bert, van, caelenberg

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.

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

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.

Urša Radanovič, Executive director of Plaza Hotel Slovenia.

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.