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/10/ EXCLUSIVE SURVEY SOUTHEAST EUROPE MEETING PLANNER PROFILE 2014 First survey on the habits of regional meeting planners /102/ ZAGREB REPORT Zagreb for meetings and events


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9 771855 861009 VOLUME VIII, ISSUE 7 // November 2014




100 %



I FEEL INSPIRED BY WHERE WE MEET At the crossroads of Europe we come together to do business. Accessible, affordable with fine Slovenian hospitality, all you need to do is provide the people.

SLOVENIA. Green. Active. Healthy. #ifeelslovenia

OUR SELECTION Page 5 Editorial Editor Gorazd Čad on Boutique Meeting Destinations In Focus Page 18 APP SCENE 2015 Page 15 E-newspapers are dead - Wanted dead or alive TOP 10 Page 32 TOP 10 After Work Party Locations in Ljubljana Page 56 TOP Adriatic Iconic Meeting Hotels 2014 Page 40 Voice From The Top Iztok Bricl, Director of GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre Page 82 Behind the Scenes Hotel Bellevue, Lošinj Island Page 71 Fresh Meetologues Salzburg Rogaška Slatina Briefing Page 42 ICCA 2014 Page 69 SALZBURG Page 81 LOŠINJ ISLAND Page 94 Hidden Congress Guest - Best Western Plus Hotel Piramida, Maribor, Slovenia - Hotel Aristos, Zagreb, Croatia - Hotel San Martin, Šmartno, Slovenia - Hotel Vander, Ljubljana, Slovenia - Hotel Bellevue, Lošinj - Amfora Grand Beach Resort, Hvar, Croatia - Hotel Špik, Gozd Martuljek, Slovenia Page 109 Croatia Addendum Aleksandra Uhernik Đurđek, Reflections of a Croatian PCO Interview with Zrinka Bokulić, CEO of Laguna Novigrad Case studie, 6th Congress of the Croatian Society of Radiology Goran Tomašević, How to organise fun events and festivals? INCLUDES MEETINGS STAR 2014 Kongres magazine TOP 10 city, resort, boutique meeting hotels 2014


THE PEOPLE WHO MADE THIS ISSUE DANIELA KOS Daniela Kos graduated from Zagreb’s Faculty of Business and Economics. An entrepreneur with a specific interest in marketing, after starting her career in the IT industry and culture Daniela has gone on to today run the first Croatian media for the meetings industry. ŠPELA JERUC With her youthful energy Špela carries out even the most difficult journalistic tasks. Over the past two years she has become an important part of the Kongres team and is now ready to conquer the media world

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. GORAN TOMAŠEVIĆ Is the owner of Uhvati Ritam agency, specialised in event management, PR for nightclubs and festivals, as well as a leading social network specialist for the hospitality industry.


G Editor in Chief Gorazd Čad Assistant to the Editor in Chief Danaja Besnard, Špela Jeruc Editor of Croatia Addendum Daniela Kos Editor of Kongres Telescope Robert Cotter Design Nenad Cizl dtp and prepress Premedia, Andrej Juvan Translation Danaja Besnard Printing EVROGRAFIS d.o.o. Circulation 6000 copies ISSN Number 1855-8615 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 November 2014 For the content reproduction it is required to get the written editorial consigment.

ALEKSANDRA UHERNIK ĐURĐEK Graduated from University of Zagreb, Aleksandra is a meeting and motivational event professional. With over 15 years of experiences, she has created special meetings and events all over Croatia.

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.

ISSN 1 8 5 5 - 8 6 1 5

9 771855 861009


Meeting planners touching points: Internet + Print + Interactive TV + direct ONE2ONE Integration + Consistency + Flexilbility + Insight = KONGRES MAGAZINE


READERS Kongres magazine total unduplicated reach of 41.200 meeting professionals.

18-20 November 2014 Barcelona, Spain





Top level global decision makers meet here. See you in 2014: 18 – 20 November. (,%70LVDWUXHJOREDOIRFDOSRLQWZKHUHWKHPHHWLQJVDQGHYHQWVLQGXVWU\FRQQHFWV&RQVWDQWO\HYROYLQJWRUHƃHFWWKH market, EIBTM brings together over 15,000 industry professionals for three days. Three days of discovery and focus in a dynamic business environment. Three days of one-to-one appointments and three days of networking with the decision makers that matter to drive your business forward. EIBTM. Where the global meetings and events industry connects. EIBTM is part of IBTM Global Events: AFRICA

Organised by:

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Reed Travel Exhibitions is a registered trademark of Reed Elsevier Group Plc. The EIBTM® trademark is owned and protected by Elsevier Properties SA and Reed Exhibitions Limited uses such trademark under licence.

14/03/2014 15:28

A word from the editor

BOUTIQUE MEETINGS INDUSTRY What’s Cooking in the Balkans Congress Pot?

Gorazd Čad, Editor, Kongres magazine


’ve just returned from an event that was held in a quite retro hotel resort, reminiscent of the hotels from a bygone era. Interestingly, the event was considered to be extremely successful and very pleasant, one in which authenticity and atmosphere replaced the usual hotel glamour. It was an event where the content was the focus rather than the form, the latter being something that we are daily exposed to through the aggressive marketing of the more glamorous convention destinations. Not a year passes without some new tourist paradigm, effectively the recycling of old concepts and ideas, appearing on the market. This year’s hit is nanotourism, with almost all of its outward expressions based on an interpretation of the phenomenon of our postmodern times, one that tends toward individualism and self-organisation. With this also being the case in the field of congress tourism, a whole range of new needs and different types of buyers has been appearing on the industry landscape - there is a new definition of luxury taking shape. The region of Southeast Europe is one that is full of specialised, niche convention destinations that are a refreshing counterbalance to the more developed congress ‘factories’, whose participants are often just mere numbers. More and more organisers and participants want new, original adventures bringing them into close contact with nature and culture, as well as with elements of edutainment, a topic that we covered in the most recent issue of the Kongres magazine. Since, however, there is no clear definition of precisely what a BOUTIQUE MEETING DESTINATION is, I am going to try to toy with a few criteria that can at least vaguely plot out what this concept is about: STANDARDS - a destination with a large number of congress products that are different from the norm. This can include design, ecoand other boutique hotels, specialised incentive agencies and special venues. ACCOMMODATION - The number of boutique


hotels that offer a genuine personal experience, atmosphere, and a highly personal approach. FOOD – a superb culinary experience that may not always be able to be measured in Michelin stars, but rather by its quality and sincere efforts to satisfy the congress guests. ATHMOSPHERE - created by the surroundings, by nature, by the cultural heritage and the ensemble of which suggests a feeling of familiarity and prestige, but that at the same time has that ‘surprise’ factor. IMAGE – particularly that generated outwards by the tourist promotion and policy, which currently, unfortunately, has the situation of a predominant image as low-cost option. PERSONAL APPROACH – whereby a boutique congress destination can afford to pamper each guest individually, making the congress participant much more than just a number. SPECIAL STORIES – providing original, well prepared and superbly implemented congress stories. Many readers may roll their eyes at all this and think that we are still pretty far from being the boutique destination, but let me draw your attention to some facts in support of what I have outlined: Firstly, in the catalogue of incentive ideas for the region of South-East Europe we gathered more than 250 unique incentive programmes that you will not find anywhere else in the continent. When we investigated boutique hotels suitable for smaller conferences, we were faced with the major challenge of how to choose the best from more than 80 quality proposals. There are also some peculiarities of the region that are world phenomena and offer unique experiences, no less so than the case of hosting events in the heart of the Postojna Cave. Then there are the the culinary jewels, such as Franko’s House, La Subida, or Batelina by Banjole, all of which need no further superlatives lavished upon them. And for an event in this region you can even privatise an island off the Croatian coast – where else would that be possible? 5

With such riches at our disposal, the weakest link in the entire operation is image, where we sway between one of mass tourism and one with a little bit of thinking about being boutique. At some point it will become necessary to take a decision. The greatest luxury we have in the region, however, is that we are truly genuine and can offer a ‘lived’ congress story for congress participants, so much so that the bond between organisers and participants can make the farewell at the end of the event a heart-breaking moment. Creating boutique events will be the next challenging, but richly rewarding, journey for our region.

Read the story of Goriška Brda, which is the best example of a boutique convention destination. Goriška Brda is passionate, energetic and full of primary congress will to live.

Exclusive interview

MICHEL NEIJMANN DEFINING MOMENTS: Craziest destination: only in my imagination Craziest event: my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, where the snow prevented almost half of the guests to attend. Hotel to return to: I like trying new hotels Best Concert: my first live rock concert, Marillion in Rotterdam Ahoy, mid eighties Best Rock band: too many to mention


Exclusive interview

INTERVIEW WITH MICHEL NEIJMANN, IAPCO PRESIDENT A full service model for PCOs nowadays includes many more services that are of a strategic nature, rather than logistics alone Text by Špela Jeruc

Q: What is recently happening on the International PCO scene? PCOs are dealing with a number of considerable changes in the way that delegates and industry partners engage in meetings and events. In many societies around the world people and industry partners prefer a more individual approach, and require customized services. Q: What are the latest trends? Have you noticed any new approaches? Trends in the meetings industry follow this change towards more individual expectations and requirements. Technological tools have strongly influenced the way people process content and communicate, which drives the organizers to adjust the services and supplies delivery and their own business models as well. Q: Would you say that the classical logistic PCO’s have extinct today? The fact that previously ‘unique’ services have commoditized and may no longer offer a sustainable business model. This does not mean that these services or their providers have become extinct. A full service model for PCOs nowadays includes many more services that are of a strategic nature, rather than logistics alone. Q: What separates superior from average PCO’s? The term ‘superior’ somehow seems to refer to connotations that do not sit well with me. Some PCOs run profitable business models and at the same time spend considerable time and effort on improving the environment in which they operate. Such a commitment will reflect benefits to clients, staff, communities and company performance on many levels. We are in the people business and therefore the performance of a successful PCO requires measurement not only on technical elements, but also on the wider variety of engagement with the client and their mission. Q: What will be the future of International and local PCO’s? I do not pretend to know anything about the future, so the answer is “no idea”. I see that the current market offers enough business for international and local PCOs who are committed to

delivering quality, and keep questioning, developing and improving their performance. Q: How do you assess the development in Eastern Europe and especially in SouthEastern Europe? As there are many clients who seek to develop their membership (or product base) in those areas, there is a natural development of service providers. There are new convention bureaus being created and also commercial operators seek to increase their market share. There is a clear situation of demand-and-supply and as such the business opportunities will grow. Q: What are your plans with the management of the IAPCO association? The IAPCO Council has agreed on a strategic plan about a year ago, and my role is to make sure we keep our focus and implement the agreed steps to consolidate and where necessary improve membership value.

CONGREX SWITZERLAND REJOINS IAPCO After the successful realignment of Congrex Switzerland in the past 12 months the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) decided to resume Congrex Switzerland as a member. Michel Neijmann, President of IAPCO, says “We are delighted that Congrex Switzerland is joining IAPCO again. The company has 32 years of history and excellent references”. “We are very proud to rejoin the IAPCO family and to share our knowledge and long term experiences with our colleagues. IAPCO plays a major role in our industry and we would like to actively get involved in its future journey”, said Alain Pittet, Managing Director of Congrex Switzerland.


Brief description of IAPCO Association: ABOUT IAPCO: Meeting Quality The International Association of Pro­fes­ sional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) was founded in 1968, is registered in Switzerland and represents today more than 114 professional organisers, meeting planners and managers of international and national congresses, conventions and special events from 40 countries. IAPCO members [2013] organise in excess of 6750 meetings annually, totalling some 2.718 million delegates and representing an economic impact in the region of 4.4 billion euros. IAPCO is committed to raising standards of service among its members and other sectors of the meetings industry. Today IAPCO membership offers a unique quality assurance, since entry into membership of IAPCO is by meeting strict criteria and by continuous quality assessment. The high quality standards are secured by means of continuing education and interaction with other professionals. The ‘Wolfsberg’ Annual Seminar, The Meetings MasterClass and the Annual Meeting & General Assembly of its members are the highlight events of IAPCO. For further information, please contact: IAPCO Head Office: Brambles House, Colwell Road, Freshwater, PO40 9SL, UK Email: ,

Frankfurt 19–21 May 2015

Smile – you’re invited to Frankfurt What happens at IMEX? IMEX is the meetings industry’s largest show, where international events and meeting planners come to meet representatives from all areas of the supplier world: from airlines and destinations to hotels, venues and service providers. It’s a great opportunity to talk business face to face and get deals done right then and there. As well as making valuable new connections and fuelling up on inspiration, a trip to IMEX will remind you why you love your job. Why should you be there? No two IMEX shows are the same. Each year brings a fresh display of creativity, culture, information and new ideas. Just arrive with a comfy pair of shoes, and you’ll leave with a head full of inspiration, an address book full of contacts, and a checklist full of smiley faces. Call +44 (0)1273 227311 Email @imex_group

The worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events.


CONVENTION BUREAU DELIVERING THE REAL VALUE Where are you in the development phase? Text by Miha Kovačič


n the last Kongres issue I discussed the role of the convention bureau. I would like to pose a question. Does the convention bureau provide logistical support? Or should it be a developer and networker between Business, Academia, Government, Research and Development, where the real value is? I can imagine most of the readers would agree all of that, and if possible much more. What needs to be done to get there? Our business model spans more than a century in the business. Why aren’t we there yet? It takes time, it really does. The Slovenian Convention Bureau just celebrated a decade and we haven’t solved the major issue i.e. stable government funding. This is not just the case in

my country. I can see from my colleagues that there are similar challenges across Europe and beyond. I see the only way is in crafting a mid-term strategy and getting major supporters on board, looking for industry supporters from your own country but also from the international environment. In my case the established international industry colleagues and associations, such as ICCA, have played and are still playing an important role in the development. I was also called several times by my European colleagues to share my knowledge and experiences in order that their meetings business environment develops in the right direction. Once a destination speaks the same language then it is the right time for establishing wider networks. Ambassador programmes are a fantastic model for how to connect Research, Development and Universities. There are great

examples out there on the market. The advantage of this is that success can be measured, is sustainable and demonstrates a true competitive advantage of the destination. So, what’s next? That all these stakeholders, both public and private, realise the true value of the role of a convention bureau and set up a nationwide policy that will strategically engage all of them with duties and benefits.

JAGUAR CHOSE LJUBLJANA FOR THEIR NEW COMMERCIAL Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia, for a few days became the set of a new Jaguar commercial. The piece features a live wild cat, filmed in a private zoo in Oxfordshire, combined with shots of the Jaguar F-TYPE shot on location in the beautiful Ljubljana.

In October, the elegant sports coupe has driven through the center of Ljubljana, BTC and past the World Trade Center buildings. The camera crew added the fog effects and carefully recorded every scene. The commercial is now


aguar’s founder William Lyons once said that the car is the “closest we’ve come to making something that feels alive”. This is where jaguar Land Rover took the inspiration for “Alive”, a new service video which shows the dedication and respect that goes into looking after a Jaguar, as well as the excitement of owning one.


in post production and will be release to the public in a couple of weeks. For now we can enjoy watching the making of “Alive”.



The Editorial Board of Kongres Magazine in past couple of months conducted and completed the first on-line survey on the habits of regional meeting planners. We received 167 answers and the survey is now completed.

Less than 10%

Most of the responses were still from corporate planners 39,02% followed by Independent planners 28,66%, Association 18.29 % and Government sector with 7,32%.

25.56 18.29





WHAT PERCENTAGE OF YOUR WORK TIME IS SPENT FOR ORGANIZING MEETINGS IN YOUR COMPANY? Half of the Meeting planners performs the function of the organization in addition to many other activities. More than 30% of our respondent spent more than 30% of their work time for organizing meetings in theirs companies.



Independ- Associa- Corprate ent tion

HOW MANY MEETINGS DO YOU PLAN EACH YEAR? The vast majority of meeting planners (64,67 %) organizes up to 10 events per year. Among them is the biggest part of those who organize from 1 to 5 events (44,31 %) and over 20% of meeting planners organize large number of events per year.

26.22 % 33.54 % 25.00 %

22.16 % 44.31 % 11.38 % 20.36 %

15.24 % 1 - 5

10-20 %

20 - 30%

More than 30%

10.87 7.88 5.71





Germany Montene- Macedogro nia


0.54 Slovakia



Over 20

Top 5 destinations that were used in the past for meetings are Slovenia 32,61%, Croatia 17,67%, Austria and Italy with 10,87% and Serbia 7,88%.



11- 20




6 - 10




Bosna and Hercegovina





Austria Belgium



Czech Denmark Finland Republic

The majority of responses came from Slovenia 56,89%, followed by our neighbouring countries Croatia with 13,17% and Italy with 5,99%.

France Germany Greece Hungary





8.13 36.41

41 - 100 participants 101 - 200 participants


201 - 500 participants





As we expected, meeting planners for their events most often choose hotels (36,41 %). Conference and Convention centres are still popular for organizing meetings since 27,20% answered this. Companies seek to differentiate their events from others so they are searching out more and more for unusual alternatives like special venues. They are popular among our respondents with 19,29%.


16 - 40 participants




1 - 15 participants



More than 500 participants



The average size of a typical meeting is up to 100 participants. In this category is a good half of all events (62,2 %). The share of events with more than 500 participant is relatively small and amount to 3,66 %, but the effect of such meetings is larger than with the smaller ones.

Conference Centre Special Venues Universities Other/Hospitals, Museums, Castles, Office, Ship, Shopping centre





Studies have shown that the average person can pay attention in a meeting for approximately 20 minutes before becoming fidgety, starting to daydream or working other projects. Average length of a meeting of our respondents is 1 day (30,49 %), followed by two-day meetings (28, 66 %). We noticed a trend of organizing shorter events.

Less then 1 day

3 days

1 day

4 days

2 days

More than 4 days





14.63 10.98


9.15 1.22

Significantly Decreasing decreasing (6 - 10%) ( -10%)

Slightly decreasing (1-5%)

Increasing (6-10%)

Slightly increasing (1-5%)

Staying the same

Significantly increasing (+10%)

We should take a good look on results on overall meeting spend within organizations. A total of 42,68 % of respondents said their 2014 meeting spend remained the same. 14,02 % were bracing for a significantly budget decrease. Only 1,22 % said their overall meeting spend significantly increased.



3.05 7.93







Convention Fam trips to Bureaus destinations / Tourist organizations

3.66 7.32


5.49 6.10


5.49 8.54





Local meeting planners

Meeting industry trade shows

Meeting industry magazines

7.32 5.49



7.93 8.54

4.27 5.49




In your dealings with DESTINATIONS, what annoys you most?




Venue find- Social media ing agencies




Friends and colleagues


More than 75% find information’s for their meetings by asking friend and colleagues and 68,29% said they use Google. Venue finding agencies are used the least. Almost half of respondent said they don’t use Fam Trips to destinations and Meeting industry trade shows. Unfortunately, Meeting industry magazines are used the least.











Less than 1 week ahead

6 months - 1 year ahead

1 week - 1 month ahead

1 year - 2 years ahead

1 month - 3 months ahead

More than 2 years ahead

31.71 67.07

3 months - 6 months ahead

More than 50 % said they book the venue of the meeting from 1 to 6 months ahead. A small proportion (3,32 %) book their venue more than 2 years ahead. 20,27 % of our respondent said they book the venue from 6 months to 1 year ahead.

The use of social media within meetings is expected to increase according to our respondants.


• Poor accessibility • More »first hand« information • Delay in response • Lack of flexibility • Not understanding the needs of the clients • Not respecting the budget • Non-commercial attitude in times of crisis • Destination does not offer good possibilities for farewell dinners, excursions for individuals • Lack of communication • Lack of flexibility of local meetings industry • Lack of special venues • Language issues • Late response to questions or remarks • Most Convention Bureaus / Tourist organizations tell you that they can help with "everything" but when it comes down to matters, the ability to help is minimal • Slow reaction time • Inflexibility • Unwillingness to adapt or search for common solutions • The connection of Slovenia with the rest of the world • Lack of flexibility and initiative providers • Lack of involvement of the local environment • Lack of innovation and positive surprises • Late and not detailed replies, especially when I am not familiar with the destination. • Excessive prices • Poor additional offer • The assumption they know what we are looking for! Never assume! Just deliver quality! • The can't do mentality: in our country we never do..... • Lack of CVB structure • Not listening to our demands • Unprofessional Staff • Unprofessionalism of local meetings industry • Incompetent transfer staff • Arranging transfer from point A to B




10.18 21.56





31.14 28.74 8.98





Attractiveness for Tourism






16.77 Visa Requirements


Professionalism of local meetings industry


41.92 40.26




Economic Stability







39.52 32.34




55.69 34.13






Safety and security

Value for money



Image od the Internadestination tional Hotel Brands


The most important things when they choose a destination is its accessibility (55,69 %) and value for money (52,10 %). The least important things are visa requirements (37,13 %) and climate (23,95 %). They give a lot of impact on the Image of the destination (41,92 %), attractiveness for tourism (39,52 %) and safety and security (28,14 %).












Flexibility of space

8.38 2.40 Price

22.16 7.78 6.59 Proximity to airport and public transport

3 4


9.58 2.99 2.40







24.55 7.78 3.59 Fast internet

16.17 1.20 4.19 Quality of the food and beverages

10.18 0.60 2.99 Quality of services provided by venue



1.20 3.59

5.42 1.20 1.81

Speed of response of venue sales staff

Professionalism of the venue staff

The majority said that professionalism of the venue staff is very important when choosing a venue for their meetings (78,31 %). Everybody still watches for the prices (57,49 %) and quality of services provided by the venue (49,10 %). Proximity to airport and public transport is not really important and does not effect when choosing a venue (6,59%). More than 45% of them said that quality of the food and beverages is also an important fact.


In your dealings with VENUES, what annoys you most? • »This is like we have always done it« - attitude • Lack of flexibility lack of understanding our clients’ need • Change of staff which is responsible for the event • If the Convention centre is not well separated from the other activities of the hotel – spa facilities are intertwined with congress facilities • Staff is not enough responsive to last minute changes • Noise from the outside • Poor and outdated equipment • They don’t deliver what they promised • Lack of transparency in charging – additional item spend • Very high costs for IT/internet resources • Language issues • Multimedia problems • Non-operating of techniques • Inflexibility in different client’s wishes • Failure to comply with previously agreed service • Problems with access and free parking spaces • Lack of comprehensive information, including the presentation of the surroundings, facilities… • Lack of efficient attitude • Poor response time and unwillingness to recognise association budget constraints • Too low standards in organizing events • Slow internet • Standardized offer of hotels and other organizers and service providers often do not respond to the specific requirements and conditions for the organization of “minor professional meetings”, with 50 to 100 participants • Unclear rules • When they do not recognize the difference between the academic and business communities, for instance lunch break or lunch! • When venue stuff does not consider my event as an important event • When they do not dedicate enough time to details or preconference meetings • Not responding promptly to my emails • No flexibility with final delegates number (estimated over real number)

25th February 2015

26th February 2015

Event Technology Conference

Event Marketing Conference

Venue Sales Masterclass

Meeting Design Masterclass

Eventex Awards Gala Ceremony

Eventex Party

In Focus

E-NEWSPAPERS ARE DEAD Wanted dead or alive Text by Gorazd čad


n the region, and especially in Slovenia, after a relative delay there came a flood of e-newspapers of individual meetings suppliers. Most of them are generic calls for the immediate opening of wallets and booking the best deals. This week alone I received six messages. After a detailed analysis of all of them a direct call to action can be observed, which is typically aimed at selling the best daily prices (DDR - Daily Delegate Rate). The key problem of e-newspapers is that they take up your time and in the end they are only read if the story is really interesting, otherwise they will be ignored. In our experience, the key is useful and interesting content that will be welcomed, shared on and redirect buyers to sales pages of the bidder. Without the right content your database of congress customers will be just dead capital. Keep it short and interesting. It is useful to connect all content into a SOCIAL AND CONTENT CANVAS, in which

well-defined news that will be included in the e-monthly is laid out, as well as how it will integrate into social networks. This is, in fact, a substantive revision that takes place in a similar way as editing a newspaper. The editor needs to know the habits of readers, when is the best time to send it out, what excites them and what really keeps them in suspense. I am convinced that a systematic approach creates a better rate of conversion and with good content marketing also creates a virus on social networks. Above all, you will build relationships with buyers and their conversion into buyers/ promoters, as some will also become your indirect promoters. It is very helpful if you are different, innovative and can think like your buyers. E-marketing is far from being a dead horse, but it is true that it all depends on how you tackle it. After all, according to data from 2013 there were some 3.9 billion e-mail addresses across

the world. Even more illustrative is the fact that every dollar invested in e-marketing is repaid by US $44.25 (source: emailexpert). The key to success is top content marketing and getting news profiled in Web anchorages and digital magazines. The construction of content reputation is very similar to the construction of a brand. How does Kongres magazine fare in this field? The basic performance indicators for this come through concrete analytics and data stats:

E-monthly example of Kongres, 2014:

Sent: 37,276 Delivery rate: 96.76 % (36,068) Open rate: 29.49 % (10,636) Unique open: 19.12 % (6,896) Click through rate: 5 % (1,803)

Based on several years of analysis and monitoring of responses to the campaign, a good convention e-newsletter consists of the following sets of selling stories, all accompanied by good photos:

1. EVENTS 20% of content New products, sales promotion, implemented conferences

2. CLIENTS 20% of content

Stories of satisfied customers, recommendations, conversations with the client, opinion leaders

3. USEFUL TIPS 30% of content

Useful tips, solutions for specific problems, answers to questions, or ‘did you knows’


4. PARTNERS 20% of content

Links to news of strategic and marketing partners. Contests and surveys in conjunction with partners that have a strong brand.

5. NEWS 10% of content

Monthly news about the company, a place for the publication of benefits and special offers

Kongres magazine

TATJANA RADOVIČ, HEAD OF LJUBLJANA TOURISM / CONVENTION BUREAU Success can be reaped through regional coopetition and collaboraton initiatives


jubljana's new tourism strategy valid for 2014-2020 defines the meetings industry as one of the three main tourism product segments.

Q: What can Ljubljana offer to Meeting Planners that other destinations can’t? That’s a hard one to start with ;). Keep in mind that within a radius of 700 km from Ljubljana we face strong competition, with a number of conference destinations that are either in the global top 10, or highly-profiled, or among the rising stars ­just to mention Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Belgrade, Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Florence, Venice, Salzburg, etc. Many would actually define themselves as being in the heart of Europe, or Central Europe, or South Eastern Europe, so this geographic element does not make a real distinction in my view. What sets Ljubljana apart from the others is its compact size, which is extremely convenient for organising events that practically do not require any land transfers, since the majority of the venues and attractions are within walking distance. There is definitely no city of our size (286,000 residents out of 2,062,000 in Slovenia), or even a tad larger, that can offer two larger, flexible and efficient convention centres at ten to maximum twenty minutes walking from the historic Old Town and a good share of the city hotels. Quite a few among the hotels are well geared to welcome medium-sized and smaller meetings. Based on the Slovenian meetings industry standardisation, three properties in Ljubljana have earned the designation of convention hotels, while several others are certified as hotels with

conference facilities, meaning that they have passed an assessment focusing on space requirements and services that are mandatory to provide a meetings product of an international standard. The largest plenary capacity features 800 seats theatre-style. I should also point out that Ljubljana has an array of attractive special event venues in the downtown area, even in the Old Town, the crown being the Ljubljana Castle that reigns above the city. And there’s no hassle to reach them, as they are either a short stroll (or a funicular ride) away from many hotels and other types of accommodation. This last word reminds me of association congresses, where a span of diverse accommodation options is often required. Over the last decade, the bed & breakfast, short-stay apartments and youth hostel segments have really boomed. In the latter category, we find a property that was named as the hippest hostel in the world a few years ago by the Lonely Planet, and several ones that have an interesting story or are simply… funky! Not to mention their often attractive downtown locations on top. I also wish to stress that if an event with 500+ attendees comes to the city, the Old Town takes on the role of their cozy and attractive lounge where they can easily socialise in the many bars, cafes and restaurants. This area is also ideal to organise dine-around dinners. And the award we are most proud of: in June 2014, Ljubljana received the prestigious title of European Green Capital 2016. Among the five finalists contending for the title, Ljubljana, with its sustainable development strategy document ‘Vision 2025’, was the one that the jury, chaired by the European Commission, found the most impressive. This document sets out Ljubljana’s strategy for the protection of the environment, sustainable mobility, sustainable energy provision and electro-mobility, and crowns the many efforts and dramatic improvements invested, especially in the last decade. All of this is reflected in the quality of life, which can be appreciated by all visitors to our city, too. What they immediately notice and enjoy are the vast pedestrian areas.


Q: Is the quality of Ljubljana’s meetings offer at a suitable level? I would generally say yes. To the extent which our economy allows, investments have been made over the last years in convention venues and hotels to upgrade their quality. Alongside this, the soft part of the product, or the service aspect, has not been neglected. Only a parallel development of both can result in positive changes. Still, I am (we are) aware there is always room for improvement, which applies even to destinations that are ahead of us. Without self-reflection coupled with the willingness to learn from best-case practices abroad there is no progress. Otherwise, being (over-)critical is considered a common trait of the Slovenian “national character”, which is sometimes unfair to what we have in reality. I can also underline a general product development at the destination level, which is increasing its attractiveness. This also includes programmes that are suitable for incentives or team building activities in the city that are proposed by creative and professional DMCs and event agencies. Among our partners, there are also experienced PCOs with an extensive track record in managing international association meetings. Safety also counts: in the last years, two Reader’s Digest social experiments placed us among the most honest cities in the world (the lost wallet or mobile phone test) and Ljubljana was evaluated as the safest city in Eastern Europe. On top of this, the locals have good foreign language skills in all everyday situations – being understood as a guest is therefore easy. What also makes delegates happy is enjoying tasty meals. The quality of the food served in hotels, restaurants and by catering companies is highly appreciated by many clients and attendees to their events. We like to stress the importance of an authentic taste, fresh and locally grown produce, aesthetic presentation and a link to the traditional cuisine interpreted with a modern twist as the basis of the culinary creativity in both Ljubljana and Slovenia. A return to the roots is also embodied in the “Taste Slovenia” and “Taste Ljubljana” brands, which some caterers and restaurants successfully implement in their offer.

Kongres magazine

My final comment is that Ljubljana as a destination definitely offers very good value for money. Q: How is the meetings industry segment positioned in the business strategy of Ljubljana Tourism? Following the Strategic Development and Marketing Plan for the Tourist Destination Ljubljana 2007-2013, in which the meetings industry segment was acknowledged as one of the four main pillars, the new strategic document valid for the years 2014-2020, which was also officially approved by the City Council, again defines the meetings industry as one of the three main tourism product segments. The creation of this document involved a bottom-up approach and the cooperation of all key stakeholders in the destination from the public, private and civil sectors. Another development policy document, which was adopted in late 2011, is “Congress Ljubljana 2020” that sets the guidelines and the goals towards increasing the competitiveness of Ljubljana on the international conference market, also based on the enhanced cooperation of all related stakeholders. A further step in this regard, a year later, was the launch of a public-private partnership of 23 main players in the destination, plus the Ljubljana and Slovenian Convention Bureaus, with the focus on attracting more association meetings (be it international, European or regional) with 500+ delegates. The Ljubljana Strategic Bidding Team (­LSBT) has created a model of destination support tailored to this aim. Finally, since its very start, the Conventa Show has found an important place within the development and marketing plans of Ljubljana Tourism and its Convention Bureau, through an ongoing partnership with the main organiser, the Slovenian Convention Bureau. Q: We have witnessed a very successful congress year, which is no doubt a result of good work in the past. How do you intend to retain and build on such results in the coming years? By maximising the synergy with the partners and the Slovenian CB, strengthening the destination team spirit and the “database / information pool” with those most active on the international association market, including a coordinated approach to major potential projects. Some bullet points on the to-do list are: setting up an ambassador programme (question mark: Ljubljana only or Ljubljana / Slovenia togeth-

er, which in a way would make sense?), going more digital, including the enhancement of our website. Furthermore, strengthening the relationships with global / regional AMCs and PCOs that, among other things, have a return potential for our destination. Next year, Kenes will hold a second congress in Ljubljana, MCI had a first one this year and one next year, KIT, C-In and Guarant have been in the destination, too. Obviously, the “homework list” is even longer. Q: In your view, how will the regional meetings industry look in the next years? With an eye to South East and Central Europe, I am sure that this region with a big potential will be attracting a growing number of meetings. Even the international trends summarised in ICCA’s fantastic »recap« document, titled A Modern History of International Association Meetings, 1963­2012, issued for its 50th anniversary, indicate the growth of (medium-sized and smaller) regional meetings with a higher rotation frequency versus a decrease of (larger and slower) international meetings. This speaks in favour of my positive outlook. Current and anticipated investments into infrastructure in some destinations will also contribute to enhancing the competitiveness, where more success can be reaped through regional coopetition and collaboration initiatives. Q: What is your personal inspiration in the meetings industry? The interdisciplinary nature of the meetings industry, its international / global outreach, an open-minded professional community that supports knowledge-sharing (which is not common in all business environments) and great colleagues and friends I have met over the years. I guess I have contributed to placing Ljubljana and Slovenia on the European conference map, which has not always been easy. My satisfaction is also having contributed, by heading the Summer School of the former EFCT between 1999 and 2007, now European Cities Marketing, to the education of many young professionals, including over 45 Slovenians till now. I have also served the Executive Committee and Board of the aforementioned for a series of years. In my country, what gives me inspiration and satisfaction is an upcoming generation of talented young professionals who have the zeal and the energy to push the meetings destination Slovenia forward. If I have succeeded in passing on some of my passion (addiction?) and knowledge to them (the “hooked-on-MICE syndrome”), then I’ve done a lot. In my view, the knowledge that you don’t share is simply dead capital. 17

Q: Through your involvement as a board member in the work of the Slovenian Convention Bureau over the last decade, what would you underline as the most positive achievement since it was founded and what have you missed the most? The Slovenian Convention Bureau, considering its overall limited resources, has done an excellent job in strengthening the “Slovenia Meetings” and the umbrella “I Feel Slovenia” brands on the international market in our industry. The Conventa Show has in six years gained an excellent reputation as a small and efficient B2B platform that showcases the meeting supply of our wider region to international clients. Douze points for that. I’ve missed a more systematic and structural government support with regard to the SCB’s operations in terms of budget, financial flow and status. I’ve also missed meeting statistics, which might have helped us as an important tool in influencing the decision-makers, as well as in raising general awareness and recognition of our industry. “Last, but not least, a mention should go to a number of accolades that Ljubljana has won over the years, two of which most recently. In June 2014, Lonely Planet, the world’s leading travel guide book publisher, has listed Ljubljana at No. 2 on its Best in Europe 2014 list, which includes ten European destinations considered by LP editors as the most worth visiting this year. Ljubljana made it to the list as ‘one of Europe’s greenest and most livable cities, with a vibrant cultural, café and nightlife scene that gives it the feel of a perpetual street party’. This is actually what delegates attending conferences or meetings can experience in their time at leisure.”


48 registered association meetings 15.160 participants at international association meetings

APP Scene 2015

VISIONARY TECHNOLOGY The future use of event applications DERRICK STOMP TWOPPY

have at least considered using an app, and if they don’t come up with solid reasons and a worthy alternative they’ll most certainly have a problem with their attendees, who are expecting more and more interaction during the event. We want to help organisers to save time and money on the use of conference apps, reduce printing costs and thus contribute to CSR and environmental sustainability. My own personal goal for 2015 is to complete a half marathon.

Q: What will be your biggest challenges over the next three years? Keeping up with the insane pace of technological developments combined with the task of keeping the platform simple and useful.

Q: What do you see the future use of event applications as being? Event applications will go mainstream and will blend more naturally into the communications mix. Apps for wearable devices are the next thing to explore and that will enhance the trend to replace traditional paper information. Also, there will be a further blending of on- and offline, with the likes of NFC, iBeacons and Augmented Reality.

DEFINING MOMENTS: Craziest destination: twoppy HQ Craziest event: Yet to come… Hotel to return to: The Bellagio, Las Vegas Best Concert: Prince concert at O2 Dome London, 2009.

Q: What meetings industry need does your service fill? With twoppy we want to empower people at conferences to stay informed, get connected and have fun. So, in order for conference organisers to achieve this we deliver a full self-service online platform to create a conference app for attendees. It is intuitive, requires no technical knowledge and comes at a very affordable price tag. It can be done with extremely high levels of invoices and stressful app development projects, and it’s also very environmentally friendly - think about all the paper wastage that becomes obsolete by using a conference app. Q: What are your goals for the end of 2014? My goals for the end of 2014 have already been achieved. By the end of 2015, however, we want conference apps to go totally mainstream. There’s little to no excuse not to implement an app at your next event. Organisers should

Q: In your opinion, why is it critical today and for the future to “Think like a start-up”? “Change is the only constant in life”, a wise man once said. Today’s changes happen at the speed of light. A start-up’s biggest challenge is to carve a market out of that ever-changing marketplace. Not only by making profitable products, but with a clear vision of what you want to establish in the long term. In that way you’re able to judge your actions against the changing world and adapt accordingly. What is crucial in the “think like a start-up” philosophy is to always stay in touch with your customer’s needs. Q: What mistakes have you made along the way and what would you change if you could go back? The biggest mistake I made was underestimating the speed of the technology adoption process. In general, markets are very, very traditional and inclined to stick to the status quo. The events industry has proven to be no different. Nevertheless, I wouldn›t go back to change anything, because mistakes are a huge opportunity and a source of inspiration to improve. However, if I could give some advice to anyone who starts a new business or a new product: no matter how simple or logical your product may seem to you, don’t underestimate the thorough thinking process you’ve already gone through. That puts you miles and miles ahead of your customers. Involve users in the development process early and let them help you to validate your assumptions.


ERIC FRANCOIS, TOPI Q: What meetings industry need does your service fill? No more missed opportunities - in the context of events (from small gatherings to professional conferences or concerts), of course, but also around global communities. Expanding our networks, discovering and connecting with new people is our mission. The world would be quite different had Steve Jobs not met Steve Wozniak. We work hard to make sure this doesn’t happen. Q: What are your goals for the end of 2014? We wanted Topi to be used on all five continents by the end of 2014, but we already achieved that goal by February. Adoption is always on our mind, and we want our 97% rate from Peter Thiel’s Under 20 Summit to become the norm. DEFINING MOMENTS: Craziest destination: Costa Rica Craziest event: I am sure it is Halloween-related… Hotel to return to: Hotel Delano, Miami Beach Best Concert: 1990 Rolling Stones Urban Jungle European tour - Paris Best Rock band: The list is long…

APP Scene 2015

Q: What do you see the future use of event applications as being? More and more often, partners with very cool use-cases are approaching us. “Meeting new people” is a universal need, and Topi is so generic that even we couldn’t predict where it could lead us. So, I anticipate Topi will pop up in some very unexpected places in the next few months. Q: In your opinion, why is it critical today and for the future to “Think like a start-up”? It forces us to constantly innovate on the technology side and “match” the creative mentalities of event planners. “Thinking like (in our case, “Being”) a start-up” allows us to move fast and to be responsive to demand. We do more with less… and that is a huge motivation. It also means that we have the direct, 1-on-1 relationships with our customers – there is no better source of feedback. Q: What mistakes have you made along the way and what would you change if you could go back? Always listen to your customers. We grew the company rapidly and efficiently, but we could have saved time and stress along the way had we paid closer attention to what our customers wanted. Our vision for Topi hasn’t changed since the start of the company; the execution of the plan has. Q: What will be your biggest challenges over the next three years? To continue to grow and diversify our customer base while staying at the forefront of innovation. Scale is often the enemy of innovation and speed of execution. We will prove this concept wrong.


DEFINING MOMENTS: Craziest destination: Lake Atitlan, Guatemala Craziest event: I’d rather not say J Best Concert: Radiohead at Red Rocks, 2003 Best Rock band: Radiohead Q: What meetings industry need does your service fill? The meetings industry has struggled to demonstrate the real value of events to key stakeholders, including attendees and sponsors. As a result, budgets are still below 2009 levels. Zerista unlocks measurable productivity at live events with the use of mobile and web technology. Our event app platform gives event organisers all the tools they need to improve their events, including an award-winning web portal with pre- and post-event productivity tools, mobile event apps and marketing tools for exhibitors and sponsors. Q: What are your goals for the end of 2014? We’re at an inflection points for the use of event apps. The ubiquity of mobile devices combined with the “internet of things”, which connects the physical space to the digital space, has opened new possibilities for events to increase both productivity and measurement. For the rest of the year we’re focused on two critical areas for events: 1) Improved collaboration tools, including advanced one-on-one meeting scheduling, and 2) Location-aware “beacon” technology to provide location-based content and related analytics. Q: What do you see the future use of event applications as being? 19

With 65% of B2B events now using some kind of app, we’re finally seeing a new breed of app that goes beyond replacing the event guide to actually improving the event experience. In the next couple years we’re going to see apps become the primary window through which people interact with events. Our vision is that the personalisation of the event experience through event apps will make events more productive for everyone, allowing both attendees and marketers to set and achieve goals at live events effortlessly, finally giving event producers the data they need to demonstrate the ROI we all know exists at these face-to-face meetings. Q: In your opinion, why is it critical today and for the future to “Think like a start-up”? Technology has changed the definition of an event. Once defined as a specific space and time, events are now stretching into the digital world and, consequently, extending into the world where people live, work and play. That change is the definition of disruption, and thriving in an industry that is changing rapidly requires openness to change and a willingness to test new things. The good news is that event producers will finally have the real data they need to react quickly to success and failure. While this new environment may require a bit more risk taking than planners are used to, it presents an exciting opportunity to contribute in a much bigger way to the success of the organisations they support.

Q: What mistakes have you made along the way and what would you change if you could go back? A big part of creating great technology is being willing to fail a few times, so I’m not sure I’d change anything we’ve done strategically. Personally, I would have moved earlier from my previous role in registration technology into event apps. It’s an incredibly exciting problem to solve – one where we’re really improving the

APP Scene 2015

way events contribute to the organisations that produce them and attend them. Q: What will be your biggest challenges over the next three years? For the first time, technology is flooding into events and it is literally changing the definition of the event organiser’s role; it’s no longer about managing the experience in the room. The new role of an event organiser includes content management, data analytics and digital marketing. The biggest challenge will be helping the people who are the backbone of this industry adapt, learn and innovate.


DEFINING MOMENTS: Craziest destination: Key West, Florida Craziest event: “Hogmanay”, New Year’s at Edinburgh, Scotland Hotel to return to: Hotel Leo, Rethymnon, Crete Best Concert: Coldplay in The Hague Best Rock band: R.E.M. Q: What meetings industry need does your service fill? Conference Compass delivers the best-on-market event apps for conferences and exhibitions. We are the specialist in this field and deliver apps that give the organisers and delegates a unique event experience. In addition, our products serve as great marketing tools for sponsors to generate extra revenue. Also, with the help of data analytics organisers get an opportunity to uncover what really matters to attendees for future events.

expand further to other markets and maintaining that level of quality would be a key challenge.


Q: What are your goals for the end of 2014? Conference Compass is in the process of launching a new platform to deliver even better single and multi-event apps by putting more power in the hands of our clients. Q: What do you see the future use of event applications as being? Events apps certainly have a very bright future. We have witnessed the transition where from being a ‘nice to have’ events apps are now a ‘must have’ and this will be even more so in the future. We have decided to focus on delivering the best possible event apps for our clients and we are dedicated to do so today and in the future. Q: In your opinion, why is it critical today and for the future to “Think like a start-up”? Conference Compass has now completed 4 years in this industry. Today we are a progressing professional company, but we still have the characteristics of a young and dynamic start-up. We believe that our greatest asset is our young and talented team, which is always ready to learn from our client’s feedback and continuously strives to bring our products to even higher levels. We won’t change this tomorrow when we grow further. Q: What mistakes have you made along the way and what would you change if you could go back? In the start-up phase we invested a lot of time catering to individual client requirements. However, we should have instead focused on developing a functionality that would have been standard and served all of our clients. Today we save a lot of time, having invested in developing a solid and powerful platform. Q: What will be your biggest challenges over the next three years? We have never compromised on the quality of our products and the services we deliver to our clients. In the next three years we plan to 20

DEFINING MOMENTS: Craziest destination: Latin America Craziest event: EIBTM Hotel to return to: Kempinski in High Tatras, Slovakia Best Concert: Limp Bizkit, Vienna Best Rock band: limp bizkit Q: What meetings industry need does your service fill? We provide integrated event technology for exhibitions and trade shows. Q: What are your goals for the end of 2014? Help more clients to make exhibitions sexy again. Q: What do you see the future use of event applications as being? Technology will be integrated into one solution in order to collect dynamic participant data, analyse it and provide a personalised event experience. Q: In your opinion, why is it critical today and for the future to “Think like a start-up”? It’s critical because the company will have to push new things and change faster in order to satisfy their clients’ needs and survive in this competitive market. Q: What mistakes have you made along the way and what would you change if you could go back?

APP Scene 2015


We would release technology in smaller iterations in order to get better user feedback. Q: What will be your biggest challenges over the next three years? Educate the event industry about new technologies, their value to their business and so on.


clients, keep thinking of new ideas to integrate into our core system and to have a great Christmas party! Q: What do you see the future use of event applications as being? We’re really excited about the potential of NFC, especially now that Apple has integrated this technology into their new iPhones. Alongside this, it’s going to be really interesting to see how the event industry reacts to wearable technology, such as the Apple Watch and Google Glass.

DEFINING MOMENTS: Craziest destination:  Indonesia. I’ve been several times and it never fails to disappoint, but my first visit as a teenager was definitely the craziest! Craziest event:  Glastonbury 2013 Hotel to return to: St.Regis in Nusa Dua, Bali - simply beautiful, I wouldn’t mind a dip in the pool there right now. Best Concert: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros at Brixton Academy in London Best Rock band: Too many to choose from! I’m quite a rock chick.  Q: What meetings industry need does your service fill?  Noodle Live is an event technology company primarily providing mobile apps for events, conferences and exhibitions. We can also integrate RFID smart badges with our app to provide contactless functionality, such as document collection, access control and social sharing. Q: What are your goals for the end of 2014? To keep providing great technology to our

Q: In your opinion, why is it critical today and for the future to “Think like a start-up”? This kind of approach really encourages ‘outside the box’ thinking, which for us has always resulted in creative marketing campaigns that make us stand out, rather than wasting money using a more ‘scatter gun’ approach, which is common in Venture Capital funded organisations. Q: What mistakes have you made along the way and what would you change if you could go back? We took too long to move our development inhouse and continued using an agency. This is not the most efficient way to produce a system if the technology is your product! Now that we have our development in-house, we are able to develop features much faster and the product itself evolves a lot more organically, as our developers only work on our system and get to know it very well, rather than across several different projects. Q: What will be your biggest challenges over the next three years? Continuing to grow and innovate, making sure we stay ahead of the curve and continuing to advise our clients on the best technology available to make their events more engaging, profitable and successful.


DEFINING MOMENTS: Craziest destination: Mozambique Craziest event: Christmas day party, 2011 Hotel to return to: Long Life River Side Hotel, Hoi An, Vietnam Best Concert: Faith No More, Porto, Portugal, 1998 Best Rock band: Soundgarden Q: What meetings industry need does your service fill? Events bring busy people together who want to network in a single place. “Quality networking” and “guaranteed opportunity to meet key people” are 2 of the top 3 reasons people attend events (Convention 2020 – The Future of Exhibitions, Meetings & Events), but it is often hard to meet the right people at the right place and at the right time without having to have exchanged several messages, peered at participants’ badges and have been ruthless with your time. To increase the ROI of participating in events, organisers often prepare business-matching activities to promote 1-2-1 meetings between delegates and this usually requires a high effort to coordinate. Organisers’ in-house tools can have high maintenance costs, while

APP Scene 2015

solutions based on social networks or direct communications are ineffective and require a high user effort. Organisers that (semi-)manually schedule meetings on behalf of businesses (e.g. hosted buyer events) will recognise the high effort involved. Meethub solves a specific problem with an innovative, cost-effective approach, automating and optimising this process, scheduling smartly and respecting delegates’ availability and security. Q: What are your goals for the end of 2014? With the recent launch of our Organisers Portal, Meethub clients manage the usage of the platform themselves, which allows us to decrease the direct support effort we need to dedicate to each event, instead providing support only when needed. Meethub is ready to scale up - massively. In parallel, we are preparing another release of Meethub that will allow our clients to gain insights into networking behaviours and the platform performance, better profile matching for the event delegates, and more flexibility in the product, allowing us to effectively address more diverse types of networking. Finally, we are currently actively looking for investment and are already in conversation with some Angels and Venture Capital Firms. Q: What do you see the future use of event applications as being? Before creating Meethub we used to develop branded apps with updated information about the event and personalised agendas for the participant. After having this product being used by hundreds of people in different events, we noticed that the usage was much below our expectations. At the same time, we realised that having to install/use yet another app every time you attend an event is a real barrier to adoption. Our clients were happy but we decided to stop selling a product that had no relevant reward for the users. Here’s the crunch: event apps are mostly focused on a single event, on keeping the organiser happy and on generating sponsor exposure. We believe in a better model. By focusing on the delegate and their experience, we believe our product offers longer-term value, but does not compromise on supporting the organiser. If the people that invest in attending events have a positive experience, they are more likely to return. In our opinion, event organisers should focus more on solutions that improve the whole experience and/or solves a real problem and not just on repackaging content.

aiming at something huge with minimal resources. This forces their founders to be very resilient, agile and creative in order to survive. Everything needs to happen quickly, even failing and dropping the idea or pivoting the approach, market or business model. Big organisations get resilience, but they are less creative, and are seldom agile. That is fixable: think like a start-up. Q: What mistakes have you made along the way and what would you change if you could go back? Many people ask me this, but this is something I don’t think about much. It would be weird to not make mistakes. This is where we learn. Mistakes happen, everyone makes them and of course you think you could have done it in a different way, but this conclusion only comes if you think you failed. So, basically, I wouldn’t change anything, because I want to learn from the errors. Decisions need to be made fast and I prefer taking the path that seems to be the best in a specific moment rather than not deciding anything and sitting rabbit-like in the headlights of business. To arrive somewhere you have different routes that take you through different scenarios and I think it makes no sense thinking what would have happened if you had turned left instead of turning right. The energy should always be centred on the path in front. Making mistakes more than once is still stupid though. Q: What will be your biggest challenges over the next three years? We have invested considerable time and money building our platform and the best product-market fit. Now that we have a very good knowledge of the market and have proved that Meethub can change the game for many event organisers and participants, we want to grow exponentially and make Meethub a reference solution for the scheduling of 1-2-1 meetings at events. Since we started, we had clients and events in eight different countries without doing much marketing. In three years, with the proper focus and investment, Meethub will be present at events worldwide, will be successful, and will be working with the largest event organisers in the business to help them enhance quality and innovation in networking meetings.


DEFINING MOMENTS: Craziest destination: Confrenz goes places – we’re in Europe, North and South America and Africa. Event planning and cooperation with organisers is always crazy – especially when giving on-site support. Maybe we’re just used to seeing crazy things in crazy places, but you brush it off and three days later must focus on the next event you’re at. Craziest event: Interaction South America in Brazil. Multiple venues, plethora of last minute changes and one app to keep it all together. We didn’t sleep very much then. Hotel to return to: the Marriott in Copen­ hagen, been there just recently at EuroSummit’14. The service was superb, the event was delivered at the top level and the hotel’s right by the river with a bridge going diagonally across it. A must-see. Best Concert: Portishead at Artloop Festival in Sopot, Poland. Trip hop legends at a rather independent art & music festival. I believe they’re the main reason the event is going to be on the map in the next couple of years. Best Rock band: Lemmy’s Motorhead at one of the student festivals we supported. They almost made our servers crash under the weight of dozens of thousands of people there. It was the first such big event for us, but we survived in the end and are now prepared to serve the biggest conventions in the world. Our ears survived the Motorhead gig too, thanks. J

Q: What meetings industry need does your service fill? Our app system allows the organiser to cut costs on paper distribution and simplifies managing

Q: In your opinion, why is it critical today and for the future to “Think like a start-up”? The reality of most start-ups is that they are 22

APP Scene 2015

all conference content, like agendas, speaker line-up, event information, presentations, etc. It also gives them a fully branded tool which serves as the main communication channel that enhances networking, which is crucial for the vast majority of modern events. Moreover, things can get interactive, with news items sent via the app and live voting polls and comment sessions able to be run – this is a long-awaited transformation of static into dynamic that the industry has repeatedly voiced their need for.

variety of creative integrations that will maximise the attendee experience. The event app that serves as an e-programme is no longer hot; organisers and attendees now require tools that are packed with features that give them the ability to interact and receive contextually relevant information. Also, events are becoming all-year round phenomena and your event app needs to stay relevant for the whole community in question for a lot more than it used to – we, the providers, need to face that as well.

Q: What are your goals for the end of 2014? We’re launching a massive project which aims to automate the sales lead generation and evaluation process at trade shows. This platform will be based on our existing event app system, combined with analytics and Bluetooth Low Energy sensors (beacons). Confrenz will continue on its own, with a number of events already being booked for well beyond 2014 – our main objective at this end is to add a number of features that will make our users feel that they’re 100% in control of their whole event experience.

Q: In your opinion, why is it critical today and for the future to “Think like a start-up”? First, because you need to be not one, but a lot of steps ahead of everybody out there to have some chance of success. Tech, apps in particular, gives you a chance for just a moment to seize the momentum, and … innovate over and over again. For that, you need a start-up-like line of thinking and lots of passion. It doesn’t at all mean that you only need to have awesome ideas and be crazy about them – on the contrary, you can’t go on if you don’t shape up. But the fresh thinking, quick reactions, and an incessant need to be on top of things – that’s the start-up routine you’d better adapt.

Q: What do you see the future use of event applications as being? Integration with Bluetooth Low Energyenabled beacons (the feature is already present in all recent Apple devices, e.g. from iPhone 4s onwards, or on various Android devices) for a

Q: What mistakes have you made along the way and what would you change if you could go back?

We didn’t prepare for having so many clients from day one of Confrenz. At the very beginning there was a lot of pressure to manage multiple accounts and apps and coordinate that with frontand back-end developers. In the end, we were the only ones who knew about the amount of fixes we applied initially, but the demand was simply overwhelming. Luckily, the clients were served properly, and in this business, everyone pulls a few all-nighters every once in a while, don’t they? Q: What will be your biggest challenges over the next three years? Big-scale implementations of this new trade show sales analytics system and re-building Confrenz. For the former, we are already in the process of getting the team extended and ready, and there are a number of exhibitions we are being booked for. The business will require thousands of miles travelled and a very demanding management process to keep the scalability right (and we expect an explosion). As for Confrenz, we need to convince the remaining minority among event agencies and corporations to get on-board – they’re still conservative, but these three years need us to identify the way in there. The rest of the market is very responsive about their needs and will send us to a lot of work - this is indeed the challenge.


eeping in touch with people you know is easier than ever, but connecting with the ones you don’t know yet is still left up to chance—or worse, nametags. Our mission is to give serendipity a hand, and connect everyone at any event.


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izzabo is the world leading event tech software and mobile platform for organizers of professional events. With Bizzabo, organizers can generate more sponsorship revenue, provide powerful networking tools and grow their event’s social buzz. Attendees will leave with a more memorable event experience.

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HOTEL PARK LJUBLJANA Beating with the pulse of the city

FACTS Category: 3* Number of rooms: 192 rooms, 6 family rooms, 2 suites Last renovation: 2006 Conference rooms: 2 conference rooms, each up to 40 participants, 1 seminar room up to 15 Park Hotel is not a typical conference hotel, but it is indispensable for every major congress in Ljubljana where participants may be looking for ‘value for money’ accommodation. This is not just a hotel - it is a dynamic hotel with its own events and its own culinary and cultural story, closely connected to the pulse of the city. The creation of a new cultural and artistic centre of Ljubljana with numerous museums and galleries in the vicinity has also helped contribute to this. Of all of Ljubljana’s hotels the hotel Park is probably the best involved in this scene and they have been hosting an increasing number of ‘cultural guests’ and events, co-operating with small and large organisers, festivals, local associations and institutions, and acting as sponsors in projects. They know that these guests bring a special energy to the hotel and so remain open to a very diverse structure of guests. Hotel Park, with more than 200 rooms in the city centre, is perfect for all of that.

Q: You are a fan of integration and joint working, in addition to which you are a part of the Ljubljana Strategic Bidding Team. Do you think it is possible to achieve better results with a united front? Absolutely, I believe that integration is the key to success and we also manage the Park Hotel like that. Times are like they are, but we all want one thing: to bring more tourists to Ljubljana and Slovenia and certainly we can be more successful if we are connected. Unfortunately, all too often this remains in theory and I regret that it is like that, because we are small, but it could be better used. Q: How important are social networks for the hotel? The hotel needs to exploit all the channels and absolutely social media is also very important for sales and marketing. An increasing number of things are happening online, more and more sales, and this is absolutely a “must” for the hotel, especially for a hotel such as ours where the leisure segment is strong. However, one should be careful and should know how to use the social networks. Q: Trip Advisor – is it a nightmare or a help? Trip Advisor is an important portal and collection of varied information. It is imperative that the hotel is present on it, but also to communicate with guests. In the flood of information, I believe that it helps the consumer. Personally, I’m not a typical tourist; I decide on the basis of other factors and I am rarely checking travel

Urša Malovrh, Director’s Assistant and “front-woman” of the hotel Coming to the hotel in 2006 Urša was part of the story of the hotel’s thorough renovation. This was followed by a re-organization and founding of the new team and the setting of internal standards, essential to establishing and maintaining the quality of work and service. She prides herself on an excellent team and the fact that over the years they have significantly raised the image of the hotel. Today, the Park hotel is a place where guests are welcomed by friendly people and the stay is enjoyable, and where the consistent quality ensures they have a steady stream of returning guests. The hotel is also placing an increasing emphasis on business tourism.


accommodation on Trip Advisor... but certainly within my work I use it all the time, because it is an important source of feedback information. Q: Is Ljubljana to you the most beautiful city in the world? What would you recommend about it to foreign congress organisers? Ljubljana is magical and even though I am ‘Gorenjka’ I am in love with Ljubljana J. Ljubljana has a great position in Europe. It is a manageable, safe and peaceful place with friendly residents and offering a wide range of additional offers, but, most importantly, I believe that we have congress organisers of events who are experts in their field and can provide everything as competitive cities. Q: In recent times which hotel has impressed you the most and why? Qbic hotel in London... which is not the story of business tourism, but impressed me because of its story. Given that we are preparing the renovation of the 12th floor, where we are going to arrange brand new rooms and suites, we were looking into this and hence I was a guest at the Qbic hotel. It will stay in my memory as something special, because of the simple equipping solutions, a simplified check-in and check-out of guests... all via machine, but at the same time with a story of how to keep guests in the hotel and also connect... A beautiful living room in the middle of the hotel kitchen and dining room are the heart of the hotel.


4 FACES OF SLOVENIA TASTE FRESH IDEAS. Feel the business opportunity


lovenia shows various faces with locations, meeting venues and hotels which are genuinely diverse, offering clients a wide choice. From the enchanting capital Ljubljana or other historic cities such as Maribor to the east, or Nova Gorica, the gambling and entertainment mecca in the west of Slovenia. Or perhaps the coastal destinations, the leading location being Portorož; striking Alpine settings like Bled, the number one meetings destination in the area, and Kranjska Gora, well-known by skiing fans, but with a choice of small meeting facilities. A feature of Slovenia are spa destinations with excellent wellness products, most set in lush rural surroundings. To complement the principal meeting and incentive locations are some very special unusual venues offering something quite different and these include the world famous Lipica Stud Farm and the Postojna Caves.

Slovenia is a fantastic destination for great outdoor activities. Team-building and special activities encompass a wide array of programmes, such as biking, hiking, canyoning, wine and culinary tours, hydrospeed, kayaking and rafting on white waters, sailing, snowshoeing, sledding, ice-climbing, to name just a few. Most famous destinations are Soča Valley, Goriška Brda, Bohinj,... It can be said, when organising a programme in Slovenia that the sky is the limit… A collection of incentive ideas has recently been presented in a SLOVENIA INCENTIVE IDEAS BOOK by Slovenian Convention Bureau and Kongres Magazine.

MEETINGS IN THE CITIES Breathe to the urban beat

MEETINGS IN THE ALPS The Alps mirrored in the lakes

More information:;; Ljubljana, the capital, that offers a blend of old charm and new cool, is a small, but stylish city of arts, music, history and gastronomy.

More information:;; Lake Bled, the pearl of the Julian Alps, is one of the most famous attractions in Slovenia and it is truly magical place.

MEETINGS ON THE COAST AND AT THE KARST From Adriatic blue to mysterious Karst

MEETINGS AT THERMAL SPAS Take a dip and relax in the spas

More information: Portorož is the leading coastal resort that boasts a mild climate, lush vegetation and more than 100 years of tradition in the hospitality industry.

More information: Modern spa facilities combined with the meeting rooms, extraordinary natural assets in a green environment. 15 natural health resorts to choose from.


Top 2014



ased on 204 completed surveys of Kongres magazine’s readers and after a detailed analysis we have created a scale of the 30 most influential people in the SEE Meetings industry in 2014. They all have contributed to the development of the region and you have chosen the best of the best! Candidates were assessed on the following key criteria: • Achievement of the best financial and other multiplier effects of the meetings industry in 2014 that was significantly above the average; • Implementation of the most demanding improvements and innovations in their field, which also includes successfully implemented projects that signaled the year 2014 as a special one; • Help in enhancing the reputation and visibility of the meetings industry in 2014; • Innovations that facilitate the work of meetings organisers, or have shown the direction for the future.

TOP MEETING ARCHITECTS (DMO, CVB, ...) Romana VLAŠIĆ TZ Dubrovnik Director of TZ Dub­ rovnik and with many concrete years of experience in business has given acceleration to the promotion of Dubrovnik. This is now the most recognisable congress brand of the region and a player in the first congress European league. Dubrovnik could claim that last years are its years on the conference scene, since almost all the important events of this year were held in this very beautiful city. Romana Vlašić, Dubrovnik Tourist Board “It is my great honour to have been awarded as the most influential person in the SEE Meetings Industry. I am flattered that my work over the years has been recognised by my industry colleagues and by our clients. I deeply believe that all the thirty people nominated deserve to be recognised thanks to their hard work and contributions to the development of the meetings industry. I sincerely thank everybody; this award means a great deal to me. It will definitely motivate me even further in this work that I enjoy extremely much. Dubrovnik will, of course, continue to be my biggest source of inspiration. Thank you!”

Miha KOVAČIĆ Slovenian Convention Bureau Active for a decade as the director of the Slovenian Convention Bureau, which enjoys an outstanding reputation abroad. In 2013 he was invited to the “Advisory Board” of a new international trade show, the “UK Meetings Show”. Through a number of innovative marketing and CSR projects he continually takes care of the growth of the Slovenian meetings industry. The editorial board put a particular emphasis on the Conventa project that, as a brand, has become synonymous with the SE Europe congress product and has significantly assisted with


the placement of the region on meetings planners’ list of destinations. Miha Kovačič, Slovenian Convention Bureau “Being acknowledged for your work by the industry and colleagues is the biggest award a man can get. I love my work and I do passionately share my knowledge and experience in my country and the region. I believe that South East Europe is a region with huge potential. It depends only on us whether we will use this advantage. That was one of the reasons to establish Conventa, the regional meeting point of the industry visited by selected European clients interested in the region.”

Nik RAČIĆ Ex-Croatia Convention Bureau Nik Račić is the second winner of the IMEX Academy Award for lifetime achievement. As a former president of the Skal association he has done so much for the development of the meetings industry of Croatia. Despite the turbulence in the Croatian National Tourist Board Nik Račić is a man who can, through his connections, do a lot for the meetings industry. He is also being placed on the scale with a call to find him a right place in the Croatian meetings industry

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

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Barbara VAJDA Former director Ljubljana Convention Bureau She has ensured that the meetings industry is embedded in the tourism policy and practice of Ljubljana and as one of its key products and as part of its repositioning. Her work is characterised by an understanding of the meetings industry and the international tourism market place. She also deserves her place on this list for actively co-designing the Conventa project. The Conventa Invitation with Coffee would not exist without Barbara Vajda.

Dimitrij ROTOVNIK Former director Cankarjev dom, Cultural and Congress Centre Without the vision of Cankarjev Dom’s legendary director, there wouldn’t be a Slovenian meetings industry today. He still promotes congress activity with incredible enthusiasm. He earned this ranking with his team because of the total renovation of Cankarjev dom in the midst of the worst recession in memory. This renovation has placed it among the best European convention centres.

Miloš MILOVANOVIĆ Former director Serbia Convention Bureau

Slaven RELJIĆ Ex-Croatia Tourist Board A fresh start and a man of the meetings industry on the key marketing function of Croatian tourism is an important event and it comes with a great responsibility to set the meetings industry on the list of key products that will help contribute to the de-seasonalisation of Croatian tourism. This is also an important event as an opportunity to strengthen presence in the professional and business environments. Slaven has many years of experience in economics and undoubtedly has all the credentials for success.

In a record time he managed to place the devastated meetings industry of Serbia on the international conventions map and has set up the entire congress infrastructure. According to the ICCA statistics Serbia is one of the fastest growing destinations that has everything that larger and more developed destinations have. Miloš is on the scale also because of the many innovative marketing campaigns conducted in the last years, among which the first destination apps and a game on social network Facebook really stand out.

Gordana PLAMENAC Serbia Convention Bureau

Tatjana RADOVIČ Ljubljana Convention Bureau Tatjana Radović has candidacies that she has been preparing with passion and dedication in her blood. In carrying out her role she has for a number of years been linking key Ljubljana meeting suppliers, which last year came together in the Ljubljana Strategic Bidding Team. This gave an additional boost to the work of connecting with the Slovenian Convention Bureau and to a number of important projects of associations obtained for the coming years. The latest success is a successful acquisition of the ABTA Conference, which took place in 2014 in Ljubljana.

The recipient of the prestigious IMEX Academy Award as the director of the Tourist Organisation of Serbia has generated an appropriate supportive environment that has enabled the re-growth of the Serbian meetings industry. With this she has facilitated the work of Miloš Milovanović and the Serbian convention Bureau. Serbia is an example of excellent co-operation between tourism policies and the convention industry. Gordana Plamenac is on the scale because of an excellent international network of connections and the visionary management of tourism policy. 27

NEWCOMERS VOTED BY READERS: Mladjan MIŠKELJIN Serbia Convention Bureau In 2008 he was elected as one of world’s top 20 young meeting industry professionals by International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and in 2009 he received “Destination pro” distinguishment of the USA-based Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) association. Since 2014 he is director of the Serbia Convention Bureau.

Goran PAVLOVIĆ Opatija Convention Bureau In 2008 he started working for the Opatija Tourism Office as the Head of the Convention and Incen­ tive Bureau. In his current role, Goran is responsible for the promotion of Opatija as a convention destination in Croatia on the domestic and international markets. He successfully completed the ECM Summer School program in 2008 and DMAI Destination Sales Training programme in 2009, so he has been designated to receive the DMAI/ECM Destination Pro certificate. Since June 2013 he has been a Board member of European Cities Marketing, the network of European tourist and convention cities.

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TOP MEETING LOGISTICS (DMC, PCO,.....) Daniel MARUŠIĆ Dubrovnik Travel DMC Dubrovnik Travel is recognised in the market as an extremely marketing-oriented company that dictates the trends of regional DMCs. A clear marketing strategy and a systematic operation are visible at both the service level of co-operation with the most demanding clients, as well as in the credible results, which were confirmed through the Gazelle Award in 2011. Daniel is heavily involved in the meetings space, as a member of peer associations as well as being the voice of the convention industry of Croatia. Daniel Marušić, Dubrovnik Travel Croatia “To be elected as the TOP individual for Meeting Logistics is simply amazing and absolutely fits our mission. Fifteen years ago we started the special ‘DT meeting-jutsu’ philosophy with our DMC & PCO teams. Thanks to our experience, happy clients and constant training, together with our sister company Talas-M we became the proven leading regional service provider for all kinds of international meetings and incentives. With strong local offices in Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, and soon Slovenia, we perform as the most respected SEE ‘meeting warriors! ‘”

Tomaž KRUŠIČ and Miro HRIBAR Intours DMC Intours reached its star moment in 2013, since when the company has been recording impressive business results, an increase of brand awareness and rapid growth. For the company 2014 has been moving in a broad regional presence, where it has been continuously increasing its market share. Tomaž is also active as president of the council of the Slovenian Convention Bureau, in which he is responsible for improving the visibility of the industry in Slovenia.

Sanja VUKOV COLIĆ Spektar putovanja The most recognised Croatian PCO achieves excellent results on the market. They have been achieving quality management and setting high business standards since 1989. They have received the ISO 9001 – 2008 certificate, have reputable international partners and have organised over 20 conferences annually.

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

Bogdan LIPOVŠEK Former CEO of Grand Hotel Union The fount of congress tourism in Ljubljana, who has been leading the Grand Hotel Union for 23 years. Under his leadership, the hotel became synonymous with the convention hotel, which was copied by many followers, while at the same time remaining a Ljubljana institution, because it always maintains involvement in the city’s social and cultural life. Bogdan Lipovšek is also personally the greatest Slovenian advocate of the meetings industry, which has consistently stressed and pointed fingers at the errors of the incapable Slovenian tourism policy, which in relation to congress tourism behaves inappropriately.


Živorad VASIĆ Crowne Plaza Under the leadership of Živorad Vasić Belgrade is just a step away from the opening of the Crowne Plaza hotel, which is one of the most important congress acquisitions for the city and argely change the face of the congress centre of Belgrade in the vicinity of Sava Centar. Živorad is characterised by persistence, pervasiveness, professionalism and a personal contribution to the successful implementation of congress tourism in Serbia.

Andrej PREBIL Sava turizem d.d. When assuming office, he took a brave decision and put congress tourism into the heart of the new strategy of the largest Slovenian tourism company, which has led to Bled experiencing a revival. This aside, he is characterised by a broad understanding of hospitality, consistency of management and solid work towards achieving objectives. All this is reflected in the good business results in the field of congress tourism. Even in his wider environment, he is through various roles working to promote the meetings industry and its credibility.

Tomislav POPOVIĆ Maistra Hotels & Resorts In recent years, Maistra has with bold investments set-up a different meetings product, the peak being a new convention centre at the Lone hotel. With this Maistra has placed Rovinj on the market as a high-quality business venue, which in terms of design and experiential value does not have an equal in the region. With the support of events such as the Weekend Media Festival it has become the focal point of a new creative meetings industry of the future.

Top 2014

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

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

Tanja BOGDANOV DMC Vekol DMC Vekol is the leading destination management and special event service provider in Serbia. They are offering new team building ideas and the best of event planning and management resources all under one roof.

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


TOP MEETING INNOVATORS (MARKETING, TECHNOLOGY,....) Davor BRUKETA Bruketa & Žinić The Bruketa & Žinić agency, which was founded in 1995 by Davor Bruketa and Nikola Žinić, is considered to be the best small marketing agency in the world (AdAge 2013) and the second most effective independent agency in the world (Effie and Cannes 2012). A ranking on the scale was earned by understanding the future of the meetings industry through the integration of creative industries with congress ones, which was beautifully packaged into a complete picture in the Hotel Lone. Davor Bruketa, Bruketa&Žinić OM “Thank you! I’m very honoured to be given this title, especially as I was chosen among some of the best in the industry whose work I respect very much, such as Tomo Ricov or Jovan Jelovac. I believe creative and innovative solutions are the best approach to be noticed and remembered.”



Anže ČOKL Bohinj Park Eko Hotel He thinks seriously when he is talking about green meetings and has earned considerable attention through the significant expense on so-called green eco-friendly measures, but at the same time he is among the youngest people in the rankings. ‘Eco’ and ‘green’ are terms that all too often suffer from marketing abuse, behind which there is often no proper content. In the case of the eco Hotel Park, behind the word eco there is not only a well-cultivated green philosophy and technical perfection, but also a young and dedicated team that has internalised a green mindset and follows it at every level of the business. Anže Čokl, Bohinj Park ECO Hotel “Having any kind of influence is as flattering as it is daunting at the same time! Getting recognised for being proactive and innovative is therefore an additional boost and reminder for oneself to keep on growing and getting better - an ambitious and satisfying goal in the meetings industry!”

Top 2014

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

Kosta PETROV The P World An entirely new form of conference organisation throughout the region best captured in their business vision that ‘PI events do not produce events, but experiences’. His work is characterised by integrity and innovation through new approaches in communication that break with restrictive traditions. From Skopje he demonstrates that the organisation of events can also successfully operate in difficult economic conditions and in a non-conference tradition. Events Marketing kingdom and HR Experience have become bestsellers and brands that are carried out throughout Eastern Europe.

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

Marko KRIŽNIK Promo Agency Tacit innovator in the field of event organisation, which has earned him his place in the ranking with the region’s most ricocheting corporate event when he managed to turn Elan’s sales conference into a ski slope in the middle of Portorož during one of the hottest days of October. He is characterised by a persistent love of events and is an inexhaustible source of new ideas. As he is being formed through practice, his main asset is his number of references.

Dani POLAJNAR Teambuilding Academy Dani Polajnar has been actively involved in team dynamics and team work for fifteen years. For several years he was successful in managerial positions in different organisations, where he obtained broad knowledge especially of team work, team dynamic, team functioning and leading teams. In 2009 he was awarded with being included in The Ten Best Lecturers within the Slovenian market place. He is a member of the Harramach & Partner training network with the licence for its implementation in Slovenia in the area of management.

Danica PURG IEDC – Bled School of Management Professor Danica Purg is the President of the IEDC-Bled School of Management, Slovenia, and the President of CEEMAN, the association of 219 management development institutions from 54 countries, established with the aim to enhance management development in Central and Eastern Europe. She is also leading the European Leadership Centre (ELC). Purg received the 2010 Educator of the Year Award from the Academy of International Business (AIB) for her outstanding achievements in international business education. Prof. Purg is also a member of several international advisory 30

boards of well-known business schools, a member of the European Cultural Parliament (ECP) and the President of UN Global Compact Slovenia.

Zmago NOVAK Month of Design Zmago Novak has for 15 years been acting as an entrepreneur. He is the founder and director of Big institute (2003) and the founding father of magazines Hiše and Kontrast. He is a pioneer and director of Month of Design. With his concept and ideas very important persons from the world of creative industries get attracted to Slovenia.

Milan CULIĆ EIAT The sixth Anniversary of the EIAT conference showed how important and pioneering was the work of Milan Culić and Bojan Zečević. In the professional field they managed to establish a platform for knowledge sharing in the region, which today brings together more than 400 participants. Their work is concentrated on the effective and efficient integration between academic knowledge and the practice of tourism. Also in this area they successfully navigate between the demands of the global market and the characteristics and specifics of the South-East European market, and they have made a major contribution to the visibility of the whole region

NEWCOMERS VOTED BY READERS: Danijela BREČKO GV Educations Dr. Danijela Brečko is the director of Planet GV and a pioneer in the exploration of personal energy. In 2006, in collaboration with the Institute St. Gallen, she has developed the concept of energy organisation, which on the basis of a number of quantitative and qualitative surveys was upgraded to the concept of personal energy in 2011.

E T +386 1 433 21 55 WWW.UNION-HOTELS.EU




The Paviljon Pub and Lounge is located in the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. The basement area is the place for tasting various high-quality wines as well as local and foreign beers. The upper area, with a view over Ljubljana, has the character of a café or a lounge bar and is suitable for parties and other events in city centre.

2 D125

D125 is a Centre of Innovations for events. The facility is a legacy of the architect Savin Sever, one of the most typical representatives of the Ljubljana school of architecture. A multi-functional hall on two levels can accommodate up to 400 people.


The use of the sunny rooftop terrace of the Vander Urbani Resort is extended to private parties and events. The glass box on the terrace yoga studio is where you can enjoy the special atmosphere to the fullest. You can also take your time and try champagnes in brand new Bubbles Champagne bar.


If you want to organise an event away from the city hustle and bustle, you can choose between various halls and spaces at Ljubljana Castle. In the idyllic castle environment you can organise events for 30 to 800 participants.



Dvorni bar is the best meeting place for wine lovers, both experts and beginners. In the intimate ambience of a 200-year old wine cellar you can enjoy Slovenian and other wines together with tasty snacks.


Cafe SEM is a place for dance enthusiasts - on Tuesday nights you can enjoy swing music and on Wednesdays it‘s time for salsa. The pleasant atmosphere of Cafe SEM is suitable for special events like cultural and dance evenings, presentations and exhibitions.


Divino is a Mediterranean restaurant located on three floors within the Crystal palace shopping gallery. Inside you can enjoy culinary delights, whilst outside on the roof in a green luxurious terrace you can treat yourself to a delicious cocktail.


Sputnik is a space station dressed up as a living room. A very special room, separated off from other rooms, offers an excellent choice for the organisation of events of any form or flavour.


On the 13th floor of what was once the highest building in the centre of Ljubljana can be found a VIP Lounge where you can let yourself be blown away by the beauty of the famous view of Ljubljana and enjoy it in a comfortable ambience.

If you want to organise your event in the middle of nature, the Evergreen Restaurant is the perfect place! Let yourself be pampered in an idyllic natural environment in the summertime, when everything is green, or in the winter, in snowy surroundings by the fire place.

T: +386 1 200 9000



tel: 059 956 740
















THE 90TH ANNIVERSARY OF GRAND HOTEL UNION’S HERRING FEAST The biggest temptation for lovers of fish specialties and the most beautiful exhibition of original and cutting-edge examples of culinary aesthetics that you simply cannot miss!


erring feasts have started already in the 19th century. The only so-called Herring feast in the city kept until today is the one held in Grand Union Hotel. Herring dishes were traditionally prepared on Ash Wednesday before Easter in a number of pubs and restaurants as well as in some hotels. Grand Hotel Union took the initiative and kept the tradition going until today. The first Herring feast there was prepared in 1908. Since 1925, the feasts as we know them today have been held in the hotel annually and have been complimented by great culinary exhibitions. Traditionally the menu of a Herring feast consisted mainly of herring. Nowadays, also less common fish are use for sea and fresh water culinary delights served to the guests. Among the most important attributes of today’s cutting-edge cuisine is imagination, a necessary component of new and original recipes. For Grand hotel Union’s herring feasts, which every year attracts over 1500 visitors from all over Slovenia, the chefs use around 600 pounds of fish, crustaceans, molluscs and cephalopods. Next year, the Herring Feast is celebrating a special anniversary. On Ash Wednesday, the 18th of February 2015, you are kindly invited to the Grand Hotel Union for the 90th Herring feast and exhibition of original and cutting-edge examples of culinary aesthetics. Welcome!


Hot Spot


Hot Spot

BRDA’S CONGRESS TANGO Intoxicating infinity of incentive experiences Text by Gorazd čad


oriška Brda is passionate, energetic and driven by a primary need to live life to the full, with its inhabitants charged on spontaneity, intuition and positive energy. Just like tango, the place is connected with both heart and soul. If you want to have contact with the earth and with nature, you can get closest to this feeling in the intoxicating Brda. Hand cut slices of ham from the Belica farm that melt in the mouth and divinely tasting Tolmin sheep and goat’s cheese with warm bread rolls all served with kindness make for an unforgettable breakfast in the middle of Šmartno. Marica house has only four rooms that are representative of the new luxury founded on authenticity, respect for tradition and the principle of “less is more”. The house, named after nona Marica, was opened in 2010 and combines a little inn, a culinary souvenir shop and hotel rooms that are soon to be added to. The neighbouring family Hotel San Martin has put the meticulously restored and fortified medieval Šmartno in the centre of a new congress offer of the Gorica Hills. With nineteen rooms and the adjacent Marica it has become a popular starting point for incentive exploring of Brda, with its little pearls dotted along the hillsides. The heart and soul of the hotel is its owner Vesna, who with the tireless Brda inhabitants’ energy is taking the hotel forward and taking care of ensuring guests’ satisfaction. For their incentive meetings the hotel has already been discovered by several Slovenian companies who appreciate the kindness, diversity of offer and the intimacy of the hotel, which is soon to get even better with the addition of a swimming pool. Electric bikes and scooters are a nice – and green – innovation that will help you overcome the otherwise challenging Brda hills, with some ‘chunkier’ congress guests having tested the hilly inclines and conquered with the help of electricity! The bike and hiking trails are well marked and the orientation doesn’t pose any major problems. There are nine marked trails and in all of the hotels, tourist farms and TIC logically organised maps are available. For starters on getting acquainted with the area the descent through Kozana to the new cultural and congress centre in Vipolže is particularly recommendable. It is here that one of

the biggest investments in the field of culture is almost complete, with only the furnishings missing. In March 2015 the Renaissance villa will be brought to its full glory and is set to impress through its precise reconstruction, which has preserved and highlighted the essence of the former luxury villa so that today the villa is precisely as it was in the 17th century. In the large congress hall, which can be divided into three parts, there is room for 250 conference delegates and with the hardwood floors and preserved fireplaces it will be one of the most prestigious congress halls in Slovenia. The winery, tasting

room, renovated exterior and giant cypress trees in the park will also play a part in this future congress hit. With the range of options for evening events the choice of location is a big challenge. The garden of the Bjana estate has proven to be an acoustic and an adventurous hit, the 13th century palace courtyard having been renovated by Miran Sirk ‘s family and his charismatic presentation of the production of traditional sparkling wines legendary and deserving of the heralded respect of guests. Another quite extraordinary congress location is also the tasting space of Goriška Brda’s wine cellar, which is the largest wine cellar in Slovenia. There is something in the air and in the basement that really impresses guests. In its large tasting room it is possible to arrange a large number of stalls and it can also be used as a conference hall, with the recently organised Natour managing to accommodate 25. With views of the surrounding vineyards the space can be nicely combined with Dobrovo castle, where lectures 37

and lunch with a view can be organised. Getting to the castle from the Dobrovo cellar allows you to walk through the vineyard and enjoy the views of the Brda hills. The Knights’ Hall with its murals accommodates up to 100 participants and the lavish courtyard is suitable for receptions seasoned with a cultural programme. The castle houses the TIC Brda, which is the main point for the rental of electric scooters and bicycles, as well as for the purchase of original, artistic Brda memorabilia. Then there is the picturesque Medana, which in being one of the most recognizable tourist spots in Brda needs no special introduction. In Medana one does not need to think too heavily, because its essence is in its spontaneity and the pleasures that arise from contact with the legendary winemakers. A new initiative in the region for this year is donkey trekking, which not only have conference guests found especially exciting but it has also been proven to work against stress, socialising with donkeys understood to be soothing and relaxing. So whilst it appears that the Goriška Brda may be a remote region, with its new capacities it is becoming a starting point for discovering Posočje, the Gorizia region, Karst and Veneto. With the proximity of airports in Trieste and Venice the air accessibility is much better than the Slovenian average. In the shadow of the gaming boom in Nova Gorica a sustainable tourism product, which is unequalled in Slovenia, is also slowly and steadily taking shape. Lastly, it appears that in Brda the tourism trousers are worn by women. With such energy as the team of Ariana Suhadolnik has, mountains can truly be moved. Passionate socialising, like doing the tango, is always memorable and brings something new and different. Through organising the 8th business trade show of active tourism, NATOUR 2014, we properly got to dance tango with Goriška Brda.

Hot Spot

48 INCENTIVE HOURS IN GORIŠKA BRDA Memories that will last forever DAY 1


09:00 Arrival at Venice airport and transit to Goriška Brda


Breakfast at San Martin hotel.

09:30 Driving by electric car through the Brda region’s rolling green treasures.

09:00 Cycling Eco Rally - participants embark on a journey to the Brda hills with their electric bikes

11:00 First stop a visit to Duino Castle (Italy), where you can admire the magnificent view of the gulf of Trieste.

09:30 Stop off in the village of Cerovo. Donkey trekking among the vineyards and orchards with a mini-picnic in natural surroundings

13:00 Carry on to Brda and arrival at the renaissance Villa Vipolže.

12:00 Cycling to a wine paradise: the village of Medana

13:30 Lunch at Villa Vipolže

12:30 Arrival at Medana and participants testing themselves on a culinary workshop at one of the farmhouses

15:00 Transit to the San Martin Hotel in Šmartno village, where the participants are accommodated. 16:0 Treasure hunt in Šmartno’s ancient village. 17:0 Workshop at Nona Luisa, where participants learn how to make natural creams and soaps from the local herbs 18:00

15:00 Return to San Martin Hotel (by electric bikes or by bus) 16:00 Transfer to the Airport with a short visit to the Gorizia

Return to San Martin hotel

19:00 Visit to one of the local wineries and dinner with selected local dishes 23:00

Return to hotel


Hot Spot


Incentive: Simple rustic pleasures of donkey walking in Italian and Slovenian Brda. Enjoy bonding with the donkey while it enjoys carrying your pack of requirements for the day in a traditional manner. Embark on a journey that will de-stress your life and take you through the history of the lovely Brda area. Wow factor: Bonding with donkeys Category: CSR experiences Best time of the year : All year Duration: 3 hours

Min./max. of part.: 1 - 20 Location: Goriška Brda, Šmartno, Slovenia


Incentive: Group historical adventure and an elegant way to overcome the challenging Brda hills without major effort. 12 different cycling routes over the endless hills full of vineyards and orchards where views reach Friulia plain, Veneto and all the way to the sea. Groups will be able to solve different historical puzzles. Wow factor: Drive in the embrace of the Brda region’s green treasures with electric bikes or electric Scooters. Category: Active experiences

Best time of the year : All year Duration: 3 - 8 hours Min./max. of part.: 1 - 15 Location: Goriška Brda, Šmartno, Slovenia


Incentive: Wine route to the best wine cellars of Brda with blind wine tasting. In each cellar participants solves and evaluates the riddle of wine samples. Adventure lets you discover the wonderful world of wine and is thematically adapted to business goals. We recommend four stages, which are concluded with food and wine. Wow factor: Expand your wine horizons with the best Slovenian winemakers and wines Category: Culinary experiences

Best time of the year: All year Duration: 3 hours Min./max. of part.: 1 - 30 Location: Goriška Brda, Slovenia


Incentive: At this workshop, you will learn to produce natural cosmetic and realize the harmfulness of certain chemicals prevailing in cosmetic preparations. Let your imagination run free and learn how to self-supply with different aromas and natural dyes. Wow factor: Incredible healing power of nature Category: CSR experiences Best time of the year : All year

Duration: 2 hours Min./max. of part.: 5 - 20 Location: Goriška Brda, Šmartno, Slovenia


Incentive: In every corner of the upper Soča Valley, Gorizia and neighboring Brda is resting indelible memory of the First World War. Through active hiking-orientation program, you will learn the stories told by the caverns, forts, trenches and mule tracks. Wow factor: The program promotes the values of peace and cooperation within the team Category: Active experiences

Best time of the year : All year Duration: 5 - 10 hours Min./max. of part.: 10 - 50 Location: Goriška Brda, Sabotin, Slovenia


Voice from the top

VOICE FROM THE TOP Q: Have you always wanted to work in the meeting industry? No, I have been the director of the GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre for the last four years. Before that, I had worked in the food industry for 15 years. The meeting industry - events such as fairs, congresses, and other culturalentertaining events – are a challenge to me.

IZTOK BRICL, M. Sc. Econ., CEO, Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre

"Beside the traditional fairs, we are actively developing congress activities through personnel and organisational arrangements. Thus, we are actually realising our motto: 365 events at GR!"

Q: Why is your destination/country the best in the world? Slovenia is definitely now one of the most interesting convention destinations, especially because of its boutique offer and “unrecognisability” in the world. International guests love the extraordinary geographical differences, cuisine and hospitality. Slovenia is a small and safe country that offers practically everything: the sea, lakes and rivers. More than half of Slovenia is covered with forests, so you can take a beautiful walk through them, and the countryside attracts visitors with its wine routes and highly-developed rural tourism. Spas offer many possibilities for relaxation and pampering, and Slovenia is also an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts, admirers of biodiversity and sports enthusiasts, such as hikers, cyclists, fishermen and extreme sportsmen looking for adventure in water and on land, in lowlands and highlands. Q: What would be the first thing you would show every visitor to your country? Ljubljana! It is colourful, vibrant, and architecturally appealing. Besides, it offers many green areas for recreation, high-level culture and especially a charming medieval town centre with numerous bars along the River Ljubljanica and under the Ljubljana Castle. In summertime, the town centre is especially lively. There is also the famous marketplace and other outstanding examples of Plečnik’s architecture. Visitors may admire the infrastructure, for which all the credit certainly goes to the current Ljubljana Mayor, Zoran Janković, and his team. Ljubljana is actually a small town, but features all the characteristics of more developed European cities. Just look at the number of tourists visiting Ljubljana in all the seasons of the year! Q: What has been your ‘star’ moment so far and what is your favourite project with which you would praise yourself? I would highlight the changes that have contributed to a higher recognisability of the GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. Beside the traditional fairs, we are actively developing congress activities through personnel and organisational arrangements. Thus, we are 40

actually realising our motto: 365 events at GR! We host many international travelling exhibitions, which are visited by a significant number of visitors. Some of these, for example, are Bodies Revealed; Da Vinci – The Genius and Brain – The Inside Story. The GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre is a favourite location for entertainment events, from electronic music concerts to various receptions, presentations etc. Beside the Furniture Fair, the Home Fair, the Tourism Fair and the Nature-Health Fair, we organised the Ljubljana Craft and Small Business Fair and the revived Wine Competition and Wine Fair, which was very popular in the past. We have become a recognisable centre for important international congresses, such as the International Congress on Autoimmunity, the World Scout Conference, the Congress of the European Association of Agricultural Economists and the annual conference of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), which all attracted more than 1,500 participants. Q: What motivates you the most at work? Progress, development, viability, satisfied owners ... many visitors to events, large international congresses, all of which we expect to host in the future as well. Successful interventions in the field of our infrastructure: since 2012, the renovated Jurček pavilion has been used as the main entrance to our events, as well as the reception hall with cash desks, reception, press room and a modern coffee house/restaurant. There is also a renovated tower at the outer platform that is used for advertising on LED screens. Q: How do you deal with stress? Through sport. I make time for tennis, running, golf and skiing. Q: When were you last angry/disappointed and why? The first thing that comes to my mind is the AlpeAdria Fair earlier this year. It was organised at the same time as the Golden Fox in the Kranjska gora ski centre, which resulted in less visitors at the fair. The other thing is the weather ... a sleet catastrophe this year affecting Slovenia and the Alpe-Adria Fair as well. Such cases are beyond our power and we simply cannot influence them. Q: What will be new in your business in 2015? Our congress team is working intensely on attracting new congresses to be held in Ljubljana in the years up to 2018 and beyond. I can only mention some important events planned for the next year: Conventa – Europe Exhibition for Meetings, Events and Incentives in January; Glej,

Luč! – a several-day seminar from the field of spirituality in February; International Symposium on Electronics in Transport (ISEP) in March; Lepton Photon – an international congress of physicists in August, where around 500 participants are expected; Congress of the European Society of Regional Anaesthesia (ESRA) organised by Kenes International in September. A few years ago, Kenes International organised the Congress on Autoimmunity in Ljubljana, which was the congress of the year 2010. This time we again anticipate an important congress from the field of medicine with 1,400 participants from all over the world. Kenes International is known as an international organiser of congresses around the world which, based on its good experience with us, cooperates regularly with the GR –Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. For summer 2016 we are announcing the 17th World OIDFA Lace Congress (OIDFA) – The International Bobbin and Needle Lace Organisation with 800 participants. However, we are still waiting for some more confirmations. Q: What did you learn to do last week? I met with parties in the Slovene tourism industry, also at the highest national levels, and got acquainted with the current situation in tourism. Q: Where have you spent this year’s holiday and why? I was at the seaside in Croatia, and in Rimini, Italy. I enjoy going there due to my love for the Mediterranean Sea. Q: If there were no time and financial constraints, where would you go? I would go to South America – Brazil and Argentina, travelling for two months. Q: What would be the title of your autobiography? Life is persistence!


ICCA World Briefing

ICCA elects first African president


ina Freysen-Pretorius, Founder and CEO of The Conference Company, South Africa, has been elected as new ICCA President at the General Assembly of the 53rd ICCA Congress, taking place 1-5 November in Antalya, Turkey Nina Freysen-Pretorius joined the ICCA Board of Directors in 2008 and has been 2nd VicePresident of ICCA since 2010. She is the first ICCA president from Africa, and the 3rd female president in ICCA history. After two terms of two years, ICCA’s current president Arnaldo Nardone is stepping down at this year’s ICCA Congress. For the first time ever, three presidential cadidates stepped up for ICCA’s presidential elections: Mrs. Handan Boyce (Halic Congress Center, Turkey), Mrs. Nina Freysen-Pretorius (The Conference Company, South Africa) and Mr. Martin Winter (Gold Coast Tourism Corporation, Australia).

ICCA Members show loyalty despite geopolitical challenges


n a time when many international meetings are struggling to convince their delegates that it is safe to travel despite the geopolitical unrest in the world, ICCA members have shown their loyalty and resilience by registering in large numbers for the 53rd ICCA Congress, taking place 1-5 November in Antalya, Turkey. ICCA’s most important annual event attracted

ICCA launches second edition of Big Data Search tool

over 900 delegates from a record-breaking 72 countries, making this one of the largest four ICCA Congresses ever. Members have been attracted by a high-level education programme including deepdive mini-conferences on advanced bidding, healthcare meeting challenges, and, only for CEOs, on business leadership under conditions of complexity.

ICCA announces 2018 Congress destination


t the Closing Session of the 53rd ICCA Congress, held in Antalya, Turkey, ICCA President Nina Freysen-Pretorius announced that the ICCA Board of Directors had selected Dubai as the host destination for 2018, saying: “Not only did this bid fully meet our business objectives and logistical requirements, the Board considered it to be a truly exceptional proposal.” ICCA CEO Martin Sirk added: “Dubai is positioning itself as the Middle East hub for association development, and the potential for ICCA membership growth is very exciting, so there are very compelling business opportunities for both ICCA and our members.” “We are extremely proud and delighted that the ICCA Board of Directors has chosen Dubai as the host destination for the 2018 ICCA Congress. The ICCA Congress is the most prestigious event in our industry and provides a unique opportunity to showcase Dubai and to familiarize the ICCA members with the growing potential of the entire Middle East. We look forward to working closely with ICCA and the members of the Middle East Chapter to organize the first ICCA Congress taking place in our region”, says Steen Jakobsen, Director of Dubai Business Events.


ust five months after introducing its first-ever Big Data tool for members’ research needs, ICCA announced the launch of Edition 2 at the 53rd ICCA Congress, taking place 1-5 November in Antalya, Turkey. ICCA’s Big Data Search functionalities give ICCA members an amazingly simple way to search vast public databases of academic content and contacts, and to link the results to the structure of ICCA’s own Association Database, enabling them to identify local representatives who could help them to bid for an international association meeting. Utilising the databases of Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search, ICCA members are able to identify leading academic contacts in specified cities and regions, related to a specific meeting in the ICCA Association Database or a specific meeting subject. Finding these local “ambassadors” is a crucial step in preparing a successful bid to host the next edition of an association’s international meeting. The tool was developed in partnership with new ICCA member Human Equation, a Montreal-based specialist in online and interactive marketing, and Big Data services and solutions. 42

ICCA World Briefing

#ICCAWorld most interesting tweets out of 6.356 published since september 2014 ICCA @ICCAWorld  · Nov 5 Have you already heard of the ICCA baby? She was at the Congress! Here’s Per and Martine’s love story. #ICCAWorld

Mathijs Vleeming @Mathijsv · Nov 4 #ICCAWorld’s PR Excellence Session: Stop selling hard facts & figures, start telling stories about your destination.

Jonathan Bradshaw @meetology · Nov 5 #Turkey: you astounded me. The people, infrastructure, accommodation and the weather! Well done @ICCAWorld for a great #iccaworld congress

ICCA @ICCAWorld · Nov 4 Sustainability, innovation & high quality of life + storytelling can move you forward says @copenhagencvb #ICCAWorld

Brenda Sanderson @brendamontreal · Nov 4 Statistics are important, but raw data is not attractive. People like pictures, to be told stories. - Amsterdam Marketing #bma #ICCAWorld

Copenhagen CVB @copenhagencvb · Nov 3 #ICCAWorld learning: @meetology - A small failure can strengthen people’s empathy for you, when you do presentations!

Jean Evans CMP @Jean_E_Evans · Nov 3 Knowledge takes us from A-B; imagination can take us anywhere. #Einstein #ICCAWorld

Paco Quereda @Pquereda · Nov 4 BIG Data, Big Challenge, Big Present and Biggest Future with @anashel @ juliewatterston @acereto1 #ICCAWorld


ICCA World Briefing

SMALL TALK, Özgül ÖZKAN YAVUZ General Manager of Istanbul Convention & Visitors Bureau

Q: What are your expectations from this year’s ICCA Congress in Antalya? ICCA is the global community of the meeting industry and every year the ICCA Congress is an environment where all the members learn a lot about recent developments and challenges of the industry. It is nice to hear that ICCA is investing more in technology and that they are offering new products like Big Data. We will be hearing about new market trends and will be meeting with experts from other fields, which is going to allow us to review our own strategic plans. The ICCA Congress is always a great opportunity for training, but in particular this year’s education programme is offering a lot. As Istanbul CVB, I and three of my staff will be participating in the Congress and try to follow every single detail during its five days. Moreover, this year it is a really exciting congress for us, because ex-General Manager of the Istanbul CVB, Handan Boyce, is running for ICCA Presidency and we are proud of her.

Q: In your opinion, what will the 2015 Congress season be like and what major events are you planning? As a leading and one of the top 10 congress destinations, Istanbul is going to host various congresses and meetings in 2015. Three of them, to give an example, are the 17th World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), with 7,000 participants, the 32nd World Veterinary Congress (WVC), with 5,000 participants, and the 31st International Epilepsy Congress (IEC), with 4,000 participants. We are proud to host WFD in our city, as it is a worldwide organisation representing 70 million deaf people in five continents worldwide and working towards the global achievement of human rights for all deaf people. The World Veterinary Congress, on the other hand, will constitute an important forum and exciting venue for the dissemination of advanced scientific knowledge and technological development in most veterinary fields. The scientific programme of the International Epilepsy Congress is to be innovative and engaging, with a wide range of main and parallel sessions, as well as teaching and video sessions. 44

So we will be enjoying having lots of important events in the city. As a destination that is home to 7 convention centres, 3 exhibition centres and almost 100,000 total guestrooms and 114 fivestar hotels, İstanbul is ready to welcome more than 100 congresses in 2015. We are starting to see that industry is recovering from the economic uncertainty that was a challenge for all of us. I am also happy to inform you that the Istanbul Convention & Visitors Bureau has a new integrated marketing plan for 2015, which will keep İstanbul on the agenda as a leading congress destination. The aim of this new marketing plan is to represent İstanbul effectively towards the convention sector and to contribute to increasing the market share of the city. In order to strengthen the brand value of Istanbul, press conferences will be organised in 2015 in Germany & UK. Additionally, an İstanbul Press Trip will be held in 2015 April. For these activities, ICVB will work in cooperation with national & international PR agencies. Furthermore, ICVB will have an international advertising campaign.


ZAGREB vs. KRAKOW A current comparison of the closest competitors on the 2013 ICCA scale according to the methodology of Kongres travelogues – meetologues.

ZAGREB Population: 792,875 ICCA Country and City rankings 2013 79th place , 32 meetings Mercer Quality of Living 2013 98th place Sunshine hours: 1,806

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

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

4.32 / 5


KRAKOW Population: 755,546 ICCA Country and City rankings 2012 79th place, 32 meetings Mercer Quality of Living 2013 NA Sunshine hours: 1,489

✚ Of all the Polish cities Krakow is the one with the greatest soul and is the one most fraught with history. Being the main tourist city it has excellent conditions in place for the development of congress tourism and with the construction of the new convention centre it has also received a real affirmation of this. In Poland Krakow will be the destination of the new generation, which will soon be recognised as a high quality, compact and most versatile meetings destination due to the cultural heritage, new meetings capacities and because of its huge scientific potential. The activities of the Convention Bureau are a good indicator of what the destination is capable of and what expectations it can meet. Krakow’s recipe is successful and a case of good practice for other, more traditional central European destinations. Krakow meetings flashpoints: 1. ICE Kraków Congress Centre – brand new Congress centre with a view of the Wawel 2. Krakow Opera – modern building opened in 2008 with three halls, the largest one for 760 people 3. Folwark Zalesie – a large conference complex on a hill, 25 km from the centre of Krakow 4. Wielliczka Salt Mine – event chambers located over 100m deep in the mine can host from 40 to 600 people 5. Under the wings – the Muzeum Lotnictwa Polskiego offers its new building and hangars for 100 to 900 people. STAY: Radisson Blu Hotel Krakow

4.37 / 5


Kongres magazine

EXPERIENCING IS BELIEVING! Conventa opens meeting planners’ horizons by introducing them to the best meetings offer of Central and South East Europe


o achieve its aim of raising the visibility of Central and South East Europe on the global meetings industry map, Conventa brings together meeting industry suppliers of Central and South East Europe along with the new and emerging destinations with the demand from the rest of Europe. The new-look show, taking place from 21 to 22 January 2015 in Slovenia, offers meeting planners an opportunity to discover just what this wonderful region has to offer. “South East Europe is one of a new breed of destinations attracting interest from the meetings and events industry. The region as a whole provides a number of original experiences and prides itself on its warm hospitality,” emphasized Pete Roythorne, Joint Editor of Meetings:Review. Central and South East Europe offers a strong meetings and events infrastructure, ranging from large congress centres through to convention hotels located in historic cities or Mediterranean coastal regions. There is also a wide selection of small hotels with meeting facilities right across the region, as well as myriad special venues to cater for almost any requirement. Attending Conventa and getting to know the meetings offer is surely a good investment in future business. Patrick M Delaney, Director at Ovation Global DMC, emphasised that: “As a professional meeting planner I’m being continuously asked for something different, value-centred. I firmly believe that South East Europe can provide answers to many of these needs. Go there and check it out. I know you will be more than satisfied!”


Albert Einstein once said: “The only source of knowledge is experience.”

and thus get all the knowledge of the regional meetings potential they need. First they will be introduced to the offer by meeting with key meeting industry suppliers at the trade show. Next they will attend the renowned Conventa fam trips and get a first-hand experience of Ljubljana, Bled, Portorož, Zagreb and other meetings destinations: “If you are crying out for a new and attractive destination which offers everything that you need to host a conference or event that delegates will want to return to – don’t miss the chance to unveil the secrets of Ljubljana!” Tatjana Radovič, Ljubljana Tourism, Head of the Business Tourism (MICE) Department “We warmly invite you to set your eyes on one of the most stunning places in Europe, view our beautiful meeting and event venues, speak with the welcoming local professionals, pamper your taste buds and be inspired by Bled.” Eva Štravs Podlogar, director of Bled Tourist Board “Deciding to have your next Fam Trip in Portorož should be easy. We are awaiting you in the beautiful coastal area with top quality services, a wide range of activities, tasty local food and intact nature. FEEL Portorož!” Elena Šverko, Tourist Board Portorož “Allow us to present you Zagreb, one of the oldest European cities and since July 2013 the youngest metropolis of the European Union. By taking part in the Zagreb Fam Trip you will get a unique opportunity to explore and get to know Zagreb, its conference and events venues and facilities both historical and new, get fresh ideas for incentive programmes, see major landmarks, enjoy tasty local dishes and learn about the proverbial Zagreb hospitality. We take pride in being your hosts and are looking forward to welcoming you in Zagreb!” Zlatan Muftić, Director of Zagreb Convention Bureau Meeting planners, we welcome you to exploring Central and South East Europe at Conventa. Welcome!

Hosted buyers attending the 7th Conventa will most certainly get plenty of possibilities to experience the meetings offer The Conventa hosted buyer programme includes a complimentary economy return air ticket from selected destinations within Europe to Ljubljana on Adria Airways flights, overnight accommodation, ground transfers, meals, networking opportunities, a personal itinerary of appointments, fam trips and the support of Conventa team before and during the show. If you organise, influence or make budgetary decisions for international meetings, incentive travel, conventions, product launches, staff trainings or events then go to to check the qualifying criteria for the hosted buyer programme.


1:2:3:4:5:6:7:8:9:10: Reasons


Kongres magazine

Reason 1: 2:3:4:5:6:7:8:9:10:

CONTENT MARKETING I’ve been creating and encountering content and ‘content marketing’ right throughout my career, the main difference being that in the past we gave it a different name and as a rule it was included in the PR. The current Content Marketing Institute (B2B Content Marketing 2014 Benchmark) study shows how times have changed and how important it has become in a B2B market: today, 93% of marketers use various content marketing tools, with 44% having a carefully worked out strategy. The number of companies directly employing a content custodian is also on the rise, with content marketing budgets already in excess of 30% of all marketing costs. With all this content marketing buzz going on, it’s important to question why it has become so very important for trade show organisers too. For one, the competition between global and regional trade shows is certainly becoming more and more fierce, with classical advertising methods becoming almost unfeasible. In addition to all of its direct effects content marketing also indirectly affects search engines and triggers a positive response from readers. With our buyers increasingly taking over campaigns, beyond content marketing there are only few tools that enable communication through various channels: trade show organisers are consequently becoming media houses and publishers with their own media channels, and social media has facilitated and strengthened this role, enabling quick and easy distribution of web content. So where do you start? Well, good content marketing starts with really understanding buyers (customers), and the most important added value is in storytelling, not in the selling of services. These stories must be personal, heartfelt and written in good old journalistic manner, with a good story easy to place within a variety of communication media, something that doesn’t readily apply to the bombardment of sales messages we get daily from most providers. Good content can then also help you achieve the goals you have set regarding your participation at the trade show. When it’s genuinely good content we understand everything that the users continue to share – it is contagious and it works in the longer term, all of which raises the key question: whether it also increases sales. We believe it does, as in recent years we have received concrete demands based solely on good content. In order to fully exploit the capital of content marketing you therefore need to find a storyteller, immediately start measuring the effects, nominate a content guardian, connect tools, multiply stories and respect your readers.

For trade show exhibitors it is essential to prepare a press release with strong story elements that open the door to congress buyers’ hearts and minds – these readers reward us with a purchase and with their loyalty. Storytelling is the most efficient communication mechanism for building such a relationship with consumers, because it allows you to attract customers, to connect with them and to start building a long-term relationship with them on an emotional level. Properly good content, however, has never been free. “The marketer” magazine has published an interesting analogy that content marketing is similar to buying a house rather than renting; no one today seriously considers buying independently, rather he or she honestly considers with whom to do business and seeks the best person for the job. Content managers have therefore today become the masters of multimedia tools and know how best to use a range of specialist ones. I remain firmly convinced of the effectiveness of content marketing. At the same time, however, it does conceal some pitfalls and dangers. Just as with football, everyone thinks they know a lot about tourism, but in formulating their thoughts they can have big problems. The result of this can be poor content, and poor content means a bad reaction or response - or even worse, no response at all. Content must be fresh, content must be original and, when the time and place is right, content must also be a little bit provocative. A few recommendations to tie things up: try to follow the basic rule that you do not copy others; constantly mentioning the company and its products is annoying and unnecessary; creating attractive titles is extremely important; avoid publishing transmitted news and content and choose to create your own original news content; use a top photo and do not overcook things with technical or scientific expertise. If you are posting advertorial, mark this out loud and clear – readers will not resent you this! The lure of quasi-content marketing is waiting for you at every step… Trade shows are an excellent vehicle for launching original and infectious stories. The best ones offer thoughtful and carefully planned distribution, their own communication channels and a very clear target group. If you can use content marketing well, this will also be a key selling advantage for you and an opportunity that you grab with both hands.


ADDED VALUE ON THE CASE OF CONVENTA TRADE SHOW: FACT: The entire profiling of Conventa is based on content marketing and we were one of the first trade shows with a person employed in this field. We are therefore proud to say that Conventa is the largest regional ‘content marketing machine’. RESULT: In five years, Conventa has been visited by 67 leading professional media organisations that have brought 119 journalists to the event. These have taken the voice of the congress potential of the region to the world and have published over 300 stories, whilst generating a significant number of posts on social networks. IMPACT: Conventa is well attended by professional media and leading journalists. Many of them are so thrilled about the region that they have become media ambassadors and friends of destinations.


Gorazd Čad is a veteran convention tourism addict. Founder and owner of the marketing and congress agency TOLERANCA MARKETING, he has numerous years of experience in the planning, preparation and execution of major international trade shows and fairs. Having started his career in Cankarjev dom, where he project-led on fairs such as Infos, Kapital, Bits & Fun, Slovenian Wine Festival and many others, work in his private capacity has given him a long and multi-faceted experience of developing B2B trade shows, the most noteworthy of these being Conventa, Space, Natour and Hot-Rest. B2B selling solutions sit at the heart of the action of his work and are the key specialisation with proven added value and measurable results.

Kongres magazine

Reason 1: 2:3:4:5:6:7:8:9:10:

MEASURING EFFECTIVENESS – ROI Trade show participation is coming under increasing scrutiny; marketing budgets are shrinking and directors are requiring maximum ROI. Therefore, it is really important that in accordance with the trade show Pareto Principle, you choose the right trade show that will deliver your business objectives.

2. Development of a brand and customer loyalty is another criterion with strong long-term effects. It not until after several years of continuous implementation of a fair from the perspective of the organisers or participation from the perspective of exhibitors that concrete results can be brought about.

Borrowing from Dr. Elling Hamso, one of the greatest experts on measuring events and meetings ROI, a prerequisite for profitability is that “exhibitors have to do something at the lowest cost possible” in order to create and justify the added value of a trade show appearance. Often this is not the case, and exhibitors put all their faith in trade shows organisers, or they do not have any clear expectations on co-operation.

3. Networking and influencing key stakeholders is also a long-term activity, which can greatly enhance the marketability of your brand.

It then comes about that almost every year exhibitors ask me how we measure the return on their investments in collaboration with one of the trade shows that we organise. Normally, I would say that the measure of profitability begins with the selection of target groups - the more we are precise with this, the better the return on investment. Another element is clearly defined objectives, which we communicate very clearly with all of the stakeholders of our trade shows. Very broadly speaking, what you cannot measure, you cannot manage, so with targeted surveys among invited buyers and exhibitors we can regularly check the satisfaction of key stakeholders. Over the years, they have become a credible and valuable source of data for improving the quality of projects. The set of criteria we use does not change and it allows us to track trends over time. So, despite the fact that there are clearly a number of methodologies and measurement techniques, it all begins with the method of evaluation and the stakeholder’s decision on which effects are most important to the organisers or the exhibitors. As a rule, they can be divided into three effect categories: 1. Short-term selling, which is still the dominant criterion for the evaluation of ROI for participation in a B2B event.

Measuring effects is therefore not as straightforward as it might seem at first glance. On the participants’ side it all starts with clear goals and expectations. If there are no goals, everything may otherwise appear good, so the setting of goals is of primary importance, because only then can we measure what we have really achieved. On the trade show organisers’ side there is a striking difference between public and private sector organisers. The smaller the share of public funding of trade shows, the greater the concern for ROI. To measure the return of a trade show there are clear and precise financial indicators in place that show, despite the sceptics, that as a part of direct marketing trade shows and exhibitions are still one of the most effective tools, because we can clearly define the goals and measure them in the best way through, for example, the number of meetings or the number of acquired business opportunities. Another important part of ensuring a high yield is also a general feeling of quality. For this it is important to provide a suitable environment for B2B communication. This includes subtle initiatives such as a convenient and pleasant booth to establish a personal relationship. At our trade show we create business opportunities and because of this we are very carefully choosing our suppliers. We therefore dedicate attention to this kind of detail. Quality control is carried out throughout the preparation of the project with face-to-face meetings with suppliers and through interviewing all stakeholders. After the project we carry out personal meetings with approximately 50% of all exhibitors. Meetings are designed primarily to improve the quality of the project.


ADDED VALUE ON THE CASE OF CONVENTA TRADE SHOW: FACT: Conventa measures profitability through exhibitor and invited guest surveys and onsite using the electronic system Geoffrey. The show was evaluated by 1,437 invited guests on average with a high grade of 4.27 and 753 exhibitors with a score of 4.42. RESULT: With the help of our ‘ electronic butler’ we have proven from a statistically relevant sample that 62.87% of all hosted buyers marked it as excellent and good-5-4, which is 38.56% of concrete RFPs and very high potential. IMPACT: According to the research that we prepare annually, co-operation at Conventa is an investment that exhibitors get back in the form of concrete business. In addition to this dimension we also generate ROI through brand recognition, which we find to be extremely well received in the market.

Kongres magazine

Reason 1: 2:3:4:5:6:7:8:9:10:

SELECTED BUYERS As trade shows participants you must constantly be wondering about how to acquire new business partners and increase the return on your trade show performance investment. There is a well-known fact that acquiring new customers is much more expensive than the process of keeping existing ones, and today your potential congress customers also have available to them an almost unlimited world congress offer. In the world of searching out new business partners business trade shows remain one of the key tools and at a business event the hosted buyers are the centre of that world. We therefore like to say that the congress trade shows are “hosted buyer driven�. Organisers are consistently thinking of how best to fully satisfy buyers and fundamental to this is an understanding of their needs and expectations. However, it all starts out with a clearly defined set of criteria for invited buyers participation; it is important to know the structure of buyers and to know the ratio between corporate buyers and those from professional associations. A basic tool for organisers in getting this right is a powerful CRM system for which the foundation is a detailed segmentation of buyers. In addition to this, a comprehensive communication infrastructure is needed, one that integrates different communication tools into an operational system. The aim of the organisers through all of this is to attract as many buyers with high purchasing power as possible. To this end, they carry out extensive marketing campaigns, with key activities including co-operating with group co-ordinators who are experts in specific target markets.

Interactive communication allows a company to obtain feedback directly, so the complete digital analytics is of utmost importance, including the analysis of social networks. Regular communication is the backbone in achieving success.


Given all of this, an interesting component that signals the quality of a trade show is the selection process for hosted buyers. At the Conventa trade show, on average we reject more than half of all applications. The record was in 2013, when we rejected as much as 57.8%. Why such a high level of rejection? Because we only select those with a genuine and profound interest in the region. Even good data about buyers does not mean anything without the full and proper knowledge alloyed to an analytical model that helps in making decisions on their selection.

RESULT: According to Conventa statistics,

The good news about a particular business event spreads quickly; satisfied buyers pass on the news of their positive experience to a wide range of new potential buyers, who in turn pass on the same messages. Welcome to the good news about our business event. Welcome to Conventa 2015.


FACT: 1,437 invited guests have visited

the Conventa trade show in six years. a min. 10% of all meetings conducted in the long-term materialises into the form of sales. This means on average 2.2 successful meetings and from our calculations on average spend, the average yield of the trade show is at least EUR 57,540 per exhibitor. IMPACT: It is much more difficult to acquire new customers than to retain old ones. In bringing new buyers the Conventa trade show is a key tool in expanding your business profile.

Kongres magazine

Reason 1: 2:3:4:5:6:7:8:9:10:

QUALITY BRAND I do not know any research on how important the EIBTM and IMEX brands are for the convention tourism of Barcelona and Frankfurt. I am convinced, however, that there is reciprocity and a logical business model in which they are investing substantial resources. Personally I am a deep believer in the branding of events, which are a kind of genetic record of it and which largely defines its personality and character. I view events as specific personalities that have their more or less wild character defined at birth. Conventa was conceived as a sophisticated, elegant town lady, dressed in the latest fashion and kindly inviting you to a cup of coffee and ensuring that guests’ expectations are not just met, but exceeded. To develop and grow each personality needs a certain time. In my experience it takes at least a good five years for such a lady to mature beyond the phase of learning her best habits. Shortcuts are rare and can require a significant marketing financial investment. When a young girl or a boy does mature, it usually turns into something quite different from what the founding fathers have envisaged it would be at the outset. There are a number of attributes that make an event brand stable and desirable to buyers: • The quality of execution must be clear and at the highest level. In the foreground is the user experience based on perfectionism and innovation. • The event must represent a professional platform for creating business opportunities or the exchange of professional experiences in a fun way.

• Brands, like magnets, pull other brands towards them. • A good brand will be successful internationally and far beyond the borders of its region or city. Good branding reaches very deep, because the experience connects the entire community. There is no ‘coincidence’, as contacts with partners are very carefully constructed and controlled. This is where the very power of branding can be seen, making the biggest challenge how to maintain it, control it and deliver its promise. Conversations with customers and stakeholders give very direct and simple answers to this question. If we as organisers have done our homework in the field of branding, then the way for a positive co-branding is open. Think of a case example paradigm: if you are not at the EIBTM trade show, then for a certain segment of the market you do not exist. However, if the case is done right, there is a positive co-marketing happening in the sense that the positive associations of one brand are transferred to the other. Although this may sound a little like heresy in the extremely competitive environment of the meetings industry, think about it again; co-branding reinforces the reputation of both brands, the financial returns and reach of an appearance at an event are greatly improved, the costs of appearing in terms of the specific target group are lower and the access to sales channels is mutual. Examples of good practice in this area are innumerable. Remember: THE FIRST IMPRESSION COUNTS!

• The organiser must know the market thoroughly and must know the buyers’ habits and the thinking of their business partners. This requires a complete, exhaustive and effective business analytics.


ADDED VALUE ON THE CASE OF CONVENTA TRADE SHOW: FACT: Conventa has in the past five years become a reputable brand that enjoys a high reputation and level of credibility among hosted buyers and exhibitors. By participating at the trade show you will become a part of the best congress companies in the region. RESULT: We are trusted by the global trade shows IMEX, EIBTM, the UK Meetings Show; associations ICCA, MPI and SITE; and all of the major convention bureaus in the region. In addition, all the largest congress players of the region have been with us from the beginning. IMPACT: The degree of loyalty is extremely high, because from the beginning we have been trusted by 98% of exhibitors who are joined each year by new ones.

Kongres magazine

Reason 1: 2:3:4:5:6:7:8:9:10:

FREE KNOWLEDGE “The more I learn, the more I see how little I really know and I know that I know nothing.” - Socrates The meetings industry has for many years been a kind of medieval fortress of classic organisational and procedural approaches. The models of organisation and knowledge were passed on slowly and professional organizations and international associations had a monopoly over specific knowledge. In parallel with this, specific know-how was jealously guarded by individual companies. There comes the day, however, when the players take control into their own hands and when it is the teenagers who are solving the most complex congress problems that you can think of. The paradigm today that many professions are replaceable as the work is performed for them by the tools of technology does not hold in the meetings industry. Personally I think that very large business events and conferences are the best way to mobilize the hidden potential of your co-workers. In addition to the business dimension the majority of quality events also bring a fourth dimension in the form of new knowledge. Since we are in the business where the building of relationships with the partners and among the participants is at the forefront, the interdisciplinary knowledge is even more important. Time dedicated to visiting an event is therefore not only useful, but also enjoyable, as it allows us to explore and discover this new knowledge.

The individuals who think that they already know everything about the meetings industry are the toughest to convince about this. Even worse is that many managers see this element of an investment in employees as a waste of time and money. If you are sending your employees to business events consider this aspect, as to truly mobilise your congress potential it is extremely important. Yes, the congress industry has long been a society of knowledge, innovation and the collision of new ideas and fresh thinking. A convention destination can only win the battle if it has more knowledge than its competitors. In addition, it must also have a dose of creativity, which also places our industry among the creative industries. Classified, consolidated knowledge is still offered by international organisations such as MPI and ICCA, as well as a growing number of trade show organisers and events. EIBTM and IMEX have become global integrators of knowledge, but an important role is also played by regional events, as evidenced by their ongoing success. The key is to continuously update the knowledge in light of the extremely rapid changes in the industry environment.


ADDED VALUE ON THE CASE OF CONVENTA TRADE SHOW: FACT: Conventa is annually improving and enhancing its educational programme, which is free of charge for exhibitors and invited guests. RESULT: We have brought global stars of the meetings industry to Conventa, among whom we can count Paul Bridle, Linda Pereira, Patrick Delaney, Angie Mason and many others. The average registration fee for such events is at least 250 EUR. Conventa organisers are offering it to exhibitors for free. Are you taking advantage of it? IMPACT: During all Conventa days participants are able to enjoy quick presentations, workshops, forums and different lectures of all difficulty levels. Conventa Academy, Conventa morning energy sessions, Conventa Expert’s corner and IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum stimulates the minds of the meeting industry players.



Explore the emerging destinations of Europe over a cup of coffee

THE BUTIQUE 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.


21 - 22 JANUARY 2015, Ljubljana—Slovenia

Global Village

YOUNG TALENTS My alternative career fantasy would be to run a strategic consulting company. Through my studies at the Faculty of Economics I got to be quite enthusiastic about entrepreneurship and for a short period of time I was hired as a salesman and a consultant for a small start-up company. I found that experience to be very interesting. 4:

1. Who are you? 2. What is your favourite meetings brand? 3. What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done? 4. What’s your alternative career fantasy? 5. What, if anything, are you obsessed with at the moment?

I haven’t really thought of myself as being obsessed with anything, but I love the challenge of creating and implementing new ideas and programmes consistent with the LifeClass ideology and making the LifeClass meetings experience even more unique. That and tennis. 5:


My name is Mitja Žnidaršič. I am a sales manager for MICE in the hotel chain LifeClass Hotels & Spa in Portorož, the elite costal resort in Slovenia. Growing up in Portorož, where tourism is the mainstream business, had quite a big impact on my life. From a very early age I was fascinated with the hospitality industry and had my mind set on working in this field, preferably a hotel or a hotel chain. Throughout my university years I worked as a tourist guide and was in charge of the sales department for the Slovenian littoral region in a Slovenian tourist agency, which helped me develop much needed skills for the line of work I am doing now. My goal of working for a hotel or a hotel chain was met in March 2014 when I was invited to join the MICE team of LifeClass Hotels & Spa. Being a very dynamic person I absolutely love the diversity and the opportunities that LifeClass has to offer. 1:

At the risk of not seeming objective, I’d have to say LifeClass Hotels & Spa. There is absolutely no denying that with a great location and excellent infrastructure the hotel chain is adequate for hosting even the most demanding events. But more than that, in LifeClass we are introducing new and innovative ways of organising meetings. Through different approaches and activities we help organisers increase the ROI of their events. 2:

I’m not sure whether to categorise this as brave, but I would think I was bold taking on the responsibilities of the marketing department of the largest Casino in Portorož without previous experience in that line of work. It was a great experience and I’m proud to say it went very well. 3:


KRISTINA JURJEVEC SORA Catering I am the person who is happy to go to work on Mondays, who goes running even if it is raining, hiking also in winter time and swimming in a cold sea… I love the sunshine and consider the time spent with friends as most precious. I’m also the person in charge of spreading the good word about our company. Smiles are my soft spot. 1:

Greece! I get overwhelmed by its energy as soon as I enter this amazing country. No matter what time of year, location, venue or event content. 2:


Drove a car in Athens!


A pastry chef J


Sports hospitality.


14TH CONGRESS OF THE EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMISTS AT GR Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre - In August 2014, GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre hosted the 14th Congress of the European Association of Agricultural Economists (EAAE). - Nearly 700 participants from 49 countries attended the event - The congress, under its main theme of “Agri-Food and Rural Innovations for Healthier Societies”, took stock of the academic insights into all areas of agriculture, food, resource and rural economics. Having the size and complexity of the EAAE congress in mind, the Slovenian Association of Agricultural Economists, in cooperation with GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre and GO.MICE – professional congress organiser, prepared the winning bid that, at the beginning of 2011, convinced the European Association of Agricultural Economists that they should hold their event in Ljubljana. Dr. Aleš Kuhar, University of Ljubljana - Biotechnical Faculty and event organiser: “After more than two years of preparations, which in the last six months required an intensive co-operation with the professional organiser and GR Ljubljana exhibition and Convention Centre – as a congress venue and PCOs I can say that the

GR team has done a great job. The feedback we got from the participants was extremely positive.” Alan Matthews, Past President of the European Association of Agricultural Economists: “GR – Exhibition and Convention Centre was an important factor in our very successful Congress in Ljubljana in 2014. I would highlight, in particular, the good availability of rooms of different sizes in close proximity, the availability of many formal and informal spaces where delegates could meet, relax and chat socially, and its central location in the city itself. We had excellent cooperation both before and during the Congress with the GR – Exhibition and Convention Centre staff who went out of their way to ensure the success of our event”. A varied and carefully thought-out social programme was prepared for the participants, with 12 exciting study tours around Slovenia related to the congress topics offered. For most participants this was a unique chance to explore different parts of Slovenia, meet Slovenian producers of wine, beer, cheese and meat, and experience the natural landscape and hospitality of the local people.  The highlights were the “Down-town get-together” held in the old town in the centre of Ljubljana and the farewell dinner, aptly


named a “Walk through the Slovenian culinary and wine regions”, that took place at GR - Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. The catering was entrusted to the master chefs of the Kaval Group and the organisers told a story about Slovenian traditional food and wine in relation to the wine-growing regions. A walk amongst tables loaded with delicacies was an opportunity to discover Slovenia from both the geographical and the culinary aspect, with each wine-growing region displaying its unique culinary specialities. Winemakers were on hand to personally present wines to the guests, giving the event an extra special charm. During dinner guests were asked to vote for their favourite food and wine. This was a fun incentive to taste all of the wine and dishes presented and at the same time it made the evening very sociable. This was followed by a raffle and an awards ceremony on stage, the guests receiving a cookbook of Slovenian national dishes and the best accompanying wines. All in all, it was an experience that they will remember forever! More at



Hotel Cipriani commands unrivalled views of the lagoon and the Doge’s Palace. It offers seven different event spaces with an outdoor facility. Hidden congress guest mark:


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With sweeping views of the sparkling Venice lagoon, the Hotel Danieli, with three palazzi dating back to the 14th century, houses 225 guest rooms and suites, many with balconies overlooking the lagoon. The opulent décor of the antiques, artful Murano glass and exquisite tapestries evokes the city’s rich cultural heritage. Hidden congress guest mark:


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7 250 85

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± Year built/renovated: building from 15th century ± Mark: ELEGANT ± Special: short boat ride from St Mark’s Square HOTEL MILENIJ, Opatija

Hotel Alhambra is a sophisticated five star boutique hotel with the characteristic architecture of an Austro-Hungarian villa that is over 100 years old. It is a place where the atmosphere of times past mixes perfectly with modern comfort and an excellent service. Located in the idyllic surroundings of the forest park Čikat it is the perfect scenery to enjoy in superb comfort. Meeting facilities are available in the next-door Bellevue hotel.


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± Year built/renovated: building from 14th century, hotel since 1822, renovated 1994, 2008 area function space ± Mark: DECORATED ± Special: three unique Signature suites inspired by glamorous female celebrities BELMOND HOTEL CIPRIANI, Venice

Hotel Milenij is a 5 star luxury hotel in Opatija. It is located in the city centre alongside the beautiful park and Church of St. James. In its 99 stylish, luxuriously furnished rooms and suites the hotel offers its guests accommodation in a relaxed atmosphere with a view of Opatija’s most famous landmark – the Girl with the Seagull statue. Hidden congress guest mark:


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Four minutes by private boat from San Marco, on the tip of the Giudecca Island, the Belmond

2 300

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± Year built/renovated: 2000 / 2014 ± Mark: LUXURIOUS ± Special: live music nights in summer 56

NA 36 deluxe + 15 suites

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*in hotel Bellevue

± Year built/renovated: 1966 / 2014 ± Mark: BOUTIQUE ± Special: private beach


HOTEL PARK, Split (reopening June 2015)

well as a ballroom, with total space for up to 120 people. Hidden congress guest mark:


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Surface area (sq m): Hotel “Park” is the oldest and most popular hotel for Split residents and their guests. Since its opening back in 1921 the hotel was, and remains, the most prestigious venue for all social and political events in Split. Known for its beautiful terrace it is also the only hotel in Split near the famous beach of Bačvice and the old town. Hidden congress guest mark:


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± Year built/renovated: 1921 / 2015 (reopening) ± Mark: PRESTIGIOUS ± Special: upgrade from 4 to 5 stars BRISTOL HOTEL, Opatija


± Year built/renovated: 1906 /2011 ± Mark: WELL-APPOINTED ± Special: impressive building in the Habsburg-era style HILTON IMPERIAL, Dubrovnik

Since opening in 1913, the Excelsior has become an iconic landmark among the five-star hotels in Dubrovnik. It is located on a cliffside with magnificient views from every floor. Recently refurbished to an exceptional standard, the Excelsior is renowned for its personal touch. Hidden congress guest mark:


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Built over a century ago the Hilton Imperial hotel offers comfortable facilities and technology across two buildings in a historic setting with stunning views over the medieval Old town and Adriatic Sea. It has an executive lounge, business centre and seven flexible meeting and event rooms with space for up to 260 attendees. Hidden congress guest mark:


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The 4-star Hotel Bristol is a former imperial hotel located in the centre of Opatija. It combines stylish Habsburg flair with all the amenities of a modern, well-appointed hotel. The Hotel Bristol has a number of spacious conference rooms with state-of-the-art equipment, as


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± Year built/renovated: 1913 / 2008 ± Mark: IRRESISTABLE ± Special: popular choice with celebrities GRAND VILLA ARGENTINA, Dubrovnik


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± Year built/renovated: 1897 / 2005 ± Mark: AWARDED ± Special: historic backdrop



Grand Villa Argentina is Dubrovnik’s traditional luxury address, combining exclusivity and attention to detail with spectacular views of the sea and a backdrop of pine tree-clad mountains. This five-star hotel in Dubrovnik has a regal, old-world charm. Just minutes from the Old Town, it has been an exclusive enclave in the city for nearly 60 years.

Kongres magazine

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± Year built/renovated: 1950 / 2002 ± Mark: HISTORIC ± Special: lush gardens, with stone fence AMAN SVETI ŠTEFAN, Bečići

Aman Sveti Stefan Island is fishing village from 15th century that was converted into hotel in 1960. Re-Renovated and open in 2011. Villa Miločer is former summer residence of Queen Marija Karadjordjevic, that was working as hotel from 1960, and re-renovated and open in 2008. Resort is set up on 32 hectares of land within 2 km of coastline and has 3 beaches and spa center of 2000 m2. Hidden congress guest mark:


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4*superior resort hotel with 160 rooms and suites, 20.000m2 SPA Water & Sauna World, 5 restaurants and bars, Panorama SPA with Skylinepool, 4 combinable conference rooms and 2 work-out rooms with direct view to the glacier Kitzsteinhorn.

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300 outside

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300 outside

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300 outside

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Max. 300 32 hecters / whole resort

TAUERN SPA WORLD Betriebs GmbH & Co KG, Tauern Spa Platz 1, 5710 Kaprun T. +43 6547 2040-0, F. +43 6547 2040-9900

± Year built/renovated: 1960 / 2011 ± Mark: SPECIAL ± Special: location on island






RAMADA PLAZA BANGKOK MENAM RIVERSIDE Room with a View Text by: Paul Broderick


ooking out over the impressive Bangkok skyline from your hotel room is always captivating, but being able to step out onto a private terrace, drink in hand, to enjoy the view along the Chao Phraya River is something else. Offering this very experience are the terrace suites at the Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside, which provide a wonderful opportunity to make a business visit to Bangkok all the more memorable. Experiencing this alfresco treat necessitates a stay on the Executive Club floors of this stylish riverside hotel, which offer a choice of well-appointed Club Rooms and Terrace Suites or, for those who want to really spread out and enjoy luxury waterside apartment living, there is the option of the Presidential Suite – complete with private outdoor Jacuzzi. Whichever choice one opts for, dreamily watching the traditional longtail boats bumping along the busy waterway, dodging commercial trawlers and hotel boats ferrying guests from the nearby Saphan Taksin BTS Skytrain pier, is one of the pleasures of having a view of the river and a delightful retreat after a day’s hard business. From the moment Executive Club guests arrive at the private check-in desk in the Executive Lounge on the 15th floor, they are made to feel pampered. The complimentary afternoon tea and evening buffet and cocktails are first-rate with views to match. Indeed, the location of this hotel provides a fascinating window onto the two sides of this wonderful city: from the club lounge one can see the low-rise charm and character of old Bangkok defiantly standing its ground against the high-rise glitz and glamour of the new mega-city. And it is this contrast of the old and modern worlds outside its doors that the Ramada reflects in its hotel offering; it has all the features and

conveniences one would expect from a contemporary hotel but its aesthetic and design concept is one of tasteful splendour and real individuality - something its bigger and brasher competitors don’t always achieve – and this is the abiding impression of a stay here. Improving the already excellent facilities at the Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside is the fabulous 220-metre riverside ‘Sunset Terrace’, which has been newly renovated and is ready to entertain – including for delegates taking a break from the outstanding conference facilities, comprising 22 function rooms which include 2 spacious river view ballrooms, incorporating the latest audio-visual technology and further complemented by a selection of event menus that have been designed to satisfy every palate. Extending an already spectacular dining experience, the terrace leads to an uninhibited panoramic view across the enchanting Chao Phraya River where diners can literally sit or stroll atop the water, on beautiful wooden decked floors that exude both beauty and serenity. Moving back inside, it would feel remiss not to mention a discreet culinary delight in the form of the Ah Yat Abalone Forum Restaurant nestled on the riverside frontage. This Hong Kong style Chinese restaurant is something of a destination for Thai high society and well-heeled international visitors and needs booking well in advance. Whether you want to experience private dining on your elevated terrace, sip cocktails by the river in the sultry heat of this special city, or rub shoulders with the rich and famous, a stay at the Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside offers everything one could hope for.







It has been a turbulent year for Thailand and for its capital city, Bangkok. The political unrest caught the attention of the global media and the tensions between supporters of the rival parties and ensuing political paralysis led eventually to the installation of a military government, casting a shadow over the country’s stability. With tourism to Thailand potentially compromised by these political events, the Bangkok business community were more than pleased to see the booming of political tensions replaced with the booming of business deals taking place at this year’s IT&CMA and CTW Asia-Pacific, a double-bill event that has been growing in strength over recent years and that has already surmounted a number of organisational challenges to ensure it remains a premier event on the Thailand and wider region’s MICE calendar. “While IT&CMA and CTW Asia-Pacific continues to add value by consistently delivering valuable industry segments of MICE, Association, Luxury Travel and Corporate Travel, year after year, the immense interest and robust support in this year’s event is undoubtedly a reflection of trust and confidence the international MICE and Corporate Travel industry has pledged to Bangkok, and to Thailand as a top Business Events destination,” said Darren Ng, Managing Director of TTG Asia Media. This trust and confidence was already borne out earlier in the year with a record breaking level of early bird registrations following from the 2013 show, signalling that the 2014 outing would be something to really look forward to. In this, events attendees were not to be disappointed, with a programme that not only delivered on increased numbers of exhibitors and business appointments - with more than 800 exhibitors getting to know over 500 buyers from almost 50 countries combined through more than 10,000 business appointments - but also ensured that new business acquaintances could be developed at a whole host of top-end social events planned over the event’s three days. Complementing the excellent business environment at the event was the equally excellent education component, with the Association Day, moving from a one day slot to cover two full days, in particular providing an extended forum to gain a lot of new and cutting-edge knowledge, with topics curated to provide attendees with an in-depth understanding of association management and including “From Asia to Europe: The Role of a PCO in Association Meetings”, “Looking Further, Going Farther”, “Learning from Success: Association Meetings in Thailand”, “Adding

Value with Sustainable Events” and featuring knowledgeable speakers from various associations and corporates, such as the Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE), the World PCO Alliance, the MCI Group, and Ovation Global DMC. “The Associations segment is a key one for the MICE industry with CVBs and corporates eager to tap on the potential and demand,” said Ng. “IT&CMA has seen considerable success with our comprehensive ‘Association Days @ IT&CMA’ to deliver these much sought-after association executives and professionals.” With business and education in full flow, it only remained for the social side of the programme to gel everything together, and this was carried out in true style, using the slots to also showcase some of the fine venues that Bangkok can offer with some of the finest entertainment and food on show in them too. This was all started off in style with the Opening Ceremony and Welcome Reception hosted by the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) and held at the capacious Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre, with the ‘Absolute Happiness’ themed function setting the tone for the days ahead. The second night’s hosted dinner was the opportunity for delegates to enjoy one of the most unique family-run hotels in the world, run by Thailand’s version of the Von Trapps, as after providing a lavish banquet for event delegates the entire family proceeded to sing their way through a range of musical hits in the enormous ballroom of their luxurious Sukusol Bangkok city hotel. Following that delegates were shuttled to another of the city’s numerous high-end hotels, the Sofitel So Bangkok, which although is a new kid on the block of Bangkok’s hotel scene it is already getting acclaim for hitting new standards, as was evidenced in their party arrangements. At the start of IT&CMA 2014 there was some chatter of event’s being cancelled in Bangkok and of event organiser uncertainty due to of the political situation. At the end of the event, the overwhelming sense amongst delegates was of how soon they might be able to bring clients to Bangkok and of how much they were looking forward to IT&CMA 2015. Kongres was firmly in this camp, and on what was witnessed at this years event applauds the innovation and great strides it continues to make year on year as an event and as the best platform to really become familiar with the industry in Bangkok, Thailand and in the wider Asia region.


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he recently renovated hotel Laguna Parentium provides a modern setting for guests looking for a really special holiday. The hotel, boasting the longest tradition in the area, is situated on a green peninsula in the fairytale natural environment of the Zelena laguna tourist resort. Once the working part of the day is over, we recommend relaxation in the hotel’s wellness facilities. Conference hall Laguna, two smaller meeting rooms (Plava and Zelena), open office and Internet room are ideal for all types of conferences, congresses, seminars, business meetings, weddings, cocktails or presentations. All congress and banquet facilities are fully fitted with state-of-the-art equipment in order to satisfy even the most demanding guests. CONFERENCE HALL “LAGUNA” Our largest conference hall, ‘Laguna’, has a capacity of 435 persons. It was designed in theatre style and can be separated into three separate halls. It has daylight, digitally-adjustable lighting and dimming, spotlights and an inductive loop for persons with impaired hearing, as well as the possibility to hold video (Polycom VSX7000S) and telephone conferences (Polycom SoundStation 2). There is also a 160m2 exhibition area in the lobby of the hall.

MEETING ROOMS “PLAVA” AND “ZELENA” Meeting rooms ‘Plava’ and ‘Zelena’ are suitable for small-scale meetings and small presentations. With a capacity of up to 30 persons, in theatre style, these meeting rooms will certainly ensure that you and your most important guests have an undisturbed and successful meeting. Expert assistance is at your disposal to ensure an impeccable organisation of congresses and all other business or entertaining events. A combination of the pleasant and the useful - this might just be the essence of our message and the goal of our offer for the organisation of congresses, seminars, work meetings, symposia, presentations, sports events, weddings, gala dinners, refreshments during work meeting breaks, as well as folklore evenings, special entertainment programmes and animation in Laguna Poreč facilities. After the regular programme, we can offer relaxation in one of our exceptional outdoor or indoor sports-recreational facilities, gym, swimming pool or wellness. Staying in Istria without getting to know its inland would be a real shame. That is why we organise half-day boat tours, tours of the Istrian inland with visits to picturesque Medieval towns and excursions to Pula, Rovinj, Lim channel, Brijuni, Trieste or Venice. So visit us and find out first hand why your stay and work in Laguna Poreč hotels will be truly successful, because: YOUR SUCCESS IS OUR GOAL! 65

Info & Reservations: Phone: +385/52/410 - 222 Fax: +385/52/410 - 412 E-mail:

Who is Who

ALAN RAČIĆ, KEY ACCOUNT MANAGER Who si Who in Veladrion Q: What are you most proud of in your business and private lives? In my business life - in my previous job it was being in charge of organizing two large events in Zagreb as a local partner: the 2013 European Commission – European AntiFraud Office (OLAF) Conference, and the 2014 EXCEMED Annual Multidisciplinary European Phenylketonuria Symposium. In my present job it is the development of a unique concept resort on the Adriatic Sea coast in Croatia. In my private life – having people who I love and respect around me and sharing the best moments of life with them. Q: Life wisdom / motto? ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.’ - Winston Churchill Q: Where are you going to spend your next holidays? I will be visiting Dubai, to get warm during the cold winter in Croatia and to experience something new.

Q: Which song do you most often play on your iPod? Usually it’s something like newer pop-rock music, but when I have time then I go with a song I appreciate like “Stairway to heaven” from Led Zeppelin. Q: Which part of the day and of the week is your favourite? It would be the second half of the day, especially when having an event – there is always something interesting happening. And excluding weekends I actually like Mondays, because I get really energetic in solving the things that lie ahead. Q: What is your favourite mode of transport? Transport by plane - usually it’s for visiting a new destination and that brings additional excitement to it. Q: If you could return to the past or hurry to the future, how old would you like to be? Return to the 60s for the college days, because of the music, overall vibe and no mobile phones.


Q: What was your favourite vacation? It was visiting London with my friends; it is always the company that makes a trip memorable.

Q: If you could witness any event in history which one would you choose? Creation of life.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.’ - Winston Churchill“

Q: Where would you go if there were no time and financial constraints? A visit to Australia and New Zealand, to explore their natural beauties and broaden my horizons.

Q: What was the best party you have attended? New Year’s Eve at my house, the best event I ever organized. J

Q: What is your favourite indoor / outdoor activity? Indoor it is tennis, but also watching a good movie. Skiing would be my favourite outdoor activity, but also spending time at the sea in the summer.

Q: The last film, book, concert? I watched the movie “The Departed”, which I really liked. The last book I read was by E. Kishon, “My family right or wrong”. The last concert was from Simple minds in Zagreb.

Q: What is your favourite dish and restaurant (anywhere in the world)? That would definitely be a medium-rare Porterhouse steak at Wolfgang’s New York. As a contrast to it, in the summer I love to go with my better half to a charming fish restaurant in the small town of Volosko on the Adriatic coast – the Blue Basement. Q: What is your favourite gadget? Of course, my iPhone, because I can do everything I need (and don’t need!) with it.


Q: What fantasy character would you be? Superman - I love his mode of transport! Q: What did you learn last week? Actually, 2 weeks ago, to drive a truck - don’t ask why!

Who is Who



“I am a morning person. I wake up in the morning and say to myself: ‘Today will be a good day!“

Q: What are you most proud of in your business and private lives? Professionally I am proud to be a part of the team who has created, and still creates, a growth of Spa Radenci and Sava Turizem Company. In my private life it is to have the wisdom to meet and keep my all REAL best friends.

Q: What is your favourite mode of transport? I enjoy travelling by train. While traveling there are a lot of interesting things you can do. I prefer looking out of the train window, admiring new landscapes, taking pictures of it. Traveling by train also gives you opportunities to meet new people.

Q: Life wisdom/motto? Let me just quote a song by Chris De Burgh: "Don‘t pay the ferryman Don‘t even fix a price Don‘t pay the ferryman Until he gets you to the other side."

Q: If you could return to the past or hurry to the future, how old would you like to be and why? I wouldn’t change a thing. I feel young, full of energy, have knowledge and experience. I would choose the present.

Q: Where are you going to spend this year’s holiday? On the beach, away from the crowd. Just me, a good book, the sea and the sun.

Q: If you could witness any event in history which one would you choose? I would definitely choose the occurrence of ancient Greece or Rome.

Q: What was your favourite vacation? My life was fulfilled by my two trips to Australia where I met my family and friends and also by each time I discovered something new.

Q: What was the best party you have attended? There were many. For sure New Year’s Eve in front of Sydney’s Opera House at the beginning of the new millennium, with magnificent fireworks and wonderful people.

Q: Where would you go if there were no time and financial constraints? Azores or Australia and live my life there, hand in hand with nature. Q: What is your favourite indoor/outdoor activity? I love nature and my restless spirit enjoys outdoor activities – hiking, roller-skating, cycling…exploring new places. Q: What is your favourite dish and restaurant (anywhere in the world)? Prekmurska gibanica! Restaurant - »at my mom« J , Best restaurant that I may recommend is: Gostilna Rajh, Bakovci Slovenia. Q: What is your favourite gadget? I cannot imagine my daily life without a phone and tablet and I am fascinated by how people used to manage without smart-phones, tablets, internet, e-mail…Nevertheless, it seems they were much happier than we are today. Q: Which song do you most often play on your iPod? M. Buble - It’s A Beautiful Day Q: Which part of the day and of the week is your favourite? I am a morning person. I wake up in the morning and say to myself: ‘Today will be a good day!’ I believe that most people like Friday, because of the weekend, and I am also one of them. 67

Q: The last film, book, concert? Last film: Gozdovi so še vedno zeleni (Die Wälder sind noch grün). Last book: biography of Alexander the Great he was a really good strategist, tactician, leader. Last concert: Vlado Kreslin in the magnificent Castle of Negova. Q: What fantasy character would you be? Peter Pan Q: What did you learn last week? I learned how to prepare an excellent cocktail – ‘A Kiss Goodnight‘.

Prostor raznovrstnih doživetij A place of diverse experiences

Dobrodošli, veselimo se vašega obiska vse dni v letu We look forward to your visit any day of the year! Ljubljana Castle, Slovenia, T: +386 1 306 42 93,

Salzburg Regional Briefing

The new jewel for events in Salzburg - the Pitter Event Center


he IMLAUER Hotels & Restaurants offer the perfect setting for conferences, meetings and events. On the 1st of October 2014 the new jewel for Events in Salzburg - The Pitter Event Centre in the Crowne Plaza Salzburg - was opened! Nearly €15million euros were invested in the brand new convention centre, 13 rooms plus foyer areas in a total of 1,200 m², the newly built top floor and 60 completely new rooms. The heart of the location is the 450 m² Pitter hall, which is flexible, can be divided into 6 sections and has daylight in every area because of the unique, jewel-like glass domes. To top it off, the Hotel Pitter was crowned with brilliant Gastronomy at the new Sky-Restaurant IMLAUER.

Construction of the Steinbergbahn lift project in Leogang to begin


ew as of December 2014: new cable car situated directly beneath the hotel Krallerhof, so hotel guests are able to enter the LeogangSaalbach-Hinterglemm ski region from the front door. The new 10-seater single cable lift has a length of 3.8km

Salzburg Congress: Transparent and well-equipped


he location is truly privileged: central, yet soothingly nestled into the park surrounding the renowned “Schloss Mirabell” palace. Generous floor-to-ceiling window panes afford participants an unobstructed panoramic view of ancient façades, patinaed roofs or over the popular Mönchsberg, rising high above the tree tops. Salzburg Congress hosts about 130 events a year, around half being of a recurring nature. Turning each one into a unique experience is a challenge expertly mastered by the – reportedly cheerful! – team. Their long-term affiliation with the venue nurtures fruitful relationships with clients over years. Prof. Dr. Lindner co-organised the 30th International Symposium on Chromatography in September 2014 and was back for the second time: : Why Salzburg? For its flair, for my love of classical music and my reverence for the congenial local physicist, Christian Doppler. And: I grew up here. City and region both are doing ex-

and a transport capacity of 2,500 per hour. The investment cost of the new lift, with its bottom, middle, and top stations, is approximately €18million. The starting point of the new 10-seater gondola lift will be at the “Krallerhof“ hotel and the end station will be next to the existing station of the Asitz gondola lift, at about 1,760m above sea level. The Steinbergbahn lift means that from the 2014/2015winter season, Leogang will have a second access lift into the ski area of Leogang-Saalbach-Hinterglemm.

tremely well in taking the destination forward. Salzburg Congress operates on an outstandingly professional level – in a wholesome and warm ambience. Sophisticated technology Bookings largely confirmed years in advance enable far-sighted planning and investment. Through constant tuning, a top-notch technical and impressively complex IT infrastructure has been developed at Salzburg Congress, one that is rare – and surprising. In June, 1,200 delegates attended the European Society of Gastrointestinal and Abdominal Radiology congress ESGAR. “We are service providers for digital presentation management and audio/video concepts applied at international medical conferences. Prime technical installations complemented by a highly skilled, yet joyful event team is hardly found elsewhere as perfect as this! We have been cooperating with clients convening at Salzburg Congress over many years, and are happy to recommend the venue to interested meeting planners.” Jan Diesbach, ESTENSIS

Messezentrum Salzburg invests in new halls


ocated right in the centre of Europe, the International Exhibition & Convention Centre Salzburg offers the perfect possibility to host international congresses, trade fairs or events. Within just a 15-minute ride from Salzburg airport and the railway station, the location is easily accessible. With a direct connection to the A1 motorway arrival by car can also easily be assured. Additionally, more than 3,300 parking spaces on site and a bus stop place the venue among the top ranks in the Austrian trade fair sector. Permanent Investments and Hall 10 as a multi-purpose wonder The 34 million euros invested in building Hall 10 has proved fruitful. It provides the space needed for international congresses and trade shows. The daylit and blackbox halls offer modern event and communication technologies with 17 meeting rooms, varying in size between 40 and 1,600 sq.m and boasting convention space for up to 5,000 delegates with a breathtaking view over Salzburg’s Untersberg Mountain. Hall 1 is to receive a complete make-over implementing the latest ecological and energy efficiency standards in 2016. Green thinking Satisfying the prerequisites to achieve ISO 20121 certification is a fixed item on the agenda and energy-saving measures in multiple areas are being practiced, accelerated and strengthened.







he stunning architecture and an interesting similarity between the postcards of Salzburg and Ljubljana is usually the first association of this romantic and idyllic place. Above Salzburg is the mighty Hohensalzburg fortress - the largest, fully-preserved fortress in Central Europe - with the surging Alps in the background. Salzburg had a strong impact on Slovenia, with the legendary Salzburg Summer Festival in fact a template for the creators of the Ljubljana Summer Festival. The Salzburg Festival is linked with the city’s favourite son, Mozart - his image is to be found virtually everywhere. Mozart’s birth house is one of the city’s most visited tourist attractions and it is amazing how a global brand has been created from Mozart. However, the city offers much more than just Mozart and “Mozartkugeln”, even for the most demanding tourists, among whom congress guests are ordinarily included. Salzburg is a smaller city of about 150,000 inhabitants, but for the Austrian meetings industry it is extremely important. One of the most important cultural capitals of Europe, the UNESCO cultural heritage of the historic city centre Altstadt and an excellent congress offer attracts international event organisers. The choice of attractions in the city is really diverse, from a number of museums and galleries to baroque buildings, palaces, fortresses and parks. Although it is not the largest city in Austria, a lot of time is needed to take in all the attractions. Salzburg is easily accessible, with most of the old town doable on foot or by the excellent public transport. Salzburg Central Station, which is the centre of an important European rail hub, will be renovated this year. Every day, the station handles 500 trains and more than 25,000 passengers. Simple access by rail is part of the city’s strategy of green tourism and sustainable development. In the city’s very orderly and clean environment you are unlikely to come across any litter. According to the quality of life benchmarks, Salzburg sits at the top of the rankings. The city has several world-renowned institutes and educational institutions that provide excellent teaching and facilities. Among them are the famous Mozarteum University, Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, University of Education Salzburg, Paracelsus Private Medical University and Paris Lodron University. In addition to the 22,500 students, the developed scientific research scene is massive capital for a congress destination. Entrepreneurs are impressed by the quick access to nature, the combination of modern and traditional, regulated legislation and the positive entrepreneurial attitude. It is therefore not surprising that the city has successful global companies such as Red Bull, Porsche Holding, Palfinger, Atomic, Skidata and many others. Salzburg is an Austrian tourist icon, which means that it offers a large number of activities, bars and attractions. Every year it attracts about 5.5 million tourists (Slovenia attracts about 3.5 million tourists). Within a radius of 50 km are over 70,000 hotel rooms, nearly 40,000 of them in a category suitable for congress tourism. Interesting statistics show that for 71

each Salzburg resident there are 45 tourist overnight stays. Especially interesting is the fact that the region has some of the finest restaurants and widely regarded chefs belonging to a culinary equivalent of the champions’ league. The highly developed tourism industry also brings some higher prices, which is typical for such a besieged tourist destination. The wider region of Salzburg is, with respect to the number of conferences, second place in Austria behind the capital Vienna. According to ACB (Austrian Convention Bureau) statistics, Austria hosted 2,007 congresses and events (547 scientific congresses or 17.3% of all congresses in Austria) in 2012. It had 354 national and 193 international congresses. 1244 events or 18.8% were corporate events, among which domestic companies dominate, with 83.9%. It also held 216 smaller seminars. Almost half of all conferences (914) took place in Salzburg. 327, or 15.3%, were scientific congresses, 493 corporate events (of which domestic companies dominated), with a smaller proportion (94) given over to smaller seminars. Salzburg was, according to the statistics, visited by 109,733 congress guests, generating 256,960 overnight stays. This represents 10.3% of all overnight stays in 2012 (2,486,516). These results are 22.1% better than those of 2011. According to preliminary data, the year 2013 was also a very successful one and along with Styria and Carinthia seals it as one of the fastest growing congress destinations in Austria. The heart of the congress offer is a high-tech conference centre – Salzburg Congress – which was opened in 2001 in the beautiful Mirabell park in the city centre. The flexible design, with 15 congress halls of capacities from 20 to 1,320 participants, has one of the best technical equipment offers in Europe. Participants are indulged with technological gadgets, including an interactive panoramic projection. Exhibition Center Salzburg has in recent years completed a €34 million investment in a new multifunctional hall, which offers 15,170m 2 of space. This has increased the capacity of the centre to up to 6,000 congress participants. The list of hotels with congress facilities is also very long, with the Radisson Blu Hotels & Conference centre and its 18 halls considered the biggest in Austria worth a special mention. It is difficult to list all of the special venues, but the spectacular Hohensalzburg city fortress is suitable for receptions and teambuilding programs. Another of the congress venues is the Mirabell Palace, which with its gardens and architecture is under UNESCO protection. The garden of the palace is suitable for the organisation of events and the wedding hall is especially popular. The surroundings also do not lack for picturesque locations, with the underground salt mines that gave the name to the city just a few steps away, or the charming, surrounding alpine towns where they have developed a whole range of incentive and teambuilding programs. For lovers of high-octane revolutions, on the other hand, the Museum Hangar 1 will be most suitable for their needs: in the Museum are Red Bull Formula 1 and the complete collection of Dieter Mateschitz.


The entire industry has for ten years been successfully connected by the Salzburg Convention Bureau, which works on the non-profit model of its older brother in Vienna. Salzburg also has great congress ambassadors and advocates of event organisers, and its support of green meetings is particularly praiseworthy: 38 congressional providers in Salzburg have a green eco-label, awarded by the Ministry of the Environment. Three locations have a Green Meeting Certificate: Salzburg Congress, Congress Saalfelden and Kultur und Seminarzentrtum Schloss Goldegg. Another advantage of Salzburg was revealed at this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, with Salzburg having been a competitor of Sochi and Pyeonchang in 2007. Salzburg’s candidacy was most likely lost due to higher political interests of the International Olympic Committee. However, the benefits outlined in the nomination are still up to date for congress organisers and, above all else, the sustainable approach that



Grades: 5 excellent convention destination 4 quality convention destination 3 recommendable convention destination 2 average convention destination 1 so so INDIVIDUAL GRADES: Natural and cultural factors 4.63 The picturesque alpine landscape with Mozart, lakes, culture festivals and rich history creates an unmistakable experiential diversity and atmosphere that makes Salzburg one of the most famous tourist destinations of Europe. General and transport infrastructure 4.48 With its location in the heart of Europe, Salzburg has a great basis for congress tourism, helped also by its high quality of life. Excellent public infrastructure, idyllic nature, recreation and sports infrastructure is also unequalled. Probably one of the most friendly and regulated destinations in Central Europe, which possesses all the characteristics of a metropolis packed into an extremely attractive package.

was planned and defended in advance of the global popularity of green meetings. If security and political stability are treated as givens, the key advantages of Salzburg are the compactness and manageable size of the city, the easy accessibility, the convention centre in the city centre and the technological sophistication of the destination. Salzburg is already in its essence and urban organisation one of the most sustainable world congress destinations. In addition they care a lot about your congress and the welfare of your participants. A friendly gesture for event organisers is the free concert that is prepared for international congress guests, and the already mentioned congress subsidies if you bring at least 250 international participants to the city, not to mention the cheaper tickets for public transport. A small city by size, perhaps, but a congress metropolis by its offer and approach to congress tourism.

Tourist infrastructure 4.41 Although you will find Mozart at every step on your way and it seems that the clock stopped in the days of the famous composer, Salzburg is a very modern and cool tourist destination. It appears that Salzburg was formed and lives for tourism and it is especially necessary to highlight its extraordinary culinary scene. Meetings infrastructure 4.53 Two top-quality, modern and high tech congress centres – Messezentrum Salzburg for 6,000 participants and Congress Salzburg for 2,500 participants – are together with a top quality conference hotel infrastructure the foundation for the congress destination. Marketing is successfully connected by the Salzburg Convention Bureau, which last year celebrated its 10th anniversary. Subjective grade 4.36 Austrian efficiency and organisation peppered with the baroque charm of its city is the formula for success in the field of medium-sized congresses up to 2,500 participants. A cosmopolitan mix of visitors and the local population is torn between tradition and the fast pace of the 21st century.



WHAT’S HOT 1. Congress Subsidy - the City of Salzburg supports domestic and foreign events and offers subsidies to organisers of scientific events, travel agencies and PCOs, to attract events to Salzburg . 2. Cheap bus travel – a special Congress ticket allowing delegates to travel on the city buses all day long for just 1,30 EUR. 3. Stiegl Brauwelt - Europe’s largest and only hands-on brewery museum is a gripping voyage of discovery around the world of beer. Stiegl’s Brauwelt has been built and authentically renovated in the oldest part of the Stieglbrauerei zu Salzburg.

DID YOU KNOW That Hangar-7 is a favourite toy of Dietrich Mateschitz, which almost 25 years ago became famous with the energy drink Red Bull. The 67-year old Austrian master of marketing has today a more than five billion U.S. dollar property and is skilfully advertised with supporting the increasing number of extreme (sports) industries, where an enormous visit is provided. He became the champion in Formula 1 and shares his love for airplanes with his pilot friend Sigij Angererwhich which led to the idea of hangars at Salzburg airport, where they would keep rare, legendary airplanes of their own.

4. Laimeralm Lodge - owned by the Laimer family, the Laimeralm was built in the 17th century and is one of the largest and oldest mountain lodges in the entire Salzkammergut region. It has been kept in its original style and uses candles, oil lamps and a traditional open fire for heating and light. 5. Kavalierhaus - since 1962 the Kavalierhaus has been under the ownership of Salzburg’s regional government. The elegant rooms and the conservatory are ideally suited to the staging of exclusive festivities such as weddings, banquets, receptions and presentations. Any of these magnificent halls can be hired along with waiters in typical costumes of the Mozart period to serve aperitifs ahead of the grand gala dinner.

BEST INCENTIVE IDEA LUDO Dynamic’ board game - The ‘team building dinner’ combines playful, yet meaningful communication exercises during a joint evening meal to facilitate reflection upon what has been learned. The numerous life-size board games from the LUDO Dynamic series are also interactive and can be employed during coffee breaks, or as a way of complementing team building activities.

WHO TO CONTACT Salzburg Convention Bureau, Auerspergstrasse 6, 5020 Salzburg, Austria Mr. Gernot Marx, E:, T: +43 662 88987 273,

COMPARISON WITH THE REGION: It is difficult to compare Salzburg with its much larger brother, Vienna, yet it offers all the characteristics of a congress destination and a cosmopolitan mix of visitors. For current logistics and the transport limitations of the city, it is best suited for medium sized congresses with up to 2,500 participants. In this area they will offer you a superior product wrapped in superior packaging. Unlike the congress sister of Ljubljana, with which it shares a lot in common, Salzburg has no problems with branding and visibility. Otherwise, location, location, location… and once again location is considered a crucial reason for choosing Salzburg for your event.


COOL MEETINGS: Every month Ikarus Restaurant, which is located in Hangar-7 in Salzburg, hosts the best chefs in the world who present their favourite masterpieces in cooperation with the owner of the restaurant, Eckart Witzigmann, and chef Martin Klein. April’s chef was Slovene Ana Roš from restaurant Hiša Franko in Kobarid. This is one of the best worldclass culinary stories in the world, if not the best in line with its concept.






omen est omen – it’s all in the name, and the location is to thank for the name of its healing waters. Slatina had in 1572 already been recognised as a healing location by Swiss alchemist Leonhard Thurneysserin. When it was also declared as a healing location by Viennese court physician Dr. Paul Sorbait numerous eager health visitors soon began to take to the spring. By the 18th century Rogaška water was the third best-selling water in the world. With a high magnesium content it got its present name of Donat during the years 1907-1908, since when it has gained today’s worldwide fame. The 18th century inn located at the springs was soon joined by new, smaller buildings, intended for the packaging of water, and the spa experienced a true boom in the second half of the 19th century under the initiative of Count Ferdinand Attems. In 1803 the resort became a provincial property and so began the rapid development of the spa as we know it today. The spa went on to become the most important resort of the monarchy, the centre of the elite and the third largest supplier of mineral water in the world. It was in those days that the famous resort architecture of the spa core with a park in its midst came about. With the 1904 opening of the railway connecting Celje, Šentjur and Rogaška Slatina, the town was handed a new development impetus. The Rogaška Glassworks opened and from that time on the place has relied on both tourism and glass. The location is slightly set away from the most important transportation links in Slovenia and it is best accessed by a busy regional road from Celje. The construction of a new city road that relieves the local road through the city was particularly important for the overall quality of life. Through this the town acquired a promenade, which is now united with the spa park at the European square. Another important acquisition was a parking garage, which has also greatly relieved the town centre. The entire package now appears very tidy and elegant, and is one of Slovenia’s health resort icons. In addition to the healing waters the border area of Upper Sotla is itself very attractive. The valleys and wine-growing hills, scenic spots with churches and the sub-Pannonian climate all create an interesting landscape diversity. The fully rounded offer nicely complements and finishes off the congress-tourist profile of the location. The neo-classical architecture of the resort complex forms the basic skyline of the Rogaška Slatina tourist postcards. Crystal Hall and Temple pavilion are the heart of the tourist destination, complemented by the famous pub of mineral waters and the magnificent surroundings of Rogaška Slatina. There are currently about 1,400 beds in 9 hotels in Rogaška Slatina, which are mostly arranged around the spa park. In addition to this there are also 13 other accommodation facilities available. All of the hotels have four stars, but their promotion is quite disjointed and may not fully reflect the destination. Virtually all of the hotels have been extensively renovated from 2003 to 2010, completed with the opening of Hotel Alexander. The Hotel Sava Rogaška with its 300 75

rooms is part of the complex of hotels of Grand Hotel Sava and Zagreb Hotel. The hotel Convention Centre was built in 2003 and a year later they also renovated 120 hotel rooms. Renovation of the Kaiser restaurant took place in 2006 and the completion of the room renovation and reception followed in 2010. The Grand hotel Donat has 217 rooms and one floor of it was fully renovated and upgraded in 2005. It belongs within the scope of the Hotel and Tourism Rogaška d.o.o. company. Within the complex there is also a Hit casino and a small conference room. Terme Spa Rogaška operates five hotels: Hotel Slovenia, Grand Hotel Rogaška, Hotel Styria, Strossmayer Hotel and the Grand Slam Hotel, all of which have been renovated in the last decade. In 2010 the former hotel Soča was also renovated, which on re-opening was renamed Alexander Hotel. It has 21 apartments with five stars. At the peak of its development the location once had a reputation as a forerunner of modern congress tourism in Slovenia. In Rogaška Slatina meetings were held at the highest level, rounded off by social events such as Anna’s dance. Today, congress tourism is dispersed among its different providers, the most active being the convention centre Rogaška (Grand Hotel Sava), which can accommodate up to 300 participants in its renovated halls. It is possible to adjust the large hall into three smaller ones and it is superbly equipped technically, with the professional staff who know very well the habits of convention guests also a pleasant attribute. A specialty and a real pearl of the destination is the legendary, neoclassical Crystal Hall, next to which is also a music hall for 250 persons above the Crystal Ballroom with its interesting stucco detailing and paintings. Other, smaller conference rooms are also on offer at the Grand Hotel Donat. In addition to the hotel facilities the Cultural Centre Rogaška - in which there is a large hall with 389 seats suitable for plenary lectures, congresses, conferences, rallies, theatrical performances, concerts, celebrations and more - is also available for events. The facility has further accompanying spaces - one hall with 20 seats and two halls with 30 seats. The latest congress acquisition is Anna’s Court, which was opened in 2012. This is a multi-purpose cultural and event centre. In addition to the hall, which can hold up to 250 participants, event participants also have the chance to view five exhibition collections. A smaller, luxury conference centre for a maximum of 15 persons is also at the Alexander hotel. For accompanying events there are some events facilities available in Rogaška Slatina, including some restaurants that are the location’s hottest acquisitions, such as the superior top restaurant, Kaiser. The Sports Centre Rogaška, with its renovated tennis hall and tennis courts, is also worth a mention, being particularly suited to sports motivational programmes, which due to the lack of incentive and team-building programme providers hoteliers took over this field. In the Grand Hotel Sava

Kongres magazine

they provide team-building events such as Games without frontiers, Farmers’ Olympics or a gala dinner at the Strmol mansion in Rogatec. Many successfully undertaken projects are testament to their ideas being well received. Strmol Castle itself is a superb special venue with traditional black kitchen where counts’ and knights’ and dinners are prepared and served. Rogaška Slatina is among Slovenian congress destinations probably the most unjustly overlooked. At this moment and without a functioning local convention bureau it offers everything you need for a great event, perhaps minus a little bit of lively nightlife. It is sadly overlooked mainly due to the lack of connection between providers and its abundant supply. So, while each of the hoteliers is trying in their own way, many events slip away to the nearby Podčetrtek.



Grades: 5 excellent convention destination 4 quality convention destination 3 recommendable convention destination 2 average convention destination 1 so so

Tourist infrastructure 3.93 The Spa Park is the heart of the Rogaska Slatina tourist destination, which together with its healing mineral water is its strongest competitive advantage. For hotel capacity practically the whole place is now in the category of 4 stars. The structure of hotel rooms is adapted to the needs of congress tourism. Meetings infrastructure 3.90 The prominent central Crystal Hall, with its 200 years of tradition that has not really been best utilized, is something of a metaphor for the current congress situation in Rogaška Slatina. Congress tourism was best undertaken in the Grand Hotel Sava, with the Convention Center Rogaška also excellently managed and offering superior service, while at the same time performing the mission of promoting the entire place. Subjective grade 4.37 The classical park in the middle of Rogaška Slatina is transmitting a special energy that has long been attracting congress organisers. If you want to organise a major event today, more coordination will be needed because of the fragmented supply. Without at least minimal connectivity of providers and in the future perhaps even a Convention Bureau, the visibility will not improve and congress tourism will remain a supplementing tourist activity, maybe even with the more profitable and dominant Russian guests.

INDIVIDUAL GRADES: Natural and cultural factors 4.38 The natural mineral water Donat Mg is, due to its composition, the basis of the location being a large and modern spa. This is complemented with the areas of Boč with Plešivec and the Donačka mountain that, because of the multitude of natural and cultural values, is protected as a landscape park. The imperial, elegant and solemn design of the spa is the icing on the cake of the experiential value of the destination. General and transport infrastructure 3.97 Rogaška Slatina is somewhat distant from the major transport links of Slovenia. This is an extremely well arranged tourist resort with excellently regulated communal infrastructure and a high quality of living. The cycling paths and tastefully decorated public areas are a treat. Compact and pleasant, it is a safe stay for convention guests. 76

Kongres magazine

WHAT’S HOT 1. Anna’s court – modern cultural-event centre is an interesting special venue that has been operating since 2012 2. Crystal Hall – is one of the most beautiful convention halls in Slovenia, cultural monument and a hall with superior acoustics

DID YOU KNOW It is said that Croatian ban Peter Zrinski, after drinking water from the healing springs in 1665 was miraculously healed. The reputation of the spa water has rapidly spread.

3. Kaiser restaurant – restaurant because of which your guests will remember the place by top cuisine 4. Strmol Castle – renovated mansion, protocol facility, castle restaurant and one of the most beautiful special venues of Slovenia where you can organise knight’s dinner

COMPARISON WITH THE REGION: It would be hard to find a more traditional health resort in Slovenia. Most other health resorts, including the neighbouring Podčetrtek, cannot boast such a tradition that inspires confidence. In a few years the place has radically changed its appearance and has excellent congress infrastructure. However, something remains missing - more convention visitors, who were once coming en masse to these places. Rogaška needs congress tourism, as is ingrained on its DNA. It seems that it is currently defying modern times, mainly thanks to the proactive individual hoteliers. To regain a place at the top table more connectivity will be required, a better joint promotion and all of this reflected through the establishment of a Convention Bureau.

5. Rogaška Glassworks – guided tour of the legendary factory unveils the mystery of manufacturing stainless glass

COOL MEETINGS: Jerpica – is a kind of thinly baked bread, sprinkled with crackling or cream. It is suitable for all occasions, as a standalone snack or with a glass of wine. It is best eaten when still a bit warm.

TIC Rogaška Slatina, Zdraviliški trg 1, 3250 Rogaška Slatina, Slovenia Ms. Nada Lončar, E:, T: +386 3 581 44 14


BEST INCENTIVE IDEA Farmers Olympics - a test of skills in a variety of chores around the farm and handicraft skills. The competition takes place at the open air museum in Rogatec, showing artisanal and commercial premises and way of life of rural people in the past


How To



espite quick progress and development in information and communications technology areas, many companies are still facing problems of losing sales opportunities due to their own mistakes and inconsistencies. Even when information about existing and potential customers is accurately collected in tables and updated, this alone cannot serve the needs of the company as a whole. Sales need information just-in-time and wherever the sales person is (in the office, at the meeting, in a car …). In companies without a proper CRM solution, it happens that employees double their phone calls or offers, or forget important tasks. Due to the lack of time personnel often pays too little attention to potential customers and

leads – every company’s greatest potential for growth. As the way from the first contact to purchase is usually not short (which also means that competition gets its opportunities along the way), accurate and timely review of all marketing and sales activities is extremely important. As it is cheaper (and easier) to retain current customers than acquire new ones, it is also necessary to keep them in focus. In short, every company needs an effective and insightful tool to process all the information that is collected on a daily basis. Intrix is a modern solution which brings: • Access to information wherever there is internet access (cloud solution, SaaS). • 360 degree overview of existing and potential

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


customers, at any moment in time, for all sales team members. • Quick preparation of sales reports and detection of sales potentials. • Connectivity to mass email marketing services. • Systematic and effective planning and organisation of any work process. • Adaptability to specific needs of different users and the simplicity of use. It would be wrong to assume that CRM is suitable only for big companies. Intrix is designed to fit various types of businesses: small, medium, or large. Start your 30-day trial now:

Regional Briefing



adranka Yachting is a limited liability company that belongs to the Jadranka Group, the largest tourism and trade joint stock company on the islands of Cres and Lošinj comprising of 6 hotels, 4 camps and a range of catering and retail facilities. The strength of this structure represents a guarantee that Jadranka Yachting offers a complete and high-quality nautical service. Their fleet of new and completely equipped ELAN sailing boats is located in Mali Lošinj, the largest island city in Croatia situated on Lošinj island. Due to its geographic position,

Mali Lošinj is an ideal port of departure. Lošinj itself is ideal for organising sailing cups and programmes aimed at groups. The sailing boat is the ideal vessel for elevating team spirit within work groups, project teams, management decisions, business partnering and a range of other corporate challenges. The programme is lead by a professional skipper and an expert in marketing counseling, who at the end of each day will recap on the day’s events and give participants feedback and engage in dialogue.



he Jadranka Group also has their own airplane, the Beechcraft King Air C90B, which can accommodate six passengers. The route from Zagreb to Lošinj takes less than 35 minutes and you are also able to travel from any European Airport. With this service luxury tourism has definitely returned to the island.



adranka Hotels is to invest €30 million in the expansion of Lošinj Airport, a move that will make the island an attractive, all year round destination and one of the most exclusive destinations in Croatia. Along with a new passenger terminal, the existing 900-metre long runway will be extended to 1,800-metres, making it possible for airplanes like the Airbus 320 and other similar planes used by charter airlines to land, a move that is scheduled to herald the arrival of 30,000 new and demanding clients, lifting new tourists to the level 112,000 of by 2019.


Exclusive interview

ANDREA GLAVAN, General Manager at Bellevue Hotel Lošinj

“A hotel manager has to be a leader. He or she must be able to recognise the moment for action and to push their team forward, but at the same time be able to stop them on time.”


Exclusive interview

LOŠINJ ISLAND, A DESTINATION BETWEEN VENICE AND DUBROVNIK Interview with Andrea Glavan, General Manager at Bellevue Hotel Text by Gorazd Čad Q: Hotel Bellevue has a long and varied history, but which historical turning points of the hotel would you choose to highlight? Hotel Bellevue is the first five star Hotel on the Island of Lošinj. Located in Čikat, Lošinj’s most elegant bay and with a long tradition of AustroHungarian elite holidays, Hotel Bellevue has been known since 1966 as a true place of hedonism. What is certainly historical is this year’s investment of EUR 50 million in refurbishment, renovation and luxurious amenities. Andrija Rusan was the architect who drafted the design of the new Hotel Bellevue. The creative team lead by him has paid attention to every single detail, showing us that details do matter in the creation of impeccable comfort. We will upgrade our bay to 5 star and restore it to her former glory. By doing so, we will pull the entire destination upwards and then no one can ignore that something is happening in the Jadranka Group – now we move forward. Celebrities are becoming ambassadors for the new hotel. The new hotel opened in July 2014. Q: Lošinj is known for its beautiful nature and the well-developed tourist facilities. How did the local scene take the renovation? The local scene took us very positively. We are the predecessors of what is happening on the island. We stepped out and now all of our partners are investing in facilities; together we are raising the quality at every level, from service to gastronomy. Q: In Lošinj everything started out with winter tourism. Is there a possibility that winter tourism might return to Lošinj? Of course. We are going in that direction and we are going to revitalise this segment that has for many years been neglected. Lošinj was declared as the official healing climate destination. The island is its own SPA with a long tradition in the field of respiratory problems. Nowadays, we have added to the natural powers by introducing a new generation of SPA experiences at our elegant SPA clinic. Q: What is the profile of your guests and which groups of guests are you most interested in? The profile of our guests has not significantly changed - Slovenian guests are still in the first place, and then come guests from Austria, Germany and Italy. We look forward and we would like to open our doors to the US, UK and Scandinavian markets. I believe that this facility will now attract other segments and types of guests.

Q: Can you tell us about the range of options that the hotel offers for pampering (wellness, gastronomy)? Lošinj Island is actually not a typical island, such as Brač Island, because everything is close and you can be at another destination in a very short time. Our destination is not far away, but at the same time you are away from all the stress and work. Nowadays the concept of luxury has a different meaning. I think luxury is having time to be able to devote to yourself. Here you can just lie under the pine trees and let us take care of everything else. Q: Does the Island offer enough for congress organisers? What do you think could be improved? The potential is still untapped and we would like to improve and do a lot more in this segment. We all say that Dubrovnik jumped out and is a world unto itself, but I think there is already too much of everything going on at that destination. We look at ourselves in the area from Venice to Dubrovnik – we are the ones who offer everything between these two destinations. Q: In the media we’ve been following the stories about new company owners and the expansion of the airport. How do you consider the arrival of fresh capital to the island will change things? Without the expansion of the airport there is still one piece missing in the puzzle, and as soon as we resolve it we won’t have any obstacles. It is hard to say when everything will be finished. We have the will and the desire, the capital is ready, we are just waiting for the approval of documentation and some paperwork. As soon as this is resolved, we are going for implementation. Q: How can Lošinj attract more congress guests? How can the visibility of the island be improved? It is all about the story. We would like to connect every segment of the Hotel in one beautiful story. We do the whole package and combine gastronomy, nature and the SPA. We would like to show everything we have, and we have a lot to offer. As a destination Lošinj has excellent cooperation with the local government and tourist board - we act as one. One individual will not achieve much, but if we work together I believe we will achieve much more. Q: Why should a congress organiser select your hotel? 81

The entire MICE segment in this region and conditions is still under development. Hotel Bellevue is a new pearl and a beautiful facility, which we just have to show to the world. Everyone is looking for a new product that can provide a superior service, accommodation and conference halls with full equipment, and in addition to everything else hotels have to offer some kind of leisure to fill the day. The Jadranka Group also owns Jadranka Yachting, which offers complete and good-quality nautical services. We have our own skippers and we can organise different sailing programmes. Accessibility is no longer a problem; we can even start sailing from Pula. We have an excellent product that the market will recognise very quickly. With a couple of good fam trips we will bring key clients who we can show the hotel to. We have done a lot already, but we have also announced several more projects that have already been approved by the auto industry, pharmaceutical industry and a number of others. Q: Has anything changed with the arrival of the new owners? Absolutely not. We really need to emphasise that the new owner decided on this group because we are very strong. Jadranka Hotels has over 60 years of tradition - we are not beginners in this business and we really know our business. The new owner has seen the great potential and this encouraged him to invest his money here and not anywhere else. The way our campaign functions has also not changed. To us it is very important to get new products that our employees develop, and to do something that will leave a mark in this industry. Q: What has been your career path and how long have you been on Lošinj? What I would like to point out is that my only job has in fact been with Jadranka Hotels - I have been working here for 21 years. I began at the reception and slowly grew to Head of Reception at the Hotel Punta. Last year I took over the manager position at Bellevue Hotel. Q: What qualities does a good hotel manager need to have? A hotel manager has to be a leader. He or she must be able to recognise the moment for action and to push their team forward, but at the same time be able to stop them on time. On the other hand a manager has to be smart enough to let his people do the jobs that they are responsible for and work in full steam.

Behind the Scenes


Behind the Scenes




ikat Bay on Lošinj island is a tourist pearl to the south of the town of Mali Lošinj. Since the end of the 19th century it has been a tourist phenomenon, which has an exceptional climate, nature and the cosmopolitanism of ‘lošinjani’ (inhabitants of Lošinj) to thank for its picturesque development, as they travelled the world as excellent sailors. Today the bay boasts numerous villas, among which and after an extensive renovation is the five star luxury hotel Bellevue. The hotel is especially for conference organisers who have become jaded with the classic congress hotels, as well as for those who do not like the continental winter and are constantly pulled towards the southern sun. Hotel Bellevue is one of the best hotels of the Adriatic and in Kongres magazine we now know why this is so.


WORK IN PROGRESS The original architectural design of the famous Croatian architect Zdravko Bregovec was already special, a cube with a luxurious atrium fused with the majestic pine woods in the middle of Čikat bay. Legendary Croatian architect Andrija Rusan then created a new story with a great degree of respect for the original design and the hotel was refurbished in a record seven months. After a day’s work in a cosy congress centre you can now relish the fresh air and prepare for any new business challenges, as back in 1892 Lošinj was already declared a climate health resort. To more active visitors it offers a range of services and pampering with a Mediterranean touch.

Behind the Scenes

HOTEL WITH A VIEW The renovation created a timeless architecture, with which you get the feeling that there is nothing standing between you and nature. The designers focused on many details, among which are top class pieces of furniture. They didn’t look to save on the materials either, so you can enjoy discovering the origin of different types of marble and wall coverings, or admire the striking stone staircase that leads to the heart of the bay. The design ensemble acts in concert and with an optimistic air; it could easily be placed in the design hotel category. Event organisers are particularly enthusiastic about the private nooks, gardens and outdoor locations for private parties or just a different coffee break.


Behind the Scenes

LAP OF LUXURY The hotel’s goal is to satisfy all of the senses and they do this with plenty of passion, best embodied by assistant director Dragan Drlja, who brings experience from the best hotels, including the Hotel Kempinski Adriatic. The hotel has quickly become a meeting place for gourmets and a temple of the best food and wine on the island. The creative culinary concept can already be discovered at breakfast, where Chef Ante ......... swears on local ingredients and sources from the herb garden situated on the restaurant roof. To the range of local food dishes he adds dishes of the world that Lošinj captains brought from their travels in past centuries. You’ll therefore certainly be impressed by the modern interiors and the culinary concept: light, seasonal, fresh,

DRAGAN DRLJA, Assistant General Manager


Behind the Scenes

healthy and with a taste of the Mediterranean. Olive oil, Cres lamb, goat’s cheese and meat of the Istrian boškarin are just some of the hotel’s authentic servings and on sunny days the pleasure can be heightened by dining on the terraces overlooking the sea. In the a la carte restaurant

you will be amazed by some of the selected dishes, as well as by the local tomatoes, which with more than 2,580 hours of annual sunshine are seriously full-bodied.

TEAM TREATS The inspiring spatial design also extends to the convention centre, with the larger Mundus hall marked by architectural dynamics that make it really special and different from other congress halls that can often operate like factory spaces. It can accommodate more than 300 people and can also be divided into three smaller halls. Exhibitors are well catered for here, with a large enough entrance hall. The Jadranka Group, owners of the hotel, can also boast of their own plane that is transiting from practically every European airport. Milan Pejić, who along with his team takes care of the most extraordinary congress desires, told us that they take care of guests completely, including a transfer with own aircraft. Such a domestic flight includes a highly customisable flight plan in which some scenic detour can also be included. A driver will even come to pick you up at the airport or ferry port.

MILAN PEJIĆ, Head of Group & Mice Sales


Behind the Scenes

EVERY DAY ZEN When you want to escape to the world of wellness after a hard conference, holistic programmes and rituals are waiting for you in the elegant spa clinic. The individual approach to guests is, according to Lana Krizmanić, Head of spa clinics, what really distinguishes Hotel Bellevue. The whole concept is distinctly anti-stress and is based on prevention and treatment, which is stimulated by the centuries-old tradition of treatments on the island. In a very short time the Spa clinic became famous for rituals such as its anti stress programmes in the middle of incredible nature of the mighty pines of Čikat bay. Conference guests can try everything from yoga and Pilates to programmes tailored to dealing with the stressful schedule of congress guests.

LANA KRIZMANIĆ, Head of "Spa La Vie En Rose"

CREATIVE SPACES The hotel atrium, a triumph of lights and colours that stimulates a feeling of well-being, is as exciting as it calming. A covered passage then leads to the imposing staircase that takes you to either Čikat bay or to your hotel room. You can choose your room ranging in size from 30 sq.m to 185 sq.m. Some are equipped with a jacuzzi. The biggest presidential apartment ...... with . In the rooms special attention has been paid to an intelligent and user-friendly system of management and a host of luxury details aimed at the wellbeing of guests. 87

TOURIST LEGACY The hotel could easily be placed in the category of ‘author’ hotels with the indelible mark of the architect Ruslana. It revives the culture of luxury tourism for which they were famous in the late 19th century, well served by their own fleet of sailing boats, with which you can go around the Kvarner islands with a skipper or by yourself. The hotel is a mirror of Lošinj’s new tourism development strategy, which also includes the meetings industry.

Behind the Scenes


Behind the Scenes

HOTEL BELLEVUE LOŠINJ Čikat 9, HR-51550 Mali Lošinj, Croatia T: +385 (0)51 661 101, F: +385 (0)51 231 904 E:

ACCOMODATION 185 rooms and 21 suites • Rooms: Deluxe (38 sq.m), Superior (28 sq.m), Superior Atrium (25 sq.m) • Suites: Presidental (185 sq.m), Luxury (113 sq.m), Bellevue (93 sq.m), Executive (75 sq.m), Junior (46 sq.m) • Hotel area and hotel rooms/suites are illuminated with architectural lighting design by Dean Skira • The hotel is non-smoking • Flooring is parquet or fitted carpet • Bathrooms are furnished with bathtub and showers and Natura Bissé toiletries • Free wi-fi internet access • Wireless telephone • Intelligent air conditioning • LED HD TV with satellite and pay TV, internet • Individually controlled air-conditioning • Laptop-sized safe (17’’ laptop size) • Separate living room with kitchenette in all suites • Dining corner in suites • Media panel with iPod connection • Fully stocked large minibar • Coffee& tea making facilities • The balconies are furnished with deckchairs and patio furniture

RECREATIONAL FACILITIES SPA CLINIC - healthy, beauty and wellness experience •B  eauty zone •M  assage world •L  uxury couples rituals •S  pa zone (saunas, Turkish baths, spa suites) •R  elax zone •F  it zone •M  edical centre •S  pa garden

RESTAURANT, BAR & LOUNGE • À la carte Restaurant Pin & Oli • Restaurant Bava • Lounge bar Alto Rosso • Pool bar Azzur • Beach bar Meridian 44 °31’50 · Spa bar

POINTS OF INTEREST •M  ali Lošinj town •V  eli Lošinj town •C  res island • I slands Susak and Srakane •T  he Lošinj aromatic garden •T  he Sea turtle Rescue Centre •L  ošinj fish market •H  istorical underwater park •S  easide promenades •E  ducation centre Blue World in Veli Lošinj

COSMETICS • Natura Bissé - one the most exclusive cosmetics in the world • Cellcosmet - based on cellular therapy • Diego dalla Palma - the newest formulation of 51+ cosmetic ingredients for skin problems • Malu Wilz - based on stem cells

TRANSPORTATION Lošinj island is accessible by ferry, catamaran, bus and plane.


SERVICES & FACILITIS •2  4-hour room service
 • 24-hour Concierge service
 •C  urrency exchange office •L  aundry / dry cleaning service •A  irport limousine service •V  alet parking service •V  arious boutiques, souvenir and newspaper shop •S  wimming pools & beaches •B  each in the immediate vicinity •D  eckchairs and parasols at • Conference centre • Sports (cycling, running, trekking, hiking, Nordic Walking, Tennis, soccer, water sports (in the hotel’s vicinity)

VISITOR INFORMATION Language: Croatian Currency: HRK (Croatian Kuna) Electricity: The hotel operates on 220-volts power Visas: Visa requirements are determined by nationality.

LOCATION Located in Čikat, the most elegant bay of Lošinj with a long tradition of Austro-Hungarian elite holidays, Hotel Bellevue has been known since 1966 as a true place of hedonism.

Good Practice Case



imes when incentive groups were looking for a nice sandy beach, a comfy hotel bed, and a few tours are long gone. Today more and more people are looking to incorporate their active lifestyle in their travels. DT Croatia recognizing such trends now offers a number of unique sporting activities that combine recreation, sightseeing, culture and one-of-a-kind views. One such exciting activity, the so called “Dubrovnik-thlon” consists of three disciplines; running, hiking and biking. The activity starts early in the morning with the first discipline - running. Running takes place on the impressive Dubrovnik City Walls which is specially opened early for the group before regular public working hours. Participants walk or run the city walls after which a short break is organized before the next activity, hiking to the hill Srđ above Dubrovnik. A less tiring alternative for hiking can be a pleasant ride with the cable car to the viewpoint at the top of Srđ. Another option is kayaking around the Old Town with an incredible view of the Walls from the seaside. Kayaking can finish at the famous Banje beach from where the activity continues to the cable car station and the ride to the top. After the break on Srđ and stunning views of Dubrovnik and surrounding areas, the activity is wrapped up with the third discipline, biking around the small villages back towards the city for a well-deserved lunch.  

dts.indd 1

This or a similar activity can be organized by DT Croatia throughout Croatia in Split, Hvar, Zadar, Istria, Zagreb, and elsewhere. Now, with new direct flights starting in spring 2015 connecting Dubrovnik and other destinations such as Brussels, London, Amsterdam, Athens and Rome, Croatia has never been more accessible!


05.11.2014. 17:37

Good Practice Case



ocated in the very heart of Slovenia, the Congress Centre Thermana Park Laško offers conference capacities for up to 1,100 participants. One of this year’s most successful events was the 9th International Conference RISK 2014. Focussing on the field of electronic security, new technologies and business continuity, the event was held in the Congress Centre Thermana Park Laško for the first time and in welcoming more than 600 participants in two days this was a record number for the event. A major challenge for Thermana in hosting the event was in how to provide technological support for it, support that demanded perfect IT services. The participants were using laptop computers, phones and tablets throughout the conference, so Thermana had to adjust its wireless network to the extent that every participant had an easy access whilst also being able to provide live streaming of interactive lectures directly from London.

David Ivačič, Director of Sales, REAL security d.o.o., said: »RISK 2014 was our largest event ever, with the greatest number of visitors in all nine years of its existence. Both the visitors and presenters liked the new conference location and the overall concept. We are very satisfied with how it all took place, the number of visitors, variety and quality of presenters, and actually everything else regarding this event. It was fantastic! I must give our special thanks to congress centre of Hotel Thermana here in Laško - it was a great pleasure working with them, the location is unique and perfect and we will be back next year.« t: +386 (0)3 423 2007



VELADRION RESORT Secret Place of Green & Blue


idden, but easily accessible. In the bay of the Croatian Northern Adriatic, beside the slopes of National park North Velebit you will find the Veladrion resort. Its unique concept and key advantage is the individual and personal approach to each guest during an event, possible only by having the entire resort exclusively at your disposal. With just hour and half drive from major Croatian airports like Zagreb, Pula and Zadar it is easily reachable, there is also the option of arranging charter flights and private transfer to the resort. Brand new facilities surrounded by Mediterranean nature. Because of its natural beauties, like the preserved green Mediterranean vegetation and the spring of the UNESCO protected Gacka river in the center of the resort, you can truly enjoy your stay. In such picturesque natural surroundings you will find two elegant hotels and two villas – each of the spacious 36 rooms in the resort were carefully decorated so they resonate with their surroundings. Hotel Almaris 4* along with Vila Degenija 4* and Vila Gacka 3* are part of the green bay, while the newest and most prestige hotel Vila Velebita 4* is positioned on the open seaside of the peninsula.

Unique place for meetings. Privatise the resort! During the stay we really want our guests to taste the exquisite local Mediterranean flavors that are found in each of the carefully prepared menus. For meetings the 3 main facilities are fully equipped for the most demanding tasks for up to 80 persons, with two of them having a separate translation and recording room. The resort with its sport facilities and open space offers different possibilities for an incentive program. On the other hand, the surrounding natural beauties and sea attractions are at your disposal with our own ship fleet, whether it is night fishing competition or just finding enjoyment on the sunny beaches of the nearby islands.


Reflection of diversity for meetings & events with character


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Sava Turizem d.d., Dunajska cesta 152, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenija ‡

Hidden Congress Guest




OPEN FROM Renovated in 1995 / interior and rooms renovated in 2003 MEETINGS STAR B-City meeting hotel STANDARD Hotel with conference facilities NUMBER OF ROOMS 71 PRICE INTERNET 73 EUR (BB - October 2014) ADDRESS BEST WESTERN PLUS HOTEL PIRAMIDA Ulica heroja Šlandra 10 2000 Maribor, Slovenia T: + 386 2 234 4 00 E: FACILITIES Restaurant, Aperitif bar, Pyramid art coffee house, Sauna, Conference Centre SPECIALS Cool breakfast

RESULTS OF ANALYSIS Location Accessibility First Impression Lobby Employee Attitude Reception Hotel Room Hotel Bed Bathroom And Restroom Hotel Breakfast Bars And Restaurants Congress Hall Additional Offer Total: FINAL GRADE Premium hotel Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

4.35 3.92 3.56 4.05 4.35 4.15 4.15 4.15 4.05 3.93 3.65 4.02 3.95 4.02

4.02 ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

ACCESSIBILITY Access to Maribor is extremely easy, the city being located at the motorway intersection of the 5th and 10th pan-European transport corridor. There are three international airports in the immediate vicinity of the city (50 to 105 km) and the hotel is located right in the city centre near the train and bus stations. Plenty of parking by the hotel, which in addition is free of charge, is a great advantage. The main attractions of the city are just a stone’s throw from the historical centre and can be reached on foot. The city is small, safe and easy to navigate. COLD APPETIZER – Architecture and Aesthetics The modernist hotel, built in the 1950s, leaves little lasting memory from its external appearance. However, On becoming part of the Best Western chain, however, it was upgraded and now meets the standard of the Best Western Plus chain, with the interior now much nicer and more welcoming following renovation. The first pleasant surprise is therefore a reassuring reception in warm colours and with other small details that suggest the hotel will be nice to stay in. WARM APPETIZER - Staff and Food The hotel is specialised in catering for business guests, to whom the culinary offer is also adapted. The food is therefore a stronger part of the hotel offer, making the hotel restaurant also popular among the demanding locals. The breakfast is of notably high quality and is very satisfying with its rich selection of dishes. In the summer time the summer garden is a popular gathering point for the Maribor inhabitants. As befits a wine region, there is a solid choice of local and other Slovenian masters of winemaking available in the restaurant. Added to this, the staff is professional and create a feeling of peace and familiarity. In addition they offer a genuine Styrian kindness, which is a great added value of the hotel.


MAIN COURSE - Congress hotel offer The modern furnishings and spacious hotel rooms spoil with the little things that are important to guests, such as fresh fruit upon arrival and some of the best linens that wouldn’t be out of place in hotels of higher categories. The hotel is very well maintained and cleanliness and orderliness can be felt in every corner. In addition to its guest rooms the hotel also offers a modern business centre with an amphitheatre-shaped hall that can accommodate 94 participants, as well as two other smaller conference halls. A much greater capacity is offered by Habakuk, the large congress centre. At the same time we think that a similar multifunctional congress centre would also work well in combination with the Pyramid Hotel. DESSERT - Additional offer Art Cafe Pyramid – with art works of renowned domestic and foreign artists.


FLOP – negative surprises Due to the architecture, navigation to hotel rooms can be a bit complicated.


TOP – positive surprises Super fast Wi-Fi, which works flawlessly throughout the building. Overall impression and credibility This is the modern and almost ideal business hotel that will not set you back a fortune. Moreover, for a very reasonable price you get a solid, almost exquisite hotel offer. The proximity of the city centre is a big advantage. On the outside the hotel doesn’t stand out, but this makes the interior all the more surprising and this is what loyal business guests love - the renovated interior appears even more glamorous and attractive. If we look at the hotel in terms of character, whilst it could be seen as quite flat the whole hotel package appears very convincing.

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 university city of Maribor is Slovenia’s second largest city and represents the business, scientific, educational, cultural and political centre of Eastern Slovenia. The Hotel Pyramid last year became the third Slovenian hotel included in the largest hotel chain, Best Western. It is also a part of the tourism company Terme Maribor, which controls the majority of hotel capacities. For businessmen in Maribor the hotel is a logical choice.


Final Score

Hidden Congress Guest



Photo credit HOTEL ARISTOS

LOCATION At the eastern part of New Zagreb, Buzin is a bustling business centre that borders Zagreb airport to its east a road junction to the west. The hotel is located in the centre of the commercial zone, which over the years has become well-arranged and fused with the city. Many domestic and foreign companies are concentrated here and the location is a major advantage of the hotel, as access from the city is easy and there is also a large garage available with enough parking spaces to meet the needs of the hotel.

CATEGORY ★★★★ OPEN FROM 2003, conference wing 2009 MEETINGS STAR B-City meeting hotel STANDARD Congress hotel NUMBER OF ROOMS 71

ACCESSIBILITY To Zagreb city centre it is just 5 km and being located in the immediate vicinity of Zagreb airport, to which the hotel offers a reliable taxi transfer and shuttle service, makes for one of the advantages of the hotel itself. The airport is undergoing major renovation and with new owners will be one of the main air hubs of the region. This will further strengthen the position of the hotel as well as highlight the advantages of the location.

PRICE INTERNET 96 EUR (BB - October 2014) ADDRESS HOTEL ARISTOS Cebini 33, Buzin 10000 Zagreb, Croatia T: +385 1 6695 900 E: FACILITIES Lounge bar Momento, Tiara restaurant, Salon Vitrum, Salon Elegante, Fitness centre, Wellness & Spa Centre SPECIALS Elegant conference centre for max. 300 people RESULTS OF ANALYSIS Location Accessibility First Impression Lobby Employee Attitude Reception Hotel Room Hotel Bed Bathroom And Restroom Hotel Breakfast Bars And Restaurants Congress Hall Additional Offer Total: FINAL GRADE Premium hotel Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

Final Score

4.08 4.11 3.98 4.09 4.03 4.04 4.15 4.15 4.21 4.07 3.87 4.45 3.95 4.09

4.09 ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

COLD APPETIZER – Architecture and Aesthetics The architecture of the hotel is pared back and pure, standing out from the standard commercial buildings in the area. It is a monolithic design with large glass surfaces, which are well integrated with the surrounding area. Inside, with the selection of materials and the ceiling, floor and wall coverings they have created a mellow and inviting space which can in individual details appear cold. The conference centre is especially noteworthy with its interior décor based on natural materials, colours and simple forms. The very comfortable conference chairs deserve a special mention. WARM APPETIZER - Staff and Food The professional and friendly staff is the main added value of the hotel, ensuring the check in goes smoothly and without complications. Virtually the entire team is always ready and available to assist guests and room service works well. The hotel is also the first in Zagreb with a Halal certificate. The breakfast is among the best in town, rich, varied and very nicely put together. The hotel bar is a bit uninviting, but this part of the hotel is also very well maintained. The a la carte restaurant Tiara offers a wide choice, although the price may be a little bit inflated.


MAIN COURSE - Congress hotel offer The hotel rooms in the new conference wing of the hotel (opened 2009) have soft lines and will suit anyone who likes a gentle and unobtrusive room character. It is a typical 1990s hotel style with high quality elegant furniture and a sufficiently large working area. A pleasant, calming room atmosphere and really good maintenance and cleanliness takes care of relaxation and a good night’s sleep. The only disadvantage is that the coffee and tea making appliances are absent, which will be missed by businessmen accustomed to having them in the room. The congress centre, which among Zagreb congress organisers is very popular, is very versatile and functional with an appropriate congress reception, direct outside access as well as modern equipment. Seven multifunctional rooms are decorated in pleasant colours and are technically very well equipped. DESSERT - Additional offer Aristos Wellness & Spa


FLOP – negative surprises Wi-Fi does not work well in all parts of the



TOP – positive surprises Professional staff and outstanding cleanliness and maintenance of the hotel. Overall impression and credibility A modern business hotel that has no problems in getting ahead of the competition. With a good design, a location that is a main advantage and an exemplary orderliness it has already convinced many conference organisers. In the conference centre they are able to provide good conditions for work, which includes all the key virtues of modern congress centres: flexibility, technological sophistication and comfort for participants at an affordable and transparent cost.

Hidden Congress Guest




OPEN FROM 2013 MEETINGS STAR Boutique hotel with conference facilities STANDARD Hotel with conference facilities NUMBER OF ROOMS 19 PRICE INTERNET 65 EUR (BB - October 2014) ADDRESS HOTEL SAN MARTIN Šmartno 11 Kojsko, Slovienia T: +386 05 330 56 60 FACILITIES - Restaurant - Sauna - Conference hall - Winery SPECIALS Electric bicycles and Vespa scooters to explore Gorica Hills (Goriška Brda)

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:

4.19 3.82 4.32 4.01 4.86 4.71 4.03 4.29 4.27 4.62 4.39 4.12 4.01 4.28

FINAL GRADE Premium Boutique Hotel


Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

LOCATION The Hotel San Martin, a family business, has put a meticulously restored and fortified medieval Šmartno at the centre of the new congress offer of the Gorica Hills. With nineteen rooms and the adjacent Marica it has become a popular starting point for the incentive exploring of the Brda area, where little pearls are dotted all over the hillsides. The heart and soul of the hotel is the owner Vesna, who with tireless Brda energy is running the hotel and doing everything required to ensure the guests’ satisfaction. For their incentive meetings the establishment has already found several Slovenian companies who appreciate their kindness, diversity of offer and hotel intimacy. The hotel is also soon to get a pool, making it even more attractive. ACCESSIBILITY Although Brda can appear to be a remote region, with the new facilities popping up it is becoming a starting point for discovering Posočje, the Gorizia region, Karst and Veneto. The nearby airports of Trieste and Venice make flight availability here much better than the Slovenian average. In the shadow of Nova Gorica’s gaming boom, a sustainable tourism product is slowly and steadily taking shape, which is unequalled in all of Slovenia. As Brda is mainly a destination accessible by car, the free of charge parking in front of the hotel is also very welcome. COLD APPETIZER - Architecture and Aesthetics At first glance the hotel is unique and has been created for aesthetes and lovers of minimalistic design. The intertwining of architectural minimalism with the drama of the Gorica Hills (Goriška Brda) also fits nicely into the medieval panorama of Šmartno. Once a school building, it has today become a modern and nice boutique hotel. WARM APPETIZER - Staff and Food The staff attitude is as befits a family hotel, with the owners creating a pleasant atmosphere and it the hotel seemingly reflecting the unique spirit of Brda, colourful and full of life all year round. The ambitions of the hotel are reflected by its ambitious cuisine, the young chef working hard to follow creative cooking trends and the hotel’s extensive wine cellar guaranteeing unlimited wine pleasures. The hotel’s cuisine also follows the principles of green tourism and the majority of the dishes are local. All in all, everything is in its rightful place and with the addition of an exceptional friendliness and hospitality of the owners. 96

MAIN COURSE - Congress hotel offer The hotel rooms are complete and fashionable, the very well equipped bathroom really standing out. Above everything else the price is more than solid and represents significant added value. In the hotel there is a fully technically equipped smaller conference room available that holds up to 40 participants. In putting together events the owners will be of great help, both in terms of cuisine and helping with any logistical complications. DESSERT - Additional offer Electric bikes and scooters are a nice – and green – innovation that will help you overcome the otherwise challenging Brda hills, with some ‘chunkier’ congress guests having tested the hilly inclines and conquered with the help of electricity! The bike and hiking trails are well marked and the orientation doesn’t pose any major problems. There are nine marked trails and in all of the hotels, tourist farms and TIC logically organised maps are available.


FLOP – negative surprises The web site should be available in several languages.


TOP – positive surprises Brda wine-making with some of the best Slovenian winemakers and amazing views of the Julian and Carnic Alps highlighting the fullness of the southern wines and the freshness of the northern. Overall impression and credibility A modern and pretty special boutique hotel that is hard to miss. The terrace with its amazing views grabs most of the attention and with the exceptional attitude of the staff, who excel at every turn, the hotel is very impressive overall.

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



Photo credit HOTEL VANDER

CATEGORY ★★★★★ OPEN FROM 2012 MEETINGS STAR Boutique hotel with conference facilities STANDARD Hotel with conference facilities NUMBER OF ROOMS 16 PRICE INTERNET 107 - 109 EUR (BB - October 2014) ADDRESS VANDER URBAN RESORT Krojaška ulica 6 - 8 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia T: +386 01 200 9000 E: FACILITIES - Restaurant - Vander bar as centre of social life - Yoga studio - Wine cellar SPECIALS Charming pool on the terrace

RESULTS OF ANALYSIS Location Accessibility First Impression Lobby Employee Attitude Reception Hotel Room Hotel Bed Bathroom And Restroom Hotel Breakfast Bars And Restaurants Congress Hall Additional Offer Total: FINAL GRADE Luxury Boutique Meeting Hotel Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

4.90 3.89 4.76 4.64 4.69 4.65 4.89 4.92 4.95 4.75 4.79 4.82 4.40 4.70

4.70 ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

Final Score

LOCATION Vander stretches through four old houses of 16 rooms by the tiny Krojaška (tailor) street in the old town. The story of the hotel was written by its owners - a Slovenian architect and an Australian economist – who upon their return to Europe embarked on a project of the transformation of the flats into a superior hotel. In addition to engaging world-class architecture and design they have also managed to get themselves amongst the company of the 200 best hotels with a great story befitting the Design Hotels chain. With a superb restaurant the hotel has quickly established itself as one of the best hotels in Ljubljana and it is also increasingly the heart of both social and corporate events. ACCESSIBILITY The boutique hotel is hidden right in the bosom of the old town and if you do not know what you’re looking for you can quickly miss it. It is nestled in the narrow Krojaška (tailoring) street, just a few steps from the Ljubjanica river in an area that is defined by a cluster of cosy cafés and restaurants. The old part of the town where the hotel is based is closed to traffic, but for guests coming by car a parking space can always be found in the nearby garage at the Congress Square. COLD APPETIZER – Architecture and Aesthetics The hotel was designed by the architectural duo of Sadar and Vuga, and thanks to them this is the first true design hotel in Ljubljana. On the one hand it appears very Ljubljana-like, while at the same time also very cosmopolitan with its minimalist interior. The architects have achieved the feeling of space with the use of mirrors. The hotel is extremely functional and despite its relatively small size it is richly furnished. The specialty of the interior reaches a peak on the ground floor with the paving made of various types of marble, reminiscent of the old Venetian palaces. Beyond this the architecture is dominated by concrete, glass, natural wood, mirror and stone, which tie together the four houses that make the Vander hotel a logical whole. WARM APPETIZER - Staff and Food One of the best Slovenian chefs, Frenchman Benjamin Launey, is a sure bet for superb cuisine. His dishes consist exclusively of locally grown ingredients, followed up by fusion principles applied to the interpretation of traditional Slovenian dishes. The menu changes throughout the seasons and is accompanied by one of the best wine lists in town coming from the hotel’s own wine cellar. 97

The food here is a pure pleasure and an experience, complemented by a top team who bring a smile and a high level of professionalism. MAIN COURSE - Congress hotel offer The rooms in their purple-blue-gray shades are very modernly equipped and reflect how the architects have toyed with the combination of soft and reflective. Guests sleep under bedding from the luxury brand Frette, whilst in the bathrooms the top cosmetics of Molton Brown are there to freshen you up. On top of that the furniture is from the Moroso brand, with specificity in the box of wishes something that Sadar and Vuga architects have designed especially for the hotel. The space for organising events includes a smaller conference room on the hotel roof and a large terrace. For this reason, the hotel is an attractive location for cocktail receptions al fresco and other showcase events. DESSERT - Additional offer Superb cuisine of chef Benjamin in the gourmet restaurant that offers “Deep Dish” weekly menus and creative suggestions for a la carte dinners.


FLOP – negative surprises Tight corridors and a somewhat claustrophobic elevator.


TOP – positive surprises The charming terrace with a swimming pool in the middle of the roof and a stunning view of Ljubljana Castle and the old town rooftops. Overall impression and credibility This urban oasis offers tranquillity right in the heart of Ljubljana’s Old Town. The hotel is a modern reflection of the city and a completely new hotel experience unprecedented in Ljubljana. Just what kind of a hotel we are talking about is best confirmed by its recognition and classification on the prestigious list of the 154 best hotels in the world by the Conde Nast Traveller magazine. Design, superior architecture and culture are the inspiration for the ultimate experience in one of the best hotels in Ljubljana.

Hidden Congress Guest




OPEN FROM 2014 (July) MEETINGS STAR A-Resort meeting hotel STANDARD Hotel with conference facilities NUMBER OF ROOMS 185 rooms, 21 suites PRICE INTERNET 119 - 135 EUR (October 2014 low season) ADDRESS HOTEL BELLEVUE Čikat 9 51550 Mali Lošinj, Croatia T: +385 (0)51 679 000 E: FACILITIES Lounge bar Altro Rosso, Pool bar Azzur, Beach bar Meridian, Restaurant Bava, A la carte restaurant Pin&Oli, Superior Fitness, Spa clinic La Vie En Rose SPECIALS HOTEL ATRIUM is like a small paradise - a true heart 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:

4.79 3.42 4.99 5.00 4.98 4.87 4.95 5.00 4.97 4.99 4.92 5.00 4.85 4.83

FINAL GRADE Luxury resort meeting hotel


Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

ACCESSIBILITY Most guests come to Lošinj by car and ferry via the islands Krk or Cres The ferry ride takes about 20 minutes and after it you have a drive of a bit less than 45 minutes on an upgraded island road. It is also possible to reach the island with regular ship lines from Rijeka and Venice. The company Jadranka is planning a large-scale expansion of the airport, which after renovation will be able to land larger aircraft. They are already offering their own air taxi and depending on the wishes of the guests they also provide a full Meet & Greet service. Hotel parking is spacious and free of charge, and you will also find two very cool stations for electric vehicle charging. COLD APPETISER – Architecture and aesthetics The original hotel was built in 1967 to the plans of the famous architect Zdravko Bregovec. After renovation in 2014, which was completed in a record seven months, the Hotel Bellevue became the first five-star hotel on Lošinj. The architectural design is the result of the work of the Croatian studio Ruslan architecture and the design of the rooms came from the firm Art-project. The hotel is situated in a pine forest, which largely conceals its actual size. The architects have kept the original cubic design with a central atrium, but they have added two floors, while at the same time they connected both sides of the atrium with a covered passage that has become the new ‘living room’ of the hotel. The new face of the hotel is fully revealed inside, its beauty to be found in its many details, selected pieces of designer furniture and an incredible garden, which is a true hotel Zen oasis. WARM APPETISER – Personnel and culinary offer Today there is a lot of talk about sustainability, but at the same time there is a lot of talk and little action. In this case, however, local ingredients and respect for local culinary traditions are more than just words: in the hotel Bellevue such sustainable and local dishes where you can find among the offer the famous Cres lamb, the licensed serving of the Boškarin meat, the indigenous Istrian cattle – are prepared in a modern and very tasty way, enhanced by produce from the herb garden located on the spa roof, which rather than being a decorative feature is intensively used by the chef and his team in preparing some of the best creations of the 98

house. The breakfast is also diverse and of top-quality, as is what’s on offer in the bars. The friendly staff manages to surprise at every step. All in all, this is a superior experience. MAIN COURSE – Congress and hotel offer Rooms are technologically excellent and are managed by digital switches and it would be hard to find anywhere else such an elegantly functioning air conditioner. The lighting is intuitive, convenient and well thought out. In addition to the exceptional spaciousness the bedding and in general the whole sleeping experience is sumptuous. The hotel cosmetics in the spacious bathroom are of the Natura Bisse brand and are perfectly suited to the character of the hotel. Every detail has been properly considered, from the Villeroy & Boch ceramic to the nice selection of colours. The Congress centre is of the latest technological fit out. The largest modular hall, Mundus, can accommodate up to 300 participants and is divided into three parts. The Lantern and Sextant smaller rooms overlooking the magnificent pine forest are especially quaint. The architects have also carefully planned the external space, which offers some exceptional places for banquets, receptions or just coffee breaks. DESSERT – Additional offer Jadranka Yachting’s fleet of vessels – the Elan, Jeanneau, Benetau and Bavaria – can organise a sailing cup or other forms of teambuilding programmes.


FLOP – negative surprises Some smaller architectural issues with structures in the Čikat bay.


TOP – positive surprises Spa Clinic La Vie en Rose, with its wellness section and series of holistic treatments very impressive. Overall impression and credibility The hotel renovation created an elegant and extremely elaborate, almost timeless hotel, reflected in its exceptional and truly top-class logo. With its richness and diversity of content it acts as a mini-city into which the convention centre is also nicely and reasonably well placed. A team of Croatian architects, led by the legendary Andrija Ruslan, has done excellent work and created a space that the youthful team is filling with kindness, positive energy and a superior service. The hotel stands out in many respects from the offer on the Adriatic and deserves the highest ratings.

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 When Graz entrepreneur W. Riedel built the first villa Adelma in the Čikat bay in 1895, he probably couldn’t imagine how the island tourism would develop in the future. Čikat bay has since then become a tourist heart and the most prestigious part of the island, where numerous hotels have been created in captains' villas, including recently renovated Hotel Bellevue.


Final Score

Hidden Congress Guest






LOCATION When the company Sunačni Hvar was created a few years ago, the quality of services and the structure of guests on the island of Hvar was fundamentally changed. Despite the recent difficulties of the owners the company continues to operate solidly, with the renovated Amfora hotel sat at the heart of the renewed hotel and congress offer on the island. The hotel is located in a luxurious bay about ten minutes from the centre of Hvar and perched above the legendary beach Bonj-les-Bains.

OPEN FROM Renovated in 2007 MEETINGS STAR Resort meeting hotel STANDARD Congress hotel NUMBER OF ROOMS 324 INTERNET PRICE 75 - 212 (BB - October 2014) ADDRESS AMFORA GRAND BEACH RESORT Ulica biskupa Jurija Dubokovića 5 21450 Hvar, Croatia T: +385 21 750 300 E: FACILITIES Lobby bar, Cascading pool with sundeck area, Cascades restaurant, Swim-to bar, Maestral restaurant, Sensori O massages at Bonj’les’bains, Beach Bonj’les’bains – luxury club, Top convention centre for up to 550 participants SPECIALS Windows on Hvar - probably one of the most beautiful areas for receptions in seated setting for 550 participants with spectacular views of the Pakleni islands 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:

4.45 3.75 4.59 4.48 4.74 4.62 4.54 4.58 4.53 4.59 4.63 4.88 4.29 4.51

FINAL GRADE Luxury Resort Meeting Hotel


Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

ACCESSIBILITY Hvar is a slice of paradise that has for many years been capturing the attention of the world's jet set. To reach this paradise you should take the time to travel by ferry, catamaran, powerboat or by what has become popular in recent times, the seaplane. The fastest you can get to the island with catamaran is in just under an hour. The hotel is located directly on the sea and surrounded by Mediterranean pine forest, just a few minutes from the centre of Hvar. To access every corner of the hotel you will have to negotiate quite a few steps, but otherwise the accessibility and logistics of the hotel are solidly planned. COLD APPETIZER – Architecture and Aesthetics The hotel is a typical resort style, which can be compared to minivans in the company of cars: a lot of space and extras for which it is not really clear why it is needed. Otherwise, the renovation of the hotel in 2007 was very well managed and the huge cascade pool with perfect lighting that lights it up into the night is a real stand-out. The exterior is otherwise Mediterranean subdued and in fine detail it is elegant modernist architecture with luxurious public areas. The interior is again subdued and beautifully designed, providing a pleasant hotel stay. The spaciousness and details of main lobby are a pleasant surprise that seductively capture a guest's attention. WARM APPETIZER - Staff and Food The Sunčani Hvar company has conceived the hotel as a combination of a luxury resort, family and congress/ business hotel. This occasionally causes problems, because the mixing of these target groups can be demanding. Therefore, the staff face quite a lot of challenges in contact with guests, which they are resolving more or less successfully. The food is solid, but in this area the hotel has quite a lot that can be done. The best part of the culinary offer is the breakfast with a broad but rich selection of classic dishes. Other restaurants on the island can be average, but luckily many culinary gems can also be found. 99

Final Score

MAIN COURSE - Congress hotel offer The fashion for hotels is always changing and after less than ten years the first signs of aging are already showing. This aside, the rooms are logically arranged and comfortable, their well-being worthy of a four grade. Bathrooms are very solid, well stocked with hotel cosmetics and expected implements. In some of the rooms, however, the Wi-Fi signal is poor. Practically the only convention centre of such a type on the island is fully occupied and is ideal for congresses and incentives of smaller and medium-sized groups of up to 530 people (standing reception). The main congress hall, Grand Ballroom, is a typical multi-functional congress hall, which can be divided into three smaller rooms. In addition to the great hall the hotel has a somewhat smaller banquet hall, the Terrace ballroom, which can accommodate up to 400 people (standing reception). Four smaller meeting rooms and a well-organised lobby make for a functional and well-equipped congress centre. DESSERT - Additional offer Luxury beach Bonj, which is the symbol of the town of Hvar.


FLOP – negative surprises Prices in high season are too high, with prices at the mini bar and in the hotel’s restaurants especially excessive.


TOP – positive surprises Hvar lifestyle and a special island vibe.

Overall impression and credibility The task of the Amphora hotel is clear: to install Hvar on the elite congress destination map. The hotel is aiming for a premium hotel clientele and it is addressing the established Croatian rivals with the wide range of its offer and the happy fact that Hvar has for many years been Croatia’s hot destination. For larger congress stories it is the first choice on the island, with the spaces available for garden and pool parties just unending. The wonderful atmosphere of the location is among many other things also the basis for the legendary festival ‘Ultra’. However, in many corners of the hotel the need for refreshment and renewal can already be sensed, as well as that there is quite a lot of room for improvement in terms of services. Such little things cannot, however, damage the good impression offered by the hotel, but they will be essential in maintaining the status of the most luxurious hotel on the island.

Hidden Congress Guest



Photo credit HOTEL ŠPIK

OPEN FROM Renovated in 2009 MEETINGS STAR A-Resort meeting hotel STANDARD Hotel with conference facilities NUMBER OF ROOMS 58 – category 4****, 60 - category 3*** INTERNET PRICE 109 - 138 EUR (BB - October 2014) ADDRESS HOTEL ŠPIK - ALPINE WELNESS RESORT Jezerci 21 4282 Gozd Martuljek Slovenia T: +386 04 587 71 00 E: FACILITIES A la carte Restaurant, House winery, Alpine coffee shop, World of water at 250 m2, Saunas world, Beauty centre SPECIALS Alpine wellness - paradise for lovers of a healthy life 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:

4.25 3.89 4.12 3.87 4.65 4.21 3.98 3.95 4.05 4.22 3.98 3.82 4.03 4.08

FINAL GRADE Premium Meeting Hotel


Luxury Premium Business Economy Budget

★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ ★

LOCATION Set in the middle of the grove of the Martuljk forest and just a few kilometres away from the centre of Kranjska Gora, the hotel has one of the most beautiful views in Slovenia and its balconies offer views of the Špik mountain range from which it takes its name. Thoroughly renovated in 2009 the hotel is now divided into the renovated, category 3 *** Špik hotel and the new, 4 star category Alpine Wellness Resort Špik. The hotel is at the heart of the tourist offer of a once established tourist centre and health and climate spa, and it is a part of the broader update of Kranjska Gora’s accommodation offer.

hall, three seminar rooms and a larger hall can accommodate up to 170 participants. The hotel team is trained in the field of teambuilding and motivational programmes and can organise all sorts of unusual sports for you, from the Olympics to the yeti challenge. DESSERT - Additional offer The Alpine wellness where guests are taken to moments of extreme calmness and relaxation with the help of five natural elements: water, metal, wood, earth and fire. Various spaces for relaxation, swimming pools, saunas and sports activities are also available to guests.

ACCESSIBILITY Kranjska Gora ski resort is accessible by car, but you can also walk or cycle on a special cycling route that leads all the way to Treviso, Italy. The upper Sava valley is otherwise easily accessible and in no more than half an hour you are on the motorway in Italy (Treviso), Austria (Villach) or Slovenia (Karawanken tunnel). Railway stations are nearby too, as is Ljubljana airport, which is less than an hour’s drive away. COLD APPETIZER – Architecture and Aesthetics The hotel is designed in a monolithic style with angled surfaces that reflect the colour and texture of the facade and the rock formation behind the hotel, which is a genuinely nice fit in the alpine environment. With the use of large glass surfaces in combination with wood a breathable link between the inside and the outside of the hotel is created. The interior equipment is designed to complement the architectural design using natural materials and colours and simple shapes. WARM APPETIZER - Staff and Food As far as the food is concerned, this is a hotel that plays on the tried and tested full board offer of breakfasts, lunches and dinners. The menu conceals some domestic surprises, but the core of the offer is the solid repertoire of self-service meals. The front desk staff is extremely friendly and helpful and the hotel has been solidly maintained, with a general feeling that the staff is striving to satisfy the guests. The quick service is a real pleasure, as well as being professional and reliable. MAIN COURSE - Congress hotel offer Hotel rooms in the new part of the hotel are modernly decorated and spacious, leaving guests wanting for nothing except perhaps a greater choice of hotel cosmetics and better gadgets. The hotel’s conference 100


FLOP – negative surprises Wi-Fi does not work in all parts of the hotel. TOP – positive surprises Gorgeous views of the Špik mountain range.

Overall impression and credibility The fact is that this hotel has nothing in common with the predecessor as we knew it a decade ago except the name. We were assessing the renovated part of the hotel, which is a very good choice if you want your congress group to be isolated from wider civilisation. The only oddity is the unusual combination of a three and four star hotel part. Otherwise, this is a superior incentive hotel, surrounded by nature and an abundance of recreational and other activity options.

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.

CATEGORY ★★★★ (a part of the hotel has the ★★★ category)

Final Score

Zagreb Report

ZAGREB FOR MEETINGS AND EVENTS Zagreb is the capital of the Republic of Croatia and one of the oldest European cities, with a history stemming back to the 11th century. Since Croatia’s accession to the European Union in July 2013, Zagreb has also become the new metropolis of the European Union.


Zagreb Report

ZAGREB FOR MEETINGS AND EVENTS Zagreb’s secret recipe for a successful meeting or conference, memorable incentive, or a fascinating event, includes a rich variety of carefully selected historic and modern venues, world class hotels, exciting gastronomic adventures, top quality PCOs and DMCs, highly professional staff and an excellent service. Combine them according to your preferences and wishes and you will get a unique, tailor-made Zagreb experience.

TOP 5 PLACES WHERE PEOPLE MEET The best places to meet, stay and incentivise in Zagreb Concert and Congress Hall Vatroslav Lisinski The Concert and Congress Hall Vatroslav Lisinski was opened in 1973 and renovated in 1999. It consists of one large and one small hall respectively, and it is fitted out for congresses, meetings and other events.

Zagreb Fair Congress Centre

The Zagreb Fair Congress Centre, built in 1909, has one of the oldest congress halls in this part of Europe. It offers numerous conference and exhibition halls and has the potential to cater for larger events, with a capacity of 2,000 seats.

DoubleTree by Hilton Zagreb With six multifunctional meeting rooms, Doubletree by Hilton Zagreb has a suitable space for any event, conference, presentation, or small meeting. Utilise over 4,140 sq. ft. of versatile function space, including the pre -function areas and the beautiful Mimosa Ballroom, which can accommodate 250 people.

Hypo Expo XXI

The modern conference centre HYPO EXPO XXI is considered one of Croatia’s most attractive conference centres. It is located in a business centre that is increasingly becoming a new and recognisable meeting point of Zagreb. Apart from its exceptional architecture, this multifunctional conference centre can be adapted to suit clients’ requirements and wishes. 102

Congress Centre Forum Zagreb Congress Centre Forum Zagreb is a part of the Green Gold Business Centre. It has 10 multifunctional halls that can be interconnected to hold up to 375 delegates in total, theatre style.

Zagreb Report


Ride the shortest funicular in Europe The shortest cable car in the world, just 66 metres long, has for over a century been transporting the citizens of Zagreb between the Upper and Lower Towns. It was opened in 1890 and until 1934 it was steam driven. It has maintained its original look and construction right up to the present day, which is why it is now a protected cultural monument. HIT THE STREETS

Entertaining visitors throughout the year Many events and musical performances, which from April to late September take place outdoors in the streets, squares and beautiful city parks, make Zagreb an especially lively destination. The famous spring and summer festivals, Promenade concerts, Dance Evenings, Folklore Festival, Flower Festival, open-air Film Festivals, Cest is d’best street performer festival and many others entertain visitors to the city.


Cultural capital The numerous museums, galleries and art collections hold items of particular rarity, such as the Zagreb Mummy with the world’s longest text in Etruscan or the remains of Neanderthal prehistoric man (homo Krapinensis). Another “out of the box” concept and a must see museum is The Museum of Broken Relationships, which grew from a traveling exhibition revolving around the concept of failed relationships and their ruins.


While you’re enjoying an exclusive Old Tram ride together with some Zagreb delicacies and a glass of sparkling wine or a hot wine with cinnamon and listening the violin player, the guide will introduce you the Zagreb Downtown and its beauty, which will take you back to Zagreb’s past.

Film-making in Zagreb

Teams get a camera and list of tasks to include in their movie. They will have to make good preparations, be creative and also cooperate with the friendly people of Zagreb. All of the films can be shown on the same day - during dinner! 103

Gourmet Zagreb

Exploring the culinary delights found in the historic Croatian capital through its farmers markets and gourmet spots. Locally grown organic products are transformed into a traditional Croatian continental meal. Become fully immersed in the art of cooking and entertaining, guided by Zagreb chefs and foodies.

Zagreb Report




Paprenjak (spiced biscuits) Depicted in the novels of August Šenoa, a descendent of one of the first Zagreb pattiseurs, these biscuits have become a popular Zagreb souvenir. The same goes for licitar, most frequently heart-shaped, that many people find really tasty, especially when accompanied with medica and gvirc, drinks made of brewed honey and sold at church feasts.

Croatian Academy of Science and Arts – Illyrian Stateroom Direct action to found the Academy in Zagreb was initiated in 1860 by the Djakovo-Srem bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer and up to this day the Croatian Academy of Science and Arts has organised more than one hundred scientific conventions. The Illyrian Stateroom (with a 220 seats capacity) is particularly attractive for business meetings, receptions and promotions, and it is today considered to be the most beautiful classical interior in all of Croatia.

Penkala – a perfect Croatian souvenir The first mechanical pencil (1906) in the world and the first solid ink fountain pen (1907) were invented by Mr. Penkala, a Croatian engineer and inventor. When in Zagreb, make sure to go to the shops at Jelačić Square in the heart of the city, where you can choose from a diverse assortment of products from the renowned writing implements factory.


ICCA 2013 79 Worldwide 42 Europe




2.066 4.497

€ 1806 ZAGREB


Klovićevi Dvori Gallery The Klovicevi Dvori Gallery is located in a building dating from the middle of the 17th century that was partly destroyed in a fire soon after it was built it. Since then the building has been constantly renovated and reconstructed. A former Jesuit monastery used for offices and archives, it was radically altered between 1974 and 1983, when it was transformed into a centre for art exhibitions.



Of the 20 selected towns that competed for the prestigious title of Best European Destination 2014, Zagreb won second place.


Phoenix Hotel - The Most Romantic Hotel in Croatia For the second consecutive year, the international tourism magazine Luxury Travel Guide has named Zagreb’s Phoenix Hotel as the most romantic hotel in Croatia. Alongside the 55 modern Superior and Deluxe rooms, of which seven are furnished in a special “romantic” style, there is also the Maestro fine dining restaurant, a wellness & SPA centre featuring an Indoor Golf & Fitness Centre, the magnificent Magic Hall banqueting area, with seating for 400 people, and the Dioniz wine cellar.


Contact: Mr. Zlatan Muftic, Zagreb Convention Bureau Director Zagreb Tourist Board & Convention Bureau Kaptol 5, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia tel: +385 1 48 98 500 fax: +385 1 48 14 340


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 2015 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: 12.12.2014

MATERIALS DUE: DELIVERY: 19.12.2014 21. - 22.01.2015




The old paradigm “size fits all” in the last year has radically altered in the direction of personalization in which the participants of your events are taking the initiative. In the issue, we are going to explore different methods of personalization - everything from CRM tools, match-making innovations and the creation of social and virtual communities for the events of the future. We will examine how to achieve events at which the event participants are in the centre. Hot Spot: EVENT CREATION How to create creative experimental events





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.

Themed supplement: CATERING SURVEY 2015

SPACE CLOSE: 13.02.2015

MATERIALS DUE: 20.02.2015

DELIVERY: 27.03.2015



SPACE CLOSE: 12.12.2014

MATERIALS DUE: 19.12.2014

DELIVERY: 21. - 22.01.2015



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: 10.04.2015

MATERIALS DUE: 17.04.2015

DELIVERY: 15.05.2015

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


TOTAL AUDIENCE of 60.700 readers:


meeting planners

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




meeting planners

34.000 meeting


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

FALL 2015






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.


One of the few truly outstanding destination strategies is the idea of strategic alliances which is a result of the realization that we live in a time of mutual co-operation and competition (co-opetition). We will investigate in what stages it comes to competition and co-operation for congress buyers and destination reputation. Some practical examples will be presented which have survived the testing in practice. Hot Spot: EVENT MARKETING How to make desirable events

SPACE CLOSE: 15.05.2015

MATERIALS DUE: 22.05.2014

DELIVERY: 19.06.2015




Content marketing is changing understanding of the entire meetings industry. Through good content events communicate with the participants. We are going to examine the evidence on the effectiveness of content marketing in the organization of events. You will learn why top content is the core of positive experience of your congress participants Hot Spot: EVENT PRODUCTION How to organise viable events Themed supplement: ADVENTURE PARKS 2015 OUTDOOR VENUES 2015

SPACE CLOSE: 19.06.2015

MATERIALS DUE: 26.06.2015


SPACE CLOSE: 21.08.2015

MATERIALS DUE: 28.08.2015

DELIVERY: 18.09.2015





Who are the personalities that have marked the year 2015? What are the trends of the future, which controversial ideas will win in the area of event organization. In the editorial board of Kongres magazine we believe that the best way to predict the future of the meetings industry is to be inventing it. Hot Spot: EVENT DIFERENTATION How to stand out from the crowd

DELIVERY: 24.07.2015


SPACE CLOSE: 16.10.2015

MATERIALS DUE: 23.10.2015

DELIVERY: 16.11.2015

(e-magazines and e-newsletters)


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


appr. 7.500

meeting planners

------------12,36 % of total number




TELESCOPE – Congress destinations of the World according to the selection of our editor Robert Cotter MEETOLOGUE – Congress Meetologues of the New Europe VOICE FROM THE TOP – Interviews with key personalities of the meetings industry HIDDEN KONGRES GUEST – Hidden congress guests assess hotels, convention centres and catering providers WHO IS WHO – Presentations of meetings providers YOUNG TALENTS – Young promising meeting industry talents BEEN THERE – Reports from events TOP 10 - Rankings of the best in various categories CASE STUDIES - Examples of good practice


KONGRES BRIEFING – Short news from destinations presented in an interesting way DESTINATION SURVEY - Indepth collage presentations of congress destinations DESTINATION IN NUMBERS - Infographics with data of individual destinations BEHIND THE SCENES - Extended reportages of the best congress hotels

At a time when campaigns are taken over by our buyers, apart from content marketing there are few tools available that enable communication through various channels.

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

Croatia Addendum


Croatia Addendum


Editorial Board: Daniela Kos, Aleksandra Uhernik Đurðek, Roko Palmić

Croatia Addendum

REFLECTIONS OF A CROATIA PCO “Altrough I started unintentionally, today I can not imagine my (business) life without meeting organisation and the whole industry around it.”

text by Aleksandra Uhernik Đurđek



n the spirit of openness, I want to try to clear up to our readers some basic facts about working as a PCO on the Croatian market. First of all, this business is directly connected to travel agencies – you have to be registered as one to be able to work (according to local law). Therefore, even if it is not common for other markets, to be a PCO in Croatia means that you are a travel agency and mostly you will have other e.g. travel departments within the same organisation. Surely you will then also be a DMC? An independant PCO company is not something you will find on our market, but it doesn’t mean that you won’t find professionals offering up-to-date conference management services within their specialised departments.

I started with the small things that I had already learned in the travel business – reservations, price calculations and the like - each step providing me with new challenges, questions to be answered and no seniors around to support and lead you through the project. In the end, though, the congress was a full success and several RFPs followed immediately after I returned to the office. How I made it happen – it is hard for me to explain even nowadays. Most probably when you know less, you try even harder. I also think I had found my new talent – the nightmare had become a beautiful dream. I looked at the received RFPs as possible new and thrilling experiences and at future projects/meetings as new adventures which I was gifted.

My story as a PCO also started while I was working in a big travel agency (one of the market leaders at the time). None of this would have happened if there were not two special ladies (one of them my boss at the time, the other one working in the city’s convention bureau (who over the years also became my dear friend) there in 1997 who thought I was the perfect person for the job of PCO. A new, specialised department was founded within the travel agency in which I was working. To be honest, I was not delighted. I just got back from my maternity leave happy to continue my very nice previous job of product manager in the travel department. I was not even sure what would be expected from me, what the ‘meeting industry’ meant, what a ”PCO” was... In Croatia at that time this was all a yet-to-be recognised industry. There was no mentor and no business formula for me to follow. However, everything that has a beginning has a cause – meaning quite a big client was already there with a challenging project of a regional medical meeting. I hadn’t a clue where and how to start with the project, but I couldn’t stand losing an opportunity! For me this medical meeting was at first sight like a group with a fairly complex programme, but on the other hand it wasn’t at all a group but rather a lot of individuals, each with their own ideas, desires… Thank God, then, that the venue was already chosen, so it was one risky decision less for me to take (although a hotel on a traffic-free island, also a national park, was tricky and challenging “per se”).

FROM ADMINISTATOR TO CONSULTANT A significant milestone in my career was participating in EFCT (now ECM) Summer School in 1997 in Barcelona, where I learned all the basics like the technical terms, who is who on the market… and then more at the IAPCO Wolfsberg Seminar in Switzerland, which was another huge step forward. The knowledge shared with us seminar participants was fundamental for everyone working in the meeting industry and particulary for PCOs. I belivethat if one meets the strict criteria for becoming an IAPCO member, one should definitely do that. At the start of my career I was working predominantly with professional associations so it made me realise very soon how important professional networks are. Meeting organisers also have to meet among themselves to study, to research professional problems and to exchange ideas and experiences, and that is where ICCA comes with its variety of networking and educational events (and annual congress on top of it all), database, networking possibilities – a whole pool of meeting industry experiences. A vast opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences as well as the latest technologies all enabled me to move forward from being an administrator to becoming a consultant and creator in every aspect of meeting organisation.

Croatia Addendum


During the past 10 years, in one way or another, my career has been turning more and more from a PCO towards a DMC specialised for Croatia and the surrounding Adriatic Region. My philosophy is to create events here in the region which are educational, networking, motivational, experiential, possibly with (at least) a touch of exclusiveness and also fun, and integrate them into a client’s business strategy.

I am particulary passionate about Croatia becoming a rising star on Europe’s meeting and incentive map and I love to share this passion with clients trying to find the right place for their events. How do I venture out globally? Going green, sustainability, social responsibility, a limited budget amd working with different cultures are just some of the new challenges I am facing nowadays. What do I do? I try to package them all into one – a unique Croatian experience!

Croatia Addendum


Croatia Addendum

WE NEED TO BREAK THE MYTH OF THE “GOOD AND BAD” SEASONS IN CROATIA Interview with Zrinka Bokulić, CEO of Laguna Novigrad


rinka Bokulić, CEO of Laguna Novigrad, has much experience in the tourism and hospitality industries, mainly in management positions. She is one of the few women at the head of a hotel company in Croatia. Her career rise is down to hard work, learning new things through a lot of sacrifice and being flexible enough to grasp the opportunity to take the lead. In the past, guests came to Istria and Novigrad mostly during the summer season in search of a clean sea, but those habits have changed, as numerous sports, gourmet and cultural opportunities of Novigrad and its surrounding areas offer a sufficient number of reasons for paying a visit throughout the whole year. These reasons are in fact why the famous English football team, Manchester City, this year held their preparation for the season once again in Novigrad. Q: In recent years you have been increasingly positioning yourself in the segment of sports tourism, the breaking news of this being the visit of the Manchester City Youth Academy Team to your hotels. How did you reach out to this popular English football club? We reached the Manchester City Youth Academy Team through our business partner, with whom we have collaborated for many years in the segment of sports tourism. He believed we have a good quality of sports fields and other facilities, so he offered our hotels Maestral and Novigrad to the Academy’s management board. Manchester City football academy stayed in the Maestral Hotel and trained on the football pitches of Laguna Novigrad in the summer of 2013 and 2014. Cooperation with the Academy gave us a confirmation that we’re going in the right direction and have solidified our position as an ideal destination for the preparation of football players. The mild climate, premium sports infrastructure, excellent organisation and hotel service are only some of the reasons why northwest Istria is increasingly becoming a European football destination. We are proud that we can note the prestigious Academy of Manchester City on our reference list. Q: Apart from the infrastructure, such as football pitches and sports halls, what does a hotel have to adjust in order to accommodate top athletes? Good infrastructure is a basic requirement and everything else that is important for athletes is also important to the other guests. Athletes are in some segments looking for adjustments around nutrition and timing. We therefore adjust the schedule and timetable of activities throughout the day. You must be flexible, listen to the expectations and needs of our guests, and strive to meet those expectations. It’s a universal recipe for achieving satisfaction.

Q: This year Istralandia, the first water park in the region of Istria and in Croatia and located close to Novigrad, opened its doors. To what extent does this project and similar activities help in the process of selling the hotel facilities. Did you feel any benefit to your own revenue? Additional facilities of this type fall into the category of attractors that give a comparative advantage to destinations. The waterpark Istralandia is certainly a good facility that we offered to our guests this year and that was very well accepted. These projects are important, because they allow guests to experience an additional type of entertainment in the Novigrad area. Novigrad is primarily a family destination in the summer months and Istralandia is a big plus for the overall offer. In this context, we should observe a potential revenue, which is cumulative, for the entire destination. Istralandia and other facilities in Novigrad and the surrounding area can be a crucial factor when choosing a destination, and then hoteliers and everybody else in tourism realise the benefits. Q: Do you think that Croatia offers expensive hospitality services, or put another way, are we too expensive for the services that we offer? I do not agree that prices in Croatia are excessively high. This is a very bad general remark, which has seeped into the public and is not entirely accurate. Excessive price is just one thing, which doesn’t follow the quality of services and products, whether we are talking about two or five stars hotels. If, for example you want to drink a coffee in an attractive destination in which a lot of work was invested and which has its own cultural and historical value and is well branded, then you must be prepared to pay the price. We all often complain about the price of coffee on Dubrovnik’s main street, Stradun, but nobody asks for the price of the same service on St. Mark’s Square in Venice. The key to success lies in the fact that you can find places and services with lower prices in destinations that are generally more expensive than the average. Thus, the famous coffee a few streets away from St. Mark’s Square is cheaper, but you don’t have “the” view and experience, which is a very important category in tourism. Location, location, location. Therefore, within the so-called elite destinations there exists an offer for customers with different lifestyles. I think this philosophy has not yet come to life in Croatia, or the majority of the public does not understand it. I believe that we have to deal more with the quality of what we sell and how we sell it, as well as to service culture, kindness, a diverse offer… and then we will be able to sell expensive ice cream to an Eskimo.


Croatia Addendum


Q: You have customised a congress offer for small and medium-sized business meetings - what are your experiences with this segment? In recent years, we have recorded growth in this segment and we have the best experiences with smaller incentive groups or seminars. The conditions are very good, so we can fully devote resources to our guests, which is affirmed by the repeat visits by our now regular guests. We have concentrated our congress offer at the Hotel Maestral****, which can accommodate small groups up to 180 people. We usually have small corporate meetings, annual meetings, seminars and teambuilding programmes. Part of the business leans on sports groups, which in addition to having fields (football, tennis and indoor sports) also need meeting rooms for the accompanying seminars and conferences. In this context, the nearness of the modern sports hall, football fields, wellness and spa centre to the two large and four smaller meeting rooms completes our offer. Q: Istria is known for its excellent opportunities for incentives and teambuilding. Which programmes and content would you recommend to business clients in Novigrad and its surroundings? In addition to the excellent transport connections, one of the reasons for the growing interest in Istria as a congress and incentive destination lies in offering additional facilities that are not limited to a main season. In addition to offering wellness and spa programmes in Hotel Maestral, guests have various options for e.g. afternoon recreation and leisure time – tennis, football, cycling and much more. We individually approach each business group and we try to customise offers directly for their needs. House travel agency offers programmes for shorter trips, but gourmet tours through Istrian agri-tourism are particularly attractive. As we turn to smaller groups, we can offer highly flexible programmes where in addition to a working day guests visit some sites in Istria and finish the day off in the picturesque agri-tourism or a tavern. Q: You are one of the few women at the head of a tourism company and we have seen a similar trend in other industries in Croatia. What would you advise colleagues who have similar ambitions to manage large projects and tourism companies about how to get there and how to stay at the top? Whether a manager, supervisor, director, or a person with a control function, to properly define our business today represents one of the biggest challenges. To address the different interests between the stakeholders (owners, employees, local communities) and those of our guests, which are all

becoming very defined, is truly not easy and affirmation and recognition in the position comes through hard work and results. Women today, however, are expected to be “superwomen” - successful at work, a patient mother, imaginative cooks and I could go on. It can all be achieved, but requires a lot of sacrifice and quality family management. J The desire for hard work, constant learning and acquiring new experiences through participation in the implementation and management of various projects, as well as readiness to change my city of work and life, was crucial in my career. I believe we constantly need to question and analyse the current situation and question ourselves – Can we do it better? But there is no magic wand or formula, because we live in a time where “ordinary jobs” are challenging and stressful enough, so climbing to the “top” is really not easy. You do not need to despair if by any chance you fail, but just continue in another direction. Daniela Kos

Croatia Addendum


Croatia Addendum


text by Daniela Kos



rom 2-5 October 2014 Osijek successfully held the sixth Congress of the Croatian Society of Radiology, organised by the Croatian Society of radiology of the Croatian medical association and led by its president, Prof. Ph.D. Damir Miletić, and Ph.d. Gordan Šarić, president of the congress organizing committee. Osijek, a city located in the heart of Slavonia, hosted a full 400 participants at the event and attracted an international participation, with ten percent being foreign guests. The technical organisation of the event was entrusted to PCO and DMC company Globtour Event, which was their first collaboration with the Croatian Society of Radiology. The congress involved a significant working element at the Hotel Osijek, through a series of expert and specialist lectures in the field of radiology and the poster presentations that usually accompany such gatherings. Equally interesting was the social component of the event, organised in Ilok and the beautiful Principovac estate, where after visiting nearby Vukovar and Ovčara a gala dinner and entertainment for the participants was arranged. The congress was officially opened at the Croatian National Theatre in Osijek, with an excerpt of the play „Lipa si, Teno performed after the organisers’ welcome speeches and the invited lectures, the evening rounded off with a special reception in the National Theatre lobby. “The city of Osijek and its surroundings can offer a range of interesting tourist sites, which together with the professional part of the congress was a reason for the large turnout,” said Gordan Šarić. “Hotel Osijek is unfortunately the only hotel in town that can accommodate such a large number of exhibitors from many companies that participated in sponsoring the congress, while also providing enough rooms for smoothly organised scheduled lectures. I have to say that the hotel did everything in the organisation of event flawlessly. All the participants were delighted with the experience.” This congress is held every four years in University cities, whereby all four major University Cities in Croatia are equally represented and regions get to host eminent foreign and domestic experts, such as Prof. Lorenzo Bonomo, President of the European Society of Radiology. The congress enables easier participation for doctors from nearby hospitals and

medical centres as well as enhanced learning about the situation and development of radiology at home and around the world. The congress programme covered all areas of radiology, as well as protection against ionizing radiation. DOCTORS IMPRESSED BY OSIJEK Based on their experience over many years of logistical and technical assistance at similar gatherings, the organiser recruited Globtour Event. “For the organization we used a new IT programme for the professional management of meetings, which is an innovation in our business,” said Vesna Pritchard, director of Globtour Event. “The tool allows us professionals an active online process control, from the preparations for the organisation of setting up a website, through online registration and communication with participants, cost management for invoicing and final billing. Since we are also a Destination Management Company, every new ‘exit’ in the micro destination represents for us an innovation in approach and continued active listening about the novelties the destination can provide, so our meeting would surpass the expectations of the participants and we could include all stakeholders in the whole process.”

Croatia Addendum

117 The range of sponsors drawn to the event were companies directly related to the field and the theme of the congress, such as Siemens, Bracco, Mark Medical, Bayer and a number of others. In keeping with its purpose, sponsors only financed the working part of the events, while participants independently financed excursions and entertainment. “I must emphasize that great credit for this successfully staged congress goes to Globtour Events, which was its technical organiser,” said Gordan Šarić in praise of his associates. “Every employee of the company involved in the organisation has been fully engaged and did not have the problem to answer our questions and requests, often outside working hours.”

The organisers were also extremely satisfied with the location of the congress. Despite Osijek having no convention centre and only being able to accommodate small and medium-sized gatherings, it is becoming a popular destination for congresses and symposia, especially medical. In addition to the city, which lies on the river Drava, the surrounding area also offers a range options for tours and teambuilding events and the wider region is also known for its culinary delights and the cordiality of its inhabitants. “According to the feedback, the greatest satisfaction stemmed precisely from the human relationships, the professional approach from our organization team and the team from Hotel Osijek, which has done a superb job and can serve as an example to many hotel companies in Croatia dealing with congress tourism,” said Vesna Pritchard.

Croatia Addendum

HOW TO ORGANISE FUN EVENTS AND FESTIVALS? “Everything that you’re doing primarily for the money, and not because of love for this work, is losing out on quality and creativity.”

text by Goran Tomašević, Uhvati Ritam agency



e all know that people are going to events not just to work or educate themselves, but also to network, meet new people and have fun. Organisers often pay more attention to the working part of the programme, the content of the lectures, expecting that social part will go well, and that participants will relax and have fun. Nevertheless, we know that sometimes the best planned after-parties can become a fiasco and participants will talk about it more than about the lectures. Therefore, it is not easy to organise a good, fun event and achieve something that people will talk about it for a long time. Since I have many experiences with organising various types of entertainment events - parties, concerts and festivals - I will write about my experiences. Not only about VIP dinners or parties for the corporate segment, but also about the organisation of music events and what can go wrong if you don’t think about the key elements in advance. Nowadays there are dozens of books, blogs and web pages where experts share their experiences in event management. By transferring knowledge, they are trying to at least give some advice to those who ask. What kind of ambient sound, musicians and production to choose? On which media should we focus for the promotional campaign? How to organise a sale or insurance? These are all the issues that concern event organisers, be it an amateur or a professional, because every event is a story in itself, which poses a lot questions. A person learns while he is living and not a single college or school can teach you the organisation of events without practical experience. My first events – techno and house parties in Split thirteen years ago – were amateur, but I can only say that now, after I gained my experience. What gave me the boost to taste the business is my own radio show about electronic music on a local radio. Through this, I gained very important contacts with former party organisers and drew upon their knowledge. At that time, we used different ways of communication with the audience. We did not have well developed Internet portals, social networks, text messages or mobile phones. Internet existed, but a very small percentage of Croats knew how to use it. A party promotion trademark was a “flyer”

with which you could cheaply enter the club. Then posters became popular, fanzines too, and a very extensive network of specialised radio or TV shows. The most important publicity is among the audience, which is transmitted “from mouth to mouth”. My first party was more than successful, despite the constant disapproval of the club owner, who in the end rubbed his hands with well-earned money. Despite the poor cash register conditions, the event was in surplus and soon followed a second, third, fourth and so on. Not every event was in surplus, but only when you don’t sleep for days trying to paste posters in the wind and rain and save on costs, you can see that the road to a successful organisation is really bumpy. I added some new elements, new strategies and worked on correcting my mistakes on each new event. To this day, I count over a hundred organised parties, corporate dinners, opening clubs, beach parties and similar parties for corporations, brands, clubs and festivals. ENERGY AND ENTHUSIASM AS A KEY TO SUCCESS Each event, whether it’s business, private, sponsorship or other, has its own story, rules and methods of organisation, and each event organised has its own way of working. What I wanted to say through this story related to my premier event, and was that for successful organisation you need a strong level of energy and enthusiasm as a key to success. You simply have to know and love this job. Never let money be the driver to manage the organisation of the event! Everything that you’re doing primarily for the money, and not because of love for this work, is losing out on quality and creativity. Money is still the prime mover and everyone’s goal is to make money from the organisation, but please do not be overwhelmed by money. Do not begin to calculate with big numbers, because it can often backfire. Besides this energy and enthusiasm, today it is very important to have a good team around you. Creating a network of quality partners and professionals for today and tomorrow is just as important as finding a sponsor for the event. There is no person in the world who can arrange everything without leaning on the team or the services of external experts. To many, production (sound, lighting and set design) is not im-

Croatia Addendum

119 portant, but this is the segment that captivates the audience and makes your event more spectacular. Organisers often save money on this element. Today, the organiser has to invest 70% of the budget on Internet promotion, because it’s the fastest way to transfer information, but also the most efficient. It generates interaction with the audience and the dissemination of information is very fast. We have seen a tremendously decreased use of printed promotional tools, such as flyers, posters and billboards. Many don’t understand the importance of recording a photo/audio/video or live streaming video. These are segments that during or after the event have a fantastic effect for each organiser: with images and videos, you can assure yourself of a good part of the audience also for the next events. There are events where everything is perfectly organised, but where the results are bad. Nowadays, for the organisation of concerts or parties, we no longer have guarantees, especially in the recent years of crisis. It’s also occurring that famous artists with the ideal promotion and production fail, but some less known artists with a weaker promotion turn

out unexpectedly well. It’s not everything in the promotion and selection of names, but about the timing – from selecting a date, stories in the media and a media plan as to what you will serve to the public. The audience is the one who chooses, so don’t choose artists according to your taste, because in 99% of cases your taste is different from what the audience is currently interested in. FESTIVALS AND MEGA EVENTS In the last few years, Croatia has become known as destination for many music festivals and concerts, which attract a mostly younger audience. Such mega events that bring together thousands of participants are extremely demanding – financially and in terms of manpower. I’ve participated in the organisation of such an event in Split five years ago, when we organised a big New Year’s Eve event in the Spaladium Arena. When I wrote the project with our partners, we presented it to the leadership of Spaladium Arena and they started negotiations about the prices and conditions. Then followed choosing the team who would work on the project, the timeline and the media plan. The project also gathered a few people

Croatia Addendum


from the sales and sponsorship sector. These are key issues for mega projects that are difficult to pay off only with the bar income and ticket sales, especially when it comes to a specific music programme. Then you come to the crucial details relating to finance. Is it better to take a smaller hall at a lower price, which is totally uninteresting to the media and where you’ll have problems with providing some kind of media visibility, or is it better to take a large arena, which is very exposed to the media and requires the highest standard of production and insurance? We decided for the second option and put on a spectacle with a fantastic media story. From the organisers’ aspect this was a very hard decision, because the financial differences were enormous. My colleague who took care of sales had a long-standing European experience as Sales Manager of different hotel chains. Although such sales has a similar way of operation, there are different channels in the tourism and music industries, but our team member had a great idea how to connect

both. Within the part of normal pre-sales and regular selling tickets throughout the region, we included travel packages, which included accommodation in a four star hotel and organised several travel agencies to offer our packages as a part of their organised trips to Split. A very important part of this event were the sponsorships; with designed documentation, date, location, artists, facts and sponsorship packages, we spent two months in Zagreb visiting potential investors. We held conversations with telecommunications companies, alcoholic beverages brands, the tobacco industry and advertising agencies, which represented the interests of different clients on the market. We also agreed on TV rights and the possibility of broadcasting the spectacle in the form of video on HRT during the spring of 2010. We had a very good media plan with lots of ideas that have been realised through the media. The stories were very interesting and each of them wore its own ego. We received the support of all the TV stations, newspapers, local and regional web portals and spent a good share of the budget on radio

Croatia Addendum

advertising in our country and in the region. Internet media was also very active, MySpace had just fallen into the realm of the forgotten, so Facebook took the initiative. Posters, flyers, hostesses, stands, projections on buildings were just some of the models of guerrilla marketing that we used. As part of the promotional campaign, we took newspaper and TV station journalists in Paris and London to record reportages in our name about the artists and brands that were coming to Split. It was all part of the media plan. A few days before the event, a huge production took place in the Arena. Prior to that a piece of equipment got stuck at customs, because it arrived from Britain, and we miraculously managed to resolve it. A team of 50 people set up a complete sound system, lighting, set design, stage and DJ stage, with over 90 people involved in insurance. We expected several thousand people and on the day of the event we had many assistants, because we still had a lot to organise – from the VIP lounge, timing for the programme, catering and organisation of the entire protocol to concerns about the artists.

We learned a lot from these projects. In every organisation, from the first to the last minute, a smaller anxiety crawls about, because hardly ever everything goes according to plan, whether it is about signing a contract with DJs and deadlines, to ‘what if the power goes out?’, problems with gaining various work permits for foreigners and the insurances. These are all the things that cannot be solved in our country according to your plans. To make the story even better, this was the night when the power did go out in the city of Split, but the Spaladium Arena was hooked to another network, so our event was fortunately not cancelled! The question is: how would we have ended up with no electricity? Goran Tomašević is the owner of Uhvati Ritam agency, specialised in event management, PR for nightclubs and festivals, as well as a leading social network specialist for the hospitality industry.



Take your business to the City, a city for all seasons!


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Face to Face

GRAZ vs. SALZBURG A current comparison of the closest competitors on the 2013 ICCA scale according to the methodology of Kongres travelogues – meetologues.

GRAZ Population: 265,318 ICCA Country and City rankings 2013 219th place, 10 meetings Mercer Quality of Living 2013 NA Sunshine hours 1,844

✚ Environmental responsibility, tidiness of the surrounding areas and its infrastructure, the cultural infrastructure, a city of design and the creative industries are all ideal for the development of congress tourism. The city, key stakeholders and political approach do not lack creativity and a strategic vision. Despite all the positive projects it may lack some charisma of a capital, making it need much more energy to fight even more successfully on the international congress scene. Otherwise, this is a beautiful and practical congress destination. Whilst Graz may not be the most seductive convention destination, it should be highlighted that Graz receives congress tourism right throughout the year. Graz meetings flashpoints: 1. Statdthalle Graz - Austria’s most up-to-date event location with flexible space open on all sides 2. Hotel Wiesler - exciting mix of old and new with a wellness oasis 3. Rent a tractor - Chug through the western Styrian wine country at a relaxed pace driving an original classic tractor 4. Long table of Graz - delicious dinner, accompanied by 700 other guests in the heart of Graz 5. Kunsthaus Graz - architectural emblem of Graz and a memorable event location with “spacey” architecture STAY: Augartenhotel Art & Design

4.33 / 5


SALZBURG Population: 148,521 ICCA Country and City rankings 2012 219th place, 10 meetings Mercer Quality of Living 2013 NA Sunshine hours 1,707

✚ Austrian efficiency and organisation peppered with the baroque charm of this city is the formula for success in the field of medium-sized congresses up to 2,500 participants. A cosmopolitan mix of visitors and the local population is torn between tradition and the fast pace of the 21st century. In this area they will offer you a superior product wrapped in superior packaging. Unlike the congress sister of Ljubljana, with which it shares a lot in common, Salzburg has no problems with branding and visibility. Otherwise, location, location, location… and once again location is considered a crucial reason for choosing Salzburg for your event. Salzburg meetings flashpoints: 1. Salzburg Congress - high-tech heart of the city’s congress offer 2. International Exhibition & Convention Center Salzburg - with a brand new multifunctional hall that offers 15,170 sq.m of space 3. Wyndham Grand Salzburg Conference Centre - its 18 halls considered the biggest in Austria 4. Hangar 7 - for lovers of high-octane experiences provided by Dieter Mateschitz 5. Culture and arts - Europe’s cultural capital. Around 4,000 cultural events are held every year in Salzburg. Theatre, opera, concerts, art exhibitions... the list goes on… STAY: Hotel Altstadt Radisson Blu

4.37 / 5


Top Stories

TEN OF THE MOST POPULAR STORIES OF THE MONTH ON WWW.KONGRES-MAGAZINE.EU Voice from the top, meetolgues, hot news and much more! 3. Behind the scenes: Hotel Mark Luxury Prague

1. News: Jaguar chooses Ljubljana for their new commercial

2. News: Honda chose Rijeka for their new commercial 5. Meetologue: Bled Meetologue 2014

6. Column: What’s Convention Bureau got to do with it

4. News: Congrex Switzerland rejoins IAPCO

7. News: Red Bull Air Race 2014: Worth the wait

8. In focus: Modern teambuilding events as typical edutainment programmes

9. Meetologue: Sarajevo

10. News: ICCA elects first African president


If you have an opinion you would like to share, please send us an e-mail to We also hope you will follow all of our latest stories from the industry at @kongresmagazine, G


with the latest news from the regional meetings industry by registering for our free weekly and monthly newsletter. 124

Destination in Numbers


Class A Hotel

› Class B 29 Hotel › Other › 27


GRAZ STATISTIC REPORT 2013 • Grazs worldwide position: 219 (ICCA)


• Grazs European position: 111 (ICCA)

• Number of association events: 118 conferences • Average number of participants to events: 335 • Length of meetings:

2.49 days



14 %

• Overnight stays related to congress, seminar and incentive guests: 13-15%


29 %






3,396 rooms

10.9 %

24 %



33 %


6,583 beds

Source: Graz Convention Bureau



Source: MIRA (Meeting Industry Report Austria 2013)



154 46,747




131 124

May/June, September/ October




• Favorite month of meetings:



2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014


40,000 expected

2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014






Meetings Star 2013

TOP 10 CITY MEETING HOTELS Till today we have evaluated 26 city meeting hotels. The top 10 are: 1. PARK HYATT VIENNA

Vienna, Austria


A unique blend of tradition and modernity, this is a temple of the best hotel aesthetics, which is essentially intimate, sophisticated, respectful of its history and not at all boastful. All of this inspired us during our visit and we believe that the newly opened hotel has set new standards in the regional hotel industry, where absolutely nothing has come about by chance. A superior hotel is one that is a remarkable storyteller of timeless stories, just as is the case of what we enthusiastically experienced in Vienna. 2. ESPLANADE ZAGREB

Zagreb, Croatia


The hotel is an excellent choice for business and congress guests and is probably the regional flagship in terms of service quality, customer care, prestige and image. Staying at the hotel is a special experience, with a package that gives you a real feeling of luxury.


Prague, Czech R.


As a rule, luxury hotels must surprise us. In this respect The Mark is special because of its timeless elegance. In every sense there is nothing that disturbs the view; it seems that everything is in its rightful place and the hotel is proving that this kind of lifestyle is certainly still worth something. The Hotel Mark has two main advantages over other hotels: the first its garden and the second is being in one of the best locations in Prague, next to the Municipal House, the Czech National Bank and just a few steps away from the Prague triangle at the intersection of Hybernska, Na Prikope and Republic Square. 4. METROPOL PALACE

Belgrade, Serbia


The legend has returned to Belgrade. After a long renovation the historic heritage of the hotel has been excellently restored and today it is flirting with premium hotels in the major metropolitan cities of the region. Warm colours, superior lighting, retro furniture and services at an appropriate level all place it among the best hotels in the Balkans. If you want to impress your conference guests then at the moment this hotel is your best choice in Belgrade. It is the hotel from which the memory of the good times, which many people are longing for today, is making a return. 5. HOTEL SAVOIA EXCELSIOR PALACE

Trieste, Italia

The Savoia Excelsior Palace is definitely a good example of why such hotels are still a major selling hit and a glowing exception from the otherwise quite tired Trieste congress-hotel scene. The hotel is a good starting point for the re-launch of Trieste as a congress destination. ‘Less can be more’ is the ethos of what is probably the most stylish first category facility in Trieste and also in the wider region.



Meetings Star 2013


Sofia, Bulgaria


An extremely practical classic hotel, which has recently witnessed an increase in its competition. The question therefore remains as to what, in addition to its central position, differentiates the hotel from the contemporary competitors. If you’re a fan of minimalism and the latest hotel fashion then this hotel is not for you. It is a traditional hotel with a classic charm felt at every step from the hotel lobby onwards. However, for the hotel to keep pace with the competition it will need some cosmetic refurbishment in the guest rooms. 7. CROWNE PLAZA BELGRADE

Belgrade, Serbia


The hotel is a true convention hotel that at the moment outperforms the rest of the Belgrade convention hotels. It stands out both in terms of size and functionality of the meetings area, and it has extremely quickly become synonymous with being the congress hotel of Belgrade, a hotel that sets new standards and especially for the city’s congress scene. 8. FALKENSTEINER HOTEL BELGRADE

Belgrade, Serbia


First of all we assess a hotel with the eyes, then later comes the assessment from a range of other senses. Here the enthusiasm levels are high, thanks to the architect, Boris Podrecca, who has succeeded in redefining the urban business hotel. The main feature of the hotel is its dynamic and attractive appearance and top quality of services tailored to business customers, which places the hotel at the top end of Belgrade’s current hotel offer. 9. KEMPINSKI HOTEL ZOOGRAFSKI SOFIA

Sofia, Bulgaria


Reasonable prices, a solid selection of restaurants, beautiful views from the rooms (especially to the Vitosha mountain) and a great convention centre are the main advantages of the hotel, yet it is far from reaching the standards of other hotels in the Kempinski chain. The lobbies and other public areas are urgently calling out for renovation, and the inconsistent services are also quite noticeable. On final evaluation the hotel better fits into the four star category and does not reflect the five star standard. However, with the diversity of the offer in combination with the cuisine, the large number of rooms and its overall spaciousness, it is still a very good choice for meeting planners. 10. GRAND HOTEL UNION EXECUTIVE

Ljubljana, Slovenia

The taste of meeting organisers can be unpredictable and difficult to follow, but the choice of Grand Hotel Union is definitely a right one, due to the excellent convention halls and, of course, the flexible and friendly staff. In the Ljubljana conference offer the Grand Hotel Union reigns. An excellent hotel for convention gourmets and a true flag bearer of the Ljubljana hotel conference offer since 1905.



Meetings Star 2013




Vienna, Austria



Belgrade, Serbia



Zagreb, Croatia


Belgrade, Serbia



Prague, Czech R.




Belgrade, Serbia



Sofia, Bulgaria



Trieste, Italia



Ljubljana, Slovenia



Sofia, Bulgaria



Belgrade, Serbia



Zagreb, Croatia



Ljubljana, Slovenia



Sarajevo, BiH


9. Call Hidden Guest


Ljubljana, Slovenia


10. Call Hidden Guest


Zagreb, Croatia


7. Call Hidden Guest 8. Call Hidden Guest 7. Call Hidden Guest

Hotels are rated by the HIDDEN CONGRESS GUEST. These are professional people who have many years of experience in the meetings industry and the additional knowledge of hospitality management. The evaluation matrix contains over 450 measurable criteria, which are divided into different categories, such as the first contact with the customer, the general impression upon arrival, the behaviour of employees and a host of others. Each category is assessed by the share of conditionality and the average rating, which allows the improvement of the quality of the individual criteria.

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.


Meetings Star 2013

TOP 10 RESORT MEETING HOTELS Till today we have evaluated 35 resort meeting hotels. Here are our top ten: 1. HOTEL BELLEVUE


Lošinj, Croatia

Through renovation an elegant and extremely elaborate, in fact almost timeless hotel has been created. This is also reflected in its exceptional and truly topclass logo. With the richness and diversity of content it functions as a mini-city into which the convention centre is also nicely and reasonably well positioned. A team of Croatian architects, led by the legendary Andrija Ruslan, has done excellent work and created a space that the youthful team is filling with kindness, positive energy and a superior service. A hotel that in many respects stands out from the offer on the Adriatic and deserves the highest praise. 2. KEMPINSKI PALACE ★★★★★ Portorož, Slovenia The Kempinski Hotel is the only five-star superior hotel in Slovenia. This means that the rooms are spacious and well-equipped, as befits a top hotel. The interior colour is subdued, of modern design and appears prestigious, whilst offering a lot of style and freshness. The technical equipment showcases the hotel’s technological sophistication. The modern convention centre is prestigious and well-equipped. Six conference rooms have natural daylight and the largest hall can accommodate up to 220 participants. The heart of the convention offer is Crystal Hall, which post-renovation shines in full splendour and which in addition to the Union Hall in Ljubljana is the most prestigious conference and banquet hall in Slovenia. It opens onto a century-old park, which is an attractive venue for outdoor events. 3. HOTEL MONTE MULINI ★★★★★ Rovinj, Croatia This is a hotel to enjoy and for which the entire business philosophy is covered. There are only a few hotels that delight and thrill as fully as the Monte Mulini does; it looks good, is superbly equipped and offers a number of extras. The longer we stayed in the hotel, the better was the feeling that it is an extraordinary gastronomic oasis. A real 5 star hotel in an excellent location, suitable for the most demanding and exclusive conference events. 4. FALKENSTEINER SCHLOSS HOTEL VELDEN ★★★★★ Velden, Austria The legendary hotel is undoubtedly one of the best hotels in the region. Managed with German precision and Austrian charm, it is the ideal of excellence in all areas. Unfortunately, the town of Velden isn’t following the hotel standards and the rest of the tourist offer is also only average at best. After the takeover by the Falkensteiner hotel chain the hotel was slightly refreshed and is probably one of the best incentive hotels for the most demanding guests. It was established as the best hotel for elite guests in Carinthia and we consider the goal to be close, however, the Falkensteiner Team will still need to master a few more details. It sometimes happens that when a large hotel chain buys a boutique hotel, in their zeal to rationalise it is often overlooked that some things simply cannot be squeezed into a boutique hotel. 5. HOTEL LONE ★★★★★ Rovinj, Croatia We understand design hotels as an experience that can include reflection and a very personal contact with culture, nature and the culinary art of the destination. The creators of the first Croatian design hotel, Hotel Lone, were probably thinking similarly. And we like it. Lovers of hotel glamour and kitsch will not like it, however, but we think that the luxury comes through in the small details, like the enormous room service menu and the hotel guide in broadsheet newspaper format, or even in the selected fabric for curtains and the numerous other small details. Being ideal for “DINKS” and young professionals and a totem of Croatian creativity, it is the zeitgeist of the new generation. 129






Meetings Star 2013



Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik’s high-flyer defies both time and its increasing competition in the city - the hotel’s myth is built on its reputation of being the best hotel in the city. This traditional hotel still scores very high on the quality scale. However, there are currently several competitors breathing down its neck. ‘Excelsior is Excelsior’, though, and this is a sentence that you often hear in Dubrovnik. It would be difficult to place any other hotel in Dubrovnik into this thought that would command the same special meaning. This is not to take away from the value of other local competitors, however, which are continuing to build on other strengths. 7. HOTEL LAV MERIDIEN ★★★★★ Split, Croatia It is in a class of its own in Split’s current hotel and convention scene. The Starwood operators have done their homework excellently and are winners in the most sensitive areas - friendliness and the professionalism of the staff. This has in the past earned them a place among the best in the class. However, there are also some shortcomings, particularly in the areas of catering and hospitality, where one would expect a little more from a top hotel. Overall, though, this is a balanced congress hotel that is elegant, charming and a perfect choice even for the most demanding congress clients. Umag, Croatia 8. HOTEL MELIA CORAL ★★★★★




Hotel Meliá Coral stands out with the general quality of the offer, comfort and its spaciousness. The final grade is that this is a good hotel for good money. The prices are in fact very reasonable in relation to the nearby Istrian and Slovenian competition. There are numerous options for organising receptions and outdoor activities. Without much bragging about it, Istratourist, together with the hotel chain Melia, have managed to make a great hotel and convention product, helping Umag on its path to becoming a serious and respected European incentive destination. 9. SPIRIT HOTEL


Sárvár, Hungary


The hotel Spirit, which is currently the city’s “flagship” hotel, certainly represents a new chapter in the rich history and culture of Sárvár’s spa tourism. Its elegance and spaciousness make it an impressive hotel, although it is certainly not perfect. Anyone wishing to take advantage of everything the hotel has to offer will have to deal with a relatively high price for this part of Europe. 10. HOTEL & SPA IADERA


Zadar, Croatia

The overall impression of the new resort is an extremely good one. The hotel follows the known standards of the Falkensteiner group and is an excellent choice for incentive and product launches, as well as smaller conferences. It is important to avoid the high tourist season, go for less frequented dates and carefully plan the arrivals logistics. From what we saw and experienced we can only give it a firm nod of approval.



Meetings Star 2013





Lošinj, Croatia



Portorož, Slovenia



Rovinj, Croatia



Dubrovnik Croatia


Budva, Montenegro



3. HOTEL DUBROVNIK PALACE Dubrovnik, Croatia


Velden, Austria



Dubrovnik, Croatia



Rovinj, Croatia



Podčetrtek, Slovenia



Dubrovnik, Croatia



Bled, Slovenia




Dolenjske tolice, Sl


Split, Croatia




Budva, Montenegro


Umag, Croatia




Savudrija, Croatia


Sarvar, Hungary


Zadar, Croatia



Veli Lošinj, Croatia




Hotels are rated by HIDDEN CONGRESS GUEST. These are professional people who have years of experience in the meetings industry and additional knowledge of hospitality management. The evaluation matrix contains over 450 measurable evaluation criteria, which are divided into different categories such as the first contact with the customer, the general impression upon arrival, the behaviour of employees and many others. Each category is assessed by the share of conditionality and the average rating, which allows the improvement of the quality of the individual criteria.

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.


Meetings Star 2013

TOP 10 BOUTIQUE MEETING HOTELS Till today we have evaluated 16 boutique meeting hotels. Here are our top ten: Belgrade, Serbia

A modern hotel in a picturesque historic building dating back to 1929. It is beautifully furnished and has excellent room facilities. Everything is stylish about this hotel and the support and excellent service from all the staff makes it very special. Thrills: Urban boutique experience


Opatija, Croatia

It started out as a superb restaurant, to which a hotel offer was added in the last year. The prime location and superior design overlooking the Kvarner Bay can also be a venue for very special events. Thrills: One of the most famous Croatian oeno-gastronomic brands


Ljubljana, Slovenia

The hotel is perfectly located and feels brand new. Everything about the room and the hotel is very modern and beautifully designed. The standard of food and service is top notch. The hotel is elegant and über-modern, almost a design hotel. Thrills: Small but very cozy in a good location


Brtonigla, Croatia

San Rocco was created from an old, restored Istrian family business, while at the same time maintaining the atmosphere of the medieval town. For four years running (2007-2010) the hotel was acknowledged and honoured as Croatia’s best boutique hotel. Thrills: Top quality gourmet offer of Istria.


Belgrade, Serbia

Elegant, modern and sophisticated hotel in the heart of the Old City of Belgrade with an extremely good restaurant attached. The swimming pool is one of the coolest designed we know of. Finest food, elegant service and special attention to every detail. Thrills: Modern luxury with incredibly attentive staff


Ljubljana, Slovenia

This urban oasis offers tranquility right in the heart of Ljubljana’s Old Town. The hotel is a modern reflection of the city and a completely new hotel experience unprecedented in Ljubljana. This is best confirmed by its recognition and classification on the prestigious list of the 154 best hotels in the world by the Conde Nast Traveller magazine. Thrills: Superb cuisine of chef Benjamin in the gourmet restaurant








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.


Meetings Star 2013

7. HOTEL 9

Zagreb, Croatia

Trendy, quiet hotel in Zagreb. Rooms are well proportioned and decorated following a colour scheme. A stylish environment, breakfast on the roof terrace and smooth service. Thrills: Breakfast is absolutely delicious and unique


Logarska dolina, Slovenia

The hotel is set in the idyllic natural surroundings in one of Slovenia’s most beautiful alpine valleys and combines nature conservation with the life of the locals in a unique way. Solčavsko received the 2009 EDEN award. Thrills: the Logar Valley natural landscape park


Pag, Croatia

Beautifully situated on a hill in Novalja surrounded by a dense pine forest and close to a vineyard and an olive grove, Hotel Boškinac offers carefully decorated accommodation with handmade furniture. Unwind completely far from the urban noise and enjoy the scent of pine trees, bay plants, jasmine, sage, incense, mint and fresh hay. Thrills: Restaurant guarantees the harmony of flavour and scents in creative cuisine


Goriška Brda, Slovenia

A modern and pretty special boutique hotel that is hard to miss. The terrace with its amazing views grabs most of the attention and with the exceptional attitude of the staff, who excel at every turn, the hotel is very impressive overall. Thrills: Electric bikes and scooters are a nice – and green – innovation





What is a boutique hotel? The region is experiencing a real boom of small, boutique hotels. Among them are some that are more than suitable for smaller events. In the editorial board and with the help from our readers we have selected some of the best ones based on the following criteria: • Minimum 5 boutique guest rooms for a total of minimum 10 participants • Small meeting room or adequate space for minimum 10 participants • Specificity that makes the hotel a boutique one (authenticity, design, cuisine) • Private ownership / a family business • Excellent cuisine, selected drinks and individuality • Special, intimate atmosphere


Hotels are rated by the HIDDEN CONGRESS GUEST. These are professional people who have years of experience in the meetings industry and additional knowledge of hospitality management. The evaluation matrix contains over 450 measurable evaluation criteria, which are divided into different categories, such as the first contact with the customer, the general impression upon arrival, the behaviour of employees and many others. Each category is assessed by the share of conditionality and the average rating, which allows the improvement of the quality of the individual criteria.

Been There

NATOUR, Travel and Trade Show of Active Holidays Goriška Brda, Slovenia, 2 – 5 October 2014 Organised by: GO.MICE / Toleranca marketing d.o.o.,









7 1. E-biking study tour with stop in a Lipica stud farm 2. Local food at the evening get-together 3. 4. One2One meetings took place at Wine Cellar Goriška Brda 5. From hotel by e-scutters 6. Lunch at Dobrovo Castle 7. Evening view at Šmartno village 8. Trekking with the donkeys 9. Best friends 10. Through the vineyards 11. Relaxing walk to the castle




Been There

SPA-CE, 6th Trade Show of Spa & Wellness Tourism in CE Radenci Health Resort, Slovenia, 23 – 26 October 2014 Organised by: GO.MICE / Toleranca marketing d.o.o.,









9 1. SPA-CE Team 2. One2One meetings hall 3. Apolonija, witch from the Negova castle 4. Dinner st Negova castle 5., 6., 7. One2One meetings 8. Study tour Slovenian Spa resorts, Rogaška 9. SPA-CE conference 10. Make a wish with the magic stick 11. Music entertainment by Pikaja & Swing Wings




Photo of the Month


Chef Ante Brkljaća, Bellevue Hotel Lošinj, Croatia, “from the sea to your table" 136


ACE OF M.I.C.E. EXHIBITION 2015 We take great pleasure for inviting you to participate in the 2nd Int’l ACE of M.I.C.E. Exhibition which will be organized between the dates of

26 – 28 February 2015 in Istanbul, Turkey. According to ICCA report, Turkey is ranked in 23rd and Istanbul in 9th place on number of meetings.

Turkey’s and Eurasia’s unique MICE industry event ACE of M.I.C.E. Exhibition has achieved to gather 9856 visitors and 579 hosted buyers from 24 different countries in 2014

Total Number of Visitors

Total Number of Exhibitors





P: (+90) 216 465 95 56 - 57 F: (+90) 216 465 95 58 E: A: Fatih Sultan Mehmet Cad. Akbey Sk. Kardeşler İş Merkezi No:10 K:5 D:13-14 Kavacık-Beykoz / İSTANBUL

Total Number of B2B Appointments Total Number of Hosted Buyers


SLOVENIA MEETINGS Feel the people. Taste fresh ideas.

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November 2014


November 2014

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