Berlin enjoys boost in the number of meetings and events

Approximately 4.75 million visitors came to Berlin in the first half of this year, attending 61,100 congresses, conferences and events, according to recent figures from Berlin Convention Bureau. This is an increase of 2% compared to the same period last year.

The number of overnight stays generated by the meetings and conventions market rose by three per cent to 3.2 million (2013: 3.1 million). This represents around a quarter of all hotel stays in the capital.
Berlin is reinforcing its position in the national and international market by showcasing its expertise in science and medical events. The number of events in these sectors increased by 7.1 % in the first half of 2013 to 10% in the same period this year.

"We market specific sectors within Berlin because the city has well-known institutions in medicine and health management," says Heike Mahmoud, Director of the Berlin Convention Office of visitberlin. “We take the same approach for the IT and technology sectors. The city offers the perfect location and environment for conferences focusing on innovations in these sectors. We see many start-ups rise from Berlin and go on to achieve great success,” added Mahmoud.

For further information head to Berlin Convention Bureau at www.convention.visitBerlin.de.


IMEX America: Germany’s focus on industry expertise + innovation + sustainability adds up to meaningful events

Imex America 2014
Imex America 2014
Visitors to the German Pavilion at IMEX America will not only step into a world of world-class destinations, venues and services, but will also learn how three, key focus areas for the German meetings industry can add unique value to conferences, meetings and events. The worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events takes place 14 – 16 October in Las Vegas.

Germany = Industry Expertise
Be it in the automotive, pharma, medical research, financial or aerospace industries, German cities like Stuttgart, Leipzig, Berlin, Cologne, Munich, Frankfurt and more work hard to connect event planners and delegates with experiences and thought leaders that fit their spheres of interest. This can take many forms, from arranging local expert speakers from universities, research centers or companies, to offering meeting and event spaces with specific industry relevance.

Germany = Innovation
Did you know Germany ranks among the world’s top four locations for nanotechnology, that it’s home to Europe’s largest inner-city development and design project, or that it has 19.1% global market share in manufacturing and mechanical engineering? German companies are among the most innovative in the world (source: World Economic Forum’s 2014 Global Competitiveness Report) and provide meeting attendees access to unique experiences, site visits, and mind-expanding industry museums that put history in strategic perspective while inspiring new ideas.

Germany = Green
The German exhibitors at this year’s IMEX America are living examples of Germany’s award-winning dedication to sustainability. 10 of the 18 towns and cities in Europe with an above-average commitment to being green are German (source: German Green City Index) and six of these cities (Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Nuremberg, and Stuttgart) are represented at IMEX America this year.  The vast majority of German hotels and conference centres at the German Pavilion also get high marks from independent sustainability bodies and have what it takes to plan and host green events.

The German Convention Bureau is partnering with many German exhibitors to showcase the country as a convention and meetings destination at trade shows such as IMEX America in Las Vegas. These German Pavilions are part of the Foreign Trade Fair Participation Program by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in cooperation with AUMA, the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry. The Ministry initiated this program to promote German foreign trade, giving companies with “made in Germany” products and services the opportunity to participate in international events and trade shows at lower cost.

For more information visit the GCB at the German Pavilion (Booth No:2219) or head to www.germany-meetings.com. You can also book time with Laura d’Elsa, director of GCB’s North American office by emailing her at (delsa@germany-meetings.com) or booking via the IMEX America online scheduling tool.


Dusseldorf – rapidly becoming a hot favourite for meetings and events

Dusseldorf is set for a bright future as a conference and business location. The North Rhine-Westphalian capital offers excellent transport links, a dynamic business environment and world-class infrastructure. In addition, the city’s sustainability standards, technical equipment, industry expertise and marketing strategies are constantly developing and improving.

The Dusseldorf Congress Sport & Event GmbH and the CCD Congress Center Dusseldorf work together to evaluate the city’s offering and ensure it is able to respond to future challenges. Together, they have recorded continued growth in the meetings and event sector. For example, looking at events in the health sector, there were eight conferences with 13,500 visitors in 2013 and 12 conventions with 27,000 visitors. In 2014, 13 conferences are predicted, attracting around 38,000 visitors, and approximately 16 medical congresses scheduled for 2015 with 44,000 visitors expected.

"Conferences are an important economic factor in the region and particularly in Dusseldorf, the capital” explains Lord Mayor of Düsseldorf Dirk Elbers. "The ever-growing number of major events and regular high ranking in industry data demonstrates that we have chosen the right path."

Dusseldorf also scores as a destination for business events. As a dynamic economic centre in North Rhine-Westphalia, the state capital is a popular venue for corporate events - from small gatherings and seminars on product presentations to general meetings. For example, the Daimler AG held an International Training Event in 2013 for the launch of its new Sprinter series in the city, hosting around 6,000 participants from 26 countries.
Excellent transport links, excellent convention infrastructure reasons are among the reasons why the city remains a popular location for meetings. Düsseldorf Airport, the third largest in Germany, is continually expanding its route network, and the city is surrounded by a well-developed motorway and rail network.
Lord Mayor Elbers continues: "Dusseldorf boasts conference-related infrastructure on an international level. This means not only excellent public transport links, but also excellent conference facilities.”

With more than 11,000 rooms in three to five star categories and a variety of renowned suppliers the Rhine metropolis has a powerful hotel industry. There are also meeting and conference rooms of all sizes, creative event agencies and special event venues for social programs of any kind.

The award-winning CCD Congress Center Dusseldorf offers a flexible space for up to 15,000 visitors.
Hilmar Guckert, CEO of Dusseldorf Congress Sport & Event explains: "The CCD Congress Center Dusseldorf is at the heart of the city. The sheer amount of events held here combined with the know-how and experience of its employees build on Dusseldorf’s leading position in the international meeting and event industry."


Berlin and Frankfurt as top hotel growth table for 2014

Two of Germany’s cities are among the European destinations set to show the most growth in the hotel sector. Berlin and Frankfurt feature in the third edition of PwC’s European cities hotel forecast. ‘Room to Grow: European Cities Hotel Forecast 2014 and 2015’ shows that Berlin’s hotel sector is set to grow by 3.2% this year and Frankfurt’s by 2.9%. Dublin tops the growth league at 5.2%.

According to PwC, the improving economic and travel backdrop has fed into improvements in trading fundamentals in almost all the cities analysed, with Berlin and Frankfurt among the best placed to take advantage of the recovering economy.

In terms of where hotels are compared to before the recession, in nominal terms the market is almost back at its pre-recession peak (reached during 2007) but it remains significantly behind in real terms. However, PwC’s report looks forward to resurgence in travel and hotel prospects in 2014 and 2015.

‘Room to Grow: European Cities Hotel Forecast 2014 and 2015’ offers a powerful insight into Europe’s hotel sector. Europe is the world’s largest tourism destination with over 560 million international tourist arrivals in 2013. The cities in the survey represent over 680,000 hotel rooms and are visited annually by some 80 million international tourists.

For further details, click here


History, science and sustainability combine in the GCB’s recent Educational Trip

Eleven meetings planners from across the globe were shown the highlights of Potsdam and the neighbouring capital Berlin last month. The planners from corporates, associations and agencies enjoyed venue and hotel visits, an overview of the key industry and scientific sectors, tourist highlights and fun teambuilding sessions.

“Both cities impressed me so much and I can really recommend both destinations” (Lieve Notré, KU Leuven) – this is just some of the great feedback following the recent  Educational Trip hosted by the GCB, in cooperation with Kongresshotel Potsdam am Templiner See, visitBerlin Berlin Convention Office and Camonsite.

Eleven meetings planners from across the globe were shown the highlights of Potsdam and the neighbouring capital Berlin last month. The planners from corporates, associations and agencies enjoyed venue and hotel visits, an overview of the key industry and scientific sectors, tourist highlights and fun teambuilding sessions.

First stop was the historical, royal city of Potsdam where guests visited the impressive New Palace followed by an archery team building activity. The group stayed at the Kongresshotel, the largest conference hotel in the state of Brandenburg, located on the shores of Lake Templiner, surrounded by a forest and lake.

The venue has a long history of congresses and events in the field of science and Dr. Matthias Arlt from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology provided guests with an exclusive insight into industry related events and details of the scientific institutions and expertise in the region.

The planners kicked off their arrival in Berlin with an eTukTuk and solar boat tour taking in the city’s highlights such as City West, Brandenburg Gate, Tiergarten, Victory Column, Museum Island, and the Berlin Wall. Staying in the centrally located, award-winning Hotel Palace Berlin, the group visited some architecturally striking venues including AXICA, created by renowned architect Frank O. Gehry.

Next stop was the Charité, the oldest and most prominent hospital and medical school in Berlin which ranks as one of the largest university hospitals in Europe today. The Museum of Medical History and an old lecture hall can be used as a meeting place for formal events, social get-togethers and scientific exchanges.

The visit to the capital was rounded off with an exciting art tour around the theme: East meets West. A particularly topical activity given the 25 year commemorations in November, the guests explored art on one of the few remaining pieces of the Berlin Wall, ending up in a west-Berlin art house.

Lia Rosenbrand, from the Atlantic & Pacific Exchange Program in the Netherlands, explains: “Berlin is such a lovely, vibrant city! Potsdam is beautiful and so close to Berlin, it can easily be combined. The interesting fact about this trip was that it was a combination of traditional site inspections and information about the local key industry sectors and both are very important for me.”

Another guest, Natasha De Caiado Castro from Wish International Events Management in France, adds: “Thank you so much for bringing me to this amazing destination and showing me how to offer our events there! It was a very creative learning experience ... useful and fun!”

As part of their commitment to supporting local communities, the GCB in cooperation with the Grand Hyatt Berlin, gave a donation to the city’s food bank “Berliner Tafel”, providing 55kg of fresh food to needy people.    


‘Unconferencing’, new event formats, latest news from Germany: GCB’s magazine remains a must read

GCB Newspaper "Meetings made in Germany" 2 2014
GCB Newspaper "Meetings made in Germany" 2 2014
Meetings and events planners can learn about the latest meeting formats, get to grips with ‘unconferencing’ and find out the latest news from Germany – all in one place thanks to the latest edition of the GCB’s newspaper. With news on the country’s major events, locations, venues and trends, it’s a must read for MICE professionals.

An overview of innovative meeting formats, an insight into ‘unconferencing’ and a review of MEXCON 2014 are just some of the highlights of the latest edition of the GCB’s newspaper.

Conferences have moved on from lecture style presentations to embrace the concept of ‘unconferencing’. This innovative format helps to promote personal exchanges of ideas and experiences between participants and was the idea of Tim O’Reilly, Irish publisher and software developer. He discovered that the coffee breaks generated the greatest added value for participants at classic conferences and without further ado he made the breaks the main focus. The article goes on to explore the idea of conferences as a means to not only exchange information but also offer opportunities for community building and collaboration.

Event planners will benefit from an overview of new formats, inspired by businesses in Silicon Valley. These new formats, detailed in an article in GCB’s newspaper, take inspiration from how people interact with the internet to create a spirit of networking, openness, participation and agility.
One such format is Open Space. Open Space events are far removed from conventional meetings or conferences. The greatest difference is that, although there is an overall theme, there is neither a planned agenda nor predetermined participants. However, the lack of a predetermined agenda does not mean that there is no structure whatsoever. That structure emerges during the first one and a half hours of the event. To that end, all of the participants initially sit down in a circle or in concentric circles if more than 50 people are attending.  Then everyone has the opportunity to enter the centre of the circle and present his or her issue relating to the theme.

The “FedExDay” is another event format which is on the rise. True to its title, it aims to deliver results in 24 hours! Developers and experts take 24 hours to devote themselves to themes that are related to the service or the product of their company. Complete autonomy within the groups is also the rule in this case; people work with whomever they wish, focusing on the themes that they consider to be important.
A special aspect of this format is time: A FedExDay usually starts at noon and is interrupted at night for a short rest period. The results of the groups are presented to the other participants at the end of the event.

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