Nele Aumann, head of the Hamburg Convention Bureau’s (HCB) Conventions unit, looks ahead to the three major trends she expects to see more from in the meetings and event sector in 2019:
Innovation: in other words, finding fresh ideas – an ongoing challenge for event planners who have to attract and engage delegates time and time again. Here’s where the host destination can offer a real creative boost.
Hamburg, a recent finalist in the European Capital of Innovation Award, is home to HafenCity, the largest urban redevelopment project in Europe which brings together the world’s most innovative architects, urban planners, and technology companies to create a new stage in city living.
Hamburg has also established itself as a place where event attendees can easily access the people leading innovation in key areas of expertise, including: media and IT, aviation, life sciences, logistics and mobility, creative industries, healthcare, renewable energies, and maritime industries.
Sustainability: whether it’s plastic, pollution or palm oil, environmental damage is a worldwide problem that needs to be tackled by all sectors – and the meeting and event sector is no exception. Delegates and planners alike increasingly expect suppliers to have strong sustainability credentials and many are rising to meet this demand.
Ruby Lotti hotel, recently opened in Hamburg, offers guests free use of their Ruby bikes as an environmentally-friendly and healthy way to explore the city. Hamburg Messe CCH – Congress Center Hamburg (set to re-open in 2020 as the largest convention centre in Germany) has state-of-the-art exhibition halls with low energy consumption. All meeting rooms, guest rooms and public areas at the new Scandic Hamburg Emporio hotel are built with natural sustainable materials.
The rise and rise of ‘bleisure’: while not the most sophisticated of terms, bleisure effectively sums up how delegates are including leisure elements alongside their business travel. What’s more, this trend is growing. SAP Concur data shows that bleisure trips increased by 46% in 2017 compared with the previous year.
Increasing numbers of people want to embed themselves in the culture and experiences that a destination has to offer, and planners can help their delegates to do this by working with convention & visitor bureaus to tap into varied leisure experiences which offer a real insight into a location.
In Hamburg visitors can discover the history of the 19th century warehouse district – a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2015 – through chocolate tasting workshops or a visit to the only spice museum in the world. There’s also the world’s largest model railway and Germany’s number one tourist attraction, Miniatur Wunderland.