The German Convention Bureau (GCB) has long worked with the country’s many regional DMOs to leverage their leading auto, tech, medical, financial and logistics industries to attract global conventions. This “areas of expertise strategy” is designed to engage planners at a higher level of discussion about how to drive value for attendees and stakeholders by connecting like-minded business leaders.
The GCB’s goal in 2015 is defining those niches unique to each destination, not only to position German cities as world-class industry thought leaders, but to create storytelling around those niches to market the experiences in a more memorable and impactful way.
“It’s a little bit of a difficult path to tread, because when planners see: “You should come to Germany because of our expertise,” they wonder what that’s all about,” says Laura d’Elsa, regional director (USA/Canada) at the German Convention Bureau. “But as soon as we give convention planners some examples, they’ve been responsive to that. I’ve seen more and more coverage on that happening in the media and at conferences, so it’s starting to resonate with planners.”
Stuttgart Meetings Celebrate Electromobility
In Stuttgart, the Porsche and Mercedes global headquarters are at the cutting edge of auto tech. The Stuttgart Convention Bureau is promoting the city as such to planners at its World of Energy Solutions conference, divided into three different events: f-cell congress, Battery + Storage, and the e-mobil BW Conference.
“On the basis of its almost 130-year tradition of vehicle construction, the region is also emerging more and more as Europe’s leading location for electromobility,” says Karina Grutzner, business development manager for Stuttgart Convention Bureau.
In the automotive industry, leading researchers, managers, and political and industrial decision-makers joined 3,000 attendees at the f-cell event last year, regarded as the most important event for the hydrogen fuel cell industry worldwide.
In part because of that, over 300 regional enterprises and institutions have joined to form the cluster initiative “CARS” (Cluster-initiative Automotive Region Stuttgart), with the aim of further strengthening the region’s position as a provider of new mobility technologies.
This has all kinds of interesting collaboration opportunities for Stuttgart meetings in many different sectors.
The “Brennstoffzellen und Batterie-Allianz Baden-Württemberg” (Baden-Württemberg Fuel Cell and Battery Alliance) is engaged in the development and distribution of sustainable energy-producing and storage technologies. In addition, sector-specific competence centers interlink the diverse regional resources in the fields of virtual engineering, mechatronics and technical textiles.
Also, Stuttgart University is home to leading research facilities, such as the German Aerospace Centre, where innovative auto tech focuses on new materials, lightweight design and emission-free propulsion systems. You won’t find many of today’s next generation attendees who don’t want to check that out.
D’Elsa at the GCB says that these linkages with German companies to share interdisciplinary industry knowledge provides value for planners and meeting owners, along with a huge level of excitement for attendees and organizations.
“Talking with planners, what’s really popular are those technical visits, and the beauty of it is you don’t have to create something new,” she says. “You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg. You’re just looking for what is already there, and asking, ‘How can we use that for my program?’”