Published on : Thursday, January 23, 2014
Conventa, the most important trade show for South East European meetings industry, has this year exceeded all expectations. The sixth edition attracted the largest number of international meeting planners in the history of the show, congress destinations are presented in the highest number so far, the organizers recorded a record number of pre-arranged meetings between hosted buyers exhibitors, more fam trips than ever were available to hosted buyers and last but not least, the educational program got new segments and has now been extended over all Conventa days.
Conventa began yesterday, when participants got a chance to attend Conventa Academy and the welcome reception held at Grand Hotel Union. The trade show opened its doors today at GR-Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. This year the show extended the invitation and gave the opportunity of presentation also to meeting providers from across the South East European border, while the exhibitors attending the show every year got a chance to strengthen their position in the congress market and present their novelties to hosted buyers. Meeting providers are this year coming from 12 different countries, which is a new best for Conventa. The majority are from Slovenia and are followed by providers from Austria, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Italy, Romania and Turkey.
Pre-arranged meetings between exhibitors and hosted buyers remain the core of Conventa. This year, 3.158 meetings were pre-arranged before the start of the show. In the past, exhibitors at the trade show completed on average 22 pre-scheduled meetings. This year the organizers are predicting this number will reach 25 meeting per exhibitor. Saving precious time and money continues to be one of the leading reasons for exhibitors to attend Conventa. Gorazd Čad, director of Go.Mice and Toleranca marketing and technical organizer of the show adds: “For the organization of a sales meeting you will spend on average at least 60 minutes, with no time invested in market research and other time invested in finding customers. According to the survey, Conventa saves you on average at least 60 hours of valuable time that would otherwise be spent searching for contacts and organizing meetings with potential new clients. ”
Additional effort that was this year put into the search for the highest quality international meeting planners genuinely interested in the SEE region paid off. To the positive outcome certainly contributed also new foreign partners who used their many years of experience, connections and acquaintances to help find the best hosted buyers. Compared to last year, the number of international meeting planners at Conventa has risen by at least 25 percent. This means the trade show will host over 200 hosted buyers from as many as 25 countries and over 100 national and regional buyers. Moreover, an amazing 90 percent of hosted buyers are first-timers while 10 percent will be re- visiting the show. Miha Kovačič, director of the Slovenian Convention Bureau and organizer of Conventa emphasizes: “Conventa made a real breakthrough this year. After six years we have finally started to notice a specific demand from international hosted buyers expressed prior to the event. Concrete demand will be also presented to exhibitors by international hosted buyers at the event itself. ”
Karmen Novarlič, Msc, Tourism Division, SPIRIT Slovenia adds: “Slovenian tourism boasts a number of excellent business events, characterized by professional execution and satisfaction of domestic and foreign business partners. Conventa ranks at the very top of these events and this year with more than 200 international hosted buyers from 25 countries proves once again that events carried out with quality each year attract the most important players from business and congress tourism in the region and beyond. Congress as a product with high added value and multiplicative effects is ranked among the key products of Slovenian tourism, so we are glad about the optimistic forecast of a positive global trend in business meetings and congresses for the year 2014. Positive is also the fact that the organizers of congresses and business meetings are increasingly looking for new destinations, often with accompanying “outdoor events” where Slovenia can offer attractive tourism products with a good ratio between price and quality of the product offered. ”
The sixth Conventa also increased the number of fam trips, a professionally guided trips that offer hosted buyers the opportunity to personally experience the destination and confirm the offer presented to them at the trade show. With the help of convention bureaus and local providers, the organizers have managed to offer seven different programs. Some of hosted buyers already got a chance to get to know the host city of Ljubljana on Ljubljana pre-tour, while the rest will be able to explore Bled, Zagreb, Carinthia, Trieste / Friuli – Venezia Giulia, Opatija and Portorož, right after the trade show.
The biggest added value of this year’s Conventa is certainly the most comprehensive and best educational program so far. During the traditional Conventa Academy, brand new Conventa morning energy sessions and for the first time ever also Conventa Expert’s corner, visitors will be able to listen to the experts from the meetings industry and marketing such as Mike van der Vijver (MindMeeting), Davor Bruketa and Ivan Tanić (Marketing agnecy Bruketa&Žinić OM), Roger Pride (Heavenly Wale), Anja Bauer Minkara and Petra Despot (Brandoctor), dr. Danijela Brečko (GV Izobraževanje), Chris Parnham and Angela Mason (Absolute Corporate Events), Paul Kennedy MBE (Kennedy Intergrated Solutions), Prof. Dr. Ricarda Merkwitz (Immens Events), Marko Križnik (Promo d.o.o.) and others.
For the first time ever Conventa is also the co-organizer and host of the Business Breakfast British-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce (SBBC) titled “Event Management as a Profession” and co-organizer and host of the lecture of Slovenian-German Chamber of Commerce titled “Corporate Events Trends in Germany”.
In only three days, Conventa will serve a number of novelties. There will be plenty of opportunities for discovering, experiencing, networking and learning. The event will officially end on Thursday, 23 January with the departures of hosted buyer on fam trips. But this will not mean the end of activities for Conventa participant. Their work will continue with developing and building up the newly establish connections, sending out the offers and finally closing the business deals that Conventa help create.