• The finance-forward city of Frankfurt plays host to the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge® every year. This year’s race just took place in June 2014 with 71,735 entrants representing 2,781 companies, making it one of the world’s largest road races.
• Each April the world’s leading show for Fitness, Wellness and Health -- FIBO-- is held in Cologne bringing together over 700 exhibitors with 97,000 visitors.
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The convention and business event hub Düsseldorf is excellently positioned for the future. The capital of North Rhine-Westphalia boasts excellent accessibility, a dynamic economic climate, and a first-class infrastructure. In addition, the venue providers are constantly expanding their factors of success, such as sustainability standards, technical equipment, industry expertise and marketing strategies, reacting to the critical "future challenges" in the industry to ensure continuous dynamic growth.
Convention hub Düsseldorf: consistent growth
Düsseldorf Congress Sport & Event and CCD Congress Center Düsseldorf have been growing consistently for several years – in terms of quantity and quality. That is to say, the dimensions of event inquiries (number of participants, additional space for parallel exhibitions, international reach) have been increasing consistently. An example from the healthcare industry: in 2011, Düsseldorf Congress Sport & Event hosted 8 conventions with 13,500 visitors and by 2013 those figures had risen to 12 conventions with 27,000 visitors. In 2014, approximately 38,000 visitors are expected to attend 13 conventions here, and in 2015 about 16 medical conventions are expected to draw about 44,000 people to Düsseldorf.
Such figures underscore the results of the well-respected annual "German Meeting & Event Barometer"*, which finds that North Rhine-Westphalia with the center in Düsseldorf has consistently remained the favorite German state among German event hosts and the second favorite German state among international event hosts. "Conventions are an important economic factor in North Rhine-Westphalia – and especially in the capital city," says Düsseldorf's Mayor Dirk Elbers. "The consistently increasing number of large events and our regular strong ranking in industry surveys indicates that we have chosen the right path."
Düsseldorf is also an attractive destination for business events. As a dynamic economic center in North Rhine-Westphalia, the capital city is a popular place to hold corporate events – ranging from smaller meetings and seminars to product presentations and general assembly meetings. For example, in 2013 Daimler AG held an international training event spanning several weeks focusing on the launch of the new Sprinter series, attracting 6,000 participants from 26 countries worldwide. In HV Magazine's ranking of favorite venues for general assembly meetings, Düsseldorf is regularly among the top.
Excellent accessibility, superb convention infrastructure
There are many reasons for this success. Mayor Elbers pinpoints one of the most important reasons: "Düsseldorf has a convention infrastructure of international quality. That doesn't only mean excellent travel accessibility, but also superb convention capacities." Düsseldorf's airport, the third largest in Germany, is constantly expanding its flight network, and the city itself is embedded in an extensive highway system and very easy to reach by high-speed train. The Rhine metropolis has extensive hospitality services, with over 11,000 rooms in the 3 – 5-star segment in Düsseldorf proper and a wide range of well-known hospitality providers. In addition there are meeting rooms and convention halls of every size, creative event agents and a wide range of special event venues for pre- and post-event programming.
At the center of the international convention business stands CCD Congress Center Düsseldorf, which regularly receives awards. Together with the halls of the Düsseldorf Fairgrounds, the building complex offers a flexible room concept for up to 15,000 visitors. Combined with additional halls of the Düsseldorf Fairgrounds and the ESPRIT arena, located on the same grounds, the total capacity exceeds 100,000 visitors. Hilmar Guckert, CEO of Düsseldorf Congress Sport & Event: "CCD Congress Center Düsseldorf is the heart of the convention city of Düsseldorf. The great number of events held here and the know-how and the extensive experience of its staff underscore the role of capital city in the international meeting and event industry.“
In addition to classical meeting and convention center, Düsseldorf Congress Sport & Event also offers business event planers a broad range of special event venues, multi-functional arenas and unusual incentive ideas. For very large business events, the HORISUM platform is available, a combination of ESPRIT arena, the halls of the Düsseldorf Fairgrounds and/or CCD Congress Center Düsseldorf, which, in combination, is the worlds largest event center.
A dynamic economy is especially likely to benefit a meeting and convention city when convention industry policy setters identify the most important industries and areas of competency of their region and actively network with key players in them. As the Meeting and Event Barometer underscores, industry competency is an important factor in choosing a destination. In Düsseldorf, we act on these insights purposefully – as evidenced by the conventions, meetings and corporate events held here. In addition to the healthcare industry mentioned above, a few of the most important areas of competency include chemicals and life sciences, biotechnology and industrial technology/innovation. Düsseldorf also has unusually strong connections to Russia, China and Japan.
Strategies for the future: technological innovation, sustainability, continuing education
In terms of the "future challenges" identified by the meeting industry, Düsseldorf is also in touch with the pulse of time. According to a future study published in 2013 by GCB German Convention Bureau².
The meeting and convention city of Düsseldorf has done its homework in these areas. That is visible in the constant improvements that have been made to the transportation and convention infrastructure and the targeted networking it has undertaken with regional industries. It has kept up-to-date technologically through on-demand streaming and live-streaming services, and regularly receives awards for its dedication to continuing education. CCD Congress Center Düsseldorf is Green Globe certified and has joined the EVVC/GCB sustainability code "fairpflichtet".
Equipped with a wide range of additional marketing strategies
Düsseldorf's success as the meeting and convention city is the result of consistent, targeted work – hosting the 56th Eurovision Song Contest ESC in the ESPRIT arena in 2011 gave us an additional image and visitor boost. As of January 2014, we undertook a fundamental strategic realignment, which is evident in our new name: Düsseldorf Congress Sport & Event is the name of the former DüsseldorfCongress Veranstaltungsgesellschaft mbH. Along with our new name, we took on operational responsibility for the ESPRIT arena and sportAgentur Düsseldorf. Our objectives are to better leverage synergies, create a uniform marketing language and increase our venue utilization rates. Düsseldorf Congress Sport & Event is an experienced partner for event organizers, not only offering venues, but also networking among and bringing together all key actors.
Our diverse marketing strategy targets future success. To this end, Düsseldorf Congress Sport & Event has entered strategic alliances with GCB and AIPC, is a member of the marketing cooperation "The Seven Centers of Germany", and regularly participates, together with convention bureau DÜSSELDORF, in international industry events such as the leading trade fairs IMEX and EIBTM. It is also active within the framework of the marketing association "KölnDüsseldorf – The Meetropolis" and convention bureau DÜSSELDORF's own meeting barometer (starting in 2014). In a nutshell: excellently positioned for the future.
*On behalf of EVVC (European Association of Event Centers) | the GCB (German Convention Bureau) and German National Tourist Board (GNTB) | hosted by EITW (European Institute of Meetings Industry)
²Future study "Meeting and Convention of the Future", published in 2013 by GCB German Convention Bureau, prepared by IZT – Institute for Future Studies and Technology Assessment, Berlin
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