Rising to great new hights

Making way for more conferences and conventions at the Estrel Congress & Messe Center Berlin

Convention Hall II will add 4,600 sqm to the Estrell Conference Center ©Sven Hobbiesiefken
Convention Hall II will add 4,600 sqm to the Estrell Conference Center ©Sven Hobbiesiefken
At the end of April, the Estrel proudly unveiled the Estrel Congress & Messe Center's new event hall in all its glory at a spectacular topping out ceremony. Interested representatives from our vast clientele pool as well as event organizers enjoyed front-row seats as the final beam journeyed all the way up to the imposing 11.5-metre-high roof supports. Construction has been steadily underway since last August, ensuring that the new Convention Hall II is prepared to host its first events on schedule at the beginning of September.

Featuring a central 4,600-square-metre cantilevered hall, the new Convention Hall II will also include a 1,050-square-metre event space, a 700-square-metre foyer, an abundance of rooms for various other uses and a high ceiling stretching up to 11.5 metres. Furthermore, the new facility will be directly accessible from the Estrel's existing Convention Center. With the addition of the new convention hall, the Estrel will be able to offer customers more than twice the amount of event space currently available at our establishment.

The award-winning firm brandherm + krumrey interior architecture will be responsible for the space's interior design. Cultivating a personal and appealing atmosphere is at the heart of their concept. As a point of intersection between the two building complexes, the new foyer will be outfitted with elegant, dark-coloured tiles, sophisticated pendant lights, stylish seating options and metallic-hued walls to create an inviting, cosy setting. "The Sum of All Possibilities", an installation by London design collective Troika, will serve as the space's eye-catching centrepiece. Made of grey-lacquered wood that rotates in a circular orbit around its own axis, the sculpture – which will be suspended from the ceiling – symbolises a state of perpetual metamorphosis. Large illuminated frames housing artful photographs taken of the Estrel's setting will be another unique design feature. Unlike most convention centres, Convention Hall II will feature hardwood floors rather than concrete, further enhancing the building’s visual impact. For a first look at Convention Hall II and the new foyer, enjoy the virtual tour available now on the Estrel website. Use the overview map or click directly on images to navigate to other parts of the Estrel, including meeting rooms, foyers and hotel rooms.

The Estrel has always recognised the importance of sustainability. Built according to 2014 Germany's energy standards (EnEV), the energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly hall will utilise greywater for the sanitation systems and supplement energy usage with up to 160 kilowatts via a rooftop solar panel system. "For an establishment the Estrel's size, it is imperative that we use the Earth's resources in the most ecological way possible", says Ekkehard Streletzki.


Berlin now 4th most popular convention destination in the world

Since 2004, Berlin has ranked among the top 10 destinations for association meetings

Berlin now 4th most popular convention destination in the world ©visitberlin, Foto: Wolfgang Scholvien
Berlin now 4th most popular convention destination in the world ©visitberlin, Foto: Wolfgang Scholvien
High demand for Berlin as a convention destination: Having hosted 193 association meetings in 2014, the German capital is now the fourth most popular destination in the world for such meetings, ahead of Singapore (142), London (166), and Barcelona (182). First through third places are held by Paris (214), Vienna (202), and Madrid (200) as shown in the latest statistics from the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA). Berlin hosted 15 more events last year than the year before.

“Berlin is proud of its leading position in the international congress ranking”, says Michael Müller, Governing Mayor of Berlin. “The convention business is an important economic factor for Berlin. It is our common goal that Berlin can continue to expand this very good position in the future.”

“Berlin has climbed the fourth place in the renowned international convention business, has overtaken Barcelona, and ranks in front of London, Dubai, and Istanbul, bringing economic power to the city. Especially with reference to science conventions, the German capital fascinates with its variety of convention venues. Berlin’s research landscape and technologically powerful companies promote the convention destination Berlin,” says Cornelia Yzer, Senator for Economics, Technology and Research.
“2014 was our strongest convention year to date. Berlin’s unusual venues, state-of-the-art convention centres, and highly professional organisers help to maintain and expand the city’s leading position. Berlin especially garners favour because it has the most modern hotel landscape in Europe,” says Burkhard Kieker, CEO of visitBerlin.

ICCA statistics: most important international benchmark for conventions
Since 2004, Berlin has ranked among the top 10 destinations for association meetings. According to the convention statistics collected by the Berlin Convention Office of visitBerlin, more than 131,000 events took place in Berlin in 2014. The ICCA statistics exclusively count international meetings of associations to ensure a global comparison. They must be attended by at least 50 participants, take place regularly, and switch among at least three different countries. The statistics are a respected tool for making international comparisons. Destinations in the ICCA top 10 are perceived by event planners worldwide as the leading meeting destinations.

For more information about Berlin as a meeting destination, go to convention.visitBerlin.com.


IMEX in Frankfurt: Germany to Show Why It’s the #1 European Business Trip Destination & Has Rising Overnight Stays From the US & Beyond

Germany will once again have a big presence at IMEX in Frankfurt -- with over 200 exhibitors featured and multiple education sessions -- but the real story here is the large and ever growing space that Germany populates within the global meetings market.
The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) and German Convention Bureau (GCB) recently announced that Germany is the #1 destination for European business travel with a total of 12.3 million professional trips in 2014 (Source: GNTB/IPK International and World Travel Monitor (WTM)).  Conference and convention travel makes up 27% of this number.  Germany is also the #2 global destination for association meetings only behind the US (Source: ICCA).

Germany is also reporting a new record high in international overnight stays of 75.6 million with visitors from the US, Arab Gulf States and China leading the way from overseas markets (Source: German Federal Statistical Office). Looking ahead, data and models compiled by the UNWTO, the World Travel & Tourism Council, and the German Federal Statistical Office show that Germany could reach more than 121 million international overnight stays by the year 2030.

In sync with this, a 4.6 percent rise in total arrivals for 2014 places Germany ahead of comparable growth rates for Europe, which the UNWTO puts at 3.9 percent. It also places German arrival growth closely in step with global growth rates of 4.7 percent last year.

So what’s behind the numbers and what makes Germany so popular for doing business?

Matthias Schultze, Managing Director of the GCB, offers these reasons: “We feel there are several factors.  Germany provides excellent infrastructure, good value for money, high travel accessibility, and a wide variety of compelling cities and regions with rich cultures. Meeting organizers and delegates can also leverage the innovative industry expertise that these cities and regions have in urban design, technology, pharma & biotech, mobility & automotive, green technology, finance, aerospace and more.”

Frankfurt, the host city for IMEX, is just one example of German meetings excellence in action. When meeting in the city, delegates may do a site visit at the House of Logistics and Mobility (HOLM), a central location for knowledge transfer between leading innovators, research institutions and companies in the field of logistics. They could attend an event at the 200 yr. old Städel art museum. They might meet at the sustainable Kap Europa Conference Center and, after dinner, take a stroll by the ancient Main river or see historic half-timber buildings in the Romer square.  Frankfurt as a meetings destination is also within easy reach of the international Frankfurt airport and has an extensive train and public transportation network for ease of travel within the city and across Germany.


Hamburg’s Nod as the German Nominee for the 2024 Olympics is Testimony to Its Meetings Excellence

There is hardly a larger or more visible “meeting” on the world stage than the Olympics.

This time, the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) has chosen Hamburg as its official nominee for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games.

Though certainly facing stiff competition from other world-class destinations putting their hats in the Olympic ring, Hamburg has many factors in its favor.These factors also make the city a prime place to host meetings, business events or conferences.

First and foremost, Hamburg is very well versed in holding large events in key industries such technology, maritime, aviation, healthcare, design and others. The Hamburg Cruise Week, for example, draws over half a million visitors for public and conference events.On a more typical size and scale, the city is also hosting meetings like the Western Digital Executive Summit, World Ports Conference, EANM (European Association of Nuclear Medicine) Congress 2015 and hundreds of others each year.To show its public support for the Olympics nomination alone, Hamburg held more than 100 local events under the “Feuer und Flamme” or “Fire and Flame” theme symbolizing the Olympic torch.

Hamburg is also -- thanks to highly sustainable and strategic urban development over the past decade -- an extremely attractive, unique and well appointed place to visit and do business.In Hamburg, you can expect lovely views and public spaces surrounding one of the world’s largest harbors. The innovative design of Hafen City Hamburg and the in-progress Elbphilharmonie Hall (which will also feature a new Westin Hotel) are another draw – particularly for urban planning, sustainability, and design wonks.  Excellent hotels, dining and performances as well as unique historic venues are featured, and the CCH Congress Center Hamburg offers one of Germany’s largest exhibition spaces right in the heart of the city. The result of all this? Overnight stays by international guests have increased in Hamburg by 140 percent in the past 10 years (Source: Hamburg Tourist Board).

So whether thinking about Hamburg for a meeting, conference, or event – or maybe even an Olympic visit - the real winners are planners, delegates and attendees. For more information visit: http://www.hamburg-convention.com/en/Startpage.


Meeting Design Course Cologne, Germany.

Famous Meeting Designer from the Netherlands and author of “Into the Heart of Meetings”, Eric de Groot visits Cologne (Köln) in Germany on 28 - 29 of May 2015, for a Meeting Design Training Course. A unique chance for meeting professionals!

Meeting Design is gaining ever more attention from all those who use meetings as a means of communications. This is only logical. Whether to achieve business goals or any kind of change in organizations, meetings can only be effective if their programs are designed well.

For almost 15 years, MindMeeti
 Meeting Design with Eric de Groot in action, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ©MindMeeting
Meeting Design with Eric de Groot in action, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ©MindMeeting
ng, the Meeting Design agency Eric founded together with his co-author Mike van der Vijver, has specialized in designing effective programmes for international audiences. Or rather: participants, because one common feature in their programme designs is the active role of the participants in the meeting; the participants, not the audience.

The course will focus on the main basics of designing meeting programmes. Topics covered include: use the venue and the room lay-out to influence participant behaviour, give shape to the decisive first 5 minutes of the programme, optimize content and format, and others. In addition, course participants will learn how to cure major meeting headaches like: long personal introduction rounds, boring content, official formalities and poor speakers.

The course is designed for meeting professionals who want to exert greater influence on meeting outcomes; communication experts who want to improve their understanding of the medium; change agents and consultants who want to use meetings effectively. The course will, of course, be highly interactive. The programme is built around a whole series of design assignments, close cooperation with fellow learners and some surprises.

ICCA’s CEO Martin Sirk is a firm believer in the vital importance of Meeting Design for any company, organisation or individual striving to be successful in tomorrow’s meetings industry:  “Mike and Eric’s book, “Into the Heart of Meetings”, is quite simply the most stimulating book on meetings that I’ve come across in two and a half decades in the meetings industry, and is the reason why ICCA invited them to collaborate on many of the design elements in our own annual Congress, significantly increasing our levels of innovation and delegate engagement. I can unreservedly recommend attending their Meeting Design course, and believe their ideas have the power to transform traditional thinking about our business, and can make your meetings dramatically more effective and enjoyable.”

The Dutch Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) offered this course to its members in early 2014. It received the highest-ever ratings of all MPI Netherlands educationals.
Participants said about this course:
“ Meeting Design is about creating the perfect event; one during which you will reach your goals“.
“ After this training, I have realised that just about everything we have been doing in the Meeting & Event Industry in the past is wrong!“

In January 2015, the first international edition was given in Malmö, Sweden. The participants said about this course:
Meeting Design with Mike van der Vijver in Action, Malmö, Sweden ©MindMeeting
Meeting Design with Mike van der Vijver in Action, Malmö, Sweden ©MindMeeting

“ The training was the perfect mix of theory and practice with quite challenging group exercises in real world scenarios which really had an impact on the way we will approach events in future. With Mike we had a very experienced expert and mind-set changer and learned a lot about maximizing meeting effectiveness by better activating the bodies and souls who are present”.
“ To actually make each meeting count is important to me - and meeting design is a wonderful approach to make that happen. The course gave me new angles on- for example - how to make the content stick, on the influence of the togetherness environment, on how to make speakers see their role in the meeting and on how to design an end of a meeting that gives a direction ahead".

For 2 years in a row, MindMeeting conducted Meeting Design Trainings in India in close collaboration with IdentCITY. Participants said about this course:
" The workshop is a combination of conference frameworks, case studies, practical ideas and thoughtful suggestions, Into the Heart of Meetings can help us design successful meeting experiences and ensure desired outcomes"
" A must attend workshop for the meeting industry professionals and all service providers. It's an eye opener to me, and I will surely implement the ideas that I learned in this workshop".

Naturally, much of the course content is based on the book “Into the Heart of Meetings”, written by Eric de Groot and Mike van der Vijver. This first-ever book on Meeting Design has received world-wide attention and acclaim. For reviews, please check our website www.mindmeeting.org.

Dates: 28-29 May 2015 in Cologne, Germany
. Includes one copy for each participant of “ Into the Heart of Meetings”, two lunches. Price € 995,-. Each second registration from the same organization is entitled to a 10% discount.
For information and registration, please send an email to: sara@mindmeeting.org

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