful of restaurants can barely survive. Only restaurants on the coast are doing well on the

Croatia Addendum


market. Maybe I will once again try to ‘pass the head through the wall’ and re-run something, but believe me, I already have a headache because of Croatian business policy. Q: Are satisfied customers the best marketing strategy for restaurants? What are the main things that restaurant owners need to focus on when they promote food and beverages? If you are asking me for a personal opinion, I think satisfied guests are the best marketing for restaurants. The gastronomic market would be wonderful if the caterers payed more attention to guests rather than to classic PR and marketing. And the guests would be grateful for it!

Hotels are neglecting local dishes and ingredients Q: What do you think about the restaurant offer in Croatian hotels? Is the quality and food selection enough good for modern guest? What would you say is the most important thing to achieve in a hotel kitchen? This question would be better to ask the guests, not the chefs, to get the most honest answer. As much as I have been able to stay in hotels as a guest, I can say I have sometimes been thrilled, but more often shocked by unoriginal dishes and at the utter ignorance of local dishes. Maybe I am not a good example, as hotels are specializing for a specific clientele. These may be guests who are looking for luxury, a clientele that is budget dependent, or for example athletes, and so in this way they need to adjust their offer. Today’s hotels, especially in Croatia, do not have good restaurants. In fact, there is no real reason for this, but yet it is so. My guess is that this is due to “overmanagement”. In hotels, there are always a bunch of obstacles when trying to purchase local foods or to cook something genuinely good. The problem is to carry that through the papers. Probably we will soon be served with papers in hotels…

Q: Besides the quality of the dish, how important is its presentation and design? Can good presentation sell the dish? Everything has to be designed qualitatively and the guests will be satisfied. And so the “sales” will be satisfied too. Q: As a creative consultant you’ve worked on food preparation and service at the gala ceremony of Croatian association to the EU, a menu for 300 people that included 5 courses. What kind of food preparation is involved in such a great event? Preparing a menu for ceremonial events, especially for big and important ones like this, involves a bunch of restrictions. There are many different criteria in terms of ingredients and organisation that you have to satisfy. Precise timing and an army of cooks and waiters that give quality and timely work are very important. Basically, not such a creative and fun task. Q: You have also participated in another big event Days of Visual Culture in Knin. This event was part of the “Neodoljiva Hrvatska” (Irresistible Croatia) project where you prepared the feast of King Zvonimir. How hard was it to interpret dishes from the Middle Ages and how can that kind of event help to develop a tourist destination? Now that’s more fun! I like to work on projects that develop an awareness of the identity of the local gastronomy. I gladly accept such challenges, including this one. Fortunately, I have recently studied the cuisine of ancient Rome and medieval ages, so I prepared myself well for this project. I was glad that my ideas could be at least partially put into action. Of course gastro-tourism can help with the development of the destination – my gosh, there are so many destinations in Europe that are existing exclusively from gastronomy!

1 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 4 February 2017

Kongres Magazine



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



A closed event that is an essential meeting point of cherry-picked buyers and New European meeting providers.

A trade show organised in a cost- and time-efficient manner.




Never just a number. An individual approach is what Conventa swears by. You will find the personal touch at every step of the way.

A place filled with energy, warmth and great hospitality!



Pre-scheduled Oneto-One meetings were you get to know every potential business partner in person.

Personally experiencing meeting destinations on fam trips.


Social events where exhibitors and hosted buyers can mix and business match even further in a more relaxed atmosphere.


Educational modules tailor-made for exhibitors and hosted buyers.



Friendly and professional Conventa staff available to every guest 24/7.

Tradition, trust, high standards and a high satisfaction rate - in eight years 899 exhibitors from 17 countries and 1,716 hosted buyers from 45 countries have conducted 21,116 meetings at Conventa. Create your own personal Conventa experience!

Conventa Addendum

A SIMPLE GUIDE TO MAXIMUM EXPOSURE AT CONVENTA Conventa offers 365-day marketing support to all those exhibiting at the show. The basic steps to increasing visibility and creating a buzz before, during and after the show are: COMPANY DESCRIPTION in One2One system and the Conventa Catalogue Write a good presentation of your company that will help you establish quality contacts with hosted buyers and will contribute to your successful performance at the trade show.










21. 01. 2016


“ Tina Ramujkić

My experience here in Slovenia has been every bit of what we call “incentive quality.” The genuine authenticity of the experience here is one of the most important element of a unique travel experience. The food and wine experience has been exquisite and the sophistication of the local and regional industry provides the foundation for what will surely be a growing invective market and region in the near and distant future. Here are some of the adjectives and attributes our board members have expressed based on their experience so far.” Kevin M. Hinton, SITE‘s CEO

ADVERTORIAL - Good practice example in the Conventa Catalogue Show you’ve got what it takes! Select an example of good practice that will highlight your advantages. VIDEO INTERVIEW: Conventa Chat Room Become a TV star and be the guest of a 120 second interview recorded in a studio at the event. The video will reach a wide audience, as it will be distributed across all of the Conventa and Kongres magazine’s channels.

Don’t miss a lecture by Johanna Fischer, managing director of tmf-dialogue marketing in Europe and India, 21 January 2016, from 11.00 - 11.45 At GR - Ljubljana exhibition and Convention Centre, Urška hall



Learn what it takes to build up an efficient communication system that can help you to stand out from competition and allows many synergies and an economic use of money and resources. Use multiple channels for a worldwide dialogue with the meetings industry and the planners and see some case studies from destinations or organizations who successfully apply content marketing which is in-line with what planners need and search for.

Don’t miss the leading business-tobusiness event for NEW EUROPE! See you in Ljubljana, at Conventa, from 18 to 19 January 2017.

SHORT INTERVIEW – Who is Who at Conventa Generate further interest in you and your company. Give interesting and fun answers to the questions in the ‘Who is Who at Conventa’ section of the catalogue. NEWS in Conventa Daily Introduce yourself in the print and digital version of Conventa Daily, the trade show newspaper that is read by every participant. 8TH Conventa WITH CONVENTA, YOUR COFFEE CUP NEVER RUNS DRY 20 – 21 january 2016

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – Voice from the Top Share your thoughts and opinions. Choose the in-depth interview where meetings industry leaders present their own story of success. ADVERTORIAL – different options to choose from A little promotion goes a long way, from destination presentations and product presentations to classical PRs and ADs. The Conventa catalogue is the best publication to attract further attention and maximize your presence at Conventa.



years of SUCCESS


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Fo r A4_A Cool Capital for Great Meetings.indd 1


C oo A l Cco aopl c a ee it p tin a it gs l a


ADVERTORIAL Conventa Guide in the Conventa Catalogue Short and sweet: thematic presentations of partners and their offer.

12/11/14 14:33


11. 07. 13 11:02

Exhibitors at Conventa are granted special discounts for all of the above mentioned services, while the Conventa team will gladly offer them free advice and help with preparing their individual marketing mix. For further information please write to


Conventa Addendum


MYTH: CONVENTA IS THE WORLDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S VERY FIRST TRADE SHOW. PARTLY CONFIRMED: Conventa is always the first - the first to open the annual trade show season, that is, as it is traditionally organised every January.


MYTH: OVER THE YEARS CONVENTA HAS HOSTED AROUND 1,000 HOSTED BUYERS AND FACILITATED 10,000 MEETINGS. BUSTED: In seven years Conventa has hosted 899 exhibitors and 1,716 hosted buyers. Over the years 21,160 one2one meetings have been held during the show.

MYTH: CONVENTA HELPS MEETING PLANNERS AND MEETING PROVIDERS SAVE MONEY. CONFIRMED: Only at Conventa does an investment of 55 EUR brings hosted buyers VIP treatment worth 1,200 EUR, while exhibitors pay only 9 Euros for a lead, which is one-tenth of the price paid by the exhibitors at other major trade shows.


BUSTED: After Conventa also opened its exhibition floor to meeting providers coming from New Europe in 2015, exhibitors from Turkey, Greece, Azerbaijan and Russia have joined the show.


CONFIRMED: Conventa invites every guest to a cup of coffee. In 2016, over 2,500 cups of coffee were served by Bernardin Group Resorts & Hotels, sponsor of the coffee break.


CONFIRMED: Conventa is solely a hosted-buyer driven show where each exhibitor on average concludes 24 One2One meetings with quality hosted buyers.


BUSTED: The number of countries meeting providers come from has doubled over the years.

MYTH: HOSTED BUYERS AT CONVENTA ARE ALWAYS THE SAME. BUSTED: Every year around 82 % of buyers are new at Conventa.

MYTH: THE IDEA OF CONVENTA WAS A STRATEGIC DECISION MADE AT A PARTNERS MEETING. BUSTED: The idea of Conventa was born in a more relaxed atmosphere, not while drinking coffee, but while drinking beer!


CONFIRMED: Conventa stands are made of wooden crates from naturally dried domestic pine that are being re-used each year. It takes around 3,200 wooden crates to set up all of the Conventa stands.


CONFIRMED: Conventa is fully committed to reducing the negative environmental impacts of the trade show by implementing sustainable practices that add value to every participant and to the local community. In 2011, Conventa won the Sustainable Stand Award at EIBTM.


CONFIRMED: On a scale from 1-5, average satisfaction of hosted buyers with the show is 4.59. A whopping 88.9 % of exhibitors think investment in exhibiting at Conventa will pay off completely or at least partly. The reputation of Conventa has been rated with 4.52 points.


BUSTED: The farthest distance a hosted buyer travelled to come to Conventa 2016 is 9,212.69 km.


BUSTED: Conventa loves winter time. Did you know that in Ljubljana the snow is typically at its deepest on January 25, with a median depth of 12.5 cm, and that the depth exceeds 30.9 cm only one year out of ten? The snowiest Conventa was the 5th Conventa.


CONFIRMED: Conventa is a matchmaking platform in every sense of the word. A hosted buyer from Italy who met a buyer from Russia at Conventa 2015 is now getting married to her in Slovenia.

Conventa Addendum

“TO BE, OR NOT TO BE” IS NOT A QUESTION Why participating at Conventa is a smart marketing decision

WHY MEETING PROVIDERS SHOULD EXHIBIT? SAVING TIME AND MONEY In just two days you have the chance to meet around 170 international and more than 100 regional and Slovene buyers, all in one place. What will impress your financial department most is that at Conventa you pay for a lead only one-tenth of the price you pay at other trade shows.

WHY MEETING PLANNERS SHOULD APPLY FOR HOSTED BUYER STATUS? DISCOVERING NEW DESTINATIONS Conventa opens your meetings horizons. The trade show introduces you to around 15 different New European destinations, 140 meeting providers and offers a personal experience of one destination of your choice at a fam trip.

MEETING CHERRY-PICKED BUYERS Around 90 % of meeting planners are new to the show each year and they all have to meet the organiser’s strict criteria in order to acquire hosted buyer status.

ALL EXPENSES COVERED The hosted buyer programme includes a complimentary economy return air ticket from selected destinations, local transfers, accommodation, meals, evening receptions and a fam trip.

NETWORKING EVERY STEP OF THE WAY Conventa is the only trade show that organises joint social events, making sure exhibitors and hosted buyers can continue networking beyond the trade show hours.

PERSONAL ITINERARY OF APPOINTMENTS You get access to the online hosted buyer zone, where you can schedule one-to-one appointments with the exhibiting companies of your interest.

MARKETING THROUGH CONVENTA CHANNELS Conventa continuously communicates with more than 50,000 meeting professionals. Promoting exhibitors and your stories is what we do successfully 365 days a year.

VIP TREATMENT You will feel like Royals with the 24/7 support of the Conventa team, enjoying great hospitality and positive energy in a relaxed atmosphere all packed into a one-ofa-kind Conventa experience.

GAINING NEW KNOWLEDGE Conventa offers several educational modules discussing relevant topics, following trends and answering burning questions. All free of charge and led by the best meetings industry professionals!

The 9TH Conventa will be held from 18 to 19 January 2017 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.


GAINING NEW KNOWLEDGE It has always been important to offer free of charge professional education to you as part of the Conventa experience and on the other hand also give you a chance to educate others about what you do best during the show at our Experts’ corner.


Kongres Magazine

HOW TO EVALUATE AND DEFINE ‘THE BEST’ FROM Meeting planners, FOR Meeting planners Key to evaluation criteria 2016

Destination evaluations are based on thorough analyses of different criteria. They have developed from interviews and surveys with over 1,200 event organisers from across Europe, work that showed us that congress destinations are comparable and helped us to form a unique model of evaluation. A mixture of factors that we have been evaluating since 2010 can affect the entire meeting experience for both congress organisers and participants.

During our years of assessment, three basic categories were formed, which are related to the size of a destination: - National Meeting Destinations destinations: with more than 150,000 inhabitants - Regional Meeting Destinations destination: with less than 150,000 inhabitants - Local Meeting Destinations destinations: with less than 20,000 inhabitants

Each category has its own standards, with important professional and other comparable criteria also playing a major role. Listed below are the main groups of criteria that have been divided into subgroups.

A. Natural and cultural factors

C. Tourist infrastructure C

E. Subjective grade E

B. General and transport infrastructure


D. Meetings infrastructure D

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

1. Natural diversity 2. Climate and Weather 3. Social environment 4. Cultural heritage 5. Natural experience index 6. Historical sites 7. Architecture 8. Accessibility to nature 9. Sustainability satisfaction 10. Quality of ecosystem 1. Destination safety 2. Accessibility - road 3. Accessibility - air 4. Accessibility - rail 5. General public services 6. Airport 7. Public transport 8. Financial institutions 9. Internet access 10. Pollution index

1. Restaurant scene 2. Variety of bars and coffee shops 3. Nightlife 4. Leisure activities 5. Adrenaline activities 6. Sports activities 7. Shopping 8. Fun parks, casinos 9. Theatres, musical venues, cinemas 10. Tourist information system 1. History and references 2. Variety of meeting suppliers 3. Quality of meeting hotels 4. Convention and exhibition centres 5. Ratio of 4 and 5***** hotel rooms 6. Incentive programmes 7. Professionalism of meetings industry 8. Diversity of offer 9. Effective convention bureau activities 10. Support services


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

Kongres Kongresmeetologue Magazine

WHO IS THE MYSTERY MEETING PLANNER? A professional person who has years of experience as meeting planner. Required skills and competencies to ensure objectivity are: • Min. 15 years of international experience in the meetings industry • K nowledge of international standards and specific knowledge of control standards (DIN (Deutsche Industry Norm), and others; • K nowledge of trends in the meetings industry in both the domestic and international markets; • Identifying the specific needs and preferences of meeting planners • K nowledge of all the necessary elements for guest satisfaction (technical specifications, catering services, additional services, security etc,). In addition, our examiners have a checked reference in the field of quality assurance of their own work in the meetings industry, which provides an unbiased view on behalf of the client and the maximum reliability of the method. Our hidden meeting planners are objective, fair, accurate and reliable, as well as being well-organised and paying attention to detail. With different destinations we evaluate over 70 criteria that are described in detail below. They form the final destination grade or the‚ MEETINGS EXPERIENCE INDEX‘, as we like to call it. The best destinations are annually recognised on the main stage of the Conventa Trade Show. A. Natural and cultural factors
 Factors that are vital for the development of the meetings industry, because events are usually focussed on the more appealing destinations.

We grade everything from regional diversity, climate conditions and social attractiveness to architecture, historical sites and the attitude towards continual development of the market. The whole picture gives us an image of the diversity of a destination and is an important criteria for its attractiveness. B. General and transport infrastructure

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

 Without appropriate tourist infrastructure, the development of congress tourism is nearly imposible. The assesement shows if there is an appropriate quality and accessibility of hotel capacity, restaurants, cafes and nightlife. We also grade the recreational/sport offer as a basis for incentive programmes. On top of that, the cultural offer, tourist information and destination managment are also given full assessment. D. Meetings infrastructure
 For many the most important part is grading the congress capacity. In this section we evaluate the standard palette of congress providers, congress hotels, congress centres, exhibition centres and focus on their quality. We want to know the number of appropriate 4 and 5 star

hotel room providers and, above all, that the incentive offer, business attitude and professionalism of congress providers is supportive of congress services and the activities of their local convention bureau. E. Subjective grade Within the remit of subjective grading are a number of combined criteria that include political stability, destination safety and the attitude taken to congress tourism. We also assess the ratio between quality and price, the competitiveness of the destinaton, local hospitality and the destination‘s overall image. A lot of this boils down to the personal experience of the assessors. F. Marketing buzz Despite impressively fulfilling the other criteria, proactive marketing can be the element that sorts the good from the great. This is why we assess the development of the entire marketing infrastructure in the field of direct, digital, social and traditional marketing. An added value of our project it that we can then offer recomendations and suggestions on the further positive development of the destinations reviewed. After evaluation, the destinations are then assigned one of five categories as follows: 5 excellent meetings destination 4 quality meetings destination 3 recommendable meetings destination 2 average meetings destination 1 so-so



very year the editorial board of Kongres magazine aims to further refine the Meetologue methodology in order to assure the most authentic score reflecting the genuine situation of congress destinations. In 2015, we added the NUMBEO index of quality of life to the existing criteria, but as in recent years the quality of congress destinations has become heavily dependent on security, this year we went a step further and have included the most relevant assessment, the Global Peace Index, in the comparison. This index has classified countries according to 24 factors, including the prevalence of violence, organised crime and

military expenditure. Norway, a country known for promoting peace in the world, is at the top of the list and closely followed by New Zealand and Denmark, with countries like Iraq, Sudan, Israel and Russia at the bottom. The research carried out for the Economist Intelligence Unit, which is associated with The Economist weekly, was supported by among others the Tibetan Dalai Lama, the former US President Jimmy Carter and the US economist Joseph Stiglitz, all three Nobel Prize winners for peace. Also new is a more realistic application of the ICCA methodology. When classifying destinations we took into account the ten-year average 123

number of events and participants, which was compared with the actual results for the year 2015. In doing this we have produced a scale that we believe reflects the actual situation. More information about this part of the analysis can be found in the magazine. The best congress destinations will receive a Meetings Star 2016 award at Conventa 2017, the boutique trade show for meetings, events, congresses and incentives. Furthermore, we believe our assessments are truly objective and can assist event organisers, whilst also enabling destinations to improve the areas where the current situation is not at the level it should be.

Kongres Magazine






























































































































Key to evaluation criteria 2016 A. Natural and cultural factors
 B. General and transport infrastructure

 C. Tourist infrastructure

 D. Meetings infrastructure
 E. Subjective grade F. Marketing buzz G. ICCA index 2015 H. Quality of life index (Numbeo) I. Global Peace Index

Every year the editorial board of Kongres magazine aims to further refine the Meetologue methodology in order to assure the most authentic score reflecting the genuine situation of congress destinations. In 2015, we added the NUMBEO index of quality of life to the existing criteria, but as in recent years the quality of congress destinations has become heavily dependent on security, this year we went a step further and have included the most relevant assessment, the Global Peace Index, in the comparison. Also new is a more realistic application

of the ICCA methodology. When classifying destinations we took into account the ten-year average number of events and participants, which was compared with the actual results for the year 2015. The best congress destinations will receive a Meetings Star 2016 award at Conventa 2017, the boutique trade show for meetings, events, congresses and incentives. Furthermore, we believe our assessments are truly objective and can assist event organisers, whilst also enabling destinations to improve the areas where the current situation is not at the level it should be.





Kongres Magazine












































































Key to evaluation criteria 2016 A. Natural and cultural factors
 B. General and transport infrastructure

 C. Tourist infrastructure

 D. Meetings infrastructure
 E. Subjective grade F. Marketing buzz G. ICCA index 2015 H. Quality of life index (Numbeo) I. Global Peace Index


Every year the editorial board of Kongres magazine aims to further refine the Meetologue methodology in order to assure the most authentic score reflecting the genuine situation of congress destinations. In 2015, we added the NUMBEO index of quality of life to the existing criteria, but as in recent years the quality of congress destinations has become heavily dependent on security, this year we went a step further and have included the most relevant assessment, the Global Peace Index, in the comparison. Also new is a more realistic application


of the ICCA methodology. When classifying destinations we took into account the ten-year average number of events and participants, which was compared with the actual results for the year 2015. The best congress destinations will receive a Meetings Star 2016 award at Conventa 2017, the boutique trade show for meetings, events, congresses and incentives. Furthermore, we believe our assessments are truly objective and can assist event organisers, whilst also enabling destinations to improve the areas where the current situation is not at the level it should be.



Kongres Magazine



































































































































* Population of all area.

Key to evaluation criteria 2016 A. Natural and cultural factors
 B. General and transport infrastructure

 C. Tourist infrastructure

 D. Meetings infrastructure
 E. Subjective grade F. Marketing buzz G. ICCA index 2015 H. Quality of life index (Numbeo) I. Global Peace Index

RE MTLG'S READ MO-m www.kongres

Every year the editorial board of Kongres magazine aims to further refine the Meetologue methodology in order to assure the most authentic score reflecting the genuine situation of congress destinations. In 2015, we added the NUMBEO index of quality of life to the existing criteria, but as in recent years the quality of congress destinations has become heavily dependent on security, this year we went a step further and have included the most relevant assessment, the Global Peace Index, in the comparison. Also new is a more realistic application


of the ICCA methodology. When classifying destinations we took into account the ten-year average number of events and participants, which was compared with the actual results for the year 2015. The best congress destinations will receive a Meetings Star 2016 award at Conventa 2017, the boutique trade show for meetings, events, congresses and incentives. Furthermore, we believe our assessments are truly objective and can assist event organisers, whilst also enabling destinations to improve the areas where the current situation is not at the level it should be.





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Kongres Magazine

TOPICS AND DATES / Published  times per year

Kongres Magazine is far from being just a magazine. It is the only provider of integrated congress marketing communications, with which you can make effective dialogue with the meetings industry audience. Because we know what meetings industry payers really need and how to ensure their long-term loyalty, we can make above-average, high-quality, relevant, independent, in-depth and interesting meetings industry stories. In 2016 they will be dedicated to you and your customers even more.





Daily newspaper, which will be released during the Conventa trade show and which brings to exhibitors and hosted buyers daily news from Conventa.

SPACE CLOSE: 11.12.2015

MATERIALS DUE: DELIVERY: 18.12.2015 20. - 21.01.2016





Special edition, published as a catalogue of Conventa together with extensive destination presentations and presentations of participating partners. In terms of content this is the most comprehensive overview of the meetings industry in the region of Central and Southeast Europe.



In Focus: TASTE - five senses

Participants will always remember an event by its sensory, gastronomic experience. It is well known that humans can remember almost everything, if they are able to hear, see, touch or taste the information. Like nothing else food can ignite truly nostalgic feelings. In the spring issue we will present a number of ways to create different impressions at events, everything from those connected with time (traditional, futuristic) and technology (natural, organic, artificial) to those geared towards sophistication (exclusive, grand). Hot Spot: EVENT CREATION How to create creative experimental events Themed supplement: CATERING SURVEY 2016

SPACE CLOSE: 12.02.2016

MATERIALS DUE: 19.02.2016

DELIVERY: 26.03.2016



SPACE CLOSE: 11.12.2015

MATERIALS DUE: DELIVERY: 18.12.2015 20. - 21.01.2016


THE POSITIVE PATH TO THE PARTICIPANT’S MIND TAKES US THROUGH OUR SENSES In Ancient Greece Aristotle outlined the 5 senses that we all now and understand today. The coming year will be dedicated to those senses, which are also the biggest amplifiers of emotional experience in your event. With the proper use of our senses we can establish either a positive or a negative attitude towards events. This important subject will be founded on a scientific as well as completely practical viewpoint, through best advice on how to set off the right set of stimuli.



Since 2010, Kongres magazine has been publishing CONGRESS TRAVELOGUES, which were renamed MEETOLOGUES. International meeting planners thus discover little-known European convention destinations. All existing travelogues of the NEW EUROPE will be issued in a special issue of Kongres magazine, which will be released prior to IMEX trade show. With high-quality editorial content, travelogues completely replace the tedious and irrelevant catalogues of meetings suppliers. Digital versions of MEETOLOGUES are currently the most read sections of the Kongres magazine.

SPACE CLOSE: 09.04.2016

MATERIALS DUE: 16.04.2016

DELIVERY: 14.05.2016

128430 51 04, M: +386 (0)40 530 112, E:, KONGRES MAGAZINE Stihova 4, SI-1000 Ljubljana, T: + 386 (0)1 430 51 03, F: + 386 (0)1

Kongres Magazine PRINT AUDIENCE

TOTAL AUDIENCE of 60.700 readers:


meeting planners

------------29,65 % of total number





Meeting planners wish for something new. You would like – for the same or lower price – to see the yet unseen places, taste un-tasted delicacies, unknown wines and experience undiscovered experiences. Central and South East Europe offers numerous pleasant incentive secrets in the worldwide meetings industry, waiting to be discovered.

SPACE CLOSE: 14.05.2016

MATERIALS DUE: 21.05.2016

DELIVERY: 18.06.2016



In Focus: SIGHT - five senses

Colour, light, darkness, design and unusual imagery that reach out beyond the regular boundaries can arouse your curiosity and have a direct effect on your emotional sensors. Today, technology offers unlimited visual solutions that can be used at events, but we will also point out the problems with an overload of visual images. Today images also aren’t enough in themselves, so we must keep our participant’s nostrils and ears open at the same time and receptive to new smells and sounds. In our summer issue we will also cover the important role of branding and creating the perfect event.

Hot Spot: EVENT PRODUCTION How to organise viable events

MATERIALS DUE: 25.06.2016

meeting planners

34.000 meeting


------------1,98 % of total number

(e-magazines and e-newsletters)


In Focus: TOUCH - five senses

If you want to showcase a new product, you have to make sure that participants can feel it and get familiar with its texture. If the presentation is about services, you have to have the right marketing materials, as well as the social networks to generate the right experience. Getting to ‘touch’ a brand is only possible through the use of good materials, varied surfaces and interesting shapes. Touch not only has a physical effect, but also a big mental one, as it creates memories and stirs personal emotions. Hot Spot: EVENT MARKETING How to make desirable events Themed supplement: INNOVATIVE PEOPLE & EVENTS

SPACE CLOSE: 20.08.2016

MATERIALS DUE: 27.08.2016


DELIVERY: 23.07.2016

In Focus: SOUND - five senses

In the auditory sphere humans are highly affected by different sounds and particularly by music. Music is a way an artist expresses himself and his emotional body language, and it has an extraordinary power of stimulating our sensations. How to create the best musical atmosphere, make an event jingle with excitement and bring a personal musical signature to an event will all be revealed in the winter issue of Kongres Magazine. Hot Spot: EVENT DIFERENTATION How to stand out from the crowd

SPACE CLOSE: 15.10.2016

MATERIALS DUE: 22.10.2016

appr. 7.500

meeting planners

------------12,36 %

------------56,01 % of total number

of total number




Based on more than 100 hidden guest’s ratings, which have been published in the Kongres Magazine.

SPACE CLOSE: 11.11.2016

MATERIALS DUE: 25.11.2016

DELIVERY: 15.12.2016


DELIVERY: 17.09.2016





Themed supplement: ADVENTURE PARKS 2016 OUTDOOR VENUES 2016

SPACE CLOSE: 18.06.2016


FALL 2016




DELIVERY: 15.11.2016













129430 51 04, M: +386 (0)40 530 112, E:, KONGRES MAGAZINE Stihova 4, SI-1000 Ljubljana, T: + 386 (0)1 430 51 03, F: + 386 (0)1



BEST MEETING DESTINATIONS 2016 62 Meetologues of New Europe 220 new features and attractions from destinations for 2016 17 countries


n line with the Kongres Meetologue project we have once again been discovering meeting destinations new and old to compare and evaluate them based on: - Natural and cultural factors - General and transport infrastructure - Tourist infrastructure - Meetings infrastructure - Marketing buzz Given the many changes and new innovations that have happened throughout the past year, we have also re-evaluated destinations that have already been assessed in the past. To date, we have visited and evaluated 62 destinations, adding a subjective grade to each and every one of them. As an additional criterion we have also taken into account the ICCA Country and City Ranking 2014 and any data available on quality of life (Numeo) for the individual capitals. To carry out a fair and balanced assessment the cities were divided into three categories: - Large and medium sized cities with more than 150,000 inhabitants - Smaller regional and local towns with less than 150,000 inhabitants - Small tourist destinations with less than 15,000 inhabitants


incentives, business travel & meetings expo

We look forward to connecting you with the global meetings, events and incentives industry in 2016




from across the globe, ready to connect with you

to help you plan your future meetings & events

with industry friends & colleagues

international industry professionals

exhibitors representing over 150 countries

networking events to connect and engage


global market place for you

to do business, network, learn & be inspired

Connections mean everything. Connect with us at

Organised by

The ibtm world速 and ibtm events速 trademarks are owned and protected by Elsevier Properties SA and Reed Exhibitions Limited uses such trademark under licence. Hosted Buyer速 is a registered trademark of Reed Exhibitions Limited. Reed Travel Exhibitions速 is a registered trademark of Reed Elsevier Group Plc.


Think out of the box. Surprise your clients. Exceed your goals. THINK BLUE.

Sell more, work less. CRM that fits your needs.


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

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

A A4_A Cool Capital for Great Meetings.indd 1

12/11/14 14:33


July 2016

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