German Convention Bureau

VIEWS

We asked the leading industry experts for their thoughts on destination marketing and bidding

Q: What makes a successful destination marketing campaign?

Successful destination marketing campaigns have one thing in common: They acknowledge that we live in a customer-centric world. Everything we do needs to start and end with the customer view and their requirements. In this context, CVBs need to readjust and focus on delivering solutions based on specific needs rather than products. We also need to consider the customer journey in our digital world, i.e., be where they are throughout the whole process. Stressing the value of what you can offer rather than talking about cost is also key. Plus, focus on content marketing to provide relevant information and education.

Q: What can your destination offer event organisers that other destinations cannot?

Germany stands for expertise, sustainability and innovation. At the German Convention Bureau, we have built our activities around these three pillars. We know from our research that industry sector expertise specifically plays a key role in the decision making of event planners: 74% say that access to relevant know-how is important when choosing a destination. Germany stands out in this respect, with knowledge hubs for different sectors spread around the country. This creates a lot of choice and access to destinations that are world-leading in areas such as medicine and healthcare, technology and innovation or energy and the environment.

Q: In your opinion, what makes a good convention bureau?

I think it is the ability to accept that change is the new normal – and not just that: The convention bureau of the future needs to be able to ride the wave of the digital transformation to the benefit of all stakeholders. We need to embrace the opportunities and challenges and work with them in a constructive way. I already mentioned how important customer-centricity has become for successful destination marketing and I also see that as a key success factor for our work as convention bureaus in general.

Q: How do you prepare a successful bid?

In Germany, the individual city convention bureaus and other service providers take over bidding for conferences and events, so we are not involved in bidding processes directly. We do, however, deliver know-how and expertise, such as mentioned above on the changing requirements for successful destination marketing that feed into biddings, and are very happy to support local convention bureaus in this respect.

Q: Who should be involved in the preparation of a successful bid?

In a nutshell, everyone who is needed to meet the specific requirements of the potential customer. Germany is very well positioned because we have a nationwide network of very professional convention bureaus that have all the right structures in place and get the necessary partners on board.

Q: Latest stories of success?

In recent years, we have successfully undertaken a range of market research projects that all look at how to future proof what we’re doing in events. This is very important for us as a national convention bureau because we see ourselves as a driving force, providing our entire professional community with inspirational and innovative ideas, insights and recommendations. In this context, the innovation network “Future Meeting Space” is our flagship project. After two phases looking into the “how to” of future meetings, we’re now launching phase 3, focusing on the role of events within the corporate communications mix.

 

About Matthias

Matthias Schultze is managing director of the German Convention Bureau that represents and markets the German meetings and conference sector on a national and international level, with offices in Frankfurt, New York, and Beijing. Together with partners, Matthias has initiated various projects, such as the “Future Meetings Space” innovation alliance, that focus on the opportunities and challenges brought about by the digital transformation. With a degree in business administration, he started out in hotel and congress management at Hilton International in Germany and has now almost 20 years of management experience, including as the CEO of the World Conference Center in Bonn, which is part of the United Nations Campus.

Read the latest issue