Two award-winning projects
Gold for Spielefest 2019 as best B2C event
The original Wiener Spielefest games festival took place 31 times in all – including an uninterrupted stretch spanning several decades at the Austria Center Vienna. For commercial reasons, the previous organisers decided to discontinue it. But with Spielefest a firmly-established highlight for families and board game aficionados, the Austria Center Vienna was committed to bringing this popular fixture back and putting its own spin on it as a new-look proprietary event. In 2019, Spielefest returned to the Austria Center Vienna after a three-year break. Amongst the features picked up on by the jury were the spaces set aside for trying out the games on offer, particularly for younger age groups, as well as the appealing overall concept. They also praised the way that the event honoured the traditional board gaming experience, while also breathing fresh life into it. “What was particularly impressive was the belief in and commitment to a great idea, and that was what ultimately led to its success,” as one juror put it. “This praise and the award encourages us to continue along the successful path we have chosen,” Baumann-Söllner explained.
Silver for Covid-19 rapid testing lanes as a valuable company reaction
More than a year ago, the coronavirus pandemic turned our lives upside down overnight and the international congress and event industry was significantly affected. We used the small window in which large-scale events were permitted to run a pilot project involving the Vienna University of Economics and Business. The first of its kind in Europe, it involved setting up a rapid testing facility that would allow students to attend the traditional opening lecture inside the venue in September. To safeguard the wellbeing of those present, all 2,000 students who attended the lecture were tested for Covid-19 prior to entry as an additional precaution. The resulting interest from event organisers, hotels, hospitals, national and international media, business and politicians was overwhelming. All of the processes and insights were published on the website as a white paper and adopted by numerous other organisers. The insights gained during the pilot project fed into numerous Covid-19 prevention measures and were used to fine-tune the nation’s largest testing facility.
Best practice: bold initiative for the entire industry
The jury praised the rapid and bold initiative which was put in place in response to the pandemic, as well as the value added for organisers and other sectors. “Exceptional circumstances call for exceptional ideas. A great initiative to give this hard-hit industry a chance – and all in a very short space of time,” was one juror’s verdict. “I would also like to flag up how the insights gained in this area are immediately passed on, so that as many ventures and people can benefit from them quickly,” another jury member added. “Besides vaccinations, at the Austria Center Vienna we think rapid testing will have a major part to play – as an admission ticket to help us to return to normality and for future events. We are also proud of our valuable contribution to combating the pandemic through the testing and vaccination lanes we are currently operating at the venue on behalf of the City of Vienna. This allows us to do our bit to bring great events like Spielefest back to the Austria Center Vienna as soon as possible,” Baumann-Söllner concluded.