The standardisation of Meetings Industry suppliers in Slovenia

[pullquote]From the challenge of how to provide transparent exchange of demands among members of the public-private Convention Bureau an original project was created which in Croatia was used as a base for standardization of PCO agencies. In addition, they are successfully using it for start-ups of smaller regional convention bureaus everywhere where the principle of working is based on public-private partnership[/pullquote] The standardisation of Meetings Industry suppliers in Slovenia is intended, among other, to simplify and shorten the Client’s venue or event organiser finding process. In a transparent way, the Client can get a clear insight into who is offering which service, as well as a better overview of the quality of comparable services offered by individual providers.

Following a recent workshop in Croatia I realized how important pioneering work was carried out in Slovenia, when in 2007 we developed and introduced Slovenian meetings industry standards. In this area we were according to my knowledge among the first in the world that comprehensively processed the industry as a whole.

There are similar standardisation models to be found in Europe, though not as extensive in structure, or serving merely as recommendations for suppliers. The preparation of the Slovenian Meetings Industry standardisation, a project lead by the Slovenian Convention Bureau and supported by the expertise of the GO.MICE company, was based on existing standards and recommendations from the business tourism field as provided by DIN (Deutsche Industrie Norm), ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association), IAPCO (International Association of Professional Congress Organisers), APEX (Accepted Practice Exchange), AIPC (International Association of Congress Centres), MPI (Meetings Professionals International) and other Meetings Industry associations.

The Meetings Industry standards have been first implemented in spring 2008 with a validity of three years. Some among the suppliers have passed the certification process in more than one category.

Category C: DMC AGENCY

Categories A to D and category H are congress service providers, while categories E to G and category I are function space or / and accommodation providers.

Category A: Local or regional Convention & Visitors Bureau

Category A (local or regional Convention & Visitors Bureau) can apply to either local or regional levels. This bureau can be an independent legal entity or can operate as a part of an existing tourist board or office. Based on the indepth knowledge of the meetings and general tourism offer, its specific task is to promote and market the destination for congresses and meetings, as well as to develop / strengthen the network of all related providers and products at the local or regional level. Another important aim is to support bids for international congresses and meetings.

Category B: Professional Congress Organiser

Category B (Professional Congress Organiser) is a key factor in organising congresses and other types of meetings. The PCO deals with a very broad area of tasks and offers a comprehensive technical support for implementing the most demanding events. From the viewpoint of congress service providers, the requirements specified for this category make it the most demanding one.

Category C: DMC

Category C (DMC) is a tourist agency that is also specialised in the conference segment. Such a provider must hold an official licence for the tourist agency business and have a knowledge of the destination with a stress on its congress offer. A DMC can assist the Meeting Planner in an array of items related to the locality that will host the congress / conference / meeting. This includes everything from accommodation booking to recommendations on the menu selection for functions at special event venues. The Client also expects the DMC to be familiar with the general features / rules of the meetings industry. A DMC agency can also provide incentive and teambuilding programmes.

Category D: Event Agency

Category D (Event Agency) features agencies organising all kinds of events, including incentive and teambuilding programmes aimed at boosting team spirit. In most cases, these events are commissioned by the corporate sector / companies aiming to promote their products, build customer loyalty or raise their corporate profile in the business community.

Category E: Congress and Exhibition Centre

Category E (Congress and Exhibition Centre) obviously features the venues with the largest facilities, both in terms of seating capacity in the plenary hall and the number of breakout rooms available. In addition, these venues must have foyer areas spacious enough for commercial exhibitions, catering (coffee breaks, meals) and other event-related purposes. The congress centre provides all the technical support needed to implement the most demanding events.

Category F: Convention Hotel

Category F (Convention Hotel) provides the broadest spectrum of services, encompassing hotel accommodation, conference rooms with technical equipment, and catering services. A convention hotel is required a minimum of 4 stars and the number of hotel rooms has to be in proportion with the largest function room. In addition, there must be a suitable proportion between the size of the largest plenary hall and the other conference / meeting rooms, as well as foyers. The venue must also have its own technical and catering service well geared to support the needs of congresses and meetings, as well as sales staff with experience and know-how in the meetings industry.

Category G: Hotel with Conference Facilities

Category G (Hotel with Conference Facilities) sets fewer requirements for hotel venues. A hotel needs to have at least 3 stars, one plenary hall and one more function room for breakout sessions. It also needs to have an adequately-sized lobby for catering services, guest registration and a smaller exhibition. In this criteria a restaurant is not considered as a conference facility, however there needs to be one, as guests who spend more than half a day at a meeting / conference in a hotel are usually offered lunch.

Category H: Other Congress Services

Category H (Other Congress Services) includes all congress service providers who are not classified in any of the other categories. This category includes air carriers, airports, providers of car rental services, providers of technical equipment, catering, computer services, media, consultancy companies, educational institutions, tourist agencies and other companies involved in the meetings busines.

Category I: Special Venues

Category I (Special Venues) includes all venues where events can be organised. They should of course have cultural, historic, architectural or technical value and at least one indoor function room. The venue needs to provide all the necessary support for the implementation of an event (technical, catering, access, parking, toilets, security, etc.).

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