This year, Kongres Magazine and Conventa will award the annual Meetings Star Awards to the leading meeting destinations, hotels, convention centres and influencers in the region of New Europe. The coveted awards will celebrate thirteen years of awarding excellence.

Since its inception, the coveted award has become recognised among event organisers in the meetings industry as one of the only awards based on precisely defined criteria and standards. The assessors evaluate a destination based on the Meeting Experience Index, which includes 75 evaluation criteria. Hotels and venues are evaluated based on the visit of the hidden congress guest, who assesses their quality on the basis of 654 evaluation criteria. For the second time, influencers of the regional meetings industry will be awarded. The gala award ceremony will take place live on Wednesday, 1 February 2023, at 19.00 in Gallus Hall in Cankarjev dom.

The Meetings Star Awards 2022/2023 will be announced in three main categories:

A. Best Meeting Destinations in 2022/2023

Among 125 evaluated destinations from 33 countries, winners will be announced in four categories (XL, L, M and S destinations) and an additional category that includes destinations in New Europe.

B. Best Meeting Hotels and Convention Centres in 2022/2023

Among 238 certified hotels from 18 countries of New Europe, the Meetings Star Award will honour the winners in five categories (city, resort, spa, boutique meeting hotels and convention centres).

C. Most Influential People in 2022/2023

The most influential people in the regional meetings industry were selected among 242 candidates from 24 countries. The prestigious award will be awarded to one trailblazing influencer. We selected the winner out of eight categories: representatives of destinations, meeting agencies, hoteliers, catering service providers, technology providers, meeting innovators, creative and live marketing agencies and experts in sustainable event organising.

The founding father of the methodology, Gorazd Čad, explained: “Our evaluation is, above all, a tool to improve the competitiveness of individual destinations. It offers destinations an external view of their offer with the aim to drive constant growth and help destinations achieve excellence. As the process is systematic and continuous, the improvement of an individual evaluation criterion can be observed over time. Destinations use our methodology predominantly because they wish to become or stay competitive worldwide. Our research, furthermore, provides up-to-date qualitative and quantitative information to advance the strategic development of destinations.”


The hidden guest assessors evaluate the quality of destinations based on the Meeting Experience Index matrix that includes 75 evaluation criteria.

The winning destinations are the best ambassadors of their countries and deserve recognition for their exceptional results. Thus, it is our honour to present the best of the best in 2022/2023 and congratulate them on behalf of the team behind the project.

Destinations that can host more than 2,000 congress attendees (39 evaluated destinations)

Winner: VIENNA, Austria, with a final mark of 4.78

Vienna has been placed first on our list since the very beginning of our evaluation. The recipe for their success lies in the close connection among attendees, organisers, and the city itself. There are cities in the world that can prove quite stressful for event participants, and then there is Vienna. It is a smart city that continuously grows while at the same time reducing its use of natural resources. During the corona crisis, Vienna became home to numerous meeting industry innovations. Several start-ups have become trendsetters. Numerous events rapidly transformed into hybrid and digital formats. On top of a well-developed industry, Vienna is a smart city of the future and the best meeting destination in 2022/2023.

Destinations that can host up to 2,000 congress attendees (29 evaluated destinations)

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

Tallinn remains one of the most compact cities in Europe. There are not many cities where you can see such a variety of different eras side by side. In recent years, Tallinn has finally opened up and become the accessible seaside capital that it is. Tourism is a branch of the economy that develops fast in Tallinn. According to the Tallinn strategic plan for 2025, the capital of Estonia will become a centre of festival and event tourism in the Baltic Sea region. The sprawling development of the city includes The Tallinn Cruise Terminal building, a welcomed addition, which has become one of the most popular event spaces in the city.

Destinations that can host up to 1,200 congress attendees (27 evaluated destinations)

Winner: Dubrovnik, Croatia, with a final mark of 4.35

Dubrovnik is the flagship of the regional meetings industry and an exceptional mixture of nature and history. Dubrovnik will continue to stay the leading and most iconic regional meeting destination. The city is not just a backdrop for movie productions, as recent groundbreaking changes include renovating and improving the quality of its hotels and advancing services concerning sustainable development. Dubrovnik is a city that has a special flair and tradition and remains the Monte Carlo of the Adriatic. It is capable of hosting even the most demanding events. Cooperation at the destination is particularly praiseworthy and is another reason why the leading Adriatic meeting destination is head and shoulders above the competition.

Destinations that can host up to 600 congress attendees (30 evaluated destinations)

Winner: BOHINJ, Slovenia, with a final mark of 4.06

Bohinj built its sustainable story step by step. The destination embodies five-star, boutique, and green destinations that Slovenia has become known for. With its latest hotel additions, Bohinj has proved to be one of the hottest, most appealing, and most authentic Slovenian meeting destinations. If you are a lover of pristine nature and sustainable stories, Bohinj is where you will find one of the most authentic Alpine meeting destinations. Bohinj is a place created for sustainable conference programmes and active incentive experiences. It is a place where you can drink water from the public water supply and its clean streams without any hesitation.

 The leading meeting destinations in New Europe

WINNER: ATHENS, Greece, with a final mark of 4.62

Athens is a historic city with excellent connectivity to the rest of the world and where you will find infrastructure befitting a major European capital, but with better weather and in a more interesting location. The Athens allure includes 300 days of sunshine a year, more than 30,000 hotel rooms in 439 hotels, 95,000 sq.m of conference space, 1,000+ restaurants and 200,000 flights per year. All major hotels in the city underwent refurbishment for the 2004 Olympics. Athens is an attractive destination in its own, very special way. It is a unique combination of the old and the new, set in a spectacular Mediterranean landscape.



The MEETINGS STAR is a holistic methodology of evaluating quality, resulting in a clear answer regarding a provider’s services, as it is based on the hidden congress guest evaluation.

In each category, individual hotels and venues are segmented into three sub-categories in light of the points they achieved in the evaluation by the hidden congress guest:

GOLDEN: final mark from 4.81 to 5.00
SILVER: final mark from 4.61 to 4.80
BRONZE: final mark from 4.41 to 4.60

According to the evaluation by our hidden congress guests, THE BEST MEETING HOTELS AND CONVENTION CENTRES in 2022/2023 are:

85 certified hotels

WINNER: ANANTARA NEW YORK PALACE, Budapest, Hungary with a final mark of 4.98

Anantara New York Palace Budapest is possibly the most prestigious, traditional and legendary hotel in Budapest that meets high expectations. That is no easy feat when guests expect only the best of a hotel. During the latest renovation, the designers followed the concept of evolving the existing story set by the Boscolo hotel chain. Although having countless advantages, we deem the staff to be the hotel’s greatest asset. The conference centre is inspiring and modern, edging out its city competition. We have no doubt that the hotel is one of the most comfortable and sophisticated in New Europe, pushing the envelope of luxury city meeting hotels. The hotel passed the demanding challenge of transitioning from the old Boscolo Hotel to the new institution with flying colours. Even though it has a few drawbacks, the management can solve them in a blink of an eye. The excellent hotel service of this refined gem outshines the astounding architectural design. Hats off to Anantara Budapest.

It is our honour to pronounce it as the MEETINGS STAR in the category of CITY MEETING HOTELS.


57 certified hotels

WINNER: FALKENSTEINER SCHLOSSHOTEL VELDEN, Velden, Austria with a final mark of 4.98

In their final evaluation, the hidden guest assessor noted that the hotel is led with German precision and flaunts Austrian charm. It is unparalleled in the regional meeting industry in terms of comfort. What makes it stand out is the professionality, heartfelt approach and youthful enthusiasm displayed by the hotel staff. They excel in their job. In our opinion, this is the essence of any top-tier meeting hotel. Upon meeting an inspiring and enthusiastic hotel apprentice in the hotel, guests can grasp the concept of the meetings industry. Falkensteiner Schlosshotel Velden not only deserves the award as a superb hotel but as an inspiration to the youth who want to work in our industry because of such hotels. The slogan “Welcome Home” is well-deserved!


23 certified hotels

WINNER: LOISIUM WINE & SPA HOTEL, Ehrenhausen, Austria with a final mark of 4.88

The Southern Styria wine region is an excellent example of a land that lives and breathes wine tourism. There are four reasons why Loisium won in this category- firstly, the exceptional architecture. Secondly, the local-infused cuisine. Thirdly, the wine story that astonishes congress guests. Lastly, the wine spa centre differentiates the hotel from its competition. The congress centre is the hotel’s centrepiece, elevated by the elegant outdoor surface suitable for hosting events. Loisium Wine & Spa Hotel Ehrenhausen stands out from the crowd because it prioritises organising events. It is no wonder that hotel guests and, more importantly, event organisers have become enchanted by the hotel that has earned itself the top spot in our evaluation of best spa hotels.


44 certified hotels

WINNER: MENEGHETTI WINE HOTEL & WINERY, Bale, Croatia with a final mark of 4.97

The hotel, a member of the elite Relais & Châteaux hotel collection, became one of the most polished and complete regional wine hotels in 2022. With a new wine cellar and tasting area, Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery evolved from a luxurious hotel with an award-winning restaurant to a unique venue for events. The estate bets its story on the authenticity of its terroir. Most importantly, the hotel ensures guests indulge in wines and gastronomy according to their sustainable zero-kilometre principle. Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery stands out from the crowd with its guest-oriented concept, excellent service and refined wine story.


29 certified convention centres

WINNER: ICE KRAKOW CONVENTION CENTRE, Krakow, Poland with a final mark of 4.96

ICE Krakow’s smart design can be interpreted as the ideal combination of congress halls with a fixed setting and multifunctional halls. 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 and resilience to work in the interest of the entire industry.

The congress centre’s architecture, the excellence of the main hall and the fantastic team impressed us the most. Indeed, there are more spacious and larger congress centres out there. However, the entire package of ICE Krakow is incredibly balanced and convincing. It is no coincidence that ICCA chose ICE Krakow for its world congress in 2022.


40 certified hotels

WINNER: KEMPINSKI PALACE, Portorož, Slovenia with a final mark of 4.91

Since its inception, Kempinski Palace Portorož has served as a meeting hub for events and meetings. Crystal Hall is its crown jewel and historic venue, unrivalled in the Adriatic. Likewise, the conference centre and interior appear in mint condition after fourteen years, even though not as sensational as upon opening. The latest investments show that the owners understand the importance of maintaining quality in luxury hotels. On the other hand, there are noticeable discrepancies in the style of recently renovated rooms in the new part of the hotel.

When organising events at Hotel Kempinski Palace, expectations are high. The hotel easily meets the expectations in terms of hotel service. An outstanding team that works like a well-oiled machine justifies the reputation of the Kempinski hotel chain. However, we were left ambivalent by the weariness of the hotel. Nothing is lacking in the hotel, yet Kempinski should strive for perfection. Thus, we eagerly await their announced renovation. From the viewpoint of added value, we can dub the hotel an expensive yet great choice.


15 certified hotels

WINNER: SUNROSE 7 – HERITAGE BOUTIQUE HOTEL, Bohinjska Bistrica, Slovenia with a final mark of 4.95

If we were to judge by Hotel Sunrose 7, Bohinj is set for a tourism resurrection. With the addition of the hotel, the destination shifted focus to authentic tourism with a high added value. The hotel succeeded by implementing countless details that tell the tale of its history and destination. The hotel deserves the top spot in our evaluation because of the youthful and highly professional staff. The signature local breakfast is another reason on its own to visit the hotel. The hotel does not offer classic conference halls. Instead, there are many spots, like a wine cellar, magical garden, cafe and lobby, which seem to have been made for unconventional meetings. Hidden gems like Sunrose 7 can positively transform an entire destination and blow the whistle on unsustainable mass tourism.


10 certified hotels

WINNER: CANKARJEV DOM, Ljubljana, Slovenia, with a final mark of 4.90

Without Cankarjev dom and its team, the Slovenian meetings industry would not be what it is today. Slovenia’s cultural and convention meeting point is where Slovenian history was written. Cankarjev dom has been the heart of creative congresses and events in Slovenia for the past four decades. Our last evaluation has shown that it has brilliantly adapted to the new corona reality. Regardless of the crisis, the convention centre continued with the renovation and implemented new digital services. With the latest refurbishments, all halls are now more diverse, comfortable, appealing and, more importantly, adapted to modern technological demands. Congress and event attendees can enjoy the rich cultural offer anytime. That is why, according to our evaluation, Cankarjev dom belongs to the top five convention centres in this part of Europe.


Altogether, 238 certificates were awarded for 2022. Since the start of the evaluation, we have evaluated 499 hotels and 44 convention centres. Only 43% were awarded the certificate of excellence.

Gorazd Čad emphasised: “The hidden congress guest methodology ensures that meeting 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 sort of Michelin guide for the meetings industry. Personally, I believe our project fosters the development of the entire meetings industry.”


In 2022, we continued selecting the most influential people in the regional meetings industry. Now in its ninth edition, the two-phased selection ended with online voting. The list of influencers was viewed by a record-breaking 5937 event organisers, while 1611 cast their votes.

This year’s selection has shown a balanced ratio between male and female candidates. Thus, among 242 candidates, 48,15% were female representatives, and 51,85% were male nominees.

The selection of the Most Influential People of New Europe has earned recognition from the international meetings industry through Kongres Magazine’s partner network. Only individuals who meet strict criteria are placed on the list. Each candidate is segmented into various comparable categories. That is one of the reasons why the selection has become a credible and professional platform.

The nominees are evaluated based on clear criteria on a scale from 1 to 5:

1. CREDIBILITY: Trust and credibility are two core values in event organising. The candidate is recognised as a highly credible individual in the regional meetings industry.

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

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

4. 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.


Director of Serbia Convention Bureau

Dušan Borovčanin is one of the most recognisable influencers of the younger generation in the regional meetings industry. He successfully combines his academic and professional career. Alongside his role as the Director of the Serbia Convention Bureau, he has become an established Assistant Professor at Singidunum University and Visiting Professor at EM Strasbourg Business School. Dušan is blazing the trail for Serbia as a leading international meeting destination. In addition, he focuses on connecting the region, where his expertise and positive approach are always appreciated. Dušan Borovčanin is thus an inspiration for the younger generations who wish to actively engage in the meetings industry, which is quickly transforming into a high-tech industry. We believe that Dušan’s multidisciplinary knowledge and approach represent the future of the meetings industry.

To learn more about why Dušan earned the recognition read his interview for Kongres Magazine here.



WINNER: Shlomi Ashkenazi, EventMagix, with a final mark of 4.78



WINNER: Jaka Gornik, Confiva, with a final mark of 4.90


WINNER: Falko Siecke, Terra Catering, with a final mark of 4.89


WINNER: Spasenija Kika Purić, Montenegro Stars Hotel Group, with a final mark of 4.86


WINNER: Andrew Hulewicz, Mazurkas Travel, with a final mark of 4.82


WINNER: Dušan Borovčanin, Serbia Convention Bureau, with a final mark of 4.99



WINNER: Boštjan Prijanovič, New Moment, with a final mark of 4.98


WINNER: Nika Brunet Milunovič, Metal Days, with a final mark of 4.87


75Evaluation criteria for destinations (Meeting Experience Index)
654Evaluation criteria for meeting hotels and venues (Hidden Congress Guest)
125Evaluated destinations from 33 countries
39Evaluated destinations in the XL category (destinations that can host more than 2,000 attendees)
29Evaluated destinations in the L category (destinations that can host up to 2,000 attendees)
27Evaluated destinations in the M category (destinations that can host up to 1,200 attendees)
30Evaluated destinations in the S category (destinations that can host up to 600 attendees)
238Certified hotels and convention centres from 18 countries
85Certified hotels in category A – City Meeting Hotels
57Certified hotels in category B – Resort Meeting Hotels
23Certified hotels in category C – Spa Meeting Hotels
44Certified hotels in category D – Boutique Meeting Hotels
29Certified hotels in category E – Convention Centres
242Nominated influencers from 23 countries


After several years of preparation, we will start certifying events according to our in-house methodology, tried and tested on the Conventa project. The project will officially commence in the second half of 2023.

The gala award ceremony will take place live on Wednesday, 1 February 2023, at 19.00 in Gallus Hall in Cankarjev dom.

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