The Meetings Star Award has been awarded for the past twelve years by the editorial board of Kongres Magazine and Conventa to the best destinations, meeting hotels and individuals. The gala ceremony for the winners will take place on Tuesday, 22 February 2022 at 17.00 online.

Since its inception, the Meetings Star Award has become a recognised accolade by event organisers and the industry. It is considered one of the rare awards based on comprehensive criteria and standards. The evaluated hotels and destinations are assessed by hidden congress guests. They are industry professionals with rich experience in event organising and extensive knowledge in the hotel business. Furthermore, the assessors have verified references in ensuring the quality of their work in the meetings industry, thus ensuring clients get objective insight and the reliability of the methodology. Our hidden guest assessors strive for objectivity, are fair, meticulous, reliable, well-organised and pay attention to detail. The evaluation matrix comprises over 500 tangible criteria, divided into various categories. Further information regarding the evaluation can be found at http://www.secret-congress-guest.eu/.

Before the event in February, it is our honour to present the best convention centres in the fifth category – CONVENTION CENTRES.

This year, we evaluated 29 convention centres, the same number we assessed in our previous evaluation. The evaluated convention centres come from 14 countries, and most of them are located in Austria, Slovenia and Bulgaria. The development of the MICE product in individual countries is reflected in the number of convention centres. Since the start of our evaluation, 38 convention centres have been evaluated, 76% of them acquiring the certificate. We are currently assessing three new convention centres that we will present in February.

An analysis of the age of individual convention centres, presented in detail below, shows an intriguing situation. A surprising 55% of convention centres are relatively new and were built after 2000. Only a handful of convention centres (17%) were constructed before 1970. For the premier time, we analysed the structure of individual convention centres, thus offering an insight into the state of the market.

On average, evaluated convention centres boast 18,7 congress halls. The majority (42,8%) offers from 11 to 20 congress halls. The average size of the convention centres’ largest congress hall is 3167 m2, with 38% of convention centres offering halls that can capacitate from 1000 to 2000 attendees. In a theatre setting, the average hall can accept up to 2484 attendees, for receptions 2589, and in a banquet setting, 1721 attendees.

Convention centres can be considered strategic infrastructure of any serious destination regarding the surface area. A remarkable 41% of evaluated convention centres offer space from 20.000 to 50.000 m2. Only a handful of them, on the other hand, offer a surface area smaller than 5.000 m2 (20,7%). In this part of Europe, vast convention centres with a surface area stretching over 50.000 m2 are rare. Only four such can be found in the largest congress capitals of the region – Vienna, Athens and Istanbul. You can learn more details in the analytical segment below.

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Photo: Aljaž Čad

Among all convention centres, the hidden guest assessors marked the following elements of the offer as best (out of 29 convention centres):

4.95 Security and Emergency
4.95 Safety
4.91 Quality – Conference Space
4.90 Quality – Interner Connectivity
4.90 Quality – Multimedia System
4.89 Access to Power and Com Lines
4.88 Quality – Acoustics and Sound
4.86 Quality – Lighting
4.85 Quality – Conference Inventory
4.84 Location
4.84 Quality Lobby

The most prominent part of the offer of most convention centres is technical equipment, safety, and usually the location of individual convention centres.

Categories that received lower marks, on the other hand, were the following:

4.51 Accessibility
4.59 Additional Offer
4.58 Sustainability Practices
4.65 Communication & Marketing
4.71 Catering
4.78 Customer Service
4.79 Business Centre
4.82 Employee Behaviour
4.81 First Impression at arrival

Convention centres still have room for improvement in improving their additional offer, sustainable development, developing new services and not least, digitalisation. Modern digital marketing goes hand in hand with the level of digitalisation of individual convention centres.

The average final mark of evaluated convention centres is 4,80, slightly higher than the final mark from our evaluation in 2020/2021 (4,79). Nonetheless, we have noticed a distinct difference between convention centres within the category. Agile convention centres have improved significantly in all parts of their offer, even in the corona period, whereas other convention centres are in hibernation, waiting for the crisis to be over.

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10 BEST CONVENTION CENTRES IN 2021

WINNER: ICE KRAKOW CONGRESS CENTRE
Final Mark: 4.96

A huge advantage of the centre is its functional design that embellishes the centre’s crown jewel, the Auditorium hall. ICE Krakow’s smart design can be interpreted as the ideal combination of congress halls with a fixed setting and multifunctional halls such as the Chamber Hall. Even though we have said much about ICE Krakow, it is only righteous to recap its essence. Projects such as Krakow Network Protocol have placed ICE Krakow on the very top of our list. Only a handful of congress centres around the world have proven such agility, resilience and diligence to work in the interest of the entire industry.

The congress centre’s architecture, the excellence of the main auditorium and the fantastic team operating like a well-oiled machine impressed us most. Indeed, there are more spacious and larger congress centres out there. However, the entire package of ICE Krakow is incredibly balanced and convincing. All combined, ICE Krakow is among the best of the best. More importantly, event organisers will feel at home at the centre. It is no coincidence that ICCA chose ICE Krakow for its world congress in 2022. We full-heartedly recommend opting for it, not least because you will pay much less for renting halls than in more famed congress centres.

Read the full Hidden Guest evaluation here.

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Photo Credit: ICE Krakow Congress Centre

TOP TEN BEST CONVENTION CENTRES IN 2021

1. ICE Krakow Congress Centre, Krakow, Poland – final mark: 4.96
Read more here

2. Austria Center Vienna, Vienna, Austria – final mark: 4.95
Read more here

3. Baku Convention Centre, Baku, Azerbaijan– final mark: 4.94
Read more here

4. Ferry Porsche Congress Centre, Zell am See, Austria – final mark: 4.91
Read more here

4. Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana, Slovenia – final mark: 4.91
Read more here

5. Hofburg Vienna, Vienna, Austria – final mark: 4.90
Read more here

6. Salzburg Congress Centre, Salzburg, Austria – final mark: 4.89
Read more here

7. IEC Ekaterinburg Expo, Ekaterinburg, Russia – final mark: 4.88
Read more here

8. ICC Katowice, Katowice, Poland – final mark: 4.86
Read more here

9. Congress Centre Sarajevo, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina – final mark: 4.85
Read more here

9. Halic Congress Centre, Istanbul, Turkey – final mark: 4.85
Read more here

10. Brdo Congress Centre, Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia – final mark: 4.84
Read more here

10. Congress Graz, Graz, Austria – final mark: 4.84
Read more here

10. Šibenik Convention Centre, Šibenik, Croatia – final mark: 4.84
Read more here

We sincerely congratulate the best convention centres and wish them a successful congress year of 2022.

On the day of the online gala ceremony, taking place on Tuesday, 22 February 2022, we will award the winners with prestigious accolades. Furthermore, all Meeting Star certificate recipients will be announced for 2021. In the category of resort hotels, the following certificates, divided into three sub-categories on the premise of achieved points in the hidden guest evaluation, will be announced:

18 GOLD certificates – final score from 4.81 to 5.00
8 SILVER certificates – final score from 4.61 to 4.80
4 BRONZE certificates – final score from 4.41 to 4.60

You are cordially invited to attend the award ceremony. To confirm your attendance, fill out the following registration form: https://form.123formbuilder.com/6079495/meetings-star-award-ceremony-2021.

All certificate recipients can be found in Kongres Magazine’s venue and hotel finder FIND VENUES at https://kongres-magazine.eu/search-venues/. You can seek hotels according to the certificate or final mark.

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BRIEF ANALYSIS OF EVALUATED CONVENTION CENTRES

In this year, we conducted an in-depth analysis of the evaluation results. Below, we present some of our most intriguing findings for the premier time:

Open sincePercentage
Before 197017,24%
1970 – 198010,34%
1980 – 199010,34%
1990 – 20006,90%
2000 – 201024,14%
After 201031,03%
Number of meeting roomsNumber of convention centresPercentageAverage size
1 to 526,90%3
6 to 10413,79%8,8
11 to 201448,28%15,4
21 to 30620,69%24,3
More than 31310,34%46,3
Average18,70
Surface area (sqm)Number of convention centresPercentageAverage size
Up to 5.000 sqm620,69%3.352
5.001 to 10.000 sqm413,79%8.750
10.001 to 20.000 sqm310,34%16.867
20.001 to 50.000 sqm1241,38%35.627
More than 50.000 sqm413,79%109.500
Average33.491 sqm
Largest hall (sqm)Number of convention centresPercentageAverage size
Up to 1000 sqm620,69%678
1.001 to 2.000 sqm1137,93%1.396
2.001 to 5.000 sqm827,59%3.429
5.001 to 10.000 sqm26,90%7.000
More than 10.001 sqm26,90%15.500
Average3167 sqm
Max. capacity (theatre)Number of convention centresPercentageAverage size
0 to 500 participants26,90%490
501 to 1000 participants517,24%883
1001 to 2000 participants1034,38%1424
2001 to 5000 participants1137,39%3673
Over 5000 participants13,45%12000
Average2484
Max. capacity (reception)Number of convention centresPercentageAverage size
0 to 500 participants517,24%380
501 to 1000 participants724,14%927
1001 to 2000 participants620,69%1500
2001 to 5000 participants931,03%3409
Over 5000 participants26,90%13500
Average2589
Max. capacity (banquet)Number of convention centresPercentageAverage size
0 to 500 participants724,14%328
501 to 1000 participants1034,48%811
1001 to 2000 participants517,24%1400
2001 to 5000 participants620,69%3417
Over 5000 participants13,45%12000
Average1721

MEETINGS STAR AWARD NIGHT

You are cordially invited to join us for the announcement of the winners, taking place on 22 February 2022 at 17.00.

You can reserve your place by filling out the REGISTRATION FORM.