Future of the events industry explored at Meeting Experts Conference (MEXCON) 2014

The Meeting Experts Conference (MEXCON) was hosted, for the second time, by Berlin last month. Taking place 11th to 13th June, MEXCON gave its 600 participants the opportunity to exchange views – not only with colleagues in the events sector, but also with politicians and economists. The program included specialist forums with eminent speakers and industry experts, a specialist congress as well as numerous networking opportunities.
The key subject at MEXCON, which was organised by the German Convention Bureau (GCB) together with the EVVC (European Association of Event Centres), was the future of events. Keynote speakers and experts hosted various workshops exploring the results of the study "Meetings and Conventions in the Future" published in autumn 2013. 
For example, one subject on the agenda was working relationships and employees in the future:
"Generation Y" who are less interested in conventional status symbols and rate happiness, recognition and appreciation more highly than a large salary. Experts advised on how traditional work structures need to change accordingly: to make the best use of employees' potential, companies need to allow them more freedom and individual responsibility. Work processes need to be streamlined to make them more attractive.
Digitalisation, now apparent in all aspects of everyday life, was another focus of MEXCON, explored in various keynotes and sessions. However, in the events sector one thing stood out: despite the advances in technology which combines digital media and hybrid elements with classical formats, there is still a great need for face-to-face meetings and experiences which only events can provide.
MEXCON not only focused on the future of events through its content – it was also reflected in its format with organisers designing an innovative programme with interactive formats. This enabled management and staff in the sector to contribute their expertise to the conference and benefit from each other's experience very effectively.

Alongside the MEXCON organisers, GCB and EVVC, the Germany Chapter of MPI Meeting Professionals International contributed as a co-organiser. Co-operation partners involved in MEXCON 2014 included the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), the German Business Travel Association (VDR), the Association of German Event Organisers, Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association Deutschland e. V. (HSMA) and the Association of German Stadium Operators. MEXCON was also supported by the visitBerlin Berlin Convention Office.


Educational trip to Düsseldorf, Cologne and Bonn inspires meeting and event planners

Space, classical music and boats all formed part of a successful educational trip organised by the GCB last month.

In conjunction with Düsseldorf Convention Bureau, Cologne Convention Bureau and Bonn Region Convention Bureau, the GCB hosted 11 corporate and association clients along with agencies from throughout Europe.

They visited the cities of Düsseldorf and Cologne with many extending their stay in Germany with a trip to Bonn.

Guests from across the UK, Austria, Italy, Netherlands and Denmark enjoyed a packed programme of site inspections at hotels and venues as well as a real insight into the industry expertise and cultural gems of each city.

In Düsseldorf, guests enjoyed a walking tour with a difference. The City Rally takes visitors through the old town, challenging their city knowledge with questions and tasting local specialities like the renowned Löwensenf (mustard) – a fun way to explore and learn about a new location. This was followed by a boat tour through the old town and MediaHarbour – a section of the old Rhine harbour which has been transformed into a centre for the creative industries.
Duesseldorf ©GCB
Duesseldorf ©GCB

A visit to the European Astronaut Center (EAC) in Cologne proved particularly popular as Graham Robinson from Venue Finder Solutions, who formed part of the group, comments:

“The star event was our visit to the EAC – I enjoyed the high quality facilities and professional talks from people who clearly enjoy their job. The venue stands out as being so different from anything else, but of immense interest.”

Cologne’s expertise in aerospace industry was explored with a visit to the Astronaut Training Facilities for European Astronauts as well as a guided tour through :envihab, a medical research facility of the Institute of Aerospace Medicine of the German Aerospace Center. The experience of Cologne was rounded off with a picnic dinner at the reopened venue Flora, where guests enjoyed regional dishes.
Bonn ©GCB
Bonn ©GCB

The visit to Bonn included site inspections at the impressive design hotel Kameha Grand Bonn and the World Conference Center, the city’s former parliament building. One of the cultural highlights enabled guests to celebrate Bonn’s most famous resident with a Beethoven concert.

Gianni Giovine, WOLF CommunicAction in Italy, would like to include Bonn in his portfolio, claiming: “Come to Bonn and take decisions where major decisions have been taken.”

The educational trip was a great success with guests impressed by the offering of all three cities. Participants praised the ‘perfect organisation’ of the trip and the majority confirmed they would recommend the destinations to their clients and consider them for future events.

Last chance to join a GCB Educational Trip in 2014!

Potsdam and Berlin, 31st August - 3rd September 2014. For more details, and to register, click here: http://www.gcb.de/en/gcb-educational-trip-to-potsdam-berlin-2014
For more information please contact Nina Streich (Streich@gcb.de), phone +49 69 24293029.

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Germany’s biggest city festival returns to Dresden

 ©Â© Christoph Muench
©Â© Christoph Muench
Over 550,000 visitors are expected at the biggest annual city festival in Germany - Dresden’s 2014 City Festival. Taking place from 15 - 17 August, the event boasts 13 areas, on seven stages in glorious Baroque scenery with a wonderful mix of music, theatre, sport and food – a great way to spend a summer’s weekend.
Dresden’s 2014 City Festival, dedicated to the Royal painter Canaletto, has plenty to entertain visitors. Don’t miss the Dresden Fürstenzug “Procession of Princes”, a 335 ft. long, Meissen Porcelain Wall showing all rulers of the Wettin dynasty - ancestors of almost all European Royalty. The Royal Palace, the baroque Dresden Zwinger and the beautifully rebuilt baroque centre of Dresden are also ‘must-sees’. 
The theme for this year’s festival is ‘passionately romantic’ and the event is set to leave visitors feeling passionate about Dresden for many years to come.
Getting to Dresden is easy with direct flights from London City Airport. 


Take off with Lufthansa - New Premium Economy Class now available for UK bookings

Lufthansa’s new Premium Economy Class is now available for booking on flights flown by Boeing 747-8 aircraft. From 10 December, the Premium Economy Class will have guaranteed availability on all flights served by the new jumbo. Destinations that can now be booked for onward connecting flights from Frankfurt include Buenos Aires, Chicago, Hong Kong, Mexico City, São Paulo, Seoul, Beijing and Washington, D.C. 
From late January 2015, the first retrofitted A340-600 aircraft are scheduled to take off from Munich for Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo and from late April 2015 retrofitted A380-800 aircraft are planned to fly from Frankfurt to Johannesburg, New York, Miami, Houston, San Francisco, Shanghai and Singapore.
To mark the start of Premium Economy ticket sales, a range of special promotional return fares are on offer for UK passengers travelling from London, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. These include £909 to Seoul, £949 to Hong Kong, £999 to Beijing, £1099 to Sao Paulo and £1199 to Buenos Aires. These fares are inclusive of all taxes and charges and can be booked up until 12th June for travel between 10th December 2014 and 28th March 2015. 
“We have had an incredible response to our Premium Economy Class since its launch. With the attractive introductory fares this new travel experience is even more within reach allowing our customers to benefit from up to 50 per cent more personal space,” said Christian Schindler, Lufthansa General Manager UK & Ireland.
“The design and features of the seat are based on extensive passenger surveys and workshops with sales partners. More than 1.5 million passengers per year will be able to enjoy a new travel experience with the installation of 3,600 seats in all 106 long-haul aircraft in just one year.” 
The new seats are up to 3 centimetres wider and provide greater privacy as well as approximately 10 centimetres more room at the side.. As a result, passengers have around one-and-a-half times as much room as Economy Class. Practical features around the seats such as a bottle holder, an electrical socket and lots of storage space for passengers’ belongings also help to ensure a relaxed journey.
With a baggage allowance of two items weighing up to 23 kilogrammes each, passengers can take twice as much free luggage with them compared with Economy Class. For an extra EUR 25, passengers can also enjoy the comfort of the Lufthansa Business Lounges before their departure. The Welcome Lounge, with its spacious showers and a breakfast buffet after night flights, can be used for EUR 50. 
An enhanced service awaits Premium Economy passengers on board: They are greeted with a welcome drink and will find their own water bottle as well as a high-quality amenity kit with practical travel accessories at their seat. Meals are presented on menus commensurate with the new travel class and served on porcelain tableware. 
Passengers can navigate the extensive in-flight entertainment programme using their own touchscreen monitor on the seat in front of them. The screens are 11 or 12 inches, depending on the aircraft type, which makes them at least two inches bigger than the screens in Economy Class. 
Lufthansa Premium Economy Class is located within the cabin as a clearly identifiable separate compartment between Business and Economy Class. It has a high-quality design and contains between 21 and 52 seats, depending on the aircraft type. Installation of the new travel class, which is to be carried out on a gradual basis, sub-fleet by sub-fleet, will start this autumn and finish in summer 2015. 
More information is available at www.lufthansagroup.com/de/themen/premium-economy


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Maritim to offer free WLAN access in its city hotels from mid-August 2014

Following on from the pilot project begun in May 2014 at Maritim's two Berlin hotels, free WLAN access is now to be extended to further city hotels in Germany.

Since mid-May, Maritim has been offering overnight guests free WLAN Internet access in its two Berlin hotels as part of a pilot project. The response has been extremely positive and the company is now to extend the offer, in response to frequent guests' requests for free Internet access. Free WLAN will therefore also be available from mid-August 2014 in the following cities: Berlin, Bonn, Cologne, Darmstadt, Duesseldorf, Dresden, Frankfurt, Hanover, Bad Homburg, Magdeburg, Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart, Ulm and Wuerzburg.

The service offered is a WLAN connection with standard bandwidth, making unlimited free surfing possible. “Free Internet access is seen as an increasingly indispensable service these days. Hotels can no longer remain oblivious to this, and so Maritim has decided to offer this service in all its major city hotels across the country,” says Chief Operating Officer Gerd Prochaska.

The Maritim Hotelgesellschaft is Germany's largest owner-managed hotel group and the company’s nationwide hotel network is complemented by hotels in seven countries overseas: Mauritius, Egypt, Turkey, Malta, Spain, China and Latvia. The group’s ongoing expansion continues to strengthen its position within the European first-class hotel industry. For more information, please visit www.maritim.com.

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