Germany’s forward-thinking use of technology, industry expertise and innovative inventions is turning heads on site selection committees throughout the world. A number of recent studies have shown the country’s popularity as a meetings destination.
Petra Hedorfer, CEO of Germany Travel (GNTB) and chairwoman of the German Convention Bureau Administrative Board (GCB), credits budget-friendly transportation, venues, hotels and F&B as a few of the reasons the country has become an international favorite. “Germany’s wide range of expertise in different industry sectors and fields of science considerably contributes to the country’s strength as a meeting destination, providing organizers with an ideal framework for their events,” she said.
The Data Doesn’t Lie
Need more convincing? For the 14th time in a row, Germany took first place in Europe in the most recent International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) survey, drawing 682 annual international association meetings (with more than 50 attendees) booked there in 2017.
And recently, the GNTB European Association of Event Centres (EVVC) and GCB released their annual study, “Meeting & Event Barometer,” following hospitality trends throughout the country. Sending out surveys to 4,000 event venues offering a minimum seating capacity of 100 and 8,000 organizers worldwide, the study was created to follow trend forecasts, including digitalization and internationalism. Respondents revealed that technology is becoming more relevant, global participation continues to rise and event venues of all types continue to pop up around the country.
Technology is King
Germany has jumped on the trend to integrate technology, such as AR, in meetings. An estimated 24 percent of German and international meeting and conference planners utilize technology in their events, essentially combining physical components with the virtual. This has also changed how meetings are held; smaller meetings with fewer than 50 participants are transitioning into becoming fully digital.
“For smaller events, organizers increasingly use virtual formats to enable exchange and networking,” says EVVC President Joachim Konig. “At the same time, tech tools also enrich physical meetings and conferences, resulting in an increase of hybrid events. Overall, the digital transformation is therefore an opportunity for anyone operating in the events sector.”
Attendees Continue to Show Up
The steady stream of name tags is resulting in a positive economic effect. “Thirty-one percent of promotable business trips…can be attributed to meetings and conferences,” says Hedorfer.
In 2017, more participants than ever led to a total of 405 million delegates. Mid-sized events grew by 2.7 percent. And internationalization has also led to a total of 36 million global participants—an increase of 10.9 percent compared to 2016. “The steady growth in international event participants in Germany by more than 150 percent over a period of 12 years clearly shows that the German meetings and conference market is considerably shaped by internationalization,” says Matthias Schultze, managing director of GCB.
Event Venues are Thriving
Germany offers plenty of venues, and if you’re looking for one that can fit more than 100 attendees, you’re in luck. With 7,405 conference hotels and event venues, you have more options than ever; it’s an increase of 1.3 percent from 2016. One reason for the increase? There are plenty of renovations of spaces such as museums, castles and studios, creating inventive spaces different from your standard hotel.