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Austria Center Vienna charts its course for the coming years

Austria Center Vienna
Growing global conference market. Austria Center Vienna increases investment in maintenance and upgrades to preserve its position as a top international venue. Stable year for conferences in 2014. Positive outlook for 2015 and the following years.

Conferences – a growth market 24,000 international associations worldwide with regular conferences and 700 new organisations founded each year: the conference industry is constantly growing, including in Austria, where the number of events and conferences rose by 9.7 % in 2014 (source: mira).

According to the statistics published by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), a total of 173,000 events including 18,920 congresses have taken place in 6,700 host cities since records began in 1873. Europe is still the uncontested number one de stination for conferences, with Vienna, Paris, Madrid, Berlin and Barcelona leading the international popularity rankings for many years.

Increased investment driven by higher induced economic impact Thanks to the sheer volume of indirect economic impact, large - scale international conferences and meetings add significant value for national and local economies, which is why European cities are investing heavily in new and upgraded facilities. Barcelona, Berlin, Milan, Frankfurt and Istanbul are all due to o pen new conference centres soon, with Paris and Budapest set to follow suit with major new event venues. In total, over EUR 760 million has been set aside for these projects. London, Copenhagen and Glasgow are likewise investing in major new venues and exp anding capacity, and there are plans for similar projects in Lisbon, Prague, Amsterdam and Hamburg.

Austria Center Vienna: investing in the future With a capacity of 20,000, the Austria Center Vienna makes a major contribution to the attractiveness of the nation’s capital as a conference destination (ranked second by ICCA in 2014 behind Paris) .

Susanne Baumann-Söllner and her team initiated a raft of major investments in 2014 to help the venue defend its top standing on the international circuit. To facilitate networking between participants, work began on the construction of a new Business Lounge with adjacent Viennese coffeehouse with the support of new caterer Motto Catering.

Following a Europe
- wide tendering process, new furniture was also proc ured for the venue, including thousands of new chairs and replacement banqueting and conference tables.

The winner of the 2014 German lighting designer of the year award was brought on board to come up with a new concept to create the ideal lighting in the main hall for conferences and stylish gala events. Spread throughout the main building and halls, a new digital screen system opens the door to new branding options and can be used for live streams and social media walls. Thanks to a 3D space planning to ol, prospective event organisers are now in a position to visualise the events beforehand, making event and conference planning even more straightforward

Stable year for conferences in 2014
In 2014 the Austria Center Vienna hosted 148 events for a to tal of 152,788 guests, 57,784 of whom came from abroad.

Total revenue for the year amounted to EUR 16,563 thousand , just short of the previou s year’s total of EUR 16,578 thousand . Higher maintenance costs led to a loss after tax of EUR 7,345 thousand , up on the loss of EUR 6,859 thousand recorded in 2013. Total revenue from events, however, rose by EUR 0.29m or 3.5 percent.

“These investments send out a clear signal to the rest of the industry that our venue will continue to be an attractive location for years to come,” explained Baumann-Söllner. The fact that the Austria Center Vienna is hosting nine large-scale conferences in 2015 clearly demonstrates that this strategy is bearing fruit. From 2016 - 2018 the venue expects to host 10 such events each year.

“In line with our slogan of ‘Rooms to grow ideas’, we offer our customers 24 halls and 180 meeting rooms to support a full range of meeting formats, inspirational digital networking opportunities and an extended portfolio of additional services. By working closely with our trusted partner enterprises we really do create room for big ideas to flourish. We will continue along this successful path, with various building upgrades and ongoing investment in furnishing and services planned for the future,” she concluded.

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