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UNCOVERING THE HIDDEN SURPRISES OF NEW EUROPE

MTLG - KONGRES MEETOLOGUES

WHAT IS THE MEETING EXPERIENCE INDEX OR MTLG?

A decade ago, at Toleranca Marketing agency, we developed a system of evaluating congress destinations with the help of an original matrix dubbed the “MEETING EXPERIENCE INDEX” or simply MTLG – MEETOLOGUE. Since the inception of evaluating destinations, we have been diligently using the reference system to present a realistic offer of congress destinations through time. Up to now, 118 destinations have been evaluated, including every important congress destination of the South East and New Europe region.

The system is a systematic, structured and analytical process, encompassing numerous factors labelled as important by event organisers. We dare say that our evaluation is the most comprehensive and complex destination grading system. The evaluation is not based solely on the number of congress events taking place at a destination but also delves into analysis holistically.

In our opinion, the analyses of destinations conducted so far had the following drawbacks:

  • The comparisons were focused on one product; predominantly these were events of international expert associations. A typical example is the ICCA Country and City Ranking.
  • The comparisons did not take into account the maximum capacities of destinations. Apples and oranges were often compared, even though there are buyers for various destinations with varying capacities and more importantly, buyers searching for different products. The corona crisis has furthered this gap.
  • The comparisons did not take into consideration the possibility of a crisis happening, and consequently, analyses could not be conducted during the time of crisis.

Therefore, our methodology is complex and addresses all segments of the meetings industry and all key MICE products. Furthermore, the methodology is resilient to crises.

Congress travelogues or meetologues that have been evaluated by the Meeting Experience Index, have thus throughout a decade become a cornerstone for event organisers when deciding and choosing a destination. They have become the bedrock for choosing destinations because of the methodology’s logic and the benefits the system brings to all stakeholders. We are also convinced that our evaluations enable destinations to improve in areas where their competitors have the advantage.

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XL MEETING DESTINATIONS

Destinations that can host more than 2,000 congress attendees
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L MEETING DESTINATIONS

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

Destinations that can host up to 1,200 congress attendees
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S MEETING DESTINATIONS

Destinations that can host up to 500 congress attendees
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XL-MEETING DESTINATIONS

L-MEETING DESTINATIONS

M-MEETING DESTINATIONS

S-MEETING DESTINATIONS

WHAT IS NEW EUROPE?

THE BEST OF THE BEST BETWEEN VENICE AND BAKU AND MOSCOW AND ISTANBUL

The answer to this question is something of an unsolved conundrum. A clear definition of New Europe doesn’t exist, the most general definition being that these are the countries of Eastern Europe that were once behind the Iron Curtain. Technically, this means 24 countries of Eastern Europe, adding Greece and Turkey to them. In our Editorial, we include the fresh, energetic and lesser-known European destinations in New Europe.

MEETING EXPERIENCE INDEX:

Is the final score given to a destination after going through 75 strict evaluation criteria. It places the destination among 118 other meeting destinations from Europe and the world.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF COMPARING DESTINATIONS?

Our grade is primarily a tool to improve the competitiveness of individual destinations. It offers destinations an external view of their offer with the desire to drive constant growth and help destinations achieve excellence. As the process is systematic and continuative, through time, the improvement of an individual evaluation criterion can be observed. Destinations use our methodology predominantly because they wish to become or stay competitive worldwide.

The purpose of the research is also to ensure suitable qualitative and quantitative data that can be used in the field of strategic development or preparing a marketing action plan.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Each destination is evaluated based on fieldwork combined with extensive research of individual criteria. This approach enables us to get a realistic picture of the situation. Furthermore, we are obliged to actuality, reality, transparency and objectivity. Each year, the marks and congress meetologues are revised and corrected with up-to-date information sent to us directly from the destinations themselves.

A total of 118 destinations from the wider region of New Europe and beyond are included in the categorisation and evaluation. The various categories give event organisers a spectrum of choices to decide on a destination that suits their needs. A category is thus a guideline for what type of event a particular destination can host from the aspect of logistics and event capacity. Our categorisation includes an array of criteria, whereas the grading system of indices represents the foundation to classify the destinations into four destination tiers.

XL CONGRESS DESTINATIONS
Destinations that can host more than 2,000 congress attendees
The premier category features destinations that are the biggest European congress destinations, offering superb congress infrastructure and outstanding air travel accessibility. The aforementioned destinations are predominantly major international crossroads for air travel.

L CONGRESS DESTINATIONS
Destinations that can host up to 2,000 congress attendees
The congress infrastructure and air accessibility of these destinations enable the organisation of congresses for up to 2,000 attendees.

M CONGRESS DESTINATIONS
Destinations that can host up to 1,200 congress attendees
Perhaps the most heterogeneous category, the M category boasts regional capitals and larger tourist cities.

S CONGRESS DESTINATIONS
Destinations that can host up to 500 congress attendees
The last category is full of smaller tourist destinations where congress activity is a secondary activity during the low tourist season.

USE OF THE BENCHMARK IN PRACTICE USING THE EXAMPLE OF THE ADRIATIC REGION

dubrovnik_croatia

MAXIMUM HOLDING CAPACITY OF COMPARED DESTINATIONS

CASE STUDY OF THE ADRIATIC REGION


Below is a case study of a benchmark for the Adriatic region (the mark includes larger Adriatic cities and tourist hotspots boasting a developed MICE product and belonging to the M-category):

  • Budva M-destination
  • Tivat M-destination
  • Dubrovnik M-destination
  • Opatija M-destination
  • Portorož M-destination
  • Split M-destination
  • Rijeka M-destination
Benchmark 2020:  

ADRIATIC REGION

 

BUDVATIVATDUBROVNIKOPATIJAPORTOROŽSPLITRIJEKA
Destination Category MMMMMMM
Destination population36.73936.73942.61511.6592.849178.10297.910
The number of 4* and 5* category hotel rooms36203834272197145001525450
The number of 4* and 5* category hotels4314292216284
Banquet hall maximum capacity360120700600700450180
Maximum hall capacity in theatre style80020012009001100800677
The largest hall in the city (in m2)50021590017281085768250

Comparison of individual criterion for maximum capacity have shown the following characteristics: 

The number of 4* and 5* category hotel rooms

The development of a congress destination is intrinsically connected with the number of hotel rooms, which according to our research exceed the capacity of a destination’s largest plenary hall by two times. Among congress guests, so-called single occupancy of hotel rooms is prevalent. A quick overview of this criterion shows that Dubrovnik, Portorož and Budva lead the pack. 

The number of 4* and 5* category hotels

The number of hotels in these two categories is an indicator of how well a congress destination has adjusted to business tourism and vice versa. Moreover, the indicator shows the structure of accommodation and is in direct correlation with the number of hotels.

Banquet hall maximum capacity

Almost every congress or event features social events and gala dinners. It is often the case that the maximum capacity of a destination’s largest banquet hall defines the size of a congress a destination can host. In this regard, Dubrovnik, Opatija and Portorož offer the best conditions. 

The largest hall in the city (in m2)

This criterion determines the size of the largest events and accompanying exhibitions that usually go hand in hand with such events. Chiefly, multifunctional halls in congress centres or exhibition centres offer the largest hall of a destination. In regard to multifunctional halls and surface area, Portorož and Dubrovnik take the top spot, as they can both host the most demanding congresses or event productions. 

Maximum hall capacity in theatre style

Sports facilities aside, the capacities in this category are smaller than competitive destinations. For a braver approach to development, newly designated halls should be created, which could accept larger congress groups. 

Destination population

A destination’s population is the carrier of a city’s development, its transformation and the generator of numerous events. Throughout history, the congress and meetings industry has developed in highly urbanised regions. The meetings industry is irrevocably connected to metropolisation and the main city agglomerations in Europe. 

COMPARISON OF THE FINAL MARKS OF DESTINATIONS

The comparison of final marks of destinations offers a glimpse into the state of the meetings industry and highlights key areas where further development is needed. A more detailed approach towards individual criteria enables destinations to coordinate communication, destination management and other aspects of their development. 

Benchmark 2020:  

ADRIATIC REGION  
x̄=3.99

BUDVATIVATDUBROVNIKOPATIJAPORTOROŽSPLITRIJEKA
MEETING EXPERIENCE INDEX  3.833.964.394.044.033.903.84
1. Natural and cultural factors4.624.894.954.794.774.694.61
2. General and transport infrastructure4.494.554.624.694.604.644.56
3. Tourist infrastructure4.754.884.914.794.604.844.64
4. Meeting infrastructure4.704.754.814.874.734.534.25
5. Subjective grade4.674.794.844.834.764.734.61
6. Marketing Buzz4.164.604.454.444.474.083.96
7. ICCA Index1.021.023.801.021.251.621.02
8. Numbeo – Quality of Life Index 3.103.273.493.493.663.023.50
9. Numbeo – Safety Index 3.893.894.894.744.653.794.49
10. ACI – Airport Connectivity Index 2.922.923.182.782.783.102.78

Below are two matrices for two Adriatic destinations in Montenegro:

TIVAT, final mark 3.96
+ Advantages– Disadvantages
5.00 Natural diversity4.02 Accessibility rail
5.00 Climate and Weather4.05 Effective convention bureau activities
5.00 Natural experience index4.15 Accessibility road
4.98 Accessibility to nature4.39 Direct marketing and communication
4.96 Restaurant scene4.42 Public transport
4.96 Nightlife4.45 Convention and exhibition centres
4.95 Social environment4.48 Accessibility air
4.95 Variety of bars and coffee shops4.49 Airport
4.95 Leisure activities4.51 Mobile marketing and communication
4.95 Quality of meeting hotels4.52 Congress ambassador programme
4.95 Ratio of 4 and 5***** hotel rooms4.53 Social network and community

 

BUDVA, final mark 3.83
+ Advantages– Disadvantages
5.00 Climate and Weather3.09 Architecture
4.99 Nightlife4.01 Shopping
4.95 Natural experience index4.02 Direct marketing and communication
4.95 Restaurant scene4.09 Digital marketing and communication
4.95 Leisure activities4.12 Sustainable measures 
4.92 Natural diversity4.12 Sustainability satisfaction
4.92 Variety of bars and coffee shops4.13 Content marketing  
4.91 Incentive programmes and offer4.14 Accessibility road
4.90 Political stability4.17 Mobile marketing and communication
4.89 Congress hotels and their quality4.21 Accessibility rail
4.89 Security ratings4.21 Events and experience marketing
4.88 Sports activities4.21 Congress ambassador programme

The benchmark gives a quick and undisputed answer that is usually written in the form of a polar graph. 

Even the simplest interpretation of the graph shows that the strongest part of the meeting experience index is tourist infrastructure, natural and cultural factors, and subjective grade. On the other hand, the most undeveloped part of destinations is their congress infrastructure, general and transport infrastructure and marketing buzz.

In areas where individual destinations are lacking, our methodology enables us further in-depth research. As an example, we chose the segment of MEETING INFRASTRUCTURE: 

Our first association with congress and meeting infrastructure is often congress centres, even though it is a much wider aspect of infrastructure comprising congress hotels, congress service providers, special venues, convention bureaus and agencies (DMC, PCO, Incentive Agencies). Congress services and products are also offered by other private and public organisations and institutions (universities, research institutions, chambers of commerce, museums, stadiums, etc.). Therefore, a detailed inventorying of a destination’s service providers is a must. 

The lack of congress infrastructure is often compensated with hotel investments. This situation is typical for Budva, Portorož and Tivat, which boast the largest hotel centres in the region.

At the bottom of the comparison list are cities that need serious investment into their product. A serious congress centre is a basic prerequisite for developing a congress activity. 

Above average  rank 4.815.00 

4.87   Opatija
4.81   Dubrovnik 

Average rank 4.614.80

4.75    Tivat
4.73    Portorož
4.70    Budva 

Moderate rank 4.414.60

4.53    Split 

Below average rank 4.214.40

4.25    Rijeka 

Benchmark 2020:  

ADRIATIC REGION
x̄=4.66

BUDVATIVATDUBROVNIKOPATIJAPORTOROŽSPLITRIJEKA
FINAL DESTINATION MARK3.833.964.394.044.033.903.84
CONGRESS INFRASTRUCTURE4.704.754.814.874.734.534.25
1. History and references4.564.755.004.984.854.594.22
2. Variety of meeting suppliers4.784.824.984.914.494.674.31
3. Quality of meeting hotels4.894.954.974.904.704.834.48
4. Convention and exhibition centres4.454.453.554.754.853.893.85
5. Ratio of 4 and 5***** hotel rooms4.884.954.954.924.884.604.37
6.  Incentive programmes4.914.944.984.954.904.784.16
7. Professionalism of the meetings industry4.774.904.934.914.764.914.65
8.  Diversity of offer4.684.824.904.834.674.434.22
9.  Effective convention bureau activities4.464.054.984.854.704.124.01
10. Support services4.634.864.854,.744.544.494.25

 

TIVAT – final mark comparison
+ Advantages– DisadvantagesCompetitors’ advantages
4.95 Quality of meeting hotels4.05 Convention bureauActive local convention bureau
4.95 Meeting hotels4.45 Convention and exhibition centresLarger and more equipped congress centres
4.94 Incentive programmes4.75 History and referencesEvaluating the results of activities
4.90 Professionalism of the meetings industry4.82 Diversity of offerInventoried congress products 
4.86 Support services4.82 General offerAn array of service providers 
Assessor’s comment: In terms of congress infrastructure, Tivat is in the golden mean. Nevertheless, a congress centre would be more than welcome, as the hotels’ congress centres cannot replace it. Tivat has made a significant step forward in its standard offer of congress service providers with numerous internationally renowned brands. There is room for improvement in future development and offering more diverse congress products. Furthermore, the destination could improve the activities of their city convention bureau, including supporting congress activities.

 

BUDVA – final mark comparison
+ Advantages– DisadvantagesCompetitors’ advantages 
4.91 Incentive programmes4.45 Convention and exhibition centresBetter and more developed congress centres
4.89 Meeting hotels4.46 Convention bureauActive local convention bureau
4.88 Ratio of 4 and 5***** hotel rooms4.56 History and referencesSystematic measurement of results
4.78 Variety of meeting suppliers4.63 Support servicesAvailability of the latest technological products
4.77 Professionalism of the meetings industry4.68 Diversity of offerMore recognisable congress products 
Assessor’s comment: The hotel heavyweights in Budva offer excellent congress capacities; however, the long-planned congress centre and more direct and planned destination marketing of Budva is still missing. Otherwise, Budva is full of great agencies and several developed incentive products and programmes that are among the best in the Adriatic region. We believe that an active local congress could encourage the further development of the destination. 

Let’s take a look at the other factors and their influence on the final mark of a destination:

burgas_bulgaria

ANALYSIS OF NATURAL AND CULTURAL FACTORS

For a destination to retain its appeal in the future and thus continue attracting congress organisers, natural and cultural factors play a crucial role. If once only a high experience value mattered, protecting natural and cultural heritage is a priority nowadays. The goal of this is to ensure that today’s economic activities increase the prosperity of the population while ensuring that natural and cultural sources remain intact for tomorrow’s generations.

burgas-mtlg2020-bulgariaMSC-Opera-morska-gara-nova-vizia

GENERAL AND TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE

Among the most important factors of a congress destination’s competitiveness are general and transport infrastructure. Both are evaluated by accessibility, simplicity of using transportation at the destination and various criteria regarding communal and social infrastructure. Based on the comparison, we can conclude that the region has the most room for improvement in this segment. Particularly important and often critical is air accessibility. Due to the state of the existing infrastructure, the travel time increases in all destinations throughout the region, consequently affecting their competitiveness. Larger regional cities have an advantage, including Zagreb, which has ambitiously renovated its airport and improved accessibility.

TOURIST INFRASTRUCTURE

Destinations that wish to develop their congress activities need to be well equipped with adequate tourist infrastructure. The latter includes numerous elements that are often in relation to a destination’s natural and cultural characteristics. It is crucial for the congress activity that the infrastructure is accessible throughout the year, as it is difficult to organise events in destinations where the majority of tourist facilities close their doors during the winter season. Moreover, it is important to know which category tourist service providers belong to regarding quality and if they will meet the expectations of congress guests and organisers. Many of the criteria thus influence the final mark regarding tourist influence. Above all, functional organisation and cooperation between the public and private sector, as well destination management, has the most significance.

mostar_bosnia

SUBJECTIVE GRADE

A congress destination is composed of a variety of experiences, products, services and encounters. Hence, our research also measures the segment of the physical, cultural and social attributes of a destination. As it is an extremely complex system of evaluation, we have purposely defined it as a subjective grade. Stepping outside of the box means viewing a situation in a different light and not from one’s own perspective. Needless to say, congress organisers and participants often justify their pick of a destination with a subjective grade. Originality and special features play a key role.

budapest_hungary

MARKETING BUZZ OF A DESTINATION

Amidst countless destinations in the field of congress tourism, recognisability gives destinations a competitive edge. Congress organisers do not have any chance to recognise destinations as the right choice if they cannot differentiate them from other destinations. Almost all congress destinations have been competing fiercely for the attention of congress buyers. World-class service is the norm; however, they will only decide to purchase a service if a destination is different from the rest and has a story behind it. As part of our comparison, we take into account all aspects of communication (digital, direct and via social media). Furthermore, we evaluate how a destination implements content marketing and connect it with social media platforms. Nowadays, social media and content marketing have become the winning duo, as social networks are amplifiers of congress stories.

COMPARISON OF ADDITIONAL INDICES FOR THE DESTINATION MARK

Due to the objectivity of the mark, the comparison also includes other indices that are internationally recognised in the congress industry. 

The first index is the ICCA Index. It is the only such annual statistical report in the meetings industry with a history of over 50 years in collecting data. However, we are aware of the drawbacks of the research, as it does not include all events taking place at destinations nor corporate or commerce-entrepreneurial and governmental meetings and motivational travels, which represent an integral part of the international meetings industry. Therefore, the ICCA Index is only one of many indices, although it says much about the maturity of individual congress destinations. 

The final results for the current year are ranked and, according to the classification, evaluated with a mark from 1 to 5. The first and second destination on the ICCA list gets a mark of 5, while those that are ranked below 320th place, receive a mark of 1.02. 

The ACI Index measures the accessibility and connectivity of individual destinations by measuring qualitative and quantitative parameters. The index is based on the number and frequency of weekly direct and indirect air flights and the number of destinations connected with the airport. More details can be found at the following link: https://www.aci-europe.org/air-connectivity.html.

The Numbeo Index is used because Numbeo is the largest online database that is independent of media and lobbies and is co-created by the website’s online visitors. Moreover, we use the index because we have found out that the information reflects the actual state by verifying the situation on-site. The value of this methodology has been recognised by the world’s biggest media houses. Additionally, we are also proud that the idea comes from the Balkans. The author of the methodology is the genius former Google engineer Mladen Adamović from Serbia. All of Numbeo’s indices are checked on-site and, in case of any major deviation, correctly adjusted.  

SUMMARY OF MARKS WE CHECK ON SITE

Every year, individual criteria are assessed by Kongres Magazine’s assessors

Listed below are the main groups of criteria that have been divided into subgroups:

A. Natural and cultural factors

1. Natural diversity
2. Climate and Weather
3. Social environment
4. Cultural heritage
5. Natural experience index
6. Historical sites
7. Architecture
8. Accessibility to nature
9. Sustainability satisfaction
10. Quality of ecosystem

B. General and transport infrastructure


1. Destination safety
2. Accessibility – road
3. Accessibility – air
4. Accessibility – rail
5. General public services
6. Airport
7. Public transport
8. Financial institutions
9. Internet access
10. Pollution index

C. Tourist infrastructure
1. Restaurant scene
2. Variety of bars and coffee shops
3. Nightlife
4. Leisure activities
5. Adrenaline activities
6. Sports activities
7. Shopping
8. Fun parks, casinos
9. Theatres, musical venues, cinemas
10. Tourist information system

D. Meetings infrastructure
1. History and references
2. Variety of meeting suppliers
3. Quality of meeting hotels
4. Convention and exhibition centres
5. Ratio of 4 and 5***** hotel rooms
6. Incentive programmes
7. Professionalism of the meetings industry
8. Diversity of offer
9. Effective convention bureau activities
10. Support services

E. Subjective grade
1. Political stability
2. Security ratings
3. General support to meetings industry
4. Cost/Value
5. Destination competitiveness
6. Personal experience
7. Local hospitality
8. E-services
9. Business climate
10. Destination image

F. Marketing buzz
1. Destination brand perception
2. Brand and corporate identity of CVB
3. New or innovative
4. Destination advertising
5. Direct communication
6. Digital communication
7. Mobile communication
8. Content marketing
9. Events
10. Social network and community

After evaluation, the destinations are then assigned one of five categories as follows:

5 excellent meetings destination
4 quality meetings destination
3 recommendable meetings destination
2 average meetings destination
1 so-so

NOVELTIES FOR 2021

The corona crisis has largely digitalised the meetings industry sector. Consequently, the habits of event organisers have changed radically. Thus, for 2021, we have prepared an array of novelties that will enable our benchmark to reflect the situation on the market. 

1. Nomad List Overall Score

You are probably wondering what digital nomads have in common with the meetings industry. After careful analysis, we have concluded that the criteria assessed by the Nomad List are akin to that of digital events organisers. In our opinion, event organisers will move their events to digital nomad-friendly destinations. 

The overall score contains various criteria ranging from internet connection speed, air quality, safety, English speaking and quality of life. The latter is measured through various indicators, as well as living expenses and visa policies. For these reasons, we will add the Nomad List Overall Score into our final mark for 2021. 

2. A new addition to the maximum capacities of destinations 

The maximum capacities of destinations will be complemented with the following information: 

– Number of studios for digital and hybrid events

– Average internet speed when organising an event in Mbps

Both of these segments have become pivotal during the corona crisis and are often topics of inquiry by event organisers. 

3. ICCA Index

ICCA could not prepare their annual report for 2020, as live events did not take place. Hence, for the 2021 index, we will take into account their ten-year average scores between 20092019. 

4. ACI

Similarly, the ACI index is unrealistic due to limitations on air travel. Therefore, for 2021 we will use the average scores from previous years for individual airports. 

MEETINGS STAR CERTIFICATE

The annual Meetings Star award ceremony and announcement of the best destinations will take place as part of the Conventa Trade Show 2022. You are invited to mark your calendars for Tuesday, 22 February 2022 at 19:30. The event will celebrate the regional meetings industry and will take place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and be broadcasted online. 

conventa2020-conventa-experience-ljubljana-trade-show

“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 118 travelogues of meeting destinations, all based on hard graft and solid fieldwork. Our unflagging enthusiasm for this has demonstrated that we have been setting quality standards that are also being recognised by the wider international industry public through the Meetings Star Awards. The Meeting Experience Index has established itself as a reference standard. Moreover, I am proud that our project reflects the actual state of destinations, which is appreciated by countless professional event organisers.”

Gorazd Čad, Editor in Chief

FAQ

We have collected the answers to some of the most common questions you ask us about the Meetologues and Meeting Experience Index. If you do not find an answer to your question, ask us a new question. We will be happy to answer it.

Why should congress destinations be evaluated in the first place?

The answer to this question is multi-layered. Our purpose is to discover and promote the best destinations. At the same time, we want those destinations that strive to become the best to see themselves realistically. Our in-depth analysis enables destinations to tackle challenges and start improving swiftly and effectively. Numerous destinations have already done so, and we look forward to seeing their improvement. Our mark is not a critique but rather an encouragement for destinations to become better.

How are individual destinations directly involved in the process?

Our process is completely open and commences with the annual complementation of a destination’s maximum capacities. The information is provided and overseen by representatives of destinations to portray a realistic situation. What is more, destinations are informed about their results, which are coordinated before publication if needed. Since the inception of the evaluation ten years ago, we have thus not received a single complaint regarding the final mark.

What are the steps of evaluation in the current year?

In 2021, the evaluation will take place according to the following steps:

  • 31.05.2021: Updating all the information about individual destinations
  • 30.06.2021: Updating the scores from A to F (From Natural Factors to Marketing Buzz)
  • 15.07.2021: Updating the Additional Destination Indicators for 2021 (ICCA Index, ACI, etc.)
  • 15.08.2021: Declaring the results for 2021

How do you really evaluate individual destinations?

The destinations are evaluated based on fieldwork done by one of our assessors and thorough research of individual criteria to get as close as possible to the real situation. In addition, we are committed to reality, verifiability and objectivity. Every year we review and re-evaluate the destinations according to the new information that the destination representatives provide.

How did you get the idea of preparing the Meeting Experience Index?

We dare to claim that we were the first to develop the new genre of Meetologues, in which we discover new meeting destinations based on extensive field research. In doing so, we try to write without “unnecessary baggage”. We want to get closer to objective situations, so our assessors use a special matrix, which we named the Meeting Experience Index. This is a reference system that we have been using from the beginning and allows a real comparison of the destinations over time.

Why do we need such an assessment of destinations?

Meetologues have become a strong reference point over the past decade for decision-makers as well as for the meeting planners when choosing destinations for their events, in particular because of the Meetologues’ logic and the benefits they bring to all of the stakeholders. However, we are convinced that our evaluations are objective and helpful to planners while at the same time being a helpful tool for enabling destinations to improve in areas where the current situation falls short of the competition.

Why is the evaluation important for the destinations?

Our evaluation is primarily a tool for improving the competitiveness of individual destinations. It offers an outward look at their destination to continually improve and achieve excellence. As this is a systematic and contingent process, the progress of the individual evaluated criteria can be monitored over time. Destinations use our methodology primarily because they want to become or remain globally competitive.

What differentiates MTLG from the other benchmark studies?

It is a systematic, structured and analytical process that covers several factors defined as important by event organisers. We dare to claim that this is the most complex assessment of destinations, which is not based solely on the number of events and conferences in the destination but is analytically much deeper. We are proud that our methodology triggers positive changes in destinations and has become the standard.

Why do you use different destination categories (XL, L, M and S destinations)?

A total of 118 destinations from the wider region of New Europe are covered in the categorisation and evaluation. With the help of different categories, we enable event organisers to choose a destination that suits their needs. Therefore, the category is more guided by what kind of event the individual destination can host from a logistical point of view and the general capacity that it offers. Our categorisation includes a combination of criteria, the sum of evaluation points of indexes is the basis for classifying destinations into four categories.

What does the term New Europe mean?

The MTLGs were the first to introduce to the international markets the countries of South-Eastern, Central and Eastern Europe through convention programmes, which we often rank in NEW EUROPE. Before, all the countries of Eastern Europe or the former Eastern bloc were described with the term New Europe. Despite numerous stereotypes, the region boasts exceptional conditions for congress tourism: stunning history, rich cultural and historical heritage, excellent accessibility, and affordable acceptance. Many new congress centres and hotels and creative solutions make NEW EUROPE a fresh and desirable meeting destination.

What does the ACI index refer to?

Using the SEO NetScan connectivity model, the report provides indexes for direct, indirect and hub connectivity based on both quantitative and qualitative metrics. The Airport Connectivity Index is made up of both direct and indirect weekly frequencies, weighted by their quality. This means that this is not simply a measure of how many city pairs there are, or how many direct services there are. For this report, connectivity is a composite measure of the number of destinations, the frequency of services and the quality of the connections (in the case of hubbing or indirect services).

You can check for further details at the following link: 

https://www.aci-europe.org/policy/connectivity.html

Why do you use the Numbeo index for several evaluations?

Because Numbeo is the largest online database that does not depend on the media or the lobbies and is co-created by portal visitors. Above all, we use it because we checked the Numbeo data in the field and we found out that the data reflected the actual situation as well. Furthermore, because the value of the methodology has been recognised by the world’s largest media. We are also proud that the idea originated in the Balkans. The author of the methodology is the genius former Google engineer Mladen Adamović from Serbia.

Are you checking the Numbeo indexes in the field?

To ensure that all data for individual destinations is actually checked in the field, and in case of major deviations, we also adapt accordingly.

 

How do you evaluate the “Perception on sustainability” criteria?

This grade is connected to the Numbeo Purity and Cleanliness index but equipped with actual measures that destinations need to take in this field.

 

How do you evaluate “Public transport” criteria?

We also evaluate this criterion based on Numbeo indexes (https://www.numbeo.com/traffic). If we take Prague and Vienna, for example, the index for Prague for example in this segment is 110.37, whereas Vienna has an index of 75.17 – the lower the index, the higher the destination positions. A similar difference is seen when comparing C02 emissions, which is 2206 in Prague and 1412 in Vienna.

 

 

Why is the ICCA ranking part of the evaluation?

It is the only such annual statistical report in the association segment that has more than 50 years of history of data collection. We are aware of the shortcomings of the ICCA survey since it does not cover all the events taking place at destinations and does not cover corporate or economic-business and intergovernmental meetings and motivational trips, which represent an important part of the global meeting industry. For this reason, the ICCA index is only one of the criteria, but it does give plenty of indications of the maturity of individual congress destinations.

 

 

How is the ICCA index calculated?

The final results for the current year are ranked according to the grade from 1 to 5. Specifically, the first and the second-ranked destinations on the ICCA ranking score 5, destinations that are ranked below 320 places get a score of 1.02.

 

 

 

How can we independently check the quality of each rating?

We already upgraded the entire methodology last year with the benchmarking system, which we perform for individual destinations, and we named it MTLG BENCHMARK. With our methodology, we save you a lot of valuable time, which you would otherwise have spent on comparing it with your main competitors.

 

 

 

How do you rate the Tourist Information Centres?

This grade is based on actual visits to your information centres.

 

 

 

How do you assess the professionalism of the meetings industry?

This segment grades the responsiveness and professionalism of individual providers and is checked through actual RFPs and offers. I could probably write an entire book about it, so if you have any questions, I will gladly give you some more information. I believe this segment carries the biggest room for improvement.

 

 

 

 

What is the carrying capacity of individual categories of MTLGs?

The new categorisation 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.

XL MEETING DESTINATIONS

Destinations that can host more than 2,000 congress attendees

L MEETING DESTINATIONS

Destinations that can host up to 2,000 congress attendees

M MEETING DESTINATIONS

Destinations that can host up to 1,200 congress attendees

S MEETING DESTINATIONS

Destinations that can host up to 500 congress attendees

How is the Numbeo Quality of Life Index calculated?

The Numbeo Quality of Life index comprises the following indices:

  • Purchasing Power Index (Higher is better)
  • Safety Index (Higher is better)
  • Health Care Index (Higher is better)
  • Climate Index (Higher is better)
  • Cost of Living Index (Lower is better)
  • Property Price to Income Ratio (Lower is better)
  • Traffic Commute Time Index

The data has been calculated using the following formula:
ƒ =Current formula (written in Java programming language):
index.main = Math.max(0, 100 + purchasingPowerInclRentIndex / 2.5 — (housePriceToIncomeRatio * 1.0) — costOfLivingIndex / 10 + safetyIndex / 2.0 + healthIndex / 2.5 — trafficTimeIndex / 2.0 — pollutionIndex * 2.0 / 3.0 + climateIndex / 3.0);

What can we do if we disagree with the mark?

It is best if you invite our assessor to your destination. Considering the corona crisis, organising an online workshop to oversee the results is also a possibility.

Have you ever received a complaint regarding the final mark?

In our many years of experience, we have not received any direct complaints regarding the final mark except for one destination. Even in that case, it was a simple misunderstanding that we quickly resolved.

In what ways does your index differ from the ICCA’s Country and City Ranking?

The indexes are completely incomparable. The ICCA’s statistics are based on the number of events by the international association in a destination. Our methodology, on the other hand, revolves around the comparison of various aspects from the viewpoint of an event organiser’s needs. Not only does our methodology enable a fair comparison between destinations, it also helps destinations make concrete improvements.

Who can be a destination assessor?

Assessors are experienced and carefully selected individuals with a minimum of 15 years of work experience in organising events. All assessors go through an onerous training process. Additionally, we always make sure the assessor is not in a conflict of interest with the evaluated destination.

Can the evaluation be sponsored?

Unfortunately, it cannot be sponsored, as that would make us lose our credibility. Since the very start, we have not allowed sponsorship as we strictly followed our methodology. We provide the funds to support the project ourselves. The only permitted type of support is covering the accommodation, travel and daily expenses for the assessor. However, this type of support is strictly regulated beforehand and does not have an influence on the final mark.

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