They take care for the events to be organised sustainably, safely and comprehensively. Krakow Network offers more than 500 representatives of the meetings industry in Krakow. They work together to attract most important congresses and conferences in the industry to the capital city of Małopolska. They want the entire world to talk about business tourism in Krakow! In return, their actions are rewarded and appreciated by the Polish and foreign industry. The operator of the Krakow Network is Krakow5020, a company indicating coordinates of the business.
Krakow Network has been in operation since 2015, striving to develop a cohesive group of representatives of the meetings and event industry who, thanks to mutual relations, work towards an increase in the number of business and scientific events organised in Krakow. Tasks of Krakow Network include an analysis of industry development directions, activity effectiveness and the monitoring of the economic impact of the meetings industry on the city’s prosperity. The initiative is also a platform for discussions and exchange of experience, knowledge and good practices among participants in meetings.
The target group of the initiative consists of the tourist and business sector interested in building relations based on opportunities provided by the developing infrastructure of MICE facilities in Krakow. In particular, it includes venue operators, restaurant and hotel companies from Krakow, representatives of PCO, DMC and event agencies, as well as the transport industry.
Groups of experts operate within the Krakow Network:
• PCO (Professional Organisers of Congresses): firms specializing in the end-to-end organisation and service of conferences and congresses, headed by two leaders: Anna Jędrocha and Małgorzata Przygórska-Skowron;
• DMC: firms responsible to the client for the comprehensive organisation and management of meetings, conferences, events and incentive programmes in Poland, headed by two leaders: Agnieszka Faracik-Leśniak and Jarosław Kruk
• PR: dealing with the issues related to the image and venue marketing. These issues are important for the city of Krakow that aspires to the leadership position in the region and competes to attract international events. The group works on analysing the city’s current situation and the development of its image on the MICE market; its leaders are: Marta Szkudlarek and Monika Frenkiel;
• Event group: brings together representatives of event agencies, PCO and DMC, technical and audio-visual event production companies and other event service providers. Topics tackled by the group include safety, business ethics and the estimation of the share of Krakow agencies in the national market. The exchange of experience and soft know-how is also important; leaders are Krzysztof Paradowski and Anna Leszczyńska;
• Gastronomic: deepens the integration of Krakow’s catering industry. The cooperation is to present Krakow as an attractive destination thanks to its high and varied culinary culture. One of the goals of the group is to cooperate with representatives of the catering industry to develop an offer to supplement and enrich study visits of organisers of international congresses and conferences. Leaders of the group are Anna Wodziańska and Marcin Cieślikowski;
• Hotel: the goal of the group is to work out the terms of cooperation in the acquisition of congresses and a profitability increase for the business sector. Topics discussed include the contacts between clients of MICE venues and hotels, an analysis of cooperation development perspectives, information exchange and large-scale cross-selling involving event organisers, venues and hoteliers. Leaders: Magdalena Młynarczyk and Katarzyna Chmura;
• Krakow Future Lab: cooperates with the Krakow Technological Park, business incubators at Krakow’s universities, Technology Transfer Centres, the National Centre for Science, the ASPIRE Association and Krakow’s corporations and enterprises to analyse most important future trends of the meetings business. Leaders are Julien Hallier and Barbara Wityńska-Słącz;
• Academic: established in September 2022, the group is to develop good practices for supporting the academic staff in attracting events, especially international congresses, to Krakow. Meetings of the group make it possible to integrate the industry with scientists, contact universities, formalise the support and offer assistance in sourcing events. The group has been expanded to include pupils and students who can take part in the hospitality industry during their studies to acquire new experience and become the nucleus of modern human resources prepared for the challenges of the modern world. Leaders: Tomasz Wojtas and Miłosz Stanisławski.
The establishment of the Krakow Club of the Polish Congress Ambassadors is among the most important tasks of the Krakow Network. It goals are to integrate the representatives of the city, science and business so that their cooperation can make an intense acquisition of congresses possible, activate Krakow’s scientific community; cooperate with entrepreneurs and building business relations; organise educational meetings for Congress Ambassadors with a view to obtaining events including those of international rank. The group has also signed a declaration of intent to cooperate, a document regulating the joint building of the Krakow MICE market by ICE Krakow, TAURON Arena Krakow and EXPO Krakow. In 2021, the Krakow Network Protocol was drafted, which is a document inspired by the Kaohsiung Protocol and created by representatives of the Krakow MICE industry as a prelude to a joint action strategy for 2021-2023, with a plan to update the provisions later on. It contains a set of good practices and recommendations to be applied in the new post-pandemic reality, defines a list of key strategies to make further development of the meetings and event industry possible. Krakow Network has prepared webinars on the operation of the event industry during the pandemic, which were awarded the Amber Event Awards (!). A document titled Security of events after the pandemic was also produced; the study deals with new security rules for business events, including congresses, conferences, trade fairs, training courses, team-building meetings, product promotions and demonstrations, marketing and branding events and cultural events organised after the pandemic, as well as a document titled ICE Krakow Sustainability Policy that offers examples of good practices for event organisers. All of this is driven by care for the climate.
Krakow Network meetings attract guests from various parts of Poland and other countries; guests of the latest meetings included Mariska Kasteloo, an influencer highly regarded in the MICE industry who shared the secrets of her work with the group, and Carolina Pietyra, a strategist who helps find new challenges and define important tasks for the entire initiative.
However, the Krakow Network is not only about industry talks or activities related to events, it is a group of big-hearted people who have CSR embedded in their activities. Krakow Network representatives participate in the Poland Business Run, charity events for the Małopolska branch of the Polish Association of the Deaf and support #RatunkoweKalorie, i.e. a fundraiser to fund hot meals for Krakow’s medics from the J. Dietl Specialist Hospital in Krakow. Each year brings a new challenge.