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Photo Credit: Marko Delbello Ocepek

For the twelfth year in a row, Kongres Magazine and Conventa will present the Meetings Star Award to the best destinations, hotels, convention centres and influencers of New Europe.

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. Destinations are evaluated based on the Meeting Experience Index matrix, comprising 75 evaluation criteria. The evaluation of hotels and venues is based on the hidden congress guest’s visit, whose assessment comprises 654 evaluation criteria. In addition, the Meetings Star will award the most influential individuals of the regional meetings industry. The online award ceremony will take place on Tuesday, 22 February 2022, at 17.00, and will be broadcasted live from Cankarjev dom in Ljubljana.

Participants can join the online event by registering at the following link: https://bit.ly/3HWbgXU

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Photo Credit: Marko Delbello Ocepek

For 2021/2022, the winners in the following three categories will be announced:

1. Best Meeting Destinations 2021/2022

Among 118 evaluated destinations from 32 countries, the winners will be announced in four categories (XL, L, M, S Destinations).

2. Best Meeting Hotels & Convention Centres 2021/2022

Among 212 certified hotels from 16 countries in New Europe, the winners will be announced in five categories (city, resort, spa and boutique hotels, and convention centres).

3. Most Influential Individuals of New Europe’s Meetings Industry 2021/2022

Influencers were nominated among 230 candidates from 22 countries. The accolades will be awarded in seven categories (most influential destination representatives, meeting agencies, hoteliers, catering service providers, technology providers, innovators, and creative and live marketing agencies).

A. BEST MEETING DESTINATIONS

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XL MEETING DESTINATIONS
Destinations that can host more than 2,000 congress attendees (36 evaluated destinations)

Winner: VIENNA, Austria, with a final mark of 4.75

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L MEETING DESTINATIONS
Destinations that can host up to 2,000 congress attendees (26 evaluated destinations)

Winner: TALLINN, Estonia, with a final mark of 4.52

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M MEETING DESTINATIONS
Destinations that can host up to 1,200 congress attendees (26 evaluated destinations)

Winner: Dubrovnik, Croatia, with a final mark of 4.41

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S MEETING DESTINATIONS
Destinations that can host up to 500 congress attendees (30 evaluated destinations)

Winner: BOHINJ, Slovenia, with a final mark of 4.05

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BEST IN NEW EUROPE
 The best destinations of the New Europe region

WINNER: PRAGUE, Czech Republic, with a final mark of 4,05

The founding father of the methodology, Gorazd Čad, explained: “Our evaluation is primarily a tool for improving the competitiveness of individual destinations. It gives destinations an objective outlook on their offer to constantly improve their offer and help them achieve excellence. As the evaluation is a systematic and continuous process, the progress of individual evaluated criteria can be seen over time. Destinations choose to use our methodology primarily because they wish to become or remain competitive worldwide.”

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Photo Credit: Marko Delbello Ocepek

B. THE BEST MEETING HOTELS IN THE REGION

The Meetings Star is a system of evaluating quality, resulting in a clear-cut answer pertaining to the service of an individual provider, as it is based on the evaluation by the Hidden Congress Guest.

In each category, individual hotels are divided into three sub-categories on the premise of achieved points in the hidden guest evaluation:

GOLD – final mark from 4.81 to 5.00
SILVER – final mark from 4.61 to 4.80
BRONZE – final score from 4.41 to 4.60

THE BEST HOTELS AND CONVENTION CENTRES in 2021 according to the Hidden Congress Guest evaluation:

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CITY MEETING HOTELS
 78 certified hotels

WINNER: ANDAZ VIENNA AM BELVEDERE, Vienna, Austria with a final mark of 4,97

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RESORT MEETING HOTELS
 47 certified hotels

WINNER: GRAND PARK HOTEL ROVINJ, Rovinj, Croatia with a final mark of 4,97

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SPA MEETING HOTELS
 20 certified hotels

WINNER: LOISIUM WINE & SPA HOTEL, Ehrenhausen, Austria with a final mark of 4,88

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BOUTIQUE MEETING HOTELS
 37 certified hotels

WINNER: WINE & HERITAGE HOTEL ROXANICH, Motovun, Croatia with a final mark of 4,96

CONVENTION CENTRES
 29 convention centres

WINNER: ICE KRAKOW CONVENTION CENTRE, Krakow, Poland with a final mark of 4,96

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BEST LARGE MEETING HOTELS IN SLOVENIA
The capacity of the convention centre for more than 50 attendees

WINNER: KEMPINSKI PALACE, Portorose, Slovenia with a final mark of 4,96

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BEST BOUTIQUE MEETING HOTELS IN SLOVENIA
The capacity of the convention centre for less than 50 attendees

WINNER: SUNROSE 7 – HERITAGE BOUTIQUE HOTEL, Bohinjska Bistrica, Slovenia with a final mark of 4,95

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BEST CONVENTION CENTRES IN SLOVENIA
The capacity of the convention centre for more than 500 attendees

WINNER: CANKARJEV DOM, Ljubljana, Slovenia, with a final mark of 4,90

Meetings Star is trusted due to its 15-year tradition of rating congress hotels and convention centres. Since 2007, 461 hotels and 44 convention centres have been evaluated by hidden congress guests. Out of 333 evaluated hotels and venues in 2021, the certificate was awarded to 63,66% of them (212).

Gorazd Čad emphasised: “The hidden congress guest methodology ensures that hotels and convention centres are evaluated objectively. The cornerstone of our methodology was to offer information that is analysable on-site based on a set of criteria and a visit by the hidden congress guest. The Meetings Star Award has become a reference point and a Michelin guide of the meetings industry. Personally, I believe our project fosters the development of the entire meetings industry.”

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Photo Credit: Marko Delbello Ocepek

C. MEETING INFLUENCERS

A novelty in this year’s evaluation is the selection of the most influential people in the regional meetings industry. The two-phased selection concluded with online voting. The list of influencers was viewed by 6.832 people, while 1.711 people cast their votes. The voting poll was open from 10 December 2021 till 21 January 2022.

Kongres Magazine’s selection of the Most Influential People of New Europe has earned recognition from the international meetings industry. The selection is not just another online voting that gives doubtable results. On the contrary, it is a thorough selection of individuals that have left their mark on the regional meetings industry.

For each chosen candidate, the respondents had to fill out a grading scale which comprised five marks (from 1 to 5); 1 meaning that they completely disagree with the statement (terrible), and 5, meaning that they fully agree with the statement (excellent). The final mark was calculated as an average of scores from the following categories:

CREDIBILITY: The candidate is recognised as a highly credible individual within the regional meetings industry.

CREATIVITY: The candidate showcased creativity and agility in their work. Particularly during the corona crisis, they executed innovative projects.

RESULTS: The candidate achieved financial or other multiplicative results that were above average compared to the regional average.

LEGACY: The candidate left a permanent mark by working for the common good of the meetings industry. Even in COVID-19 times, they strived to find a way out of the crisis.

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSON 2021

Ziya ARTUN
General Manager of Atolye Group, Turkey
FINAL SCORE: 4.86/5

Ziya is a professional from head to toe and embodies the new generation of event organisers. His list of award-winning projects is lengthy and features projects recognised throughout Turkey. Ziya’s work and effort have been, likewise, noticed by colleagues across Europe. Perhaps what defines him best is his ability to step into the shoes of his clients and event attendees. It is no surprise he swiftly adapted to the new digital event reality and co-founded the virtual platform Alive. The evaluation board selected Ziya as the top influencer in 2021 for his creativity, professionalism and innovativeness that helped him overcome impediments during the corona crisis.

To learn more about why Ziya earned the recognition read his interview for Kongres Magazine: https://kongres-magazine.eu/2022/02/ziya-artun-our-industry-is-always-one-step-ahead/.

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MOST INFLUENTIAL DESTINATION REPRESENTATIVES (DMO, CVB)

WINNER: Dušan Borovčanin, Serbia Convention Bureau, with a final mark of 4.49

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MOST INFLUENTIAL MEETING AGENCIES (DMC, PCO)

WINNER: Tanja Bogdanov, DMC Vekol, with a final mark of 4.82

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MOST INFLUENTIAL HOTELIERS (HOTELS AND VENUES)

WINNER: Kyriakos Pozrikidis, Helexpo, with a final mark of 4.81

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MOST INFLUENTIAL CATERING SERVICE PROVIDERS 

WINNER: Dada Jerovšek, Kaval Catering, with a final mark of 4.71

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MOST INFLUENTIAL MEETING SERVICE PROVIDERS 

WINNER: Zsolt Kassai, Special Effects Ltd., with a final mark of 4.78

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MOST INFLUENTIAL MEETING INNOVATORS (MARKETING, MICE SERVICES)

WINNER: Nadin Kenderesy, Pr in Hungary, Turizmus.com with a final mark of 4.56

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MOST INFLUENTIAL CREATIVE AND LIVE MARKETING AGENCIES 

WINNER: Ziya Artun, Atolye Group, with a final mark of 4.86

Further information

Natalija Bah Čad;
T: +386 40 822 444,
E: natalija@toleranca.eu

Gorazd Čad;
T: 386 40 530 112,
E: gorazd.cad@toleranca.eu