schladming
Meetologue 2015

MEETINGS IN THE EMBRACE OF ALPINE BEAUTIES

“Schladming is not just skiing”, the representative of the new congress Centre Schladming explained to us. We quickly understood what she meant when we walked around the charming town, even though the former mining town of Schladming rose to fame because of its modern winter-sport centre, a facility that was thoroughly renovated for the FIS World Cup in 2013. Even in the skiing superpower that is Austria, Schladming offers one of the most sophisticated skiing infrastructures. Almost all the day skiers will tell you that it is impossible to cover all the slopes in one day and it is hard not to believe them. Schladming-Dachstein boasts an enviable amount of slopes and together with the four skiing regions (Salzburger Sportwelt, Gastein, Hochkönig and Großarltal) it offers 760 kilometres of runs, 270 ski lifts and 90% of them can be artificially snowed with a snow system that is one of the most modern in Europe and is controlled by satellite. In 2013 Schladming spent over 400 million euros in renovating the entire infrastructure, including the new congress centre. Elsewhere these kinds of projects have at times created underused buildings and big financial losses, but in Schladming they have thought of the project as an investment for the future. Hence Schladming has rapidly transformed from a mostly winter sport epicentre to an all-year round tourist and congress destination.

Mining town
Because the ground is so rich in ore, previously the region was mostly populated by miners. Mining activity started to flourish and there were over 1,500 miners working in the vicinty of Schladming, which was quite a lot for the time. The rich natural deposits of silver, copper, lead, cobalt and nickel were the reason why the destination got back up on its feet. A major transformation for the city was in 1865, when the region’s first railway was built. It was then that tourism started to develop and expand its borders from one year to the next.

The legendary Planai
The story about Schladming wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the legendary Planai hillside, which put many skiers into the history books. In 1973, for example, the legend Franz Klammer recorded an average speed of 111.22 km/h when coming down the slope. The finishing line is known as one of the most recognisable and entertaining race endings of the world cup, as it has a scary 52% decline. The slope is also beautifully lit and the annual night FIS Nightrace represents one of the highlights of the season. Every year Schladming is flooded with over 50,000 skiing fans, which makes for an amazing atmosphere and a competitive spirit at the King of the Slaloms. To top it all off there are the Austrian skiers, who have taken home 8 victories in the last 13 years. Four of the wins came from the legendary Benjamin Raich, but the locals are especially proud of their native Marcel Hirscher and a special spirit can be felt in the air when he is standing at the starting gates.

The world cup is the moving force for meetings
In Schladming the preparations for the Skiing world championship were intense. When the FIS congress in South Africa decided to host the competition in Schladming the Styrians rolled up their sleeves and got on with the renovation work. More than 400 million euros were invested, ⅔ of it coming from public funds. Along with the renovation of traffic infrastructure they also upgraded their skiing infrastructure and built a new finish line arena. The arch from the viewing tower overlooking the finish line is really quite something, along with the Planet Planai, a new garage and the bottom ski lift station, which has all the necessary kit to carry out large events. Among other new additions to Schladming is also the complete Wi-Fi coverage of the ski slopes, with 150 hotspots that now allow skiers to communicate free of charge. All these renovations have drastically changed the congress image of Schladming, along with the opening of the new Falkensteiner hotel, a new multi-funtional congress centre and a new train station.

Congress centre Schladming
Congress Centre Schladming was opened in 2011 mostly because of the FIS World Cup in 2013 and its modern architecture impresses both from the outside as well as the inside. The big Schladming Hall boasts 1,400 m2 of space and is excellently equipped to host events from concerts to congresses. The maximum capacity of the hall is 1,200 guests in classroom arrangement and a key feature is definitely the lighting, which enhances the character of any event. There are four smaller halls available in the second floor, with the Ennstal Hall standing out the most, as it offers natural daylight and amazing views of the surrounding peaks. The offer is rounded off by an excellent catering service in the Kulinarwerk restaurant and a small coffee shop. From a functional point of view the centre is a great example of a medium-sized congress centre, which can’t really be faulted in any way and where its designers have really considered the needs of congress organisers, including the spacious lobbies and underground parking. We highly recommend a visit for any destination planning on opening their own congress centre.

Planet Planai as a special venue
The new Planai-Seilbahn bottom ski lift station is attracting attention with its interesting image and an even more interesting congress offer. It is designed as a folded piece of paper and functions as a one-stop-shop for skiers and event organisers. The station’s infrastructure offers quite a lot of meeting space and rooms with views of the legendary ski slope for all the lovers of the sport. The event space, which spans over the finish line in an arch and offers a birds-eye view of the ski run and an excellent congress experience, has become a true symbol of Schladming. The hall on top of the building is also striking, from where ORF broadcasts it’s programme when the world cup is in full swing.

Rehabilitation after a hard day of meetings
In addition to the rich sport and congress offer, Schladming doesn’t forget to take care of the party side of things too. Alongside the world cup arena is the well known disco and ski hut of Tenne, which is a great special venue. Tenne is more than just a mountain cottage, as it combines afternoon parties in the style of “pancer tanc” and after 22.00 it transforms into a disco. The legendary venue can also be booked for private parties and smaller corporate events.

Welcome home
In central Europe Falkensteiner is synonymous with excellent tourist service and the authentic Alpine hospitality. The company was started in 1958 in South Tyrol, when the founders Maria and Josef Falkensteiner opened their first hotel. The hotel icon now boasts more than 28 hotels and 4 residences in 6 countries. The excellently designed hotel in Schladming offers with its generous 130 rooms and suites, 4 meeting rooms, lovely restaurant, smart bar and the 1.500m2 Acquapura SPA welness and water world a lot of extras, which generated a lot of praise from locals, tourists and business clients.
The 4 star superior hotel is focused on sustainability, fresh regional cuisine and a modern hearty culture of pleasure. The interior design encompasses natural and local (like loden, wood and Solker marble) materials and furnishings, which emphasize the fact that you are staying in the middle of beautiful nature into which you are being drawn through the glass surfaces.

A hotel institution for the stars
The wall of fame in the Sporthotel Royer will leave you quite stunned, as there have been many celebrities staying there, such as no less than Arnold Schwarzenegger. The family hotel is an institution that offers alpine hospitality and numerous fun programmes, like the shooting range or the tennis court. It is an excellent choice for larger groups, as there are two conference halls suitable for seminars and corporate gatherings. All sports enthusiasts will be delighted by their offer combined with that of the neighbouring Aqua Park. The hotel restaurant is also famous for its traditional alpine cuisine.

More than 85 cottages
According to the Schladming tourist organisation information there are more than 85 mountain cottages on offer to private parties and that are great special venues, but that can also accommodate groups of congress guests. The atmosphere is relaxed and authentic, which is one of the beauties of these huts. High up in the mountains above the tree line, polite talk is quickly forgotten and in the soothing atmosphere you are soon without reserve or inhibition. What connects guests is definitely their good cheer, which is enhanced by the excellent culinary offer that some of the huts offer and is also the reason why guests keep coming back.

WHAT'S HOT IN 2016

January 26, 2016
Men’s World Cup Night Slalom – the biggest party in the Alps, where as many as 50,000 spectators will turn Schladming into one big party district – sporting excitement, great fun and a positive mood all contribute to a fantastic party atmosphere.

March 20, 2016
500 barbecue fans plus TV and Sports celebrities gathering on the mountains of Planai and Hochwurzen

January 17 – 22, 2016
International trade exhibition and conference for the pharmaceutical industry

June 09 – 12, 2016
For 4 days an international selection of top athletes and ambitious hobby bikers compete for fame and glory, UCI points and prize money in the mountains of the Schladming-Dachstein region.

August 19 – 20, 2016
VERTIKALE is a mountain festival for nature lovers and mountaineers. Movies, presentations, games, exhibition and more…

August 27 2016
Mountain Open Air with the famous Austrian singer “Volks Rock’n’Roller” Andreas Gabalier.

DESTINATION GRADE

4.05

QUALITY MEETING DESTINATION
grade:
5 – excellent meetings destination
4 – quality meetings destination
3 – reccommendable meetings destination
2 – average meetings destination
1 – so so

A. Natural and cultural factors: 4.55

The biggest and best known skiing centre in Styria lies in the valley of Enns river, 745 metres above sea level. The landscape is defined by the Dachstein mountain chain, which covers more than 10 peaks at an altitude of 2,500 metres. The glacier in the background is also known as one of the biggest in the northern Alps. The diverse terrain, many pastures and meadows and the mighty forests under the Dachstein massif are all part of the amazing experience value of the destination, which has been attracting tourists and congress guests from the turn of the century onwards.

B. General and transport infrastructure: 4.02

The entire tourist, traffic and public utility infrastructure works like a well-oiled machine. The ecological cleaning devices and bioenergy have become a green statement and no longer a thing of discussion in Schladming. Green transportation has also become part of the offer, which is very popular amongst tourists. Parking is also taken care of, with the Planai bottom ski lift station offering a modern underground garage with 400 parking spaces. Airline connectivity is the only downside, as the destination relies solely on the airports in Salzburg and Graz, which somewhat lowers the impression of an excellently put together infrastructure.

C. Tourist infrastructure: 4.61

Schladming lives for sports tourism. The destination has transformed from a small mining town to a skiing epicentre with a total of 26,000 beds available in the region Schladming-Dacshtein, which are mostly occupied in the main winter season. There are 287 accommodation providers in the city centre, 36 of them being hotels. Schladming can pride itself on eight hotels that are in the 4 and 5* category and offer 1,664 beds suitable for congress guests. Besides the rich hotel infrastructure the destination also has an extensive sports, cultural and culinary offer, which is far greater than the current local needs of the congress industry, but will allow for rapid growth in the future.

D. Congress infrastructure: 4.35

We could call it an ordinary congress cluster of Schladming, but its potential is far greater than that. The Schladming congress was built when the world championship took place and now stands next to the neighbouring Sporthotel Royer and the new Falkensteiner. A stone’s throw away is also the aQI hotel and Planet Planai, which functions as a scene for special accompanying events. The role of connecting the offer has been vested to a small but proactive team at congress Schladming. The symbiotic offer can be felt at every step and it is why congress tourism is such a high priority for partners of the destination. Schladming is a destination suitable for medium-sized, professional congresses, but it can easily host bigger and more attention-grabbing events.

E. Subjective grade: 4.12

The recognisability of the skiing centre definitely contributes to the recognisability of their congress tourism offer, but to be the best known Styrian skiing resort also brings its downsides, as it is very hard to find space for congress events in the high winter season and because classic tourism is the number one priority. Despite this, the enterprising Styrians leave nothing to chance and they are convinced that they will soon catch up with the local and regional competition in the number of events. The quality of their offer is definitely a factor that could pull them ahead.

F. Marketing buzz: 4.02

An important link for the promotion of Schladming is the organisation of big sporting competitions. The annual skiing spectacle and the night FIS Nightrace is certainly contributing to consolidating the Schladming trade mark. Looking at the infrastructure, the only logical thing is to focus on attracting more and more sport tourists and Schladming is doing this quite well. With such a strong image and perception, painting a clear picture of a prospective congress destination is a long-term process. Their ambition and symbiotic offer is a guarantee for success, even at the outset of their development. The Styrians are known for quickly transforming their natural assets to their competitive advantage and I believe that will soon start to show in the field of congresses.

BEST INCENTIVE IDEA

Sport incentive programmes
Schladming is home to the most attractive sports activities, but their offer is too extensive to list them all. We have tried to capture some of the best ideas and activities for your events:

Skywalk bridge – An adrenaline bridge that spans 366 metres above the Dachstein glacier and will test participants’ nerves – as long as they are not afraid of heights!

Mountain Go Kart – The Mountain Gokart is a newly developed device that makes go-karting so much fun. The wide tyres and good disc brakes offer a sense of security right from the beginning of the 7km route. It takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes for you to arrive at the bottom of the valley at the Gipfelbahn base station.

The biggest zipline in Europe – Gröbming is a 2.5km long zipline, where you are in a parallel race with your partner. The four wire ropes change altitude by 700 metres and the fastest ones will fly down the zipline at up to 115km/h.

E-bike – Climbing mountains with a smile on your face. Take it easy and have fun conquering the unique mountain world on modern e-bikes from Energie Steiermark.

COMPARISION WITH THE REGION

Over the last decade tourism in Styria has undergone a swift development. Schladming is a big skiing centre, the scene of the best slalom races of the season as well as other internationally renowned sports competitions. Besides that it is now also an excellent congress venue and a place that will stay fondly in the memory of every guest. We can say without a doubt that the tourist development of Schladming is a success story and we are certain that that will also be the case in the future. Sporting events, on which they have built extensively, have contributed mostly to the success and with this event organisation the destination has gained a lot of experience that can now be transferred into the congress field. The constant investment in tourism and tourist infrastructure, which has been mostly private and because of that well thought through and pointed in the right direction, is a definite recipe for success.

COOL MEETINGS

http://www.suedtirol.info/

A local speciality is the “Graukäse” cheese, which is a special “Steirerkas” and is eaten on bread or with “Nockerl”

WHO TO CONTACT

Lisa Baumgartner, BA
Events & Marketing
CONGRESS SCHLADMING
Europaplatz 800
A 8970 Schladming
Tel.: +43 3687 220 33
Fax: +43 3687 220 33-300
E-mail: lisa.baumgartner@congress-schladming.com

www.congress-schladming.com

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