Newsletter – November 2014

Slovenian Convention Bureau with a brand new Slovenian Incentive Ideas Book

26.11.2014 15:32
Slovenia – Why not as an incentive destination? Slovenia is a fantastic destination for great outdoor activities. Team-building and special activities encompass a wide array of programmes, such as canyoning, hydrospeeding, kayaking and rafting on white waters, sailing, snowshoeing, sledding, ice-climbing, to name just a few. It can be said that when organising a programme in Slovenia the sky is the limit… To help you chose the right incentive programme for you and your group, Slovenian Convention Bureau in collaboration with Kongres Magazine, issued “Slovenian Incentive Ideas Book”, a brochure that contains more than a 100 incentive programmes done in Slovenia.

This unique guide offers green, versatile and yet undiscovered programs, between Alps, Mediterranean Sea and Panonian flatlands. Miha Kovačič, Director of Slovenian Convention Bureau, about Slovenian as an incentive destination: “For many of you Slovenia is perceived as an emerging destination. Despite the country being a member of the EU for more than a decade and having EURO as the currency for more than 7 years, Slovenia is also part of the Schengen agreement.
It is amazing what a small country in size brings to the table. Statement from incentive organiser Ms Geraldine Huybrechts from Borealis Belgium, twice Site Crystal Award Winner: »A destination to discover!«
Featuring three geographic, three climate but also three wine regions gives you endless opportunities. Adding 24 gastronomic regions makes it even more interesting topped by Slovenian hospitality that will make your incentives memorable.
Slovenia is a boutique destination and is intended for nature lovers and those that are looking for something out of the beaten track. For those that want to leave as friends of the country and interest to come back to reconnect.
Slovenia will get under your skin. You just have to give it a try.”

To browse through the on-line version of Slovenian Incentive Ideas Book click here.

More visits than ever at the Slovenian booth at EIBTM

26.11.2014 15:30
Meeting planners searching for the authentic meetings destinations at EIBTM made the right choice by stopping at the popular Slovenian booth.  Over the three-day event, more than 450 hosted buyers coming from all Europe and overseas destinations met with representatives of Slovenian Convention Bureau, SPIRIT and 13 Slovenian meeting providers. Azra Botonjic from Slovenian Convention Bureau commented: “This year’s show was very successful for us. We are proud to say we had more meetings than ever before!”

At EIBTM, the global meetings & events expo, held from 18 to 20 November in Barcelona, Slovenian Convention Bureau, SPIRIT and 13 Slovenian partners (Ljubljana Convention Bureau, Union hotels, Adria Airways, Lifeclass Hotels & Spa, Bernardin Group, Terme Maribor, Intours DMC, IDMC, Kompas DMC, CD – CANKARJEV DOM CONGRESS CENTRE, GR – LJUBLJANA EXHIBITION AND CONVENTION CENTRE, Bohinj Park Eco hotel, Sava Hotels & Resorts) present Slovenia as mice and incentive destination.

Participating at the show that was visited by over 15,500 industry professionals and recorded 78,436 pre-scheduled appointments was a fruitful experience. Azra Botonjic shared: “Slovenian team flexibility and energy has shown as an advantage among the partners sharing the booth. We noticed more interest for concrete destinations and products in Slovenia. Most of the clients we talked to already knew or heard about our pocketsize diverse country. They wanted to explore more. We noticed an increase of interest in fam trips to Slovenia and concrete offers by the Slovenian exhibitors. We were happy to see higher quality of the meeting planners at EIBTM.  We are proud of our new Incentive book, which we presented for the first time at the show. It was a great hit among the clients visiting our stand. This year’s EIBTM confirmed that over the past years we have done our job well. Meeting planners recognized us, wanted to know more and are prepared to visit, try our products and potentially decide to propose their future meetings and incentives in Slovenia”.

As Slovenians are known for their genuine hospitality, SPIRIT and Slovenian Convention Bureau organized a dinner for 40 Slovenian Ambassadors in meetings industry in well-known Spanish restaurant El Principal del Eixample. It was a delightful evening full of positive energy and conversations on the future Slovenian mice development.  It confirmed Slovenian energy and team flexibility are a great formula for success.

Intours DMC manages Chelsea’S Travel arrangements

26.11.2014 15:29
 For the UEFA Champions League match between Chelsea FC and Maribor FC, the Sport Departments of Kuoni Travel and Thomas Cook Group needed a trusted local partner to organize the ground services for Chelsea. Based on the local destination expertise and several years of experience in sports travel, they chose Intours DMC to handle the Chelsea v Maribor match in November 2014. The leading regional DMC demonstrated its professionalism and a high degree of flexibility when already handling the services of Sevilla, Braga, Celtic, Tottenham Hotspur, Birmingham and Glasgow Rangers FC.

“In Maribor we managed logistical issues and ground travel arrangements for the Chelsea team, the young team under 19 years of age, VIPs, the media, sponsors and security. By taking care of every last detail of a complex program, we proved how hardworking and passionate we are about reaching the clients’ objectives,” said Jana Pungersek, Senior Project Manager at Intours DMC.

“As always it was a pleasure working with Intours DMC as they proved we could count on them at all times. I especially appreciate their dedication to the client, which manifested in their responsible and flexible attitude. To make the client happy, the Intours team showed readiness to meet us at least halfway,” commented Eric Gaulin, Head Project Manager at Kuoni Travel Sports.

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The first survey on habits of SEE meetings planners

26.11.2014 15:26
In the past couple of months Kongres Magazine, the leading communications medium in the field of CE and SEE meetings industry, conducted and completed the first on-line survey on the habits of regional meeting planners. The survey was employed to gain perspective based upon meeting planners’ experiences. The purpose of the survey was to provide an overview of the meeting planning decisions from the meeting planner perspective.

Over the past few months, Kongres magazine team asked qualified meeting planners who plan at least one event in SEE to share their habits. Their first annual survey on trends, habits, planning and site selection reached a database of more than 500 qualified regional planners and the editorial board got 167 replies.

The results showed that half of the meeting planners perform the function of the organization in addition to many other activities. More than 30 % of them spent more than 30 % of their work time organizing meetings. The vast majority of meeting planners organizes up to 10 events per year. Top 5 destinations that were used in the past for meetings were Slovenia (32,61%), Croatia (17,67%), Austria (10,87 %), Italy (10,8%) and Serbia (7,88%). The average size of the typical meeting organized was a meeting with up to 100 participants, while the average length of the meeting was 1 day long.  Meeting planners mostly chose hotels as the venue for their event. More than 42 % or respondents said their 2014 meeting spend remained the same as last year, while 14,02 % said their budgets are significantly decreasing. When asked which sources do they use to find information on destinations for their meetings, more than 75% responded they get the information from friends and colleagues. For more results click here.

Ljubljana announces major congresses for 2015

26.11.2014 15:36
This year Ljubljana has recorded a number of regional, European and international association congresses with an attendance between 500 and 1,200 delegates that were well visible in the city and generated good income in the destination. The prospects for 2015 are also looking good with several congresses already booked. At the CD – Cankarjev dom Congress Centre Ljubljana, in June will be Medicine of South East Europe, the 16th Europen Congress of Pediatric Surgery – EUPSA 2015, the 53rd Symposium of the International Society for Clinical Electrophysiology of Vision – ISCEV and the 12th Meeting of the European Neuro-Ophthalmological Society – EUNOS 2015. In September, the 25th Annual Conference of Alzheimer Europe will be held.The main events at the GR – Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre will  be the 7th Conventa, New Europe Exhibition for meetings, events and incentives (January, 500 delegates), 27th International Symposium on Lepton Photon Interactions at High Levels – LEPTON PHOTON 2015 (August, 500 delegates) and  the congress of the European Society of Regional Anaesthesia & Pain Therapy – ESRA (September, 1400 delegates).

Many other medium size and smaller events, congresses and meetings will also take place in Ljubljana in 2015.

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GoOpti enables meeting planners to create their own personalized website for their event

26.11.2014 15:37
When organizing an (international) business event, there is always a logistical challenge to assure on-time and direct transfers for all participants. Whether someone is a professional event organizer or a complete beginner in preparing corporate or public events, GoOpti takes transfer organization off their “to-do” list.GoOpti as a transportation company provides an easy way for organizing reliable transfers from airports to any kind of event – corporate meetings, conferences or fairs. With the help of GoOpti, every event can have its own personalized website, where event participants thanks to online innovative booking system can book direct transfers from airports to the event or from a hotel to all event venues.In a simple step, meeting planners can create a personalized GoOpti website that includes their logo, a captivating background picture and most importantly, a user-friendly online booking form with the event venue set as the departure/arrival location. The personalized website allows a meeting planners to enter several addresses (related to the event), so all participants can book transfers to different event locations. This simplifies the organization of the event, allowing meeting planners to focus on the program.

Apart from an opportunity for free promotion, meeting planners cooperating with GoOpti also receive a commission for every transfer purchase. They can also offer a special, lower transfer price to all event participants and define (depending on the number of participants and on whether the event is public or private) the payer for all transfers.

235,000+ passengers have been transported by GoOpti so far. Mojca Frelih, Researcher, Coordinator, The Peace Institute – Institute for Contemporary Social and Political Studies, said: “I must say that again and again, I am positively surprised by the service development and the offer provided by the GoOpti team. I am sure that you haven’t exploited all your potentials yet…”

Alex Port, ABTA conference organizer, Dellar Davies, complimented the services: “I would like to thank you personally for all your assistance both before and during our time in Slovenia. Your service was nothing but professional and efficient. All of the transfers that you provided to delegates were a service that you and your team should be very proud of.”

A successful international event at hotel Kempinski Palace Portorož

26.11.2014 15:39
At the beginning of November the Microsoft company held an international business conference at hotel Kempinski Palace Portorož. IT experts and developers from the whole world had an interesting program in Kempinski’s meeting rooms. In one week around 200 participants gathered together in order to get a lot of useful knowledge and information.

When you hold a business meeting or a social occasion at a hotel as legendary as the Kempinski Palace Portorož, it says all the right things about you – that you enjoy the best things in life and that you want things to be done just right. Hotel Kempinski Portorož has a lot to offer, for business meetings, you can choose the Mistral Meeting Room, with daylight, has free Wi-Fi and has the most up-to date technical equipment. The magnificent Crystal Hall Ballroom, known for its majestic balls held in the early 20s for the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy, is a perfect choice for glamorous events, such as gala dinners. You can also experience private receptions, dinners or unique evenings in the vintage ambiance surrounding the Wine Cellar, with its exquisite culinary creations and fine wines.

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“The quality of Conventa and its collaborators in Ljubljana are assets”

26.11.2014 15:21
Conventa, the New European exhibition for meetings, events and incentives, brings great business results. Although sometimes they are hard to measure, many times they are visible and documented. Read about how a great collaboration was born at Conventa 2014 and how it will be strengthened at the upcoming edition, in an interview with hosted buyer Bert Van Caelenberg, Secretary General at Eurofedop Belgium and exhibitor Urša Radanovič, Executive director of Plaza Hotel Slovenia.

Q: What was your experience as participant-hosted buyer at Conventa in 2014?
Van Caelenberg: To us, Slovenia is, together with Estonia, a country which can serve as example for the application of informatics in the way public services operate. Starting from this point of view, I announced myself as a hosted buyer, wishing to look for the possibilities of organising a European conference in the city of Ljubljana.

Q: Did you find the right contacts and business partnerships at Conventa in 2014?
Van Caelenberg: The organisation in Ljubljana gave me the opportunity to get in touch with different conference centres and hotels. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of opportunities offered and the quality. Moreover, the atmosphere in the group was excellent, although we felt a certain pressure to respect the schedule which had been established beforehand for visits and meetings. Personally, however, I felt OK with this.

Q: Why have you chosen Ljubljana and the Plaza Hotel for your event and what kind of event is it?
Van Caelenberg: For a conference that will bring together 120 participants from 25 countries, Ljubljana offers several possibilities and the Centre has some interesting places which I can possibly recommend to participants who would like to visit the City. Maybe some of them would even be interested in staying a bit longer for the weekend.
The Plaza Hotel has enough rooms to provide accommodation for all our participants. Moreover, we can have our meeting in a room with daylight, offering a unique view over the City.
Transport possibilities, excellent quality/price relationship, etc. are other assets which make the hotel the best choice for us to hold our conference. Which does not mean that I do not appreciate the charm and style offered by other hotels we visited in the City.
The theme of our conference will be “Implementation of Criteria in European Social Dialogue”. Our conference will bring together representatives from industrial relations from all over Europe: university professors, EU politicians, EU experts from the European Commission, representatives from Civil Society and the Trade Unions. They will hold speeches and participate in working group discussions in five languages (EN/FR/DE/ES/Slovenian).

Q: What are your expectations of Conventa for 2015?
Van Caelenberg: For 2015, we hope in any case to establish contacts with interesting places in the City which we might visit in the period apart from our main conference activities (for example dinner in the Castle). Moreover, we would be interested to know if there are new destinations to discover in Slovenia and, for example, what has the region to offer with regard to new infrastructure.
Ljubljana fits very well in the list of previous locations for our conference, after Vienna (2012), Madrid (2013), Edinburgh (2014), …

Q: Would you recommend Conventa to other meeting planners?

Van Caelenberg: If I were to recommend Ljubljana as venue for events to colleagues, it would be for the clear picture it offers as a city. There are opportunities for all kinds of budgets.
And I don’t exaggerate when I say that the quality of Conventa and its collaborators in Ljubljana are assets which I would be ready to mention when having contacts with colleagues and responsible organisers of events in Brussels.

Q: How did you came in contact with Mr. Van Caelenberg from EUROFEDOP?
Urša Radanovič: During Conventa 2014 we had a meeting with Mr. Caelenberg and he also visited Plaza Hotel Ljubljana.

Q: What does it mean to a relatively new hotel like Hotel Plaza to get a request for an organization like European Federation of Public Service Employees (EUROFEDOP)? 
Urša Radanovič: We are very honoured  to host European Federation of Public Service Employees in our hotel. It is a great opportunity to get visibility also outside of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
We will help to make this event memorable experience for all  participants of EUROFEDOP and it will help us to gain one of the most important references.

Q: In terms of the EUROFEDOP event, what was requested of Hotel Plaza and how will the hotel adapt to  Mr. Van Caelenberg’s requirements?
Urša Radanovič: Till now, we have only general request regarding the event. 90 participants in classroom set upand there is also need of translation boots. Participants will be accommodate in Plaza Hotel Ljubljana for 3 night. Definitely, when it will get closer to the event date, we will receive more detailed requirements, also regarding the catering service.

Q: Hotel Plaza has already ensured its place among the exhibitors at Conventa 2015. What was your past Conventa experience like and what would like to gain from the 7th Conventa?
Urša Radanovič: Yes, also in 2015 we will be part of Conventa, we think it is a must to be part of Slovenian exhibition. Past experience was excellent, since we had opportunity to host already a few meetings in Plaza Hotel Ljubljana, which were contracted at Conventa.
At 7th Conventa we would like to meet new clients, to whom Ljubljana is unknown MICE destination and convinced them to organize events with us in the near future.

Q:    Your message to hosted buyers attending the show in January:
Urša Radanovič: Ljubljana is one of the best locations to organize your event. You and your participants will experience unforgettable hospitality service.

About Conventa
Conventa is the leading business-to-business event in the area of meeting industry in New Europe. It is the main professional meeting industry gathering, every year bringing together over 120 meeting industry providers from Central and South East Europe as well as emerging destinations of New Europe and more than 250 carefully selected hosted buyers from all over Europe. The show offers a unique opportunity to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business under one roof.

Hosted buyers
A carefully put together hosted buyer programme is available to the leading meeting industry buyers from associations, corporations and event agencies. A complimentary economy return air ticket from selected destinations within Europe to Ljubljana on Adria Airways flights, overnight accommodation, airport and other transfers, meals, networking opportunities, personal itinerary of appointments, fam trips and the Conventa support team before and during the show will be available to the selected hosted buyers.

Over the last six years, Conventa has hosted 753 exhibitors from 13 countries, 1.436 hosted buyers from 40 countries and recorded 17.240 One2One meetings between exhibitors and hosted buyers. The 7th Conventa will be held from 21 to 22 January 2015 in Ljubljana, Slovenia and will be highlighting emerging destinations, experience, engagement, education, emotions, energy and entertainment.

To apply for hosted buyer status at Conventa go to