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Published on : Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Germany saw the number of international meeting guests soar nine percent in 2014 to a total of 25.6 million, according to the just released Meeting & EventBarometer 2015. Other key findings of the report illustrate how expertise, technology, sustainability, value and infrastructure are among the leading factors why planners choose Germany again and again. The report was issued today at IMEX in Frankfurt.
The annual Meeting & EventBarometer surveys Germany’s meetings industry. It is conducted by the European Institute for the Meetings Industry (EITW) on behalf of the European Association of Event Centres (EVVC), the German Convention Bureau (GCB), and the German National Tourist Board (GNTB). This is the ninth year the Meeting & EventBarometer has been conducted.
Petra Hedorfer, Chief Executive Officer of the GNTB, concluded: “The rising share of international participants helps Germany remain the leading business destination in Europe by far.”
Germany by the numbers
In 2014, the number of international meeting guests in Germany reached 25.6 million, up nine percent over 2013, with the market for technology, innovation and medical meetings particularly strong. More than 383 million people overall participated in meetings in Germany, representing a 3.3 percent growth over 2013 and the sixth year of consecutive growth.
The number of conference hotels, centres and venue spaces grew to 7,152 across the country, up 1.7 percent from last year. Additionally, 3.04 million conferences, meetings and events took place in Germany in 2014, up one percent.
Commenting on this and the overall strength of the German meetings industry, Matthias Schultze, Managing Director of the GCB, said: “The continuous growth of the German meetings industry shows that we are well-positioned in the international meetings market, but we can never rest on our laurels. We continuously analyse important trends, issues and opportunities to further strengthen our offerings for global planners and visitors. The Meeting & EventBarometer 2015 is one way we do this.”
Joachim König, President of the EVVC, added: “Based on the results of the annual Meeting & EventBarometer, the GCB and EVVC have initiated different projects on topics such as metrics, future meeting space and political outreach, so that we can give German service providers and destinations practical support to strengthen conference and meetings development and marketing.”
Expertise is in demand
Germany‘s global leadership as a meetings destination is based on a combination of high quality, good value venues, travel accessibility and access to Germany’s extensive expertise in key industries such as technology, innovation, finance, healthcare, automotive and aerospace.
For a number of years, Germany has marketed expertise as a major component in the destination decision-making process. Companies and associations are increasingly selecting destinations and venues that complement their own industry focus; by doing so, they realise they can naturally tap into local expertise, resources and talent that add value to their meeting’s focus and their attendees’ professional development.
Tech is on the rise
It should come as no surprise that organisers attach great importance to technology before, during and after an event: Nearly two thirds (65.9 percent) of event planners surveyed expect to use mobile applications on site, 45.5 percent expect to use online discussion forums, and about one-third expect to use cloud services and be able to live-stream lectures or workshops.
In line with this, approximately 13 percent of events last year in Germany were booked via conference portals according to event organisers.
Sustainability ensures a higher quality of events
More than half of organisers value providers with a sustainability management system compared to just one third in 2011. About 35.6 percent also believe that sustainability efforts of suppliers result in a noticeable improvement in quality.
Almost half (43.2 percent) of surveyed suppliers have sustainability management systems in place – an increase of 16 percent compared to 2011. German suppliers are also highly aware of the need for accessibility: around 80 percent said that accessibility is part of their corporate philosophy compared to just over 60 percent of event organisers. More than half of the suppliers currently have accommodation measures in place.
Budgets and optimism up
The Meeting & EventBarometer 2015 indicates that 38.5 percent of event planners in Germany see budgets increasing over 2014. What’s more, 51.7 percent of suppliers and 58 percent of organizers are more optimistic about the industry, an improvement over last year.