Olaf Marsson: Berlin is an event location of international standing

Paris, London, New York … Berlin – in these cities events are celebrated with an ­­­international flair. Berlin fits the bill, as the dynamic metropolis undergoes ­constant changes and has a strong international appeal. Not only is Berlin the capital of Germany, it also embodies the feeling of freedom, tolerance and culture.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Berlin on November 9, 1989, various business sectors grew rapidly and resulted in Berlin becoming one of the most popular cities in the world today. The events sector is one of the sectors participating in and profiting from this rapid growth. Since the “Meeting, Incentive, Convention & Event” (MICE) market’s evaluation in 2002, the number of service providers in all event areas has risen by nearly 41 per cent. Where there were only 144 conference hotels, 95 locations and 2 conference centres available for events in 2002, Berlin offered 187 conference hotels, 155 locations and 4 conference centres in 2014. It is not only the city’s historic background that causes this strong growth, but also the opportunity of using the open areas in the city to build new event locations. In 2014, an important change in the MICE sector happened in Berlin with the closing of the Internationale Congress Centrum Berlin (ICC Berlin) and the opening of the CityCube. With a maximum number of 11,000 participants, the new CityCube is significantly more economical and more flexible than the ICC Berlin.

Germany’s capital city held nearly 3.04 million events in all areas with a total of 383 million participants in 2014. These include recurring events which are held every year and have become so well-known that they serve as tourist magnets. The Festival of Light, the Green Week, the Fashion Week and the Karneval der Kulturen are probably the most well-known major events in the city. Thus, Berlin not only combines culture and art, but also unites people through technology, fashion, film and sports.

Business events are a focal point among all events, as the many different locations are the ideal prerequisite for hosting tailored events. Here, operative as well as strategic goals, such as customer retention, image improvement, increasing public awareness or new customer acquisition can be realised successfully. With a total of 193 events, Berlin as a congress destination came in as fourth after Paris, Vienna and Madrid in 2014 in the international city ranking of the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA), thus ranking first in Germany. Where marketing events were only held in the B2B area ten years ago, today events are increasingly being held in the B2C area as well. The importance of these events continues to grow, thereby causing the costs for marketing events to increase rapidly. In 2013, Germany com­­­panies spent 2.79 billion euros for marketing events. A large portion of these advertising budgets is shared by hundreds of creative agencies in Germany. Berlin is home to the highest density of companies in the event sector, the majority of which specialise in marketing events and can therefore implement all wishes and ideas professionally.

The capital city’s increasing success in regard to events and the number of participants is based on five pillars. The nearly 350 different event locations make it possible to realise every concept and every wish as appropriate for the marketing event. The versatility of possible location choices in Berlin plays a major role in this. From old industrial flair to modern architecture – all facets of locations can be found in the capital city. The city’s infrastructure also plays an important role in addition to the large selection of locations. At the centre of Europe – the connection between East and West – Berlin impresses with its outstanding infrastructure, which is among Europe’s most modern and efficient. In addition to two airports, the city offers five motorway connections and an international railway network. This makes Berlin an easy to reach destination for all participants. For short distances, the city offers a closely-knit public transportation network – the largest in Germany. A large number of hotels is needed to accommodate the vast number of participants at fairs and conferences that last several days. Berlin has 817 hotels of all categories to cover this need; in fact 27 of these are five-star hotels. Another twelve are to be constructed by 2016. The city’s appeal is also reflected in the most convincing price-performance ratio as a European metropolis. This means the desired event can be held with a high quality at comparatively low costs. In all of Germany, Berlin offers the largest number of professional event-­planning agencies, including the service provider Berlin Event, founded in 2004 which specialises in the planning and implementation of events. Finally, the capital’s success can also be attributed to its cultural activities. These include nearly 180 museums and memorial sites, a vibrant night life with over 1,500 events every day, a large selection of tourist activities like the Safari By Car with its nostalgic DDR vehicles taking you on a tour of the city’s landmarks.

Event managers who have a command of the pillars of success and offer the ideal prerequisites for the organisation of diverse business events will be remembered positively for their events by the participants for a long time and also achieve the customer’s desired objectives.

20151104_140116Olaf Marsson
The author, born in Potsdam in 1979, studied business administration in Berlin. Together with his brother, Marco Worm, he founded the event agency Berlin Event in 2004. Since 2010, he has also been the CEO of the Universal Hall GmbH, an event location steeped in history.