THINK MICE IBTM 2017 - special edition

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Investor announces that the venue under construction will boast one of Warsaw's largest conference spaces. THINK EVENT MASTERS OF CEREMONY – THE WORLD GAMES 2017




MORE THAN EVENTS In July Poland hosted two major international events – the 41st session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee and the 10th World Games. The two events were quite different in character. The former was attended by representatives of 126 states discussing, i,a. the new sites to be potentially inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The ten-day conference was combined with a number of side events and staged at the ICE Kraków Congress Centre. Another Polish city, Wrocław, was an arena of the latest edition of the World Games. In late July it was visited by 3,500 athletes from 111 countries, whose contests were covered by 700 journalists. The World Games opening ceremony was broadcast to 131 countries. This issue of THINK MICE offers broad coverage of both events (in the case of the World Games we mostly focused on the opening ceremony). Despite their above-mentioned diverse character, the events also had a lot in common: Poland hosted them for the very first time and their organization received a unanimously positive feedback. Naturally, it is no coincidence that they have got so much attention – after all, THINK MICE is a distinctly Polish affair (its Polish-language edition is published on a monthly basis). It is no wonder then that we place emphasis on events staged in our country also when addressing foreign readers. However, you can rest assured that our choices are not determined solely by local patriotism and the intention to promote the national industry. Both the UNESCO conference and the World Games boasted an international scope and we are convinced that the experience of Polish organisers can be of interest for everyone working on similar events in their countries. In addition, we are not the only ones to acknowledge the competences of companies operating in Poland. This issue spotlights yet another event, which took place in our country and has already been appreciated abroad. 3D video mapping, the main component of the Panattoni EUROPE 2016 gala’s multimedia design, was shortlisted for the UK-based Event Technology Awards competition. At the time of writing the results were unannounced, but we are sure that the discussed project has a real chance to triumph in its category. Obviously this does not mean that the Polish MICE industry is part of the international meetings sector only due to its successes. It also shares the latter’s problems, for example connected with security issues that are gaining in significance all over the world. Although the situation in particular countries certainly differs as regards details, the meetings industry is by its nature as international as it gets. This quality is a source of its great strength, but can also lead to some potential problems when facing unfavorable circumstances. Here’s hoping that there will be as few of them as possible. Maria Krzos


MICE & MORE MEDIA GROUP THINK MICE Business Link PGE Narodowy Al. Ks. J. Poniatowskiego 1, 03-901 Warszawa tel. +48 690 12 12 69 COVER PHOTO: GLOBALEXPO FAIR AND EXHIBITION CENTRE ON FSO PREMISES EDITOR Maria Krzos




THINK INCENTIVE 16 Problem of double booking flights

DESIGN Iwona Borowska Roman Borowski

THINK VENUE 20 GlobalExpo – Fair and exhibition centre on FSO premises 23 Hoteliers are adapting to changes 26 Time to recharge



ISSN 2543-4497


NEED TO KNOW 06 Warsaw secured a major medical congress 06 International Congress on Ceramics in Kraków 06 Poland has new bureau representing foreign DMCs 07 Katowice to host the UN climate summit 07 Warsaw wins the race for hosting the Information Security Forum 07 The IHG Staybridge Suites brand makes its debut in Poland

THINK EVENT 10 The World Games 2017: Masters of ceremony 14 41st session of the World Heritage Committee

ADVERTISEMENT Aleksandra Lublińska

THINK MICE is a magazine dedicated to the Polish and international meetings industry (MICE – meetings, incentives, conferences, events) and its scope encompasses all of the segments in question: meetings, incentive trips, congresses and conferences. By adopting an in-depth and multifaceted approach to all covered issues, we present the role and significance of the industry for, i.a. broadly defined marketing communication, employer branding and destination marketing.


ICCA LVIV 08 ICCA Central European Chapter Summer Meeting

Ksenia Bednarek, Aneta Biskup, Maciej Kompała, Monika Kowalska, Katarzyna Łabuz


Photo. Tomasz Mateusiak/Walk Events


THINK DESTINATION 30 Fam trips – are they still working? 32 Saudi Arabia is opening up for the MICE industry. What does it mean in practice? PROFILE 34 Colja M. Dams: If you want to convince people, be sure to dazzle them first TECHNOLOGIES 38 VES’ 3D video mapping on the Event Technology Awards 2017 shortlist


REPORT 41 Risk planning, or how organisers deal with problems


The first edition of Incentive Travel, Conventions and Meetings (IT&CMA) was held 25 years ago – in Hong Kong back in 1993. Ever since then the event has been following the goal of promoting destinations from the Asia-Pacific region and local companies offering organization services in the field of business tourism (both events, conferences, congresses, as well as incentive trips). Another major industry event – Corporate Travel World (CTW) Asia-Pacific – was launched in Kuala Lumpur five years later. 2004 proved to be the breakthrough year for both events, when they stopped rotating between various cities of Southeast Asia and became permanently set in Thailand. More importantly, this was also when they started to be held concurrently. At present,

both IT&CMA and CTW Asia-Pacific are recognized among Asia’s most important events dedicated to the MICE industry. To celebrate their 25th and 20th anniversary, the organizers came up with a comprehensive summary of all the heretofore achievements. A number of analyses, overviews and comparisons will cover both the history of developing new business opportunities and the evolution of educational and networking sections. THINK MICE will act as the media partner of this year’s edition of IT&CMA. MK

MEETINGPLANNERS RUSSIA’S fifth edition in Moscow Providing insight into the specificity of the meetings market in Russia and member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) plus allowing business relations with representatives of the discussed markets – these were the main goals pursued by the MeetingPlanners Russia networking workshops. Europe Congress staged the event for the fifth time with about 60 MICE service providers (i.a. representatives of PCOs, DMCs, hotels, conference centres, event agencies and convention bureaux) from the entire region arriving at Moscow’s InterContinental Tverskaya hotel. During the two-day event (4-5 September) they have conducted a number of one-to-one business meetings with invited hosted buyers. “We are observing a dynamic growth of the market, to which we are continuously adapting our offer. We take care of all the details to help our guests achieve their

Photo: Europe Congress (2)

IT&CMA and CTW ASIA-PACIFIC celebrate round anniversaries

BARCELONA’S IBTM world WORKING ON ANNIVERSARY EDITION This year’s edition of the Barcelona-based exhibition will be truly exceptional, as the legendary event will be celebrating its anniversary. For this reason the organisers are planning numerous changes and new features intended to provide participants with an even wider range of opportunities to establish business relations. ibtm world is one of the world’s largest events dedicated to the meetings industry. Its last year’s edition attracted 15,000 guests, who in three days held 67,000 meetings. The exhibition is traditionally staged in late November (28-30 November in this year’s case). THINK MICE will act as its media partner. KOS

goals and generate satisfying ROI by attending the workshops”, says Alain Pallas, CEO of Europe Congress. The programme also involved lectures exploring the particularity of doing business in Russia and CIS countries plus several networking events, such as group lunches, dinners and cocktail parties. THINK MICE was the event’s media partner. The MCE South Europe 2017 is another project organised by Europe Congress. The event will be held in the fourth quarter of the year in the Italian city of Catania. THINK MICE will also act as the forum’s media partner. MK



POLAND has new bureau representing foreign DMCs MICEadvice Poland is the latest addition to the Polish incentive market. The company specialises in representing and promoting foreign Destination Management Companies (DMCs) interested in obtaining customers from our country. Monika Wąs,

Photo: Fotolia

WARSAW secured a major medical congress

the founder and owner of MICEadvice, boasts more than 20 years of involvement in the MICE industry. Previously, she gained experience as a guide of incentive trips and a project manager. The bureau she currently runs represents ten DMCs operating in 16 countries, including Italy, Switzerland, Greece, Georgia, Portugal, RSA, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, India, Nepal and Malta. MK

In 2019 the 17th European Congress on Clinical Neurophysiology (ECCN) will be staged at EXPO XXI Warsaw. About 700 specialists from all over Europe will visit the capital to discuss the current directions and achievements of clinical neurophysiology. This will be the very first time that ECCN will travel to Poland, where it will be hosted by Polskie Towarzystwo Neurofizjologii Klinicznej (PTNK Polish Society of Clinical Neurophysiology), with Barceló Congresos, which prepared the competition application, acting as the professional congress organizer (PCO). The submission was presented at this year’s Barcelona-set congress

by a Polish delegation, which included: Dr hab. Anna Pokryszko-Dragan (PTNK), Anna Górska (EXPO XXI Warsaw) and Paweł Rozen (Warsaw Convention Bureau). “I am really happy and convinced that the dedication of PTNK members, the strong support provided by city authorities and the assistance of a professional PCO all guarantee success”, said Prof. Maria Ejma, President of PTNK. The four-day ECCN is held every two-four years. In 2011 it was arranged in Rome, in 2015 – in Brno and on 30 August-2 September 2017 – in Budapest. MK


More than 1,000 delegates from all over the world will travel to Kraków in 2022 to participate in the 9th edition of the International Congress on Ceramics. The ICE Kraków Congress Centre will host the event, whose preparations will be handled by the Polish Ceramic Society and the AGH University of Science and Technology in cooperation with Symposium Cracoviense. The International Congress on Ceramics (ICC) is a cyclic event hosted every two years by the International Ceramic Federa-

Photo: Fotolia

INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON CERAMICS in Kraków tion (ICF) and intended to serve as a platform enabling an exchange of information on ideas and visions of the future for ceramics and inorganic materials. The application to stage the congress in Poland was prepared and presented by Dr. hab. engineer Zbigniew Pędzich, professor of AGH and President of the Polish Ceramic Society. It was approved at a council session of the International Ceramic Federation in the course of the 12th Pacific Rim Conference on Ceramic and Glass Technology held in Hawaii in late May. MK


Photo: Fotolia

In 2018 Poland will host the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The climate summit will be staged in Katowice. Katowice and Gdańsk competed for the chance to host the United Nations climate change event. Following the valid United Nations regulations, UNFCCC Secretariat staff representatives went on a technical mission to both cities to assess their proposals. They toured the recommended conference venues and hotels, spoke with municipal and regional authorities, as well as learned more about the available transportation infrastructure. According to the report compiled as the mission’s summary, both cities have the potential to host the COP24 conference. Advantages and we-

ak points of the two destinations were discussed. The report also evaluated conference and exhibition centres (including information on how much they would need to be expanded by means of so-called temporary structures – light pavilions constructed exclusively for COP24 purposes), hotels – conference centre transfer time, air transport network, airport transfer, etc. Conducted by the Ministry of Environment, a detailed analysis of the conclusions of the technical mission’s report also encompassed weather conditions in December (possible temperature drops, snowfalls and the resulting necessity to heat the temporary pavilions), the logistics of transfers to the conference centre and the need to guarantee security for the conference and its participants. Finally, the costs of organizing the event were also taken into consideration. “The authorities of both cities are superbly prepared for hosting the delegates, participants of a high-level meeting – heads of states, governments, ministers, as well as media representatives and observers. After a comprehensive analysis, it was decided to select Katowice as the host venue of this prestigious event”, announced Jan Szyszko, Minister of the Environment. MK

The IHG STAYBRIDGE SUITES brand makes its debut in Poland InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), one of the leading global hotel companies, announced the launch of its brand-new project – Staybridge Suites Warszawa Ursynów. This will be the first Staybridge Suites venue in Poland and the brand’s eighth property in Europe. Featuring 190 rooms, the hotel’s opening is planned for late 2019 and will be operating on the basis of a franchise agreement with WIK Capital Sp. J. The investment will be located in Ursynów, Warsaw’s third largest district. Its noteworthy advantages include setting in close proximity of the Chopin Airport, only a 15-minute drive, and such popular tourist highlights, as the Kabacki Forest, the palace and park complex in Natolin and the Służewiec Racetrack.

Staybridge Suites is a residential-style brand of hotels within the IHG. Founded in 2008, it offers spacious suites and one-and two-room apartments designed in such a way as to create a convenient and friendly ambience, which will meet the expectations of guests planning a longer stay. KŁ

Photo: Fotolia

Katowice to host the UN CLIMATE SUMMIT

Warsaw wins the race for hosting the INFORMATION SECURITY FORUM More than 900 people will participate in the Annual World Congress of the Information Security Forum (ISF), which will take place at Warsaw’s EXPO XXI in November 2020. At the last stage of the competition Warsaw triumphed over Edinburgh, Madrid, Barcelona and Brussels. Each year the ISF congress travels to a different destination, with numerous cities clamouring to win the hosting rights. In 2015 it was staged in Atlanta and in 2016 in Berlin. After Warsaw Convention Bureau (WCB) and EXPO XXI successfully coordinated an inspection visit in Warsaw in March, an announcement was made that the 2020 edition will be organized in the capital. “I am glad to have a reliable partner in Warsaw and that thanks to our shared efforts we are securing an increasing number of international events”, comments Davide Odella, Sales Director with EXPO XXI Warsaw. “Bringing the world’s most seminal event dedicated to information security is also synonymous with a firstrate promotion of our country on the international arena”, adds Odella. The ISF is the world's leading authority on cyber information, security and risk management. Founded in 1989, it is an independent, non-profit organisation with a membership comprising many of the world’s leading organisations featured on the Fortune 500 and Forbes 2000 lists. The International Security Forum is dedicated to investigating, clarifying and resolving key issues in information security and risk management, by developing best practice methodologies, processes and solutions that meet the business needs of its members. KOS



ICCA Central European Chapter SUMMER MEETING

Photo. Lviv Convention



The meeting involved. i.a. representatives of companies and institutions associated in the ICCA Central European Chapter and representatives of Ukrainian MICE and tourism industry. Among them there were members of local and national convention bureaux (from Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Vienna, Kiev, Basel, Serbia, Turkey) and venue representatives (i.a. of Lendesmesse Stuttgart). In addition to Anna Górska, Head of ICCA Central European Chapter and Business Development Director at EXPO XXI Warsaw, the list of Polish delegates included Radosław Dudziński, Director

of the Lublin Conference Centre, Marta Wiśniewska, Executive Manager at Lublin & Region Convention Bureau, Anna Jędrocha, CEO with Symposium Cracoviense and President of the Board with Stowarzyszenie Konferencje i Kongresy w Polsce (Polish Conference and Congress Association), as well as Prof. Krzysztof Zieniewicz, President of Polskie Towarzystwo Transplantacyjne (Polish Transplantation Society). The opening speech of the meeting’s conference section (“World in 2030: Global Trends & MICE”) was made by Valerii Pekar, Presi-

dent of Euroindex, Ukraine’s largest company specialising in arranging B2B trade fairs. Describing the social processes to impact societies in the years to come (i.a. deepening divides), he simultaneously pointed out how they will impact the meetings industry. “In the future we shall be facing more threats, more risks, but also more topics for discussion and reasons to meet”, said Pekar. “Our business will grow, but this will make the related risks grow even larger. (…) Our future will be beautiful and terrifying at the same time”, he explained. What sort of processes will thus be

Photo. Lviv Convention (3)


observed in the meetings industry? “Meetings will be much shorter and quicker – they will not last a week, but half a day or a single day. They will also combine business and leisure activities”, commented Pekar, who additionally drew attention to several other trends, such as increased flexibility and strong focus on making meeting subject matters highly concrete. At the same time, the form of the discussed meetings will be increasingly diversified (i.a. they will be becoming more interactive). Organisers will also have to keep in mind to offer participants entertainment options during the events. Another trend listed by Valerii Pekar involves the growing pressure on guaranteeing the security of participants. This is precisely the component that constitutes one of the most significant challenges for organisers. “Security experts spotlight the rules that we should be obeying in this field”, said Pekar. The list he presented includes the following guidelines: acknowledging the priority status of security, threat monitoring, making all security-related meeting issues visible, and bringing threats to attention (organisers should not be afraid of such an approach as, according to Pekar, dangers and risk are becoming an integral part of our world). In addition, many procedures that might be unpleasant from the viewpoint of participants (e. g. frisk searches, baggage checks) will become an expected part of everyday life. It is also recommended to promote “normal life” (by indicating that even if something dangerous has happened in a given destination, life quickly returns to its ordinary flow), which will make emotion “management” necessary. Finally, the last component involves the “empowerment” of

staff (making it possible for its members to make decisions in emergency situations). It is worth emphasising that the conference held as part of the ICCA Central European Chapter Summer Meeting was actually staged after the latest Barcelona attacks. These events highlighted the fact that security issues are going to be one of the largest challenges for meetings industry members. Consequently, the topic at hand was also the main motif of all panels held as part of the conference. The discussion moderated by Anna Górska concerned the implementation of effective strategies intended to guarantee that meeting participants are safe (“How to develop a successful strategy to make sure our meetings are safe?”). Panel participants – Anna Jędrocha (CEO, Symposium Cracoviense), Stefan Lohnert (Vice-President, Member of the Board, Landesmesse Stuttgart), Prof. Krzysztof Zieniewicz (President, Polish Transplantation Society) and Olexandr Filts (President, Ukrainian Umbrella Association of Psychotherapy) – described how PCOs, venue representatives and customers perceive this issue. Attendants of another panel discussion (Ivan Liptuga, Head of Tourism & Resorts Department, Ukraine’s Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Karina Grützner, Deputy Chair of ICCA Central European Chapter, Marketing & Sales Manager of Stuttgart Convention Bureau, Hicran Özbük, General Manager of Istanbul Convention & Visitors Bureau, Chairperson of ICCA Mediterranean Chapter, Igor Kovačević, CEO, Serbia Convention Bureau) were all trying to answer how present-day threats impact the image of a given destination. Cyberthreats and data security in the Internet age were also bro-

ught up in the course of the conference (panel participants: Jaanika Meril, Deputy Mayor of Dnipro, an expert in e-services and innovations, Mykhaylo Shmelyov, National Technology Officer for CEE Multicountry Europe, Microsoft). The speech made by Tina Altieri, PR specialist, was training-oriented and focused on the following question: what communication strategy should be adopted when you are actually dealing with an emergency situation? How should one talk with journalists both during the incident and afterwards? What points are particularly noteworthy? The conference section of ICCA Central European Chapter Summer Meeting ended with an announcement of the next edition’s host – in 2018 ICCA’s Central European members will travel to Wiesbaden (Germany). In addition to the conference, participants of the Lviv-set event were also granted a chance to tour the city’s must-see highlights, which came in all shapes and sizes – i.a. a city tour in vintage cars, night-time sightseeing culminating with a visit to the local city hall, the “Lviv above the sky” tour offering panoramas from the rooftops of the city’s tallest buildings. There was also no shortage of highlights for the body (dinners in Lviv restaurants, jogging in the morning) and for the soul (concert inaugurating the LvivMozArt festival staged at the Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet). Lviv Convention Bureau was responsible for organizing the ICCA Central European Chapter Meeting, which was held on 17-19 August. LOT acted as its official partner. Maria Krzos



Photo. Tomasz Mateusiak/Walk Events

MASTERS OF CEREMONY A display of bravura and grand scope is what opening ceremonies of major sports events bring to mind. For event professionals all over the world they are an excellent opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, expertise and craft. In other words – to show what they are capable of.

Photo. Tomasz Mateusiak/Walk Events

This is exactly the kind of chance granted to the Walk Events agency, which in late 2016 won the bidding to handle the comprehensive organisation of the opening ceremony of World Games’ tenth edition. How well did it do?

Photo. Tomasz Mateusiak/Walk Events


WHAT EXACTLY ARE THE WORLD GAMES? Held every four years, the World Games are an event dedicated to sports or disciplines that are not contested in the Olympic Games. They are organised and governed by the International World Games Association (IWGA). The latest edition was staged in Wrocław (Poland) on 20-30 July and involved more than 3,500 contestants from 112 countries, competing in 31 sports on the World Games programme and invitational sports selected in coordination with the host city. The event was held in 24 venues, where 222 medal sets were awarded. The main goal of the World Games is to render its disciplines more popular, with some going on to win the recognition of the Olympic Games.


The event in question took place at the Municipal Stadium in Wrocław on 20 July and was attended by 3,500 contestants from 112 countries and 25,000 spectators. In addition, the ceremony was broadcast in 120 countries. Time: 7pm. “We began with an overture performed by Jimek and the Orchestra of the National Forum of Music”, explains Michał Szulc of the Walk Events agency, co-author of the event’s creative concept and scenario. “It was a mix of hip hop tracks, which Jimek arranged for an orchestra especially for this occasion. At the same time, colourful stadium flags were spread out on the field complementing the stage design. Another agenda item involved a presentation of the region. For this purpose we shot a music video shown on the main screen and accompanied by “Piosenka prezydenta miasta” (Mayor’s Song) performed by Katarzyna Emose Uhunmwangho, a soloist of the Capitol Music Theatre in Wrocław. The song comes from the Capitol-produced Liżę twoje serce (I Love You) musical dedicated to the capital of Lower Silesia. In the video’s final scene the President of Wrocław symbolically hands over the reins of the ceremony to dwarfs, an icon of the city, who acted as the ‘collective protagonist’ of our show and remained present until the end. The role of the dwarfs was played by children and young people from dance ensembles from Łańcut and Rzeszów”. Following their choreographic etude backed by Steve Nash & Turntable Orchestra, it was time for a parade of athletes and the official section featuring the formal opening of the games (speakers included Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, Jose Perurena, President of the International World Games Association and Rafał Dutkiewicz, Mayor of Wrocław). Since the World Games opening ceremony is virtually identical to its Olympic Games counterpart (minus lighting the Olympic flame), a crucial point involved athletes, coaches and judges taking an oath. A live rendition of “Run”, the World Games’ official hymn, by Kasia Stankiewicz and Varius Manx indicated a transition to the next part of the show and was followed by a presentation of selected disciplines contested at the World Games and its host city. “We implemented the first task by using a mood piece set in three dimensions a screen showing multimedia projections, which we shot in venues either especially renovated or prepared for the games, and two stages with dancing ensembles and soloists”, recalls Michał Szulc. “Concerts by Kamil Bednarek and the BeMy band

…AND BEHIND THE SCENES Three stages, grand stage design, hundreds of artists, thousands of participants, lighting, multimedia, sound, fulfilling all of the broadcast-related requirements – this is just the tip of the iceberg made of multiples features the

Photo. Tomasz Mateusiak/Walk Events

served as interludes between particular sections of the presentation”. As for the other agenda item, the showcase of Wrocław, event spectators and participants will likely associate it with two songs – “Nie pytaj o Polskę” (Don’t Ask About Poland) by Igor Herbut and “Nie ma wojny, nie ma bomby” (There’s No War, There’s No Bomb) from the Liżę twoje serce musical performed by the Capitol Theatre ensemble. The songs were again accompanied by projections prepared by Walk – the first one composed of historical photos and presenting the city’s past and the second one dedicated to the present day, extensively applying photos taken in the course of last year’s celebrations of Wrocław’s European Capital of Culture status. This part of the programme culminated in a live performance of “We Are the Champions” by Natalia Sikora backed by the Symphony Orchestra of the National Forum of Music and arranged by Jimek. “Afterwards we moved on to the show section focused on sheer entertainment”, comments Michał Szulc. Dawid Kwiatkowski, Kamil Bednarek and the BeMy band (backed by Jacek Piskarz’s orchestra) were among the performers. Athletes also joined the festivities in front of the stage. In other words, the World Games 2017 opening ceremony ended on a high note with a selection of international hits. As the show started in broad daylight and wrapped up well after sunset, this was also when the organisers could present their full potential as regards the multimedia and lighting aspects of the show. “To sum up the ceremony, I am really glad to say that audience members bought the idea behind our scenario. In other words, they enjoyed themselves and reacted in exactly the same way as we originally intended and planned. The emotion curve, which we were aiming at, was actually accomplished by creating an emotional response among the spectators. It’s simply amazing to make so many people smile and have a great time”, concludes Szulc.

Photo. Tomasz Mateusiak/Walk Events


ceremony organisers had to juggle. “The scope of organizational-logistical work is best demonstrated by the size of the production office, where we had to install approx. 100 desks to guarantee working stations for the team. We also served about 400-500 meals a day”, says Bartosz Bieszyński, Managing Director at Walk Events, the event’s main producer. “I can also mention many similar figures – e.g. connected with the construction of the grand letter ‘W’, a focal point of the stage design (it took three days to erect the four-ton structure) or the 300 audio sources applied at the stadium for the ceremony. One of the rehearsals was carried out solely to test them and guarantee appropriate sound quality both for the purposes of the TV broadcast and from the viewpoint of spectators on site”. The number of tasks assigned to Walk Events will certainly make an immense impression on

all industry outsiders (one only needs to take in the sheer scope of tasks described in the bidding documents). Nevertheless, the very scale of the project might also be striking for some battlehardened event professionals. It is enough to mention the number of performers (400) involved in the undertaking. “We had to arrange wardrobes for all of them, some had their own riders. Our production facilities could be compared to a small town populated by seamstresses, wardrobe assistants, etc. Mention is also due to professionals employed to construct the stage design”, describes Bartosz Bieszyński. “Another issue involves security. Although our agency was not directly responsible for it, there were so many related concerns that we actually had to employ our very own coordinator to supervise them. It should be noted that the list of guests included representatives of Israel, Iran and Iraq. In prac-

OPENING CEREMONY IN BRIEF The World Games 2017 opening ceremony was staged at the Municipal Stadium in Wrocław on 20 July. It began at 7pm and lasted 180 minutes. Throughout this time about 400 artists – musicians, singers, dancers – performed on three stages constructed especially for this occasion. Together with the staff members, athletes and volunteers the whole ceremony involved approx. 6,000 people and was viewed by 25,000 spectators. The event was also televised in the recordbreaking number of 31 countries. The list of broadcasters included CCTV (China), TBS (Japan), Sport1 (Germany), L'Equipe TV (France), Match TV (Russia), ESPN (Latin America), as well as Kwesé (Africa).

PRODUCER – WALK EVENTS Main producer – Bartosz Bieszyński Director – Krzysztof Materna Scenario – Krzysztof Materna/Michał Szulc/Marek Zioło Creative concept – Michał Szulc Infrastructure/stage design – Małgorzata Lubelska

MAIN PARTNERS: Multimedia – VES Lighting – Transcolor (project – Sebastian Pachciarek/Lightdraft, implementation – Adam Tyszka) Sound system – GMBprosound TV production – ATM


Photo. Hubert Zieliński/Walk Events


tice, this meant that Internal Security Agency staff attended certain meetings dedicated to security issues”, adds Bieszyński. Walk Events began preparing for the ceremony immediately after the bidding results were announced. By the end of the process the agency’s basic production team (managers,

coordinators) working on the organization included about 30 people. According to Bartosz Bieszyński, the moment of entering the stadium and all the rehearsals staged in it crowned many weeks spent on arrangements. “The artists we decided to involve in the discussed undertaking started rehearsing many

weeks before the ceremony. From our perspective, this aspect too required the coordination of all preparations”, Bieszyński emphasizes. He also reminds that as part of Walk Events’ activities he carried out campaigns intended to promote the ceremony among the residents of Wrocław. “We have conducted several ambient campaigns, including mural painting, Wrocław residents painting ‘Good luck’ messages (in various languages) on banners and a night-time wakeboarding show with participants covered in fluorescent paint. It was also our idea to dress up dwarfs across the city in sashes informing that they have already gone to the stadium where they are waiting for other residents”, informs Bieszyński. “Finally, for us the ceremony itself also began a bit earlier than the TV broadcast. The audience warm-up kicked off already at 5pm, when the stadium gates were opened for the fans”. Maria Krzos

WE ARE READY TO TAKE OUR BUSINESS ABROAD A conversation with Bartosz Bieszyński, Managing Director, Walk Events, main producer of the World Games 2017 opening ceremony

Photo. Tomasz Mateusiak/Walk Events

Michał Szulc, the co-author of the

How would you describe your work organisation in the case of such undertakings?

opening ceremony ’s creative

In our agency we treat this issue as highly significant. We are helped by

concept, said that he is satisfied

statuses and documents specifying the range of responsibilities of particular

because Walk Events succeeded

team members; we also make sure that our information flow is efficient.

in delivering the objectives related

When preparing for the World Games, we mapped all of the elements,

to emotions, which the event was

where additional support was needed. People, to whom specific tasks were

intended to inspire. What are your

assigned, closely cooperated with the staff responsible for the same range of

reasons to be proud of?

tasks on the other side. To give an example: it was up to us to provide media

The opening ceremony was an

services during the ceremony and we were assisted by Walk PR, a company

event that no other Polish agency

in our group. However, since the World Games’ advertising-marketing

has ever implemented – neither

campaign depended on the ordering party, we had to exchange information

at home nor abroad. The fact

on an on-going basis.

that we created a team that rose to the challenge gives me the greatest


personal satisfaction. Despite numerous obstacles encountered on the way,

How will the ceremony affect future operations of Walk Events?

every one of us was up to the task. Our work organization and management

The World Games are a splendid way to cap our growth in the last three-

method also proved their worth. Moreover, it is worth noting that our team

four years. The ceremony showed that we boast the potential to conduct the

managed an almost 1:1 implementation of the concept originally presented

best and most intriguing projects not only in Poland, but also abroad. I must

last autumn to the ordering party. Finally, the World Games made it possible

admit that this is also our ambition. Taking into account our heretofore

to make my undisguised dream come true by granting us an opportunity to

portfolio, expertise and know-how of the whole team, I definitely consider

showcase our skills to the whole world. I believe that the event will end up as

this goal to be realistic.

our point of departure for implementing events also outside Poland.



Photo: Paweł Suder/Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa

Photo: Hasenien Dousery/



The development of such a major and complex event called for the involvement of numerous entities, also including agencies and subcontractors connected with the MICE industry. On behalf of the Polish government, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage was the main organizer of the session and acted in close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Interior and Administration, Kraków municipal authorities and the Polish Committee for UNESCO. The National Heritage Board of Poland coordinated cooperation at all levels. The con-

tracting aspect of the session was supervised and implemented by the Berm agency and the Trade Fair-Convention Centre. The project also involved numerous subcontractors, including BSC AV, which supplied simultaneous interpreting services and a discussion system, Brill AV Media, which guaranteed the essential technical support, and the e4e Group. The main sessions were staged at the ICE Kraków Congress Centre. The programme also included a number of side events, i.a. an inaugural gala at Wawel Castle attended by President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda, an evening meeting at the Cloth Hall, plenary work-

shop discussions at the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków and a closing ceremony at the Museum of Municipal Engineering. ICE Kraków itself hosted as many as 35 accompanying events of this kind. “The session offer was highly extensive and abounded in attractions – the guests could visit select world heritage destinations and take part in more than 50 so-called side events, additional lectures, exhibitions and cultural events staged by particular countries. All the activities were carried out efficiently at the implementation stage and we, as the organisers, could answer all the UNESCO needs and requirements”,


VENUE ADJUSTMENT The UNESCO meeting was by far the longest and most logistically advanced congress to be ever held at the ICE Kraków Congress Centre. Its logistical preparations lasted seven months when two official visits of UNESCO representatives were held plus more than 20 other fam trips involving the organiser, subcontractors and coordinators of works representing various areas. Kraków Festival Office, the operator of ICE Kraków, seconded seven people from various divisions and departments (legal, technical, sales, implementation and production) to handle session-related activities. In addition, the entire event had to be appropriately arranged. With this particular purpose in mind the Auditorium Hall was transformed into the Plenary Hall featuring classroom seating with working stations for close to 400 delegates (executive committee and presidium board members). To achieve this goal several hundred chairs were removed and desks were set up. Secretariats and offices working on documents intended for the session were put up in the Conference Hall Complex, taking advantage of its mobile acoustic wall system, while the Theatre Hall, half of the Chamber Hall, several smaller meeting rooms and even cloakrooms were transformed into offices for advisory institutions and UNESCO representatives. Space for staging events of host countries were arranged in a three-level glass foyer offering a view of the Wawel Hill. The other half of the Chamber Hall and the underground S5 Hall were applied to host smaller lectures, film screenings and exhibitions. “For more than 20 years I have been holding the office of the conference officer for UNESCO’s division of culture. This is the first time that we have staged the session in such a venue (…). A considerable challenge for all of us, albeit one that successfully showed that it can be done”, claims David Martel, conference officer, UNESCO.

LOGISTICS AND PREPARATIONS For the session’s purposes, the Kraków-based Visualsupport company, specialising in providing multimedia solutions for the event industry, set up LED screens of 100 m2. The Auditorium Hall featured, i.a. the Unilumin UPAD III P2.6 LED screen of 15 x 5.5 m and resolution exceeding 4K (5760 x 2112) plus two side screens of 3.5 x 2 m. The multimedia installation was handled by the Barco E2 system and six Novastar MCTRL4K processors. The setting up of all the essential devices took six days, with another three scheduled for their disassembly. The 41st session of the World Heritage Committee also involved, i.a. the Mazurkas Catering 360° company, which handled the catering services for several outdoor ceremonies staged as part of the discussed event. Their list includes the inaugural gala at Wawel Castle (a ceremonious dinner prepared according to the rules of diplomatic protocol), the evening meeting at the Cloth Hall (second day of the session), plenary meetings staged at the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków and the closing event at the Museum of Municipal Engineering. Mention is also due to security issues, which in the case of a large number of eminent guests, including official state delegations, were absolutely crucial. For this very reason for several months before the event specially appointed staff met for systematic councils and meetings. Its ranks included, i.a. representatives of the police, the Government Protection Bureau, the State Fire Service, the Border Guard, the Emergency Medical Services and the Municipality of Kraków. Throughout the session’s duration, the area in the direct vicinity of the ICE Kraków Congress Centre was transformed into a restricted access zone. It was also a site of fire and sanitary safety inspections along with trainings of relevant services. The decisions made during the 41st session concerned the worldwide protection of cultural and natural resources. The sessions were attended by representatives of 21 States Parties (selected from the group of 193 signatories of the Convention concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage) and numerous observers. The meeting in Kraków was held on 2-12 July, marking the first time ever it was hosted in Poland. Michał Kalarus

Photo: Hasenien Dousery/ (2)

claims Katarzyna Piotrowska, head of the National Heritage Board of Poland’s task force for staging the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee.

THE 41ST SESSION OF THE WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE IN NUMBERS: 3,009 – the total number of participants of the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee, including 1,973 guests from abroad (whose majority – 1,615 – involved members of foreign delegations), and 1,036 – representatives of organisers and service providers. 22 km – the average daily distance covered by the event’s service providers. 51 - the number of rooms arranged for the sessions held at ICE Kraków Congress Centre. 100 m2 – the size of the main screen set up in the Plenary Hall. 400 – the number of power plugs and sockets installed in Auditorium Hall desks. 440,000 – the number of people viewing online photos covering the session and side events. 200 to 700 – the number of police officers daily securing the session. Moreover, the host venue (ICE Kraków) was protected by 38 military policemen. 29,000 – the number of security checks of people entering ICE Kraków. Source:, ICE Kraków Congress Centre

EVENT: 41st session of the World Heritage Committee DATE: 2–12 July 2017 VENUE: ICE Kraków Congress Centre, Kraków WEBSITE:,


Photo: Fotolia




Transfer to destination is one of the key ingredients of each tourist event. In the case of incentive travel, it mostly relies on air transport. In the process of booking flights for groups – attending this type of trips but also involved in business travels – so-called double booking poses a major problem. The attempts at minimalizing it by facilitating the process of purchasing group flights were re-

cently discussed in the course of a panel staged as part of the Polzak Marketing conference organised by the SAR Marketing Communication Association and Polish Supply Management Leaders (PSML). The question of double booking was also brought up earlier as part of SAR-PMSL’s Customer-Agency Industry Dialogue (the Good Tender project). To define it as briefly as possible: do-

uble booking involves making multiple (and not merely double, as the name would suggest) reservations of airline seats for the same people. In practice, in the case of a group of, let us say, 100 people, this may involve a situation in which even ten times more seats will be booked (90% of which will obviously be redundant and exist only on paper). How is this possible?

THINK INCENTIVE ARTIFICIAL DEMAND To grasp the essence of double booking we need to conduct a detailed ”behind the scenes” analysis of the way incentive travel agencies cooperate with airlines and customers. The origins of the problem appear already at the stage of customers announcing a bid, to which several agencies are invited (this situation is preferred to briefing sessions including even more than ten companies). In addition to preparing an offer for the potential customer, developing a programme, selecting hotels or so-called additional highlights, each of them also pre-books airline tickets. This is a crucial ingredient, which to a large degree influences the costs of the entire event and its course – the programme’s development is based on the hours of arrival and departure. Sometimes the bookings are made with one carrier and at other times with several, so as to offer the customer a chance to choose the price of the flight, its route, the number and duration of layovers, etc. For this reason, even several bookings can be made for the group of 100 we already used as an example, for different flights – and by only one incentive agency. In addition, if we take into account that when announcing a bid customers invite several companies to collaborate, with each one following a similar course of action, the final number of bookings becomes multiplied. The pattern is simple – the larger the number of agencies involved in a given bid, the larger the problem of double booking. Briefings of even several agencies will lead to at least several score bookings. On the other hand, the customer has the right to and even should address its request for proposal to several companies (except for cases described by organizers as pathological, when RFPs are sent to more than ten agencies) so as to have the chance to compare the presented offers and make the most reasonable decision. Since this is the very essence of each bid, it is difficult to find the right balance.

EVERYBODY LOSES Why is the double booking phenomenon so undesirable? There are at least several reasons. The making of many pre-bookings results in a number of various problems for virtually all of the parties involved in preparing air transport for groups. First, it artificially increases

demand, thus influencing the prices and availability of seats. A substantial number of seats becomes blocked, often on similar departure dates to the same destinations. A sudden increase in the interest shown in a given destination automatically raises ticket prices. Airlines have various price groups set, with usually 15-20 seats assigned to them (depending on the day of the flight, the plane model, etc.) – ranging from the cheapest to the most expensive. Even the pre-booking of several score or a hundred tickets will thus make the system automatically „jump” to groups with considerably higher rates. This might also backfire and affect individual guests, who in the meantime would like to purchase a ticket. In this case the prices are obviously artificially inflated. Moreover, double booking can lead to a situation, in which theoretically there are no seats left on a given flight and another booking (e. g. for another group) will become impossible – although in practice the plane will still have many free seats. From the incentive travel viewpoint, the consequences can thus involve implementing a given trip at inflated prices and sometimes even being unable to make arrangements if you „run out” of airplane tickets. In addition to agencies, it is the customers who lose most of all, as they simply have to pay more. Booking systems today are also highly advanced technologically and store a great deal of information that is subsequently analysed. If in a given year, for example in September, a certain destination was in a very high demand, next year we should expect higher prices on similar dates.

TUG OF WAR It might seem that the whole state of things is beneficial for airlines, which can sell tickets at higher prices. However, the situation is actually much more complicated. Double booking does nothing good for carriers, as their planes have many seats blocked that at the same time cannot be offered to other customers (group or individual). The exclusion from sales of any number of seats on future flights is never recommended as it unfavourably affects the airline offer. Moreover, once all the redundant double booking-related reservations are cancelled it might turn out that the plane is actually under-booked. Frequently it is already too late to sell the remaining tickets and offer

them as a last-minute option in reservation systems. Even the slightly more expensive flights purchased by other passengers are unable to reduce the losses. This is why airline representatives are not particularly enthusiastic about keeping this type of uncertain reservations for too long. Some offer only two days for a group confirmation, while in other cases the period is slightly longer, up to two weeks. Obviously these are the official data, as eventually everything depends on individual negotiations with the carrier. This seems to be a critical factor, because the decision-making processes on the part of customers are far from fast. Incentive agencies thus attempt to use different methods to prolong the duration of earlier bookings, justifying it by the need to wait for the customer’s decision. Sometimes they are successful and at other times not so much. A lot depends on the destination, departure date, type of airplane handling a given route (number of seats), etc. In the case of the least favourable scenario, which unfortunately happens quite often, the booking gets deleted. The airline reservations system cancels a given group, which is left without tickets. It then becomes necessary to make another booking – this time on new terms. However, this means that the ticket prices might change; in addition there is no guarantee that all the seats booked earlier are still available. The organisers emphasise that at the tender level this kind of situation is precisely what keeps them awake at night. Theoretically the problem might be solved by paying the so-called guarantee deposit (about 400-600 PLN/person) that, as its very name suggests, acts as a guarantee of both seat and price (yet there are some exceptions). However, it is not refundable and it would be unreasonable from a business viewpoint to expect an agency to pay it. After all, it is only one of several entities involved in a bid and has no guarantee of securing the contract. In case another company gets selected, it would face considerable losses.

DOUBLE BOOKING VS. OVERBOOKING Sometimes the airlines themselves try to trace the reservations caused by double booking. Aware of the fact that they relate to the same order, although stemming from several part-



Photo: Fotolia



ners (incentive agencies in this case), they treat them as a single request. As a result, they reserve only one package of seats (selling the remaining ones in accordance with its offer) and – contrary to system suggestions – propose the same price and conditions to everyone asking. Still, this is a very risky move that is not applied too often. If the airline’s presumptions were incorrect and it would have to confirm all the reserved seats (which actually referred to various groups), it would not be able to do so because of the insufficient number of plane seats. Carrier representatives admit that overbooking is a much worst scenario that any losses caused by double booking. Facing the two options, they usually choose the second course of events and do not take any risks. In addition, especially in the case of open requests, it is very difficult to trace all resemblances between reservations. This happens when customers do not specify a destination (or submit several proposals) and the travel dates are flexible (limited to, e. g. one month). The agencies then have to show greater creativity and as a rule come up with several proposals of incentive trips – to different places and on different dates. While this procedure intensifies double booking, it becomes virtually impossible to specify any resemblances, which would give a reason to state that the reservations are actually all inspired by the same order.

Is it then even possible to solve the double booking problem? Conclusions drawn from the discussion held at the Polzak Marketing conference are unambiguous – a total elimination of the problem is exceptionally difficult, if not outright impossible. However, it certainly can be limited to some degree. There exist at least several methods of accomplishing this goal, albeit none can be recognised as perfect. First, an attempt can be made at providing the airlines with the name of the customer or at least the industry it represents. However, this is not always possible, because agencies do not want to disclose information about their customers (even the potential ones) or simply are unable to do so (bound by various contracts). In addition, it would also signify a way of revealing themselves to the competition and openly informing in which tenders they are involved. Another solution has agencies preparing a response to the request for proposal that would not include the booking of airline tickets. It would be replaced by the approximate prices of flights, determined – together with airlines – on the basis of an analysis of recorded prices to similar destinations on similar dates. Some customers are already applying this technique and first ask only to come up with a programme, hotels and highlights, leaving the subject of airline tickets for later, especially when they contact agencies several months in advance. The disadvantage of this policy involves the

fact that if no bookings are made it becomes impossible to specify the trip’s price – and if a larger group of people is to be involved, the variations can be significant. On the other hand, the ticket prices do not always have to climb higher. Sometimes they drop, especially if there are not too many “artificially” reserved seats due to double booking. It seems that the theoretically possible scenario of all tickets for a given flight being sold out poses a larger risk. It can effectively jeopardise the plans of every group, which simply would not be able to reach a destination or would not get there on the originally designated day, leading to changes in the programme. Probably the best way out of this situation involves an attempt at reducing the time necessary for the customers to make the final decision about the agency, which will eventually arrange the trip. Reducing the bidding process to 2-3 weeks will certainly diminish the problem. Unfortunately, this takes a long time, in extreme cases even about 90 days, because of the structures of many companies and corporations and their decision-making procedures, which engage many people at various levels. Nevertheless, it is recommended to make customers aware that an optimisation of purchase processes can generate considerable benefits. Ultimately, rendering decision-making more effective will not only boost the comfort of the agencies’ work, but also lower the service costs for customers. Michał Kalarus

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW DOBRY PRZETARG (GOOD TENDER) – implemented by SKM SAR and PSML, the project is intended to define the best procurement and bidding standards in marketing categories. The dialogue between industry representatives within the undertaking is focused not only on the equality and business partnership of parties, but predominantly on the optimal effectiveness in marketing procurement from the viewpoint of the quality-price ratio. POLSKIE STOWARZYSZENIE MENEDŻERÓW LOGISTYKI I ZAKUPÓW (PSML Polish Supply Management Leaders) – a nonprofit organization representing the interests of Polish supply chain, logistics and procurement managers, it is acting for the sake of developing a European-scale

supply chain centre of excellence based in Poland. STOWARZYSZENIE KOMUNIKACJI MARKETINGOWEJ SAR (SAR Marketing Communication Association) was launched in Poland in 1997 and associates companies involved in professional marketing communication: full-service agencies, media agencies, brand design agencies, interactive and event marketing agencies. SAR holds competitions and conferences setting standards for the advertising industry. The list of SAR’s flagship events includes Effie Awards, Innovation Ad and the Advertising Creators Competition. In addition, the association is also an official representative of Cannes Lions and Shots in Poland.




The complex will be located on a 10.5 ha plot set at the intersection of Trasa Toruńska S8, Warsaw’s ring road, and Modlińska Street, 9.5 km from the Central Railway Station. The investor, GlobalExpo, is planning to erect a modern, multi-purpose complex with usable floor area of 60,000 m2, which will encompass a fair and exhibition centre, a permanent exhibition section with a construction and decoration offer, as well as a business-class hotel, office spaces and

arantees of the undertaking’s business success. For the fair section we have already secured a recognized partner with a well-established experience. Moreover, the venue’s setting by Warsaw’s busiest transportation hub also constitutes an unquestionable asset”, says Radosław Tracz, President of GlobalExpo. The fair and conference section of the venue will comprise 17,600 m2. The ground floor will house an exhibition hall of 12,500 m2, and the

VENUE’S FUNCTIONALITY AND TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS Total usable floor of the complex – 60,000 m2 Fair and conference section – more than 17,600 m2 The venue will have two floors (ground and first floor). The ground floor will feature the fair (exhibition) hall of almost 13,600 m2. Movable soundproof walls will make it possible to divide the hall into two smaller areas of 7,800 and 4,700 m2. The hall will have the capacity of about 12,500. In addition, the ground floor will include a lounge of more than 1,120 m2. The first floor will house a large event hall of 2,000 m2 with an option of dividing it into three smaller halls (565 m2, 580 m2 and 870 m2, respectively). Moreover, the complex will offer six other additional conference rooms (2 x 38 m2, 1 x 70 m2, 1 x 76 m2, 140 m2, 223 m2). The largest (event) hall will hold about 2,600 guests theatre-style and 1,000 banquet-style. Height of the fair (exhibition) hall: total – 12 m, usable – 9 m Height of the event hall: total – 8 m, usable – 6 m Height of conference rooms: total and usable – 3 m

a parking lot with a capacity of more than 1,400 vehicles. The new investment is the first revitalisation project to involve the areas of the former FSO factory in the district of Żerań. The entire venue is expected to be put into service in 2018.

FAIRS, CONFERENCES AND A HOTEL IN A PACKAGE DEAL “We want to create a unique Warsaw-set place combining unusual post-industrial architecture and exceptional functional qualities. We intend to preserve many ingredients of the former FSO plant and simultaneously to boost some of the building parameters. The innovative solutions we are planning to apply will make the complex perceived as highly advanced by tenants, visiting guests, as well as the local residents passing by. However, technical and architectural solutions are not the only gu-

first floor – a conference and congress area of 4,000 m2. In addition, about 27,000 m2 of the discussed investment will be dedicated to the exhibition section of the construction industry featuring showrooms of companies connected with the sector of interior design finishes and furnishings. The hotel will offer 160 rooms as part of one of the largest international hotel chains. The fair and conference section of the new centre will be managed by Centrum Targowo-Kongresowe (Trade Fair Convention Centre; previously known as MT Polska), for years running the fair centre in Marsa Street. “The fair and event area in construction will boast the capital’s largest single space. What is more, this will not be its only record-breaking parameter. The height of the building, the width of its gates and the floor capacity will make it

The fair and conference section of the venue will be available for major trade fairs and symposia, congresses, conventions, conferences or trainings. In addition, it will offer highly attractive space for all types of shows, balls, gala events, exhibitions or even more unique gatherings.


THINK VENUE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION A hotel with 150 rooms will complement the venue. The complex area will include a parking lot for more than 1,400 vehicles. A restaurant accommodating 350 patrons will be set on the ground floor. The first floor, in turn, will have at its disposal fully-equipped catering facilities

for services aimed at various types of events (balls, gala events, congresses, conferences). Six freight entrances around the hall: four of 4 m x 5 m, one of 8 m x 6 m and one of 8 m x 5m. The functional components of the former factory halls will once again be put to use – i.a. a four-ton freight elevator and a railway traction leading directly to the venue, which will make it easier to bring heavy equipment into its premises. It will be possible to bring cars or even a mid-sized plane into the hall. The list of utilities available in the hall includes electricity, a water and sewerage system and Internet connection.


stand out due to unmatched functional qualities. It is no exaggeration to state that we will able to arrange indoor presentations of mid-sized planes or ride a train inside the hall, because this is exactly the type of technical potential offered by the venue. This means that we will gain new exhibition possibilities and the creative departments of event and advertising agencies will be able to let their imagination run wild”, comments Bartosz Sosnowski, Vice President of the Management Board, Centrum Targowo-Kongresowe.

The complex in 4 Modlińska Street was designed by the Tremend company preserving the original character of warehouse halls constructed back in the 1970s. The architectural concept assumes that components related to the former hall’s functionalities shall be maintained – the crane used in the past, the railway traction leading directly to the venue or the four-ton freight elevator. Fundamental Group is the general contractor of the discussed investment. Katarzyna Łabuz

COMMENTARY Bartosz Sosnowski, Vice President of the Management Board,

Centrum Targowo-Kongresowe (previously known as MT Polska)

The currently constructed venue in Modlińska Street is a modern fair and event space characterised by one-of-a-find functional qualities. Customers will find here the capital’s largest exhibition hall of a total area of 13,000 m2 under the same roof. The venue’s height, its floor capacity, gate width, as well as the application of functional ingredients of the former FSO halls, such as a four-ton elevator or a railway traction leading directly to the venue – all of these features are intended to guarantee virtually unlimited event arrangement opportunities. This will be a place simply made for major fair events, non-standard shows or conventions, as well as events, which up to now could not be accommodated within the same space. The technical specifications of the venue will make is possible to effortlessly bring heavy equipment or even mid-sized planes into the hall. In addition, there will be no shortage of space aimed at conferences or training meetings. The first floor will feature a conference and event section of 4,000 m2 with rooms of various sizes, including an event space for major congresses, with full catering facilities. The area around the venue will be recommended for outdoor events. All this conveniently located by Warsaw’s busiest transportation hub.

Business and leisure. Let’s meet upon Narew river.

Why Poland? Why Narvil?



Photo. Kancelaria Prezydenta - Marketing Miasta Lublin (3)


An official summary of the latest Politicians Forum, one of the

dustry’s considerable role in securing knowledge and know-how.

most seminal and prestigious meetings accompanying the Frank-

“It is a well-known fact that the promotion of cities is based on

furt-based IMEX show, was published several months ago. This

events. This is happening all over the world, also in Poland, from

year’s discussions involved close to 30 politicians from all over the

Warsaw through Gdańsk, Lublin, Szczecin, Katowice, Łódź all the

world (representatives of central and regional authorities, i.a. mini-

way to small and even smaller towns – simply everywhere this type

sters and city mayors) and about 80 leaders of the MICE industry

of events plays a principal, if not the most important, role in their

– the latter group included presidents of associations, heads of co-

growth”, confirms Adam Mikołajczyk, co-founder and CEO of Best

nvention bureaux, agency owners, etc. The Forum’s 15th edition fo-

Place – European Place Marketing Institute.

cused on the leitmotif of the role played by the meetings industry in the growth of particular destinations. The MICE sector’s impact on


the image and promotion of cities was discussed together with the

In the present-day dynamically changing world the increasingly

economic benefits connected with the revenue generated by arran-

intense globalisation and related strong trade and economic ties be-

ging large-scale events. Emphasis was also placed on the meetings in-

tween distant regions of our globe made knowledge and know-how

THINK DESTINATION indispensable elements of city growth. These ingredients influence

From the viewpoint of cities, benefits of the discussed type of

the development of their competitive edge and the connected quali-

events are all based on a simple pattern – they draw not only regu-

ty of life. Many fields, while often far removed from the MICE

lar tourists (who generate direct revenues), but also eminent specia-

sector, are able to develop thanks to events that match the definition

lists representing various fields, often cooperating with local

of the meetings industry. Kraków is an excellent example of making

academics and working together on projects. And this precisely is

deliberate choices concerning the application of major events for the

a great opportunity for broadly defined development that, in turn, at-

city’s promotion and its development in various aspects. “Already

tracts successive investors and their business enterprises.

in early 1990s it was noticed that hosting events such as the European Month of Culture or later the European Capital of Culture high-


ly contributes to the discussed growth. In the last 25 years Kraków

The impact of the meetings industry on the growth of cities is al-

became a place where the festival season never ends, hence inspiring

so reflected in undertakings connected with the increasingly popu-

the rise of many institutions and organisations handling their ma-

lar practice of developing so-called smart cities, resident-friendly

nagement. This is also the case of international congresses, whose

intelligent metropolises of the future. The fact that this concept has

growing numbers contributed to strengthening countless fields of

been growing in significance over the last several years was noticed

research and science”, explains Piotr Wilczek, owner and CEO of

at, i.a. the Politicians Forum in Frankfurt, where it was also stressed

Grupa A05. Jakub Grudniewski, President of the Board, Conven-

that the MICE industry might be handy in its further development,

tion Bureau – Wrocław, comments along the same lines and draws

both as regards building the brand of particular destinations and

attention to the wide range of benefits. “When creating a city’s

creating space for sharing knowledge and good practices. This is

brand, emphasis should be placed on long-term activities, which gu-

happening because conferences and congresses, in addition to tan-

arantee a better brand recognition of a given destination. A large

gible profits for the host city (connected with the “here and now” co-

number of visitors to Wrocław travelled there to attend a certain

sts borne by their organiser), are also acting as the abovementioned

event, fell in love with the city during their stay and are now eager

first-rate “distributor” of know-how, providing an opportunity to le-

to come back”, says Jakub Grudniewski.

arn and share experiences. Robert Bednarski, Project Management

Indeed, out of the five million tourists that visited Wrocław last

Director of the Wrocław City Hall, agrees: “We are happy to parti-

year, when it was designated the European Capital of Culture, the

cipate in events dedicated to this subject matter, for example the

majority declared their wish to return. The 2017 World Games, bro-

Smart City Forum. In addition to events dedicated to smart cities,

adcast live on TV to 131 countries, is another noteworthy example.

the sheer popularity of the topic has many other cyclic events in Po-

While the promotional effects were highly satisfying, Jakob Grud-

land, such as the Congress of Regions in Wrocław or the Economic

niewski declares that the city is not only interested in hosting cultu-

Forum in Krynica, introducing items related to the concept into

ral, entertainment or sporting events. Its operations are also targeted

their agendas. Meetings of this kind create an opportunity to share

at MICE events that, in addition to marketing benefits, often deliver

knowledge, demonstrate your accomplishments and educate, but al-

in-demand knowledge. “We are making attempts to secure as many

so to observe what the others are doing and learn from them. They

scientific congresses as possible, wishing to attract representatives

are an excellent platform for dialogue and cooperation, making it

of opinion-forming circles to Wrocław so that they can recommend

possible for us to keep growing”, says Robert Bednarski.

our city once they are back home. We also continuously support di-

What is important is that the smart city concept assumes the im-

verse business events, as Wrocław is among Poland’s leading busi-

plementation of projects aimed at boosting the quality of residents”

ness magnets. We want to see new solutions and concepts

life in such areas as, e.g. transportation, natural environment pro-

implemented at a local level”, explains Grudniewski.

tection, energy sector, construction industry and a number of other,


cooperation with MICE industry

professional support for event organizers

located in the very heart of Europe around 10.000 total accommodation capacity in hotels

more than 200 bridges & over 300 dwarfs

business tourism experts council

and more...

@ConventionBureauWroclaw @convention_wroclaw

business city driven by knowledge

THINK DESTINATION no less relevant aspects. “This is precisely what makes the participa-

number of new members. The combination of events with essential

tion of residents in the discussed undertaking so crucial. In order to

elements distinguishing a given destination is naturally reflected not

engage them, we are hosting various meetings and smaller events in

only in topical events, but also in their counterparts focused on ima-

Wrocław and also work on lectures, logic games or children’s events

ge and promotion. Lublin provides a good example of applying the

in schools. We use them to spread the definition of a smart city and

latter category. “Lublin hosts more than ten major events in the

the benefits it entails. Finally, we also cooperate with start-ups”, adds

spring-summer season. Each year they are attended by huge num-

Robert Bednarski. There is no question that in the next few years the

bers of residents and an increasing number of tourists, recently also

smart city concept is still going to grow in significance. “In the last

from abroad. We focus on brand events, developed on our own and

decade our perception of a city has changed considerably – as re-

referring to the most important ingredients of the city’s identity. I ha-

gards the way it functions in the field of economy, society, culture,

ve in mind, for example, the Night of Culture, a grand manifestation

broadly defined ecology and, predominantly, in the context of its

of Lublin’s culture held in urban space, the Jagiellonian Fair or the

place in globalised reality. To some degree this is a brand-new field

Flavors of Europe Festival. All are inspired by the history of our ci-

of science”, Professor Greg Clark, Chairman of The Business of Ci-

ty. In other words, when building its brand Lublin is simultaneously

ties Ltd. and visiting professor of University College London, said

motivated by the past and looking into the future”, says Beata Krzy-

at the Politicians Forum.

żanowska, Spokesperson of the Mayor of the City of Lublin.



Those cities that want to be smart and became aware of how much

Even though the advantages seem pretty obvious and numerous

the MICE industry can contribute to their general growth someti-

destinations have already recognised the industry’s potential, many

mes intend to achieve a better outcome by combining it with local, al-

cities and regions still have not paid sufficient attention to it. There

ready existing research facilities or dominant economy branches. “In

are at least several reasons for this state of things. “Some decision

Poland cities that make the effort to host art and culture festivals are

makers continue to associate the meetings industry with standard

becoming the cultural centres of their regions (e.g. Kraków, Wro-

tourism. Meanwhile, the two branches are actually completely dif-

cław). The cities, where trade shows are flourishing (e.g. Poznań, Kra-

ferent when it comes to their specificity and call for a different ap-

ków, Warsaw) are evolving into business centres. In turn, congresses

proach. In addition, many representatives of local authorities and

attracting science luminaries support a rapid development of know-

politicians simply do not see the extensive impact and direct bene-

ledge. A conscious decision to organise or try to secure events of a de-

fits generated by the MICE sector (although things have improved

fined character or focused on a defined field of life will certainly

considerably in the last several years). This attitude results from the

contribute to the dynamic progress of a city. It is absolutely crucial to

fact that they are not connected with the industry on an everyday

identify the circles that might provide solid support as regards the

basis and simply do not comprehend all the nuances of its opera-

subject matter and organisation”, says Piotr Wilczek. In addition to

tions”, Professor Greg Clark explained at the Politicians Forum.

intensifying one’s development (by actively looking for events most

We should also mention that officials are often afraid of intensified

matched to the specific character of a local community), such actions

cooperation with private companies, even as part of a public-priva-

have a yet another important goal. They act as a “bait” for meetings

te partnership. In this way they want to avoid accusations of shady

planners representing corporations and associations who, when fa-

contacts with business circles. Recommending or applying the servi-

cing a choice of several destinations, will most probably opt for the

ces of select hotels or conference centres might also be problematic

one corresponding to their scope of activity, since this is how they

due to the risk of being charged with favouritism.

will generate most benefits – both as regards the topic at hand and the

■ Michał Kalarus

RZESZÓW-JASIONKA International Airport


Entertainment • Culture • Leisure

Convenient accommodation SKYRES - A CLASS OFFICE SPACE Aerospace • ICT

Outsourcing • SSC


High standard meeting facilities

Photo. Fotolia



also a larger number of passengers. The reasons for the

Poland’s airport infrastructure. EU funds and, most of all, an

modernisation are straightforward. All over the world, including

enthusiastic approach shown by the local government towards this

Poland, air transportation is growing in popularity on an annual

type of investments resulted in the opening of new airports across

basis. The Civil Aviation Authority reported that last year Polish

the country (i.a. in Lublin, Rzeszów, Szymany in Masuria and

airports handled a record-breaking number of 34.2 million

Radom). While some of them have been operating before, the last

passengers (an increase of 12.5%). Importantly, two-third of them

several years saw their thorough reconstruction. As a result, they

travelled from regional airports. This number is expected to double

have been adapted to handling larger airplanes and, consequently,

by 2030.

THINK DESTINATION AIRPORTS ARE DRIVING PROSPERITY No wonder then that more and more local government representatives consider an airport to be one of their top priorities. It has become apparent that airports are an essential component driving the growth of entire regions. Podkarpacie and the RzeszówJasionka airport provide a good example. Although its history goes way back (it was developed in the 1940s and since 1974 has been operating as an international airport), its dynamic growth has begun May 2012 after 15 months of construction works. Now handling both departures and arrivals, the venue also boasts appropriate technical and commercial infrastructure. The project was co-

Photo. Fotolia

only recently. A new passenger terminal was officially opened in

financed from EU funding, or to be more specific, the European

both domestic and foreign investors, who set up their offices here,

Regional Development Fund as part of the Regional Operational

and business tourists. According to the research conducted by the

Programme of the Podkarpackie Voivodeship for 2007-2013.

InterVISTAS consulting company for the European branch of

The results of the discussed modernisation are already clear for all

Airports Council International, airports generate the largest

to see. It is common knowledge that geographic setting has an

revenues by exerting an impact on the economy of a given region.

enormous impact on the attractiveness of particular regions.

This is happening mostly due to the increased accessibility of

Podkarpacie excels in this field. The proximity of Ukraine and the

a destination for investors and tourists.

relatively short distance to Slovakia and Hungary objectively make the whole voivodeship a noteworthy place for investments, crossed


by major transportation routes connecting Western and Eastern

It is precisely Podkarpacie’s newly gained accessibility, much

Europe and Northern Europe with Central-East and South Europe.

improved when compared with the situation only a few years ago,

Still, the setting itself might not be enough if it is not accompanied

that makes it an increasingly oft-selected destination for all types of

by appropriate transportation infrastructure. This is precisely the

MICE events, from conferences and congresses to incentive trips

issue that plagued Podkarpacie for a long time. With no options

and business travels. The region’s natural and cultural highlights

of quick access the region was often overlooked by business

have always made it appealing, yet infrastructure inadequacies

undertakings. Things are different now as the voivodeship became

usually limited its target group to individual tourists. Business

much more attractive for the business circles increasingly aware

tourism customers and investors find the presence of a burgeoning,

of its potential. This tendency has much to do with the

or at least developing, international airport featuring a range of

abovementioned modernisation of the Rzeszów-Jasionka airport

regular flights, along with an extensive road network, a crucial factor

(which handles regular flights to, i.a. Athens, London, Munich,

determining if the candidature of a given host destination is even

Manchester, Glasgow, Dublin and Warsaw) and its connection with

worth considering in the first place. With their own convenience in

the already complete eastern section of the A4 highway (Germany-

mind, plus the wellbeing of potential event participants, no organizer

Ukraine) and the S19 expressway (Belarus-Slovakia; the entire S19

will risk selecting a destination that cannot be reached comfortably

is intended to be a part of Via Carpatia, an international European

and quickly. In this light the benefits stemming from the operations

“north-south” route connecting Lithuania’s Klaipeda with Greece’s

of airports such as Rzeszów-Jasionka seem rather obvious.

Thessaloniki). As a result, Podkarpacie is a popular option among

■ Michał Kalarus


• Location – central point of Europe – convenient flight connection to most of the countries in Europe, direct flight to Warsaw from every continent and most of the countries in the World

• Great value for money – still Poland is about 30% less expensive than western European countries, and you are getting new, modern product and highest European standard of service. The savings may be spent on even better technical equipment, providing more entertainment activities for the Guests, upgrading menu and Open Bars – pure benefit for the Organizer and event attendants

• Polish flavor – famous polish hospitality, polish cuisine and ... polish vodka


• Location – close to Warsaw but away from it, meaning away from regular city distractions – it will make meeting attendants totally involved and engaged in all activities planned. Easy access from main Warsaw Airport – Chopin's International Airport – 50 minutes by highway and Warsaw's bypass, avoiding city traffic.

• Unobvious but prestigious and modern venue – Narvil Hotel, opened in 2012 gained many awards for design and service, what proves our highest standards. Independent property with unique design, spacious meeting rooms and design hotel rooms may easily create WOE effect on your event attendants • Area outside – 2 ha – may be used for branding, space for partners and sponsors, shooting plan but it can be also playground for outdoor activities for the Group and relaxing surrounding after a business meeting


Narvil Conference & Spa Hotel is a fusion of an elegant hotel, modern conference centre and luxury spa. Narvil Hotel is proud of a high quality level of its services and a spectacular design,which is in harmony with nature. Narvil Hotel offers you: 316 comfortable guest rooms, 16 luxury suites, 33 modern meeting rooms, Aruana Restaurant (a la carte), Kaskada Restaurant, seasonal open-air restaurant: Aruana in the Garden, Niagara Spa with 11 unique treatment rooms and thermal zone many leisure and sport facilities, i.e. tennis and squash courts,open-air gym, swimming pool with jacuzzi and saunas, private harbour on Narew river, car park for 350 vehicles, and many more...


Narvil Conference & Spa Hotel is an ideal venue for business events,

from board meetings, conferences, fairs, incentives to large congresses

and banquets for 1200 guests.

33 comforable conference rooms are equipped with modern technology.

There is a possibility of connecting and dividing rooms to adjust the hotel space to the event needs even more.


Narvil Hotel offers 332 guest rooms and suites: • 298 standard rooms • 18 Superior rooms • 11 Suites • 3 De Luxe Suites • 2 VIP Suites.

Nature, water element and forest serenity were the inspiration for the design of the guest rooms in Narvil Conference & Spa Hotel. This is why they create an oasis of peace and an ideal place to relax. The modern design of the rooms harmonises with the whole hotel and provides the sense of comfort and warmth.

At Narvil Conference & Spa Hotel there are also two unique VIP Suites with a wonderful view over the Narew River. Both Suites are located in quiet zones of the hotel, ensuring undisturbed peace during stay. BROSZURA_n Europe, direct flight to Warsaw from every continent and most of the countr

Hotel Narvil Conference & Spa ul. Czesława Miłosza 14a, 05-140 Serock, Poland tel. +48 22 566 10 000,



Photo. THINK MICE/Michał Kalarus


The 8th Hotel Investment Conference staged by Eurobuild CEE in Warsaw in early June was dedicated to global and regional transformations affecting the hotel sector. Janusz Mitulski, Director International Hotel Development for Central & Eastern Europe at Marriott International, made the following announcement at the conference: “Observing RevPAR (revenue per available room – ed.) along with a number of other crucial indicators, I can report that all of them are rising. We are planning successive investments because of our percep-

tion of Poland as a good market”. In addition to the booming economy and improving infrastructure, the fact that domestic guests constitute a very strong group of customers (in the case of some venues they account for approx. 70%) also speaks in favour of the Polish market. They mostly involve MICE groups and people travelling for business purposes and render the internal market potential so large that hotel owners are not very dependent on the interest shown by guests from abroad – as a rule, seasonal and less predictable.

EXCLUSIVE BUT NOT NECESSARILY LUXURIOUS It is no wonder then that business guests are the proverbial apple of many hotel owners’ eye. The latter conduct in-depth analyses to specify what venues are in demand among the former. “Business guests are among the reasons why we see an especially great potential in five– and four-star venues. On the other hand, we should not expect successive openings of hotels representing the most luxurious standards”, says Janusz Mitulski. This is happening


because due to their price and frequently smaller scale (both as regards the number of rooms and the usually not particularly large conference halls) luxury hotels are aimed at affluent individual guests rather than at groups. The former are relatively not that numerous – at least not enough to generate a large number of new venues tailored for them. The already existing hotels, along with the ones whose opening is planned for the nearest future (i.a. Raffles Europejski in Warsaw and the luxury/upper scale Autograph Collection in Kraków), should satisfy the market demand for some time. Things are different in the case of brands with four or five stars and the until recently little-known lifestyle venues. Why are the latter so popular?

IN SEARCH OF ORIGINALITY The shortest answer is that demographic changes are having an increasingly strong impact on the market. Representatives of younger generations year by year account for an increasing share of hotel guests. These are people distinguished by different habits and expectations than their older counterparts. They seek original, distinctive venues, where a stay will be a highlight all by itself. This is mostly the target group of the hotel industry’s lifestyle offer, although the discussed venues are also developed with slightly older customers in mind – individual and business guests tired by the predictability of the offer of traditional hotels. It is not only a matter of the appearance of rooms, but also of the common space and conference halls. Lifestyle venues differ from each other, boasting a distinct ambience and character. “In recent years we have seen the trend of customers looking for a local experience – highlights characteristic for the place they are visiting. Hotel owners are well aware of this fact and make efforts to meet the new expectations. This explains the concept of one-of-a-kind boutique and lifestyle hotels, which are different from the more standard venues, quite uniform in many places around the world”, explains Mateusz Czerwiński, Director of Warsaw Convention Bureau.



Since supply creates demand, we should be expecting a larger number of this type of investments. The portfolio of virtually each major

Photo. THINK MICE/Michał Kalarus


hotel chain already includes venues that can be perceived as innovative and at least partially designed in the lifestyle mode. The list includes, i.a. Ibis Styles, part of Accor Hotels (already present in several Polish cities), Radisson RED, part of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group (the first hotel operating under this name will be opened in Kraków), Indigo, the “offspring” of InterContinental Hotels Group (Kraków venue launched last year, Warsaw venue opened several weeks ago) or Marriott International’s AC Hotels (venue under construction in Wrocław) and Moxy (brand to be represented by hotels in Warsaw’s Praga Koneser Centre and the Katowice-Pyrzowice airport). Another excellent example is the Renaissance Warsaw Airport Hotel currently in development at Warsaw’s Chopin Airport. Next to AC Hotels and Moxy it is the latest addition to the Marriott International portfolio. “The venue will be very closely connected with Warsaw and use these ties for promotional purposes. The hotel will feature, i.a. a concierge entrusted with the task of advising guests where to spend their time on the town. Emphasis will be placed not only on all the flagship tourist highlights, but also on lesser-known places popular among the local residents”, explains Mateusz Czerwiński. The decor of Renaissance Warsaw Airport Hotel is also expected to have a local character, with references to Polish modern art from the 1930s and 1960s. The fact that lifestyle venues are a noteworthy proposal for business tourists is also confirmed by the organisers of events matching the definition of the meetings industry. On the other hand, they also emphasise certain limitations resulting from the specificity of the di-

scussed “products”. „There is certainly a place for such hotels. MICE guests are interested in them, although this mostly refers to slightly younger event participants – up to 40, max. 50 years of age. It is my experience that one way or another older customers will opt for classic hotels and simply select the venues recognised as top in the city where they are staying. Nevertheless, with representatives of younger generations increasingly often taking part in all types of business trips and clearly looking for something new and original, I believe that lifestyle venues boast a growth potential, especially since Poland, despite several investments, continues to have relatively few such offers while the group of potential buyers is constantly growing”, comments Magdalena Samoraj, co-owner of Vengo DMC Poland. Speakers of the “Healthcare Sector Trends” conference staged at The Meetings Show in London (more about the event on pp. 8-9) have also drawn attention to the fact that ever more participants and, consequently, organisers of conferences and congresses (including, but not limited to, the healthcare industry) are looking for the novelty factor – both as regards the format of the discussed meetings (less official, more interactive) and the decor of host venues. The latter should come equipped with, i.a. the latest furniture (e.g. sofas replacing traditional conference chairs), original lighting and, obviously, the multimedia (this is where new technologies come into play). In other words, unusual interior design is becoming an important trend to which hotel owners have to adapt. They are doing precisely this through segmentation and creation of new brands within their chains. Naturally, this does not mean that traditional me-

THINK VENUE etings are becoming a thing of the past. Many are still held (and actually continue to be the majority), but their “more advanced” counterparts are unquestionably and systematically gaining in popularity.

TO RETAIN MODERATION For a lifestyle hotel to meet the expectations of customers (especially the business kind, renowned for high requirements as regards quality and services) and, consequently, to start earning money, it still has to combine originality with a high quality of offered services. “We are very serious about the standards we adopted, which act as a calling card of our chain and the venues it encompasses. Customers also pay attention to this issue, as they have to know what to expect. Obviously, they frequently count on a certain novelty, which makes a venue stand apart from its competition in a given region or city. Regardless of this fact, they still expect top-quality service, a universal feature that they have grown accustomed to. We need to ensure that this is what they get”, admits Marybelle Arnett, Vice President Development, Central & Eastern Europe, Hilton Worldwide. It is also important not to go overboard with originality when designing a lifestyle hotel. Experience shows that some ideas turned out to be not to everyone’s taste. “For example, many of our customers did not like bathrooms which, albeit popular in some hotels, featured glass walls at odds with their sense of privacy. Another case involved cabinets – not closed, but designed as an open space. The guests complained that they create the impression of their rooms always being messy. I have also seen a situation when the majority of issues connected with staying at a hotel were controlled by means of a tablet. Some people struggled with this task and every now and then asked the reception staff for assistance. This caused a lot of unnecessary confusion. To be fair I have to admit that other guests enjoyed such innovations and keep coming back to the hotels. You thus need to carefully analyse all the pros and cons”, says Magdalena Samoraj.

LOCAL INVESTMENTS Besides brand segmentation and the development of lifestyle venues business guests also contribute to the emergence of a yet another im-

portant trend in the hotel industry: increasingly frequent investments in smaller cities. At the 8th Hotel Investment Conference it was said that hotels follow offices. Indeed, in smaller cities (with a population of about 100,000200,000) the most reasonable option is to build venues to a large degree focused on business customers – offering a reasonable standard and featuring conference and training rooms. Locations perceived as genuine tourist „pearls” can constitute an exception, but there are not too many of them across the country. In the meantime, business travel is a factor that drives occupancy and is present in many regions. This is why the MICE industry is so important for local investors and in most cases hotels are already designed in such a way as to take into account its expectations. This concerns both people travelling for business purposes and larger groups visiting, i.a. factories and production plants, and then taking part in additional activities. The side events can either be dedicated to the subject matter at hand (trainings, presentations, conferences and congresses) or to entertainment (evening social affairs, ceremonious dinners, events). “We perceive each analysed city as a source of a potential demand. In other words, we evaluate its attractiveness from the viewpoint of tourism and business: can we can expect conferences, stays of people travelling for work, etc.”, Magdalena Sekutowska, Director – Development Eastern Europe at Hilton Worldwide, declared at the conference. Her opinion was confirmed by Przemysław Wieczorek, Investment Director at Puro Hotels. “Economic factors are a priority from the viewpoint of each investor – whether a given destination offers a chance for satisfying occupancy (what is the demand for rooms) but also what are the average room rates. These are the basics. The next stage involves an analysis of what will take place in a given city or region – whether it hosts

events, but also if, e. g. new offices and jobs are planned, a factor that unquestionably boosts the numbers of business tourists”, explained Przemysław Wieczorek.

IMAGE MAKEOVER The development of the MICE industry impacts the latest hotel investments also in larger cities, which until recently were identified as typical tourist places or did not attract much interest from the hotel sector. Kraków, a good example of the first category, started to be visited by noticeably larger numbers of MICE guests drawn by the recent launch of the ICE Kraków Congress Centre, the Tauron Arena and the International Exhibition and Convention Centre EXPO Kraków along with a number of new offices. “This does not mean that previously they were not present in Kraków. Now, however, in addition to tourism attractiveness and numerous visits of individual guests and typical holiday groups, Kraków has gained one more solid foundation driving the good economic condition of the hotel industry”, admits Tomasz Piórkowski, Regional Director, Vienna House Poland. Business tourism also influenced the revitalisation and improved state of the hotel sector in Katowice. The city decided to expand its infrastructure to become an appealing destination for major events, to a large degree also ones matching the definition of business tourism. The results of these undertakings are already visible – Katowice will host the UN climate summit in 2018 and this year’s WOMEX World Music Expo. “The launch of the so-called Culture Zone had a great impact on boosting the number of business tourists in the city, resulting in a rise of hotel industry indicators. I believe that new venues in Katowice should be developed in the nearest future”, says Tomasz Piórkowski. Michał Kalarus

8TH HOTEL INVESTMENT CONFERENCE Held at the Westin hotel in Warsaw on 8 June, the event was mostly dedicated to the global changes affecting the hotel industry and their influence on the local market. The list of covered issues included, i.a. the consolidation of major players, investments in the development of new hotel venues, the segmentation of their brands intended to build an offer adapted to a larger number of target groups and the role of regional cities in growing business. Eurobuild CEE was the event’s organiser.



TIME TO RECHARGE THE PTWP GROUP IS A PUBLISHER OF PERIODICALS AND INDUSTRY PORTALS, AN ORGANIZER OF CONFERENCES AND CONGRESSES, AND FOR MORE THAN A YEAR – ALSO THE OPERATOR OF MCK AND SPODEK. MARIA KRZOS TALKS WITH WOJCIECH KUŚPIK, THE COMPANY’S CEO. In 2018 Poland will host the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The event will be staged in Katowice, the capital of the Śląskie (Silesian) voivodeship. What are the city’s advantages from the viewpoint of hosting the summit? First, from a strictly ideological perspective, there is no better setting for this type of event than Silesia and Katowice. After all, the summit will be held in a place where only 15 years ago a mine was operating and employing 1,500 miners. Now it has been transformed into the so-called Culture Zone, an entirely different space. This evolution also has a symbolic dimension and is a great match for the subject matter of COP 24. Another asset involves the infrastructure, which is perfectly prepared for hosting events of this kind. Just to remind you that the summit will be held at Międzynarodowe Centrum Kongresowe (MCK International Congress Centre) and the Spodek arena (as well as the area between them). Both venues are a part of the abovementioned Culture Zone, which also encompasses the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Silesian Museum. I believe that in Poland there is no other place so fitting for hosting the event in question. Our infrastructure is advanced to such an extent that COP delegates inspecting Katowice were truly impressed by what we have at our disposal and what we are able to offer. Finally, the staff we employ is also our strong point and includes people previously involved in organizing COP 19 in Warsaw. Today their experience works to our advantage.


The PTWP Group, which you manage, includes PTWP Event Center, the operator of MCK and Spodek. What other areas does the Group focus its activity on? Polskie Towarzystwo Wspierania Przedsiębiorczości (PTWP Polish Entrepreneurship Support Society) was founded in mid-1990s. At present the company’s core activity is focused on three areas. First, it encompasses the media, the publication of magazines and industry portals. The second component involves the organization of own events (conferences, debates, congresses). This year there will be about 70 of them – from meetings, whose number of participants oscillates around 100, through events attended by 500-1,000 (the largest group) to major congresses with several thousand participants, with the European Economic Congress as their largest example. These two areas of our activity are handled by PTWP SA and PTWP Online.

The PTWP Group also includes the PTWP Event Center, a subsidiary of PTWP SA. After successful concession obtainment proceedings and a favourable court verdict, in May 2016 PTWP Event Center became the operator of MCK and Spodek. The company is responsible for their complete maintenance and securing events. What is your idea of effective management of the venues? First of all, the two venues are distinguished by specific features. I must admit that in the case of Spodek we had some concerns about the way in which it is going to be received. Last year the arena celebrated its 45th anniversary and has both advantages and disadvantages. Now I can say that the latter decisively outweigh the former. From the viewpoint of organisers of many events, this is the perfect venue, a good example being volleyball matches – players simply want to come here because Spodek offers not only a court and seating, but also a one-of-a-kind ambience. The arena is also a favourite of musicians, who emphasise that it is one of the top venues in Poland as regards acoustics. Spodek has been performing all of these functions for many years, but it is also increasingly frequently hosting events of an entirely different character (e. g. banquet parties on the field, events staged as part of the European Economic Congress). To sum up – it is a cult venue. All around the world Poland is associated with the Palace of Culture and Science and Spodek. MCK is an entirely different type of place. I am absolutely sure that this is Poland’s number one congress venue. I could argue with this last statement. Poland has recently witnessed the development of several advanced and well-designed venues of this type… I am perfectly aware of this fact, but it allows me to repeat with full conviction that MCK really is the number one congress venue in Poland. It is a question of its mixed-use charac-


ter, quality and size. You only need to take a look at the calendar of events staged here in the last few weeks to get an idea of the venue’s enormous potential. I have in mind both the chance to hold diverse events and the fact that they can be smoothly staged at the same time. An additional advantage of MCK and Spodek is that they are connected with each other, providing organisers with entirely novel opportunities.

a milestone in the history of the event, when for the first time it was staged at MCK. The venue and its grandeur, quality and available opportunities all made a great impression on our guests. Today the European Economic Congress is indisputably the largest event of its type in Central Europe.

Staged by PTWP, the European Economic Congress in Katowice is recognized as the leading business event in Central Europe. How did it all begin and what are your plans for its expansion in the years to come? The first edition of the Congress was held in 2009. Setting is an ingredient that unquestionably contributed to its success. Silesia is a major industrial centre and an enormous market. For our partners this was one of the key arguments convincing them that they cannot allow themselves not to attend an event boasting this precise setting. Our experience was also noteworthy. When embarking upon staging the Congress, the PTWP Group had already implemented many events aimed at the business community. This fact, combined with our references, inspired customers to trust us. The scope of the first and second edition of the Congress certainly surprised the market. At that time it seemed that besides Krynica (where the Economic Forum has been staged since 1992 – ed.), there is no room in Poland for similar events. Already the first editions of the Congress proved that this is not the case. We started with about 3,000 participants and their number successively grew in the following years. 2015 marked

In this case, are you still able to surprise the market? I believe that last year perfectly demonstrated how much the Congress continues to change and develop. This was also when for the first time the European Start-up Days were staged as part of the EEC. Attended by 2,500 people, this is an event that bridges two communities – young up-and-coming entrepreneurs and representatives of big business. We should also keep in mind the 8,000 participants of the Congress itself and the 2,000 students engaged in the EEC – Leaders of Tomorrow project. Dating back to 2015, the latter undertaking encompasses a series of meetings between Congress guests and students, who also get a chance to become involved in arranging the EEC. To sum up: the scope of the European Economic Congress is on the rise, along with the area dedicated to the event and the


THINK VENUE number of participating communities. It also continuously receives high marks due to the level of debate. We should not forget that the Congress is attended by representatives of the business community. By dedicating their time and money to travel to Katowice, they expect their presence here to guarantee a tangible business effect. As a result, we have to create the appropriate environment and conditions to make this goal as feasible as possible. Many elements come into play here, with the already discussed debate level at the Congress acting as the main foundation. In addition, we have to make sure that the business, politics and administration communities from our part of Europe are fully represented. As the organizer, it is also our role to make the Congress participants feel good in Katowice and provide them with optimum conditions for meetings and discussions. Hence the decisive role played by the offered services, the networking zones and the wide range of side events, etc. All of the discussed components are core to the success of the EEC. A distinctive feature of this kind of events is that each of these ingredients has to represent top quality while, on the other hand, none of them on its own can compensate for shortcomings in the remaining areas. We wish to develop the Congress through a simultaneous improvement of all of them. What does the future of PTWP hold? At this time we are focusing on the progressive development of each of our areas of activity. We have been managing MCK and Spodek for a year and, naturally, at first we were becoming acquainted with the subject at hand. When taking over the operator’s role, we declared that in the third year we would be able to take full advantage of the opportunities that these venues offer. The process of securing major


events has to be conducted with appropriate advance; this is not something that you can do from month to month. We also continuously expand our media activity and keep on adding successive large projects in the conference and event field. Recent years signified a season of very dynamic growth for the PTWP Group, launching new, substantial projects. The heretofore experiences of our company show that such period is usually followed by a moment of slowing down and reviewing achievements. This is precisely what we are doing at present. Maria Krzos

WOJCIECH KUŚPIK CEO of the PTWP Group, the publisher of several score magazines and industry portals, as well as special editions. The company also specializes in the arrangement of congresses, conferences, seminars, special events and trainings. The European Economic Congress staged in Katowice is the largest event in PTWP’s portfolio. From May 2016, through its subsidiary PTWP Event Center, the company operates the International Congress Centre (MCK) and the “Spodek” Sports and Entertainment Arena in Katowice.





Photo: Fotolia

The name “fam trip” (they are also known as a “study tour”) is short for “familiarization trip” and relates to a specific type of trips aimed at a defined group of people – most frequently potential buyers, such as meeting planners, tourist agents or commissioning parties, sometimes also journalists and bloggers. It is their goal to advertise a given destination and make it easily recognized. This means both showcasing its tourism potential and the available hotel infrastructure or, in the case of the MICE sector, also conference facilities. In addition, the discussed trips often feature meetings with local service providers, intended to help establish business cooperation with them.

This kind of events is usually staged by tourist boards of cities and regions, and in reference to the MICE industry – also by convention bureaus, as well as DMCs, PCOs, airlines and hotels. “We want to promote ourselves through the destination, in which we are present. After all, even the most outstanding venue will fail to draw many guests if it is set in a not particularly attractive or entirely unknown place. Obviously, particular destinations are also promoted by, i.a. participating in trade fairs, but it is my personal experience that showing them ‘live’ produces much better results”, explains Agnieszka Najberek, Sales Director at Hilton Warsaw Hotel & Convention Centre. The capital-set hotel arranges two types of fam trips. The first one encompasses its own projects, while in the second case it plays the role of a partner offering accommodation and frequently other hotel services, such as a ceremonious dinner for the guests. “Throughout the

year there are at least five various events of this sort. For example, this year we have already conducted two trips for guests from Great Britain and Canada. As a partner, we will also be involved in another three-four similar undertakings”, describes Agnieszka Najberek. The constant popularity of fam trips as a tool for the promotion of cities and regions is also demonstrated by the fact that they are applied by destinations and institutions, which initiate promotional activities on their behalf. An excellent example is the Lublin & Region Convention Bureau. Launched last year it has already staged two fam trips in Lublin. The next event of this kind will be held in late July. “We recognise the organization of fam trips as one of the key tools for promoting the region’s conference potential, especially in the domestic market. Among the reasons, mention is due to the considerably dynamic growth of the MICE

sector in the Lubelskie voivodeship and the number of new investments. We want to attract the industry’s attention to the truly impressive conference infrastructure that was developed here”, says Marta Wiśniewska, Executive Manager at the Lublin & Region Convention Bureau.

EMPIRICAL EXPERIENCE The opinions discussed above are far from an exception and confirm the fact that fam trips continue to “work” and have a reason to exist. This is the experience of both Polish and foreign organisers. A fundamental advantage of fam trips is that they make it possible to get to know a destination and the infrastructure it offers both directly and empirically. “This is precisely what renders them one of the most effective forms of promoting a destination. First of all, they offer the invited guests a chance to explo-

THINK DESTINATION re a given place, check the list of available highlights, inspect selected venues or try out the local cuisine. Putting it briefly – to discover the full range of opportunities. When arranging a fam trip, we hope that this positive experience (and it is the only sort we are aiming at) will persuade meeting planners or tourist agents to first consider the destination they had a chance to get to know and found impressive when preparing an offer for a customer”, admits Paulina Walczak-Matla of Atout France – the France Tourism Development Agency. Indeed, it is something totally different to discuss a destination that you know only from descriptions and stories and one, which you have actually visited. When staging fam trips, keep in mind that they are a long-term investment. “You should be expecting prospective profits in the form of concrete events and meetings in a time range from one to even five years. A return on such trips is certainly not immediate”, admits Vita Žilinskaite, Chief Project Manager at Vilnius Convention Bureau.

DETAILS ARE WHAT COUNTS Nevertheless, for a fam trip to meet expectations, its organizer first has to pay attention to several issues. “A fam trip is a one-time-only chance for hosts to impress participants and show their best side. This is why everything has to be well-planned and ready for action. Word-of-mouth marketing is a force to reckon with, especially in an age of social media. This is an opportunity worth taking. You need to convince guests that your destination is an excellent choice for hosting meetings and events and that they can recommend it to their customers with a clear conscience”, explains Azra Botonjič, Marketing Manager at Slovenian Convention Bureau. As a result, when preparing trips of this kind, keep in mind to have an appropriate selection of local partners – hotel and conference venues, DMC bureaus, etc. “It is mostly up to them to make the stay programme attractive and ensure that guests will remember it for a long time. This is crucial; after all, we all care about making the advertised destination look as attractive as possible”, emphasizes Agnieszka Najberek. One should not render the programme excessively “overloaded”. The study tour guests sho-

uld also have some free time – enough to relax or sightsee on their own. On the other hand, an insufficient number of highlights may also look bad. In other words, getting the right balance is what matters. “As fam trips are not particularly long, we need to accept the fact that our guests will not be shown everything. A major challenge involves choosing the right timing for your trip. As a rule, the schedules of meeting planners are pretty hectic and it is difficult to pick a date that would suit all. Simply be prepared for some cancellations, also of the last-minute type, and make sure to include them in your calculations”, suggests Azra Botonjič. Another feature of potential significance involves the number of fam trip participants. According to specialists’ advice, it is best if there are not too many of them and the whole trip should have a rather intimate character. “In this case less means more. There is no sense in bringing groups of about 40 people. It would be difficult to develop an attractive and tailor-made programme for so many guests. As a result, our tours involve from 8 to max. 12 people. This number also gives us an opportunity to accomplish the crucial goal of establishing individual relations with each of the guests”, explains Agnieszka Najberek.

GUEST SELECTION Last but not least, a key issue that keeps many organisers awake at night and has the strongest influence on the success of a fam trip. I have in mind the right selection of participants, which makes it possible to eliminate people, whose attendance will not generate any business benefits since they treat fam trips solely as an opportunity to enjoy some free travelling. “Since we are a relatively new destination, the number of people interested in visiting Slovenia exceeds our budget limitations. In other words, the right selection of fam trip participants is of crucial significance. Key aspects include the employer and position of candidates. In addition, we always ask them to fill out a survey, which covers the events potential guests are involved in or which they are only planning to implement, the reasons for being interested in our country, etc. We also take advantage of the expertise of our partners abroad, who operate in various markets and are able to offer some advice. Finally, we often invite pe-

ople, with whom we already have some relations, established, e. g. at trade fairs or events”, comments Azra Botonjič. Vilnius Convention Bureau has adopted a similar approach. “We carefully analyse our target markets, looking for decision makers and assessing their activities. We also ask them to fill out application forms. The information gathered in this way assists in conducting further research. Positive recommendations from our partners are also important”, explains Vita Žilinskaite. Major hotel chains, such as Hilton, have it slightly easier, as they take advantage of the assistance of their regional sales offices, operating in those markets, where fam trip participants are to be selected. “As the offices in question have the best understanding of the issue at hand, they help us verify our particular proposals. The compiled lists are based on the companies we are already collaborating with and ones that are interested in our offer and in establishing fruitful relations. We focus on meeting planners, parties directly commissioning MICE events on the behalf of companies and corporations, as well as on professionals responsible for business trip arrangements”, says Agnieszka Najberek. In turn, Atout France selects fam trip participants in cooperation with organisations associating agents. “This is a guarantee that we will invite professionals actually interested in a given destination. If we are staging a trip on our own, we use our experience, market expertise and sometimes also industry recommendations”, says Paulina Walczak-Matla. A noteworthy idea, applied by the Lublin & Region Convention Bureau, among others, involves sending invitations to people involved in trade associations (in the case of Poland – i.a. MPI, SOIT, SBE, SKKP, SITE). “We invite people connected with the meetings industry for many years, who boast diverse experiences in staging events, are directly responsible for them and, most importantly, are centred around key industry associations”, emphasizes Marta Wisniewska. Fam trip organisers need to pay attention to quite a lot of ingredients or outright traps. Provided that all the conditions are met, however, there is a big chance that the “fam trip” project will be successful. Michał Kalarus




Photo: Fotolia (2)


This year marked the first time ever that Saudi Arabia exhibited at IMEX in Frankfurt. The organisers emphasised this fact on numerous occasions and it also attracted great interest among visitors. This fact seems obvious since the IMEX visit marked the first time the Saudis adopted a seriously open approach to the MICE sector. Although the Saudi Exhibition and Convention Bureau (SECB) was launched almost four years ago (September 2013), its activity has so far been focused on organisational arrangements.



SECB is a government unit and its establishment was authorised by the Saudi Council of

Ministers based on the assumption that business tourism is a noteworthy subset. Still, the convention operates somewhat differently than the majority of similar organisations abroad. Its promotional activity is only beginning to develop, as demonstrated by the discussed IMEX presence. Up to now most of its operations were centred on, i.a. analysing the market potential, creating databases and, alternatively, on direct relations with potential customers. “First we had to diagnose the issues and obstacles preventing a full-fledged growth of the meetings industry in our country”, admits Tariq A. Al-Essa, Executive Director at SECB. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of them. A fundamental difficulty involves the

complicated visa application procedures. In other words, Saudi Arabia is simply a hard place to visit. Each traveller has to be under the responsibility of a local “sponsor”. Tourist visas are not granted often and aimed exclusively at groups approved earlier and following organized itineraries. Convention representatives are holding talks with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, convincing it to simplify the discussed procedure, at least for exhibitors and speakers attending conferences and congresses. Ideally they would be able to submit their applications online and receive visas in the same way. Nevertheless, this is a relatively slight problem in comparison with the fact that everyday life in Saudi Ara-

bia is dominated by Islam and – according to the website of Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs – the Sharia law is rigorously followed. In practice this means that, i.a. the consumption of all alcoholic beverages is prohibited, along with anything suspected of clashing with Islamic law (the list covers a very wide scope), including even wearing shorts or T-shirts in public. In many situations men and women are kept separate. Naturally there are exceptions from the discussed rules, particularly in places intended for foreigners, yet it is difficult to imagine being constantly limited to such “enclaves”. Moreover, the line between what is allowed and what is prohibited is thin and tends to be interpreted in a variety of ways. “We are trying to introduce more freedoms, including the range of participation of women in events, but we also have to take into account our culture and customs”, explains Tariq A. Al-Essa. In other words, practically one should not expect any major exceptions from the rules binding the Saudi population. This might cause a problem since, especially in the case of incentive trips, but also of groups travelling for conferences, congresses and trade fairs, it is hard to assume that all participants would be willing to obey such restrictive regulations. More, the region in question features some destinations, where the range of freedoms is much broader. United Arab Emirates (including Dubai) are at the top of this list, along with Qatar and Oman. A yet another identified obstacle involves the relatively below-average familiarity with the MICE industry in Saudi Arabia. There are not enough specialists who could handle its development and provide ongoing services for business tourists. This problem is expected to be solved by bringing specialists from abroad to share their know-how and by establishing the Saudi Event Management Academy (SEMA) to educate staff in this field. Another requisite is research that could showcase the impact of the meetings industry on the national economy and the development of local communities.

MAJOR INVESTMENTS To its credit as a MICE destination, Saudi Arabia boasts a good hotel and conference infrastructure (congress centres and more

than 600 hotels, including 187 four and five-star venues, most international chains are present), tourist attractiveness and convenient transportation. “We are counting on drawing business tourists to our country. The infrastructure is among our assets along with the air route network to Riyadh, which makes it quickly and effortlessly accessible”, says His Royal Highness Prince Saud Abdullah Al-Faisal Bin Abdulaziz, Chairman of Riyadh Exhibitions Company Ltd. Indeed, the national Saudia airlines handle regular flights to many destinations all over the world, including several European metropolises. Moreover, they are considered to be one of the safest carriers in the world. Somewhat paradoxically, the very specificity of the country and its well-established image as a destination of limited availability might attract some, if certainly not all customers. Saudi Arabia is also one of the most powerful economies in the Gulf Cooperation Council union, which additionally drives the demand for business trips. This is why the country’s MICE potential was recognized despite many inconveniences. The growth of business tourism was acknowledged as noteworthy and is unquestionably gaining in significance. It was even identified as one of the critical components of the Vision 2030 programme announced last year and aimed at developing new branches of the economy and sources of revenue to reduce the current dependence on oil. The Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage (SCTH), a local tourist organisation, has already invested about 6.3 billion Euro in the project. By 2020 the resources assigned for expenses directly related to the growth of the meetings industry (mostly the expansion of business districts, but also promotion) are supposed to equal about 1.5 billion Euro.

SPECIFIC EXPECTATIONS When analysing the Saudi attitude to the MICE sector, we may observe its highly specific character. The meetings industry is mostly perceived as one of the methods of establishing new business relations and securing investors (in other sectors), a goal that the country’s authorities are particularly interested in. This role of business tourism is thus recognised as a priority, more important

Photo: THINK MICE (2)


than the direct profits generated by staging meetings and events, as shown by the abovementioned inclusion of MICE development in the Vision 2030 economic plan and the emphasis placed on drawing conference and congress participants, as well as on trade fairs. The most noticeable information contained in the promotional material (handed out, i.a. during the IMEX exhibition) discusses the data encouraging investments. The infrastructure presentation takes a backseat, while the tourist highlights and free time opportunities receive the least attention, assuming that they are taken into consideration. The incentive topic is also not particularly popular because of the social norms discussed above. The business tourist preferred by the Saudis is not the entertainment-oriented participant of an incentive trip, but rather a conference or fair attendant focused primarily on investments and bringing business to Saudi Arabia. Michał Kalarus





In the case of Colja Dams the choice of industry and profession seemed obvious. After all, the agency he took over in 1998 was originally founded by his father, Volkwart Dams. It all started in Wuppertal back in 1971. Volkwart was a photographer by profession and this was how he gained his first experience. However, his photographic studio quickly evolved into an advertising agency, with audiovisual communication as the very essence of its activity. Soon after live events joined the portfolio, but the event sector as understood today did not even exist at the time. “My father was actually creating the market”, says Colja Dams. “When he started no term existed to describe what we are doing now”. Colja took first steps in the industry in his father’s company. Already when attending school he used to spend all of his free time working at Vok Dams. “Any preferential treatment was out of the question as I was doing the same things all other interns were doing. In pre-digital times each event generated an enormous number of documents. With companies representing the pharmaceutical industry constituting 90% of our customers, we used to publish almost 200-page training manuals aimed at their sales department staff ”, recalls Dams. The Vok Dams agency got its big break thanks to audio-visual product launches featuring diaporama photographic slideshows. It was also these undertakings that inspired Colja’s true passion for events. “I was awed by the fact that slideshows made it possible to influence the emotions of participants. The combination of content and motivation is what

makes live communication so unique. Since then I have never lost this enthusiasm”, adds Colja. Emotions and live experiences continue to be the major common characteristic of all of the agency’s enterprises. “We follow a crucial and time-honoured rule - If you want to convince people, be sure to dazzle them first”.

Analog vs. digital When Colja Dams was taking over Vok Dams it already was a wellestablished agency with an impressive portfolio of customers. In other words, the situation was conducive to a quick and efficient expansion into new markets, which became the main goal of the new CEO. Today Vok Dams has nine international offices, i.a. in New York, London, Sao Paulo, Dubai and Shanghai along with several ones in Germany. “The world became smaller. Our customers are global players and we want to stay close to them. This explains our presence in foreign markets. Another obvious reason is that today it is simply impossible to grow without expanding international structures. Already now more than 50% of our revenues are generated abroad”, explains Colja. The late 1990s also inaugurated a genuine revolution in the development of new communication methods and technologies. Consequently, Colja was facing another task – bringing the company into the digital age and taking advantage of the new opportunities it granted. The launch of new technologies was precisely the factor leading to the major transformation recently affecting the whole event


PROFILE industry. The Vok Dams agency was among the pioneers introducing such solutions as hybrid events, live campaigns and agile event management. Almost 15 years ago Vok Dams was the first event marketing agency to have its quality management system tested by an independent certification company. At present, it is unquestionably one of the market players placing distinct emphasis on strategy. “Personally I consider lifelong learning to be a source of motivation rather than a challenge. After all, who would like to spend their whole life doing the same thing?”, asks Colja.

Stop at least for a while

The agency’s management is now focused on constantly adapting Vok Dams’ development strategy to the current market requirements. Recently the team introduced a system of agile event management and is now working on a brand-new cohesive communication platform intended to further improve and accelerate project work. Colja himself claims that his plans for the company have remained the same from the very beginning. “In an age distinguished by constant changes, we should not look into the future too much, but think about the present day. I would like to further expand and solidify the Vok Dams brand. I am intrigued by new markets and fascinated by digital invenToday Vok Dams scores top positions in rankings of event agencies tions. From my point of view, it is absolutely crucial to make these and its annual revenues reach several score million Euro (31.1 million solutions useful for us. And this is where the ability to recognise trends Euro in 2015). According to Colja Dams, the ability to reach the top comes into play, making sure that we act before the market forces us to do so. The industry has to prepare itself and stay there is a determinant of true to see flexibility replaced by agility. Instesuccess. “You have to remain curious ad of reacting to changes, we should perand adapt to the changing conditions. COLJA M. DAMS ceive them as a conceptual component of More, you should adopt a proactive all undertaken activities”, explains Colja, strategy rather than stay reactive. Only CEO of Vok Dams, one of the leading event marketing who believes that events are constantly people who keep moving the industry companies in Germany. He took over the reins in 1998 from de veloping as a tool of marketing commuforward truly earned their place at the his father Volkwart Dams, who founded the agency in 1971. ni ca tion. Poland is one of those markets, top. This is also the key to our success. From the outset Vok Dams has specialized in direct marketing communication focused on events. Colja Dams where this process is particularly visible. Even though we have been present on quickly recognized the potential of making the event On the other hand, the success of events the market for 40 years, we stick to a industry truly international and the significance of building always depends on their professional dephilosophy characteristic for start-ups: close relations with customers, as well as the opportunities related to the application of new media. Thanks to his velopment and implementation. “This is above-average dedication, personal dedication, the agency opened new offices in Berlin, why live events in Poland will continue to responsibility, finding joy in work and Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt and Stuttgart, as well as abroad grow in importance. The foundations success. I believe these features are a – in Brazil, France, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, ha ve al ready been laid. Poland boasts good basis for earning respect”, explains Spain, USA, China and United Arab Emirates. Dams is a graduate in economics from the Witten/Herdecke a wide range of attractive destinations and Colja. University. Author of books about the meetings industry, friendly and sociable residents. What is Still, you cannot reach the top all by frequent speaker at various events. He is 46. more, the country has also hosted some yourself. Vok Dams is synonymous with truly top-quality events, which simply the people who create the agency and make real success possible. “Employees are the most important resource speak for themselves. It is enough to mention the 2016 European Men’s of any agency”, says Colja. “However, their needs have been changing Handball Championship in Kraków, the events related to Wrocław’s recently, especially in the case of the younger generations. The list of status of 2016 European Capital of Culture and the Sail Świnoujście retheir priorities includes views which can be summed up in such gatta”, concludes Colja Dams. statements as ‘business should be fun’, ‘I want to work in a friendly team’, ‘a company must have a positive image”, ‘I want my working time to be flexible’. And then there is recognition, recognition and Also outside the professional field Colja Damsa is interested in again recognition”. creating an emotional experience and making an impression on other One of the most successive bonus processes applied by Vok Dams people. Few know that he is a passionate amateur magician. As a child involves peer-to-peer crediting. Each employee can select a colleague and teenager he performed at numerous family get-togethers and who should receive a special bonus. “The proposal has to be well events. After some time, however, it turned out that the ability to justified and the submitted candidate should contribute to the agency’s enchant an audience would come in handy in a slightly different area. development – this is the condition required for granting the bonus”, As a young man he performed an alternative civilian service by working explains Colja. “A special internal Vok Damns list contains all for various charity organisations. “I wanted to make wise use of this additional benefits for employees. The latest updates are communicated time by doing magic tricks in children’s wards of hospitals and at regular meetings. Furthermore, our offer includes different types of hospices. I managed to convince a friend, who was in the same bonuses – from numerous shopping discounts to group events held in situation, to join the undertaking. I presented the whole concept to a the summertime and in the Christmas period”.

How to reach the top and stay there

Lost in the moment



I am intrigued by new markets and fascinated by digital inventions. From my point of view, it is absolutely crucial to make these solutions useful for us.

social welfare institution offering a chance to perform alternative civilian service. They greenlighted my idea and I got to perform for the most appreciative audience ever. After graduation we continued to perform until the growing number of professional obligations reduced the amount of our free time”, recalls Colja. Does the fact that young Colja Dams’ father founded one of Germany’s first event agencies and Colja himself spent every free moment in the company mean that his professional future was predestined? According to Colja this definitely was not the issue. As a graduate of economics at the Witten/Herdecke University he had a wide range of options and could shape his future in any way. Still, a corporate career was out of the question since he was always attracted to being an independent entrepreneur: “These must be the pioneer’s genes I inherited from my father”. For all of his professional life Dams remained connected with the same agency and never considered any experiments in this field. “Since I have already played in the Champions League, working in another company or agency made no sense to me”, he explains with a smile. “Speaking seriously, I have never had to ask myself whether I should be working somewhere else. The opportunity to meet new people every day is a major advantage of our profession. As long as those people are distinguished by specific features and character, the meetings are certainly inspiring. This is what also motivates me and keeps pushing me forward. Obviously this phenomenon is particularly convenient when you work for customers representing different industries and hailing from all over the world”. The chance to meet new, inspiring people and gain noteworthy experiences is undoubtedly among the perks of being the CEO of an international event agency. On the downside, Dams’ lifestyle also means that every year he spends six months in hotels and still tries to dedicate as much time as possible to his children. “It is certainly difficult for them. When I leave we often talk on FaceTime or Skype so that we can see each other. And when I am back in Germany we make sure to spend our time together in a highly intensive way”. Ksenia Bednarek



VES’ 3D VIDEO MAPPING ON THE EVENT TECHNOLOGY AWARDS 2017 SHORTLIST THE 3D VIDEO MAPPING DEVELOPED BY VES AS THE MAIN COMPONENT OF PANATTONI EUROPE 2016 GALA’S MULTIMEDIA DESIGN WAS SHORTLISTED FOR THE EVENT TECHNOLOGY AWARDS COMPETITION IN THE “BEST USE OF PROJECTION MAPPING” CATEGORY. The Event Technology Awards recognise the achievements of companies delivering digital and technological solutions to the events industry. The competition was co-founded by Adam Parry, an editor of the UK portal Event Industry News. In this year’s fifth edition the awards are presented in 28 categories (the winners are selected by a jury) and the final category of Favourite Event Technology Supplier – The People’s Choice Award (votes can be submitted via the competition’s website). According to the organisers, this year featured a record-breaking number of submissions not only from Europe, but also such countries as Mexico, New Zealand and Australia. The best candidates were shortlisted in particular categories. In addition to VES and Anix Event, the list of nominees in the „“Best use of Projection Mapping” category included Blitz/GES, Bluman Associates, Creative Technology, Hawthorn, Sila Sveta, as well as Something Graphic.



The VES’ 3D video mapping project, which earned recognition, was originally presented during the official section of the Panattoni EUROPE 2016 gala staged at the Służewiec Racetrack in Warsaw on 15 September 2016. The Anix Event agency was the author of the concept and the main organiser of the gala, which was arranged in close cooperation with the Marketing Department of Panattoni Eu-

rope. “In our productions we always place emphasis on unusual solutions in terms of the venue and technology used. This time we wanted to replace classic stage design and technique with the latest technologies, converting the entire building into one great multimedia screen. The customer’s trust and open approach towards new solutions was unquestionably what made the concept possible”, says Michał Pieprzowski of Anix Event. Iwona Czarnata, Managing Director at VES, emphasises that the Event Technology Awards nomination shows the strength of the

Polish industry from a creative and technological perspective. “Almost everyday we hear about the latest spectacular events staged not only in our country, but also abroad. The shortlisting and the fact that we have implemented one of Europe’s seven best mapping projects of 2016 really makes us proud”, says Czarnata.

UNFORGETTABLE VISUAL EFFECTS The 3D video mapping at the Panattoni gala was displayed in the raw, historical inte-

TECHNOLOGIES riors of the Służewiec Racetrack with images appearing simultaneously on five different surfaces, thus creating the impression of surrounding the event participants from all sides. In addition, the effect was intensified by the sound, fully integrated with the visual effects. In this way the guests were somewhat “transferred” to the steampunk-style interiors of a warehouse hall filled with moving cogwheels and building scaffoldings. However, the one-of-a-kind character of the discussed undertaking stemmed not only from the accomplished visual effects. Mention is also due to the process of their development. The application of d3 Technologies media servers made it possible to prepare the whole show solely on the basis of the venue’s project, without creating a 3D map of its space, which would require earlier site inspections. This solution considerably reduced the preparation time of the whole event. The process of programming the 3D video mapping took two days and called for the involvement of five operators. d3 media servers – 4x4pro and 4x2pro – allowed them to work simultaneously with numerous high-resolution files (8192x8192 pixels), creating exceptionally life-like and smooth visuals. The multidimensional, multimedia stage design was produced by 31 Christie and Barco pro-

jectors (548,000 ANSI lumens in total) and three advanced d3 media servers (4x4pro and 4x2pro). The employment and combination of innovative multimedia technologies made it possible to display visuals of very high resolution (8192x8192 pixels, more than 67 million pixels from one media server) on an area of 4,200 m2. In addition to 3D video mapping VES was also responsible for the lighting system of the gala’s banquet section. Its development involved 270 lighting devices, including i.a. the latest LUMA 1500 SH LED moving heads. “The multi-stage process of preparing the event from the technical side engaged more than 25 people, i.a. 18 technicians and five programmers working directly in the event’s host venue plus coordinators responsible for all logistically-related components. On our part, Łukasz ‘Bandzi’ Błażewicz, head of the VES technical crew, was responsible for producing the 3D video mapping and all the technical aspects of the event”, informs Iwona Czarnata. Winners of the Event Technology Award competition will be announced at a gala held at London’s Troxy on 9 November. The event will be preceded by the Event Tech Live conference. Maria Krzos

WE ARE HERE TO REALISE THE BOLDEST EVENT PROJECTS A conversation with Iwona Czarnata, Managing Director, VES. What was the biggest challenge for VES at the stage of designing and implementing the 3D video mapping for the Panattoni gala? The two-day programming of five-surface 3D mapping in high resolution (8192x8192 pixels; for comparison: the 4K resolution – perceived as high – features only 4096x2060 pixels) was a challenge that we took up intentionally knowing that we boast the right technological preparations. Thanks to the combination of d3 media servers five programmers could work simultaneously with many high-resolution files, considerably speeding up the whole process. In addition, the application of d3 Technologies media servers made it possible to prepare the whole show solely on the basis of the venue’s project without the need to capture its masks and create a 3D map of its space. How is this projection different from others? Using 3D mapping to transform an entire venue (the Służewiec Racetrack), including all of its surfaces, into a multi-dimensional projection screen is without a doubt quite unusual and makes the Panattoni EUROPE 2016 gala exceptional. The project is innovative both from a creative and technological perspective. Such events prove that event productions with international-level concepts can happen in Poland. They are an excellent example showing how a skilful application of the latest technologies makes it possible to implement the boldest event projects in an entirely new dimension.

AT THE ORGANISER’S REQUEST VES PREPARED THE FOLLOWING EQUIPMENT: MULTIMEDIA: - Christie and Barco projectors - 30K (4), 20K (6), 14K (16), 12K (3), 6K (2) [550,000 ANSI, images with resolution of 8192x8192 pixels, more than 67 million pixels from one media server] - Samsung’s 40" Full HD LED screens - media server systems [2x d3 4x4pro and d3 4x2pro] LIGHTING: - moving heads - Martin (MAC Quantum Wash, MAC Aura), Prolights (LUMA 1500 SH, LUMA 700), Robe (Robin Pointe) - SGM effects lighting (X-5 White LED Strobe) - LED lighting - LED Par COB 80W, Leader Light Stage, JTE (PixelPar 90), Hi Power Led, Studio Due (Studio Led 600, RGBW Dual 800) - Par 56 PARcan - Robert Juliat’s followspot (Cyrano 2500HMI) - fog machines - grandMA2 onPC system command wing + fader wing..

ABOUT THE EVENT Name: Panattoni EUROPE 2016 gala Venue: Służewiec Racetrack, Warsaw Date: 15 September 2016 Creation and production: Anix Event Customer: Panattoni Europe Production manager: Iwona Czarnata - VES Technical team head: Łukasz “Bandzi” Błażewicz d3 operators: Łukasz “Melina” Meliński, Krzysztof “Sarna” Grabowski, Jacek “Jaca” Kamiński d3 project setup: Łukasz “Melina” Meliński 3D building project: Grzegorz Niedzielski Lighting design: Irek Nowik Video mapping – Red Square: Piotr Maruszak, Paweł Falkowski, Kamil Filipowicz Sound design – Stereotyp Studio: Kamil Sajewicz



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RISK PLANNING, OR HOW ORGANISERS DEAL WITH PROBLEMS Almost 60% of meeting planners involved in the 2016 Event Disruption Study reported that they had experienced disruptions affecting the outcome of events staged in 2015-2016. The most frequently occurring disruptions are weather-related, the Zika virus, terrorism and vendor failures. The Event Disruption Study is prepared by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) and analyses the causes, sources or origin of disruptions faced by meeting planners. It also provides information on how meetings industry professionals deal with all kinds of difficulties. Conducted by Haemoon Oh, Ph. D., and Miyoung Jeong, Ph. D. of the University of South Carolina, the study was based on 18 personal interviews and a nationwide survey that involved 266 planners. It specifically targeted events staged in 2015-2016 by the staff of companies and corporations professionally and regularly involved in the planning of various events, meetings and business travels. In the study and the presentation of its outcome the term “events” means off-site, overnight meetings, corporate events, and/or incentive group travels.

HOTELS ARE THE MOST HELPFUL Each planner knows perfectly that crisis situations are easy to come by when organising an event. The range of possible threats is immense and grows along with the event size. What then appears to be the most frequent cause of disruptions? Let us take a closer look at the report findings. The two key factors generating event organization disruptions are unfavourable weather-related events (38%) and vendor failures (28%). In general, among all the business partners with whom planners cooperate, airlines come in the unfortunate first place as the most frequent cause of disruptions due to cancella-

tions, delays and overbooking, which account for as many as 61% of all the difficulties encountered by respondents working on event arrangements. On the other hand, hotels were perceived as the most helpful partner in handling disruptions. Moreover, they are best prepared to deal with organizational difficulties, followed by DMCs and airlines. However, the general conclusion is that there is room for significant improvement in the partners’ overall preparedness to handle disruptions. When discussing the shortcomings affecting event organization, one should not omit financial matters. 43% of planners experienced disruptions causing a financial loss. The amount of the most frequent loss fell between $10,000 and $99,999. Almost every fourth

planner reported that those disruptions damaged the company’s perception, its reputation and brand.

PLANNING COMES FIRST According to the report the main tasks of respondents encompass planning for potential disruptions. The planners estimated they spent up to 25% of their time on planning particularly for potential disruptions. Almost 40% of them expect this task to take them considerably more time in the future. This is hardly surprising as more than 90% of respondents admitted that their companies require the inclusion of contingency plans for disruptions (54% require such plans for all events they plan, and 37% – for only some events).



for all events


for some events


for no event


3.98 3.87 3.58 3.27 Internet


company manual

third party



These preparations are influenced by a wide range of factors, e.g. the size of an event, company’s expense and location. The report authors indicate that close to 70% companies have prepared procedures in case of unexpected circumstances. The type of organisational assistance for meeting planners includes access to, i.a.: • 24-hour call centres, emergency services and travel agencies, • list of other vendors available, • additional insurance, • technical infrastructure, • risk management procedures, • trainings and workshops, • consulting and advising, • legal review guidance, • extra staff. Risk management when organising an event calls for multi-disciplinary planning and predictions. In this case planners quote the Internet as the most frequently used resource, followed by the experience of vendors and internal company guidelines. Contingency plans, risk assessment, awareness of participants, changing trade partners and legal protection are also among the key factors connected with risk management. Nearly 93% of planners develop contingency plans for the events they are involved in. Most clients request to have the discussed plans in their contracts. The plans include, i.a.: • emergency assistance, • “plan B” development (alternate hotels, locations, destinations, routes, speakers, vendors, schedules), • ability to cancel with no additional penalties and costs, • additional ground transportation, • agents to call to rebook cancelled flights, • medical services. The complex character of the process of event planning for potential disruptions is best demonstrated by the fact that in the past two years 41% of planners have increased their amount of time and effort spent on the subject matter at hand. In addition, 39% expect their time and effort to plan for disruptions to increase in the next two years. More than half of the respondents admitted that their work requires the preparation of contingency plans and their inclusion in contracts. In

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RESOURCES FOR HANDLING VARIOUS DISRUPTIONS (ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 5) Strong relationship and cooperation with vendors – 4.17

Reference sources – 3.7

Previous experience – 3.98

Training and education – 3.7

Company’s guidelines – 3.89

Additional manpower – 3.86

Legal team – 3.72

Assistance by experts and consultants – 3.67





of planners had to change a destination because of unexpected disruptions of disruptions to events are caused by airlines

turn, close to 70% have prepared procedures for emergency situations. Almost half of the planners (49%) actively communicate potential disruption situations and suggested actions to their customers. 68% admit that they have changed the destination at least once because of perceived risks or disruptions. More than half of the planners (59%) appreciate the trust placed in business partners.





of event planners experienced disruptions in their work of event planners will dedicate more time to risk planning

The respondents perceive the cooperation of all entities, creativity and readiness to assist in the case of unexpected circumstances as the most important qualities as regards building partnership and mutual trust in reference to staging and planning events. This cooperation is perceived as sometimes more important than purely financial matters. Aneta Biskup

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