Q: What trends do you think we will see in meetings and events in your city in the next 12 months?
Slovakia is hosting the EU Presidency this year, which will stress test the capacities of our meetings industry in Bratislava. The SK EU Presidency could generate new topics for meetings and our focus and strategy on cooperation with associations will intensify. We expect growth in incentive travel in all our destinations, given the increasing number of flight connections, new incentive possibilities available and our marketing activities on multiple target markets.
Kosice: European City of Sport 2016 will feature a new Turkish Airlines connection to Istanbul several times a week, opening the city to Asian travelers. This will have an effect on gastronomy, service scope and the cultural scene of Kosice.
Q: How is your city positioned as a meeting destination today and what are its positive attributes that are often overlooked?
Accessibility: Bratislava is one of the best connected capitals in the world, having 2 international airports within a 30-min radius of the city, including Vienna International Airport, one of largest airports in the region. Safety: Bratislava is a safe and stable destination, with a minimum threat level for any delegate. Execution: Bratislava produces many world class products, like the high end premium SUVs of the VW Group – Cayenne, Q7, Touareg, Bentley Bentayga (chassis, body), as well as ESET antivirus software, SYGIC navigations and much more.
Surveys of Meetings and Events Professionals constantly rank accessibility as the No. 1 criteria for destination selection and, in this regard, Bratislava is surprisingly close. You can get to Slovakia’s capital in just 40 minutes from Vienna airport, or 20 minutes from Bratislava airport to the city centre, making Bratislava one of the best connected capitals in the world.
When you’re there you’ll find yourself in a safe, easy-to-get-around, buzzy, compact city where old town beauty and modern urbanity sit side by side.
Bratislava is also an exceptionally smart city, with a burgeoning start-up eco-system and a stellar global reputation as an innovation hub. Bratislava-based ESET is a world leader in anti-virus software, while Pixel Federation, founded in the city in 2007, develops online games played in over 200 countries in the world.
Renowned as an automotive hub, Bratislava has also spawned Aeromobil, the makers of the world’s first flying car. But Bratislava is also an innovator in the Meetings and Events industry. Sli.do, the ground breaking audience engagement platform, was born and raised in this exceptionally smart city. Meeting professionals know the importance of exceptional execution. Strategies and plans are always essential, but without great execution they’re useless. Without precision, attention to detail and total focus, great strategies go awry and brilliant plans come to nothing.
Global automotive leaders like Volkswagen (producing cars for Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, ŠKODA and SEAT, directly in Bratislava), Peugeot Citroën, KIA and Jaguar Land Rover have all opted to locate their massive plants around our city, because for them precision, attention to detail and focus are non-negotiable; they’re a sine-qua-non, as defining for them as their brand itself. You can see that exceptional execution is part of our DNA here in Bratislava – you can rest assured that your meetings and events are in safe hands!
Q: How hard is it to get the message out about all that your city has to offer?
As a new destination Slovakia attracts a relatively large interest of the industry when publishing new content – our marketing activities therefore result in high interest. The more messages we broadcast, the more responsibility it takes to carefully prepare the content. We try to build our own network of partners rather than to rely on existing international channels.
Q: How do you see the relationship between the meetings industry and the tourism industry?
The meetings industry and tourism industry share the same infrastructure. A strong dialogue between the tourism industry and meetings industry is a prerequisite for creating successful marketing strategies both for the MICE and leisure segments. Most key destination marketing messages can be broadcast both in the meetings industry and tourism industry marketing.
Q: Tell us something that might surprise meeting planners about your city?
Vienna International Airport is only 30 minutes away from Bratislava and Bratislava Hotels are rated 4th cleanest in the world, with Slovak hotels having the highest guest satisfaction rate in Europe (hotels.info, 6 million users).
Kosice was the European Capital of Culture 2013, is the European City of Sport 2016, is the IT Valley of Slovakia, and Kosice International Airport is part of Vienna International Airport (with great connectivity from Vienna, Warsaw, London, Istanbul and more).
Q: Can content marketing drive meeting planners to your destination?
We believe in the importance of professionally executed content marketing and its effect on a destination’s reputation and appeal. This is closely connected to the interest of meeting planners and the effort needed to sell the destination.