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Ten years ago, when we started preparing the congress travelogues, we couldn’t possibly have foreseen that our methodology for evaluating destinations would have become such an important reference point for meeting planners. As of today, we have published 76 travelogues of various meeting destinations, all based on hard graft and solid field work. Our unflagging enthusiasm for this has demonstrated that we have been setting quality standards that are also being recognized by the wider international industry public through the Meetings Star Awards.

 Gorazd Čad, Editor in Chief

Congress travelogues, or Meetologues, have become a firm reference for event organisers in selecting destinations over the past decade, mainly because of their sound logic and the benefits that they bring to all parties.

On the initiative of individual destinations that have participated in the MTLG project, we have now prepared a new categorization of meeting destinations. The primary reason we have done this is to ensure the clarity and comprehensibility of the individual categories; the new categorization involves a combination of criteria and the basis for the classification of destinations into four classes is based on the full range of the index and total scores that fall within it.

The results of this new categorization are presented in detail below. It highlighted that, depending on the supporting capacity, destinations can be divided into four categories that are framed based on the maximum number of participants that can be accommodated without encountering any major logistical turmoil or complications.

L MEETING DESTINATIONS
Destinations that can host up to 2,000 congress attendees

Congress infrastructure (hall capacity) and flight availability on destinations listed here enables the hosting of a congress for up to 2,000 attendees. In the field of congress infrastructure some especially great progress has been made by a number of the destinations, such as Poland and the Baltic countries, where a number of brand new congress centres can be found today. Among the destinations there are also those where the infrastructure is in place, but is in need of extensive renovation, or those that are still waiting for a proper and dedicated convention centre to be built, such as Sarajevo or Zagreb. For this category flight availability is an extremely important criterion and is where major differences and significant competitive advantages can be made.

venice_mtlg

VENICE, Italy
MTLG INDEX: 479

KRAKOW, Poland
MTLG INDEX: 475

graz-austria

GRAZ, Austria
MTLG INDEX: 452

GDANSK, Poland
MTLG INDEX: 446

SALZBURG, Austria
MTLG INDEX: 438

zagreb

ZAGREB, Croatia
MTLG INDEX: 437

vilnius_lithuania

VILNIUS, Lithuania
MTLG INDEX: 435

TALLIN, Estonia
MTLG INDEX: 417

SARAJEVO, Bosnia
MTLG INDEX: 413

BRNO, Czech Republic
MTLG INDEX: 413

KATOWICE, Poland
MTLG INDEX: 404

THESSALONIKI, Greece
MTLG INDEX: 392

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia
MTLG INDEX: 385

ljubljana

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia
MTLG INDEX: 382

INNSBRUCK, Austria
MTLG INDEX: 374

granada

GRANADA, Spain
MTLG INDEX: 370

novi_sad

NOVI SAD, Serbia
MTLG INDEX: 367

MTLG 2017 CATEGORIZATION

The complexity of the meetings industry means there are many possible variables that can contribute to defining the ‘size’ of a destination. We have been looking for those that are frequently considered to be closely connected and interdependent. This aspect of the defining criteria process necessitated a review of existing literature, which is quite limited in that field and is heavily reliant on the statistics prepared by the international association ICCA, which focuses on recording the number of association meetings and their participants at a destination. Our pillar capacity of meeting estinations were calculated based on criteria that were defined with the help of leading experts from various destinations and are as follows:

Air accessibility of destinations

This assessment is based on the European air connectivity report, which is prepared annually by ACI Europe. Analysing connectivity data from the SEO Economic Research’s ‘Netscan’ connectivity model, the report provides in-depth insights into how well Europe is connected by air, both internally and with other regions in the world. It distinguishes between direct and indirect connectivity, and takes a special in-depth look at the dynamics at Europe’s hubs – which act as engines of connectivity for wider outreach.

The number of 4* and 5* category hotel rooms

The development of meeting destination is directly linked to the number of hotel rooms it has, which according to our study reaches at least twice the maximum capacity of the plenary hall at the destination. The single use of rooms is dominated by congress guests and for business tourism, which includes the meetings industry, the use of rooms in the business categories of of 4 and 5 stars is predominant. For that reason, only those hotels are assessed in this category.

The number of 4* and 5* category hotels

To enhance destination comparisons, we also captured the number of 4 and 5 star category hotels that are predominantly used by congress guests. The number of such hotels is a unique indicator of how well a destination is adapted to business tourism and vice versa.

Banquet hall maximum capacity

Practically every congress or event also plays host to a social event or a gala dinner. It is often the case that the maximum capacity of the hall for banquets dictates the maximum size of the congress that the destination is able to accommodate. This criterion is therefore extremely important to our assessment.

The largest hall in the city in m2

The size of the hall further dictates the size of the largest events and accompanying exhibitions that can ordinarily accompany such events. These are normally the multifunctional halls in congress and exhibition centres. This criterion is directly linked to exhibition activity, which is most highly developed in the so-called ‘meeting hubs’.

Maximum hall capacity in theatre layout

Congress centre halls that are suitable for plenary sessions are assessed in this category. To make this a level assessment many sports facilities were excluded, as they typically lack the additional infrastructure required for the organisation of events.

Population

A city or a town’s population tends to be the catalyst for development, transformation and, of course, also the generator of many events. Over the course of history the meetings industry has developed in the urban regions and is therefore considered one of the factors associated with metropolitanisation and the major conurbations in Europe.

MTLG BENCHMARK

The entire methodology of our work had already been upgraded previous year with a system of benchmarking that is carried out for each individual congress destinations, under the name MTLG BENCHMARK.

With our complete methodology we have saved you a lot of your valuable time that would otherwise have been spent in comparing yourself with your main competitors.

Our process is conducted at two different levels:

1. DESTINATION EVALUATION (following the congress MTLG’s methodology)
At this stage destinations are evaluated on all the criteria that are covered in our methodology, including 63 competitive criteria. Based on the destination evaluation a comparative matrix is prepared, which is the basis for the workshop performance of the second stage.

2. BENCHMARK WORKSHOP (with key stakeholders at the destination)
The workshop is designed to evaluate the competitive strengths and weaknesses of a destination and provide the exchange of good case studies in regard to its the further development.

We are confident that our objective evaluation will help event organisers and at the same time allow destinations to implement the further improvements required to overcome their comparative disadvantages.

GET IN TOUCH

For further information regarding the MTLG benchmark we’d love to hear from you, so don’t hesitate to call us to 00386 (0)1 430 51 04, or send an e-mail to gorazd.cad@toleranca.eu.

Evaluation results for 2017 will be published in the summer issue of KONGRES Magazine, which will be available in the last week of June.