“Many people consider Hamburg to be Germany’s finest city”
Lumi Hilchey, GCB's Regional Director for North America, has recently spoken with Florian Gerdes, Marketing Manager Conventions with the Hamburg Convention Bureau, to discuss how Hamburg has dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic and why it is the ideal destination for business events in Germany and Europe. He also gave insights into how he and his colleagues can help planners stage their events in Hamburg.
Lumi Hilchey: How would you describe Hamburg's status quo regarding COVID-19? What are the current requirements for hosting business events in Hamburg?
Florian Gerdes: Hamburg has still got its safety and hygiene regulations in place and the dynamic situation is being observed carefully. Nonetheless, restaurants, catering establishments, hotels and event locations are open and operating in compliance with the current regulations.
The requirements for hosting business events differ depending on whether the event is supposed to take place indoors or outdoors and whether fixed seating is provided, but we are happy to announce that exhibitions are allowed. Indoor events with fixed seating may host up to 50 persons. Outdoor events can take place with 250 persons.
What was your team's response to the coronavirus pandemic? How can the Hamburg Convention Bureau aid in the planning of events nowadays?
We are proud to be considered both a reliable partner as well as the first source for information on business events in Hamburg. What we have done right from the beginning of the pandemic is to engage in an open dialogue with our partners and clients. We have quickly created platforms for the exchange of information and to support one another.
We have also provided transparent and up to date information via social media and our website and we have added the Corona Capacity Calculator to our services. Overall, I believe that we have done the best possible for our clients and partners with this approach.
That sounds interesting! Can you tell us a little bit about the Corona Capacity Calculator?
Hamburg has still got the minimum distance requirement of 1.5 meters between any two persons in place. This means that planners must look for more spacious venues when planning their meetings and events.
That is why we have added the Corona Capacity Calculator to our venue search tool. When searching for event spaces, planners can now choose to apply the corona capacity calculation which will filter out all venue options that are not in line with the current social distancing regulations. The idea is to provide planners with a definitive list of spaces that will safely host their chosen number of attendees.
Looking forward, what makes Hamburg such a unique and attractive destination for business events?
There are countless reasons for planners to choose Hamburg as their next meeting or event destination. The combination of Hanseatic Brick Gothic, grand merchants' mansions, royal country estates and manicured parks paired with its proximity to nature, openness to change and lifestyle make up its unique charm. That is why many people consider Hamburg to be Germany's finest city.
However, event planners and attendees will also benefit from the city's business and event related offerings. Firstly, Hamburg is easily accessible and very well connected to Europe's main hubs as well as Dubai. Guests can count on Hamburg Airport's connections and the highly efficient public transportation system.
Our city is also very affordable and offers great value for money - both for event planners and attendees alike. We are looking forward to Hamburg's new Congress Center (CCH), which will be one of Europe's largest and most advanced congress centers. Its planners have placed great emphasis on sustainability. Of course, Hamburg also possesses expertise in various industry sectors - aviation, life sciences, IT, logistics and maritime, for example.
How do Hamburg and its business event industry respond to the current megatrends?
Sustainability and digitalization play major roles in Hamburg's event industry. The city is a very green and conscious metropolis. Numerous hotels and locations are already paying close attention to operating sustainably. Hamburg is also considered a young and hip city.
Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that many digital service providers and startups call Hamburg their home. Many of them are driving developments in digitalization forward. Providers of Virtual Reality experiences are represented strongly in Hamburg, for example.
In addition, Hamburg can point to great locations and offers that fully cover the possibility for hybrid meetings. The importance of these megatrends can also be seen in events such as the very digitally charged Online Marketing Rockstars event or the Reeperbahn Festival.
What incentives do Hamburg and the Hamburg Convention Bureau offer for event planners?
Our team is happy to assist planners and attendees with any questions they may have. Thanks to our extensive network we can assist them in finding suitable conference facilities and locations and provide them with a choice of options for their events. We can also organize inspection tours upon request and connect planners with public authorities, cluster initiatives, businesses as well as scientific institutions.
Furthermore, event planners can benefit from our advice throughout the bidding process and our assistance in securing sufficient hotel accommodation for events with a large number of participants. Additionally, we can support planners by providing congress funding during low demand periods and by making our marketing and communication channels available to them for promoting their event as well as publishing information related to it.
How can Hamburg's Industry Expertise make events in Hamburg even better?
Industry knowledge, scientific curiosity and the eagerness to collaborate have always been at the heart of Hamburg's entrepreneurial culture. That is why Hamburg has adopted a policy of bundling and promoting its strengths and competencies in a systematic way. The regional economic clusters that were defined as part of this process focus on promising growth areas and aim to establish cross-sectoral networks between businesses, research institutions, academia and politics. Designed as dialogue-based platforms, Hamburg's cluster initiatives bring experts from different sectors together and thereby contribute to creative exchange and knowledge transfer - which is also reflected in the large number of prestigious B2B events and conferences that are held in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region each year. To harness this potential even further, the Hamburg Convention Bureau works closely with the Hamburg cluster initiative.