Digitisation and internationalisation are key for the German meetings, conference and events sector, according to the newly-released Meeting & Event Barometer 2017/2018.
The annual study is a joint project of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB), European Association of Event Centres (EVVC) and the German Convention Bureau (GCB) who presented the data today.
Petra Hedorfer, CEO of the GNTB and chairwoman of the GCB Administrative Board said: “31 per cent of promotable business trips, i.e. trips that are undertaken to attend different types of business events including incentive travel, can be attributed to meetings and conferences.
"They therefore contribute significantly to the balanced result in this segment and have for years been a driver for business travel from Europe into Germany. Attending meetings and conferences also plays an important role for the 2.2 million business trips undertaken to Germany from overseas.
"In this context, 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 organisers with an ideal framework for their events.”
In 2017, the number of delegates attending meetings, conferences and events in Germany rose by 2.8 per cent to 405m participants altogether.
The use of new technologies accounts for a noticeable shift within the market: Small meetings with up to 50 participants are increasingly being organised as virtual events, and the small drop of 1.7 per cent in the total number of events to 2.97 million can be explained by the decrease in numbers of this type of meetings as conventional physical events.
By contrast, mid-sized events in the 51 to 100 participants category grew by 2.7 percentage points.
24 per cent of German and international meeting and conference planners specified in the survey that they organise hybrid events, combining physical events with additional virtual components. As many as 26 per cent of all meetings, conferences and events that these planners organise are hybrid ones. In addition, 12 per cent of organisers put on purely virtual events with those accounting for 18.5 per cent of all events they work on.
Germany offers event planners a wide and growing range of 7,405 event centres, conference hotels and event venues that cater for meetings, conferences and events and provide a seating capacity of at least 100 in their biggest room – an increase of 1.3 per cent compared with 2016. This increase is attributed to a growing number of facilities in the event venues segment, including converted industrial spaces that are increasingly popular and particularly suitable for creative and innovative event formats.