Q:What are the main goals and objectives of Congress Centre Villach?
Congress is a really important theme for the region, because of the more than 400 meetings and congresses per year with around 100,000 visitors. Hotels, restaurants and local providers certainly benefit from it, and somehow we act as a convention bureau for the city.
In 2016 we had around 400 events – 180 in Congress Centre Villach and approximately 220 in the Holiday Inn – with more than 110,000 visitors in total. In 2016 we had 39 congresses with 150 to 1000 participants.
Q:What have been the keys to the Convention Centre’s success?
I believe the main competitive advantage is the combination of a modern conference center with direct access to a 4* superior hotel and 2-toque awarded restaurant. This combination is unique in Austria. Add to that, Carinthia’s lake and mountain landscape paired with cultural diversity – this provides an incredibly wide range of opportunities for our visitors.
Furthermore we try to offer an utmost service to our clients and guests and we are acting as one-stop-shop. This means our clients have only one contact person for the organisation, technical requirements, hotel accommodation and catering of an event – very practical and convenient, indeed
Q:Are there any green or sustainability initiatives that have been implemented in the centre’s design?
In July 2013 the Congress Center Villach was awarded with the Austrian Eco-label which gives us the competence to organize and certify “Green Meetings/Green Events” for our customers. The comprehensive list of guidelines involved is unique in Europe and considered a quality certification mark for the ecologically aware organization of meetings.
The Austrian Eco-label is an initiative of the Austria Convention Bureau in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management and the Consumer Information Association.
“Having the catering in the hotel is also a great help, since the catering comes directly from kitchen of the hotel. Our food is therefore really fresh and our chef can easily satisfy all of the customers’ requests.”
Q:Why do you think business travellers should choose Villach as their destination for holding events?
We are very centrally located – Villach is easily reachable, about three hours from Vienna and Innsbruck, two hours from Salzburg and Graz, and with great facilities for organising congresses up to 1000 persons.
Villach is more of a town than a city, which brings a very personal touch to it – you really feel a part of the city when you explore it´s surroundings. It takes just 10 minutes to get to everywhere in the city, which is an advantage that big cities can´t offer.
We are selling experiences, not amenities. You can get all the necessary amenities everywhere, but you can´t get the perfect surroundings everywhere.
Q:What does your client base look like? Have you had more business from emerging markets?
Our congress centre is effectively used, a third for meetings and congresses, the rest for culture and social events. It is a great place for team building, with our abundance of lakes, mountains and great outdoor spaces. Our key market is Austria, but we have also 1 or 2 international congresses a year.
Q:What has excited you most this year?
We already had some big events this year and looking forward to 2017. The biggest event so far this year was Ringana Spring Academy, an organic cosmetic company, with 1,000 participants.
Q:What is your advice to younger generations starting out in your field?
What is really important is to offer an excellent service to clients. We are trying to give more to our clients and to live up to the expectations of our main slogan, which is: “you get more”.
Working with an experienced team helps to achieve that, so working together is really important.
“What is really important is to offer an excellent service to our clients. We are trying to give more to our clients and to live up to the expectations of our main slogan, which is: ‘you get more’.”
Your best incentive idea in Carinthia?
I believe you have lots of possibilities here because of the mountains and lakes, offering team building possibilities, sightseeing… and we have excellent cuisine here too. And of course there are a lot of touristic possibilities because of Carinthia’s geographical position bordering on Italy and Slovenia – people really seem to like that.
What would be your ideal event to host in your congress centre?
We are really good for congresses and events, ideal for 300 up to 600 persons, but we can easily manage and cater for congresses up to 1,000 persons.