German convention centre marketing alliance pays off

The joint marketing strategy between Germany’s leading convention centres is paying dividends, according to figures published at Imex last month. The congress centres in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Cologne, Munich, Stuttgart and Frankfurt formed a strategic alliance under the banner ‘Seven Centers – Great Places for Great Conventions’ in May 2002 to attract more international business. The latest figures show a total visitor count of 2.7 million delegates across 6,030 events and a combined increase in the spend by business tourists across all seven centres of E941m (£641m) in 2004 alone. "Since this is the first time that we have collated these joint figures it is impossible to make year-on-year comparisons, but we estimate the number of events to be up around 5% on the previous year," said International Congress Centre Berlin marketing director Wolfram Fvoboda. "We put the growth in international business, particularly from the UK, our strongest source of business, down to the awareness that the alliance has created. When we launched Seven Centers it seemed like an unusual exercise – after all, we are competitors –but it is in our interests to promote Germany as a whole." The ICC Berlin continues to attract large-scale conferences with 250 events up to 2014 confirmed. Around 20% of these conferences are for 5,000-plus delegates. Meanwhile, Frankfurt experienced a record year in 2004 with 135 events attracting 108,000 visitors. Major new facilities are to be unveiled in Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Cologne, while Stuttgart is on schedule to open its International Congresscenter in spring 2007. Next year will see further growth when the country hosts the World Cup. "We have already seen a rise in business similar to that experienced by Sydney and Japan when they hosted major sporting events," said German Convention Bureau director Lutz Vogt.

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