The last week of August marked by the return of south-east Europe meetings industry trade show Conventa and the Conventa Crossover conference.
Conventa claims to be the first major MICE industry show to run in person again following over a year of hibernation of most of the global meetings industry. Organisers had moved Conventa 2021 back from January to August and both events were half the size of the pre-crisis period and shaped up as hybrid events. Nevertheless, organisers report 77 exhibitors, 113 international and 33 Slovenian hosted buyers conducted more than 2.000 business meetings over the two-day show. Both events, they said, were proof that large business events could be safely executed even in times of great uncertainty.
Conventa 2021 had kicked off 23 August with familiarisation trips (FAMS) to Ljubljana, Bled and Styria. The visits continued after the event, when guests visited Istria, Kranjska Gora, Portorož, Zagreb and Salzburg.
Hosted buyers met the exhibitors for the first time at the welcome reception in Grand Hotel Union and the programme continued with One2One meetings throughout the event. The exhibitors, most of them from hotels, convention centres and bureaus, came from 13 countries of the region.
Miha Kovačič, co-founder of Conventa, said: “Thirteen is my lucky number. It has been with me all my life and it brings me happiness. I hope the 13th Conventa Experience also brought happiness to all the participants who celebrated the meetings industry in Slovenia.”
One of the highlights of Conventa Week was also the selection of the best events in what organisers term ‘New Europe’. An international jury chose 18 finalists who competed for the Conventa Best Event Awards.
Attendees were able to support their favourite event agency by joining the live voting session and contributing 20% to the final score. The grand finale, where the winner was chosen, took place on 27 August 2021 in the Švicarija Creative Centre in Ljubljana’s Tivoli Park.
Organisers closed off the week with the Conventa Crossover conference. The idea was to create a Think Tank style space to test innovations and respond to industry challenges. Top speakers, master marketers and experienced event organisers presented their views and debated some hot topics.
Organisers also took special precautions to prevent the spread of Covid, strictly following the guidelines of the ‘Safe and Healthy Meetings & Events’ certificate.
Conventa Crossover’s founder, Gorazd Čad said: “We are very proud that we have been able to bring Conventa and Conventa Crossover to fruition in the midst of the pandemic. Our aim was to prove that events can take place even in complex situations. We have successfully proven it and participants were able to experience it.”