C&IT recently released statistics on the top trends and challenges facing the UK events sector. Included in these was the revelation that 39% of corporate event planners say managing their budgets is one of their biggest challenges (along with delivering more for less and the demand for innovation and creativity).
Ultimately, as an agency we are seeing the impact of this with clients expecting their money to go further than ever before. These challenges are all too familiar to me as a venue finder expected to secure the perfect venue for my client in their quest for the best value whist still offering an inventive solution.
Having recently returned from an inspirational, informative and insightful four days attending the C&IT 365/24 Berlin Forum, I would like to spread the message that the German capital can offer a solution to all of these concerns. I attended the forum to discover more about why Berlin is such a hugely popular destination – the city was recently ranked number one in the ICCA city rankings for 2015, up three places from 2014 – and to learn more about what added value this city can bring to me and my clients.
For me, this was my first trip to Berlin where I had been able to properly appreciate the destination and look at it from a venue finding perspective. I had been to Berlin before but didn’t feel I fully appreciated all the city had to offer. My memories and preconception of Berlin were that it was a destination more suited to the young vibrant kind. I knew that Berlin was a popular conference destination – Ashfield Meetings & Events organised 20 events in the city last year – but I expected this was mainly due to the fact that it is easily accessible and it has a lot of big meeting space options. I have now discovered that this diverse city has so much more to offer to all its visitors.
Berlin is a city of freedom and this is something that the inhabitants are very proud of and fully embrace. It is a cosmopolitan destination and teveryone is welcomed equally. Many of our clients are global businesses and promoting diversity is a key commitment, so what better way to foster this culture than to hold their next meeting in a city that represents diversity, in a place where everyone can demonstrate their own beliefs and values.
When asking ourselves why we should consider Berlin for our next event, we should consider four As:
Accessibility. The city currently has two major airports with great European and worldwide connections but more excitingly is the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport which is currently being built. When it finally opens, which is currently scheduled for 2017 (although this seems rather optimistic), it will be the single airport serving the city.
Accommodation. This year, Berlin will have more than 6,000 new beds to add to their already huge housing stock.
Affordability. In comparison to other competitor European hub cities, Berlin is cheaper but still offers excellent value for money. There are so many creative solutions that the city can offer clients something unique that supports their key messages whilst still being within their tighter budgets.
Attractiveness. A cultural metropolis, Berlin is a hub for arts, science and technology. When searching for creative and inventive venues, there couldn’t be more choice than in Berlin. Specifically for our clients in the pharmaceutical sector, Berlin has a lot of medical connections which make it very suitable for healthcare events. The city has the largest concentration of universities and research institutions in all of Germany, including one of Europe’s largest teaching hospitals, making the city a magnet for industry-related events. Last October, Berlin played host to the World Health Summit, one of the largest forums covering global health and the event will be returning again this year.
As the name of the 365/24 forum suggest, Berlin is a cool and vibrant city that can offer something for everyone all year round. During my visit, I walked along the historical remaining sections of the Berlin wall, I ran though the beautiful Tiergarten Park, I cycled through the bustling city taking in the sights, I cruised along the Spree on a boat, I swam through a floating swimming pool (Badeschiff) and finally, I danced my way to the early hours of the morning in Spindler & Klatt, one of many stylish restaurants along the river. My visit was one that truly represented Berlin, a city of contrasts.