Image credit: GCB

The German National Tourist Board (GNTB), European Association of Event Centres (EVVC) and GCB German Convention Bureau have released the results of the “Meeting- & EventBarometer 2018/2019”: With attendee numbers on a continued upward trend, the German meeting, congress and event market has become more diversified in 2018 and is increasingly influenced by the megatrends digitalisation and internationalisation.

Based on the overall number of people attending meetings, congresses and events in Germany, the Meeting- & EventBarometer 2018/2019 confirms the sector as a growth market. With 412 million attendees, the study records a plus of 1.6 percent.  The growing number of attendees is juxtaposed by a slightly decreasing number of events which means that more attendees take part in fewer and mostly medium-sized to large events. In an increasingly varied market, this trend was already visible in last year’s Barometer results and is partly caused by the use of new technologies, with smaller meetings moving in the digital space.

With different types of events showing different growth rates, the “congresses, meetings and seminars” category is again the by far most important type of event in Germany, accounting for 60.9 percent of all events and displaying above average growth of 3.1 percentage points in comparison to the previous year.

According to the Meeting- & EventBarometer 2018/2019, on average 9 percent of attendees (37.2 million) are from abroad, equalling an increase of 2.1 percent in comparison to 2017. Since the first Barometer analysis the number of international event attendees has almost trebled, from 14.3 million in 2006.

For their meetings, conferences and events, planners can choose from 7,472 event centres, conference hotels and other event venues (size: minimum of 100 seats in their largest space) in Germany. A growing share of these spaces is working with dedicated sustainability management systems: While in 2011 only 27 percent were operating with a sustainability management system in place, the figures stands now at just over 40 percent. The overall number of venues has slightly increased in 2018 in comparison to the previous year, with event venues exhibiting the strongest growth. This includes former industrial sites, providing ideal surroundings for creative and innovative formats as well as being able to offer the appropriate tech infrastructure for hybrid events.

The growing importance of hybrid events as a combination of conventional in-person attendance and the integration of various digital tools including online participation of remote attendees is underlined by the results of the Meeting- & EventBarometer 2018/2019: According to the surveyed suppliers, their overall share continued to increase from 2017 to 2018. EVVC vice president Jan Jansen stresses the significance of this development: “As the latest research results of our joint ‘Future Meeting Space’ innovation network have shown, it is crucial for the success of events that they leave a lasting memory – and the integration of innovative and digital elements can help achieve this.” The digital transformation has also changed how event venues market their offerings, with online activities and digital elements, such as listings on online marketplaces, by now taking up more budget than conventional marketing tools.

Putting the Meeting- & EventBarometer 2018/2019 results in context, GCB managing director Matthias Schultze says: “The latest figures show that the event market is becoming more heterogeneous and increasingly diversified. This trend manifests itself in new event formats in venues that cater for the changing requirements brought about by our new, more flexible and cooperative ways of working. Diversification also means that we see more hybrid events with digital elements as well as new marketing tools and a growing number of international attendees. Suppliers in the German event community adjust their activities accordingly which is reflected in the growing importance of digital marketing and sales.”

The latest 2018 figures released by the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA) confirm the overall positive assessment of the German market: For the 15th time in a row, Germany tops the European ranking and comes second internationally behind the USA, with 642 international association meetings having taken place in Germany in 2018.

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