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Increased focus on digitisation and internationalisation to secure Germany's leading position as a conference and meeting destination

The German Convention Bureau (GCB) has outlined a new focus on digitisation and internationalisation at its general meeting in Leipzig. The new strategy is the result of the GCB’s extensive research into megatrends as part of its 2013 study “Meetings and Conventions 2030” which identified globalisation and technology as key factors set to impact the future of the meetings industry.

Petra Hedorfer, CEO of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) and Chairman of the GCB Board, explains: "The German Convention Bureau successfully incorporated expertise, sustainability, and innovation as its main themes in all its activities. With a focus on internationalisation and digitisation as key areas for action for the event industry, the GCB is now developing a strategy to meet the future challenges faced by its members and partners."

"The GCB‘s comprehensive strategy is designed to open up new international customer groups for meetings and conferences in Germany and ensure a wide digital reach," adds GCB Managing Director Matthias Schultze.

The GCB’s new strategy will also support Germany’s leading position internationally as a meeting and conference destination. The country has for eleven years maintained its number one ranking within Europe for international association congresses and second place internationally (Source: International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA)).

The GCB has outlined specific activities within its two areas of focus. As part of its internationalisation strategy, it will carry out intensive market research to assess the potential of current and future source markets, particularly the BRIC countries, resulting in recommendations for action and opportunities for its members and partners. This builds on the recent launch of the GCB’s China office alongside its long established US office. Other measures include forming strategic international collaborations, such as the recently formed “European National Convention Bureaux Alliance”.

With the number of international meeting visitors rising rapidly around the world and particularly to Germany to 25.6 million in 2014, according to the recently released Meeting & EventBarometer 2015, the GCB and its partners have to address issues that arise through increased interconnection of cultures and peoples.

In the field of digitisation, the challenge is to manage this rapidly evolving sector and identify new opportunities throughout the whole digital process - from researching, planning, organising and holding events. Examples include virtual participation in events and the move towards hybrid meetings. The GCB’s Meeting & EventBarometer 2015 identified technology as one of the leading factors why planners continue to choose Germany.

The focus on digitisation at the GCB will be underpinned by comprehensive marketing activity including online marketing, innovation workshops to activities in collaboration with new partners. One example is the innovation network "Future Meeting Space". In addition, the GCB's website is currently being re-designed to improve navigation for its core customers.

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