HCB and IAPCO to continue successful partnership

Common focus on quality and strong networks

Encompassing 116 event planners and congress managers from 41 different countries, the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) is a worldwide network that has been promoting the highest performance standards in the MICE sector for many years. Through over 15,000 events, of which 58 percent were corporate meetings, IAPCO members realised an economic impact of over 8 billion euros in 2017 alone. As the only destination partner from Europe, Hamburg has a first-class unique selling point and the opportunity to position itself in this international congress business.

Collaboration that pays off

The association shares one of its central aims of constantly improving quality standards through professional exchange, innovation, and training with the Hamburg Convention Bureau (HCB). As an official partner of the IAPCO, since 2015 Hamburg has been relying on its intensive cooperation with professional congress organisers (PCO) to position the Hanseatic city on the international stage as an attractive location for conferences, congresses and meetings.

Convinced that partnerships have to reap benefits for all involved in order to be successful, the HCB actively promotes knowledge transfer, process optimisation and new benchmarks for the global MICE business on various IAPCO platforms. In addition, Hamburg regularly organises its own events with IAPCO members and will host the IAPCO Council & Task Force Meeting in May 2019. This fruitful cooperation has now been extended for another year.

Advice, dialogue and inspiration

The occasion for renewing the partnership was the IAPCO Advisory Board, which met for the third time in Hamburg in August 2018 in order to discuss strategic topics together with the HCB and partners from the Hamburg MICE sector. On the agenda this time were questions surrounding the acquisition of corporate events as well as strategies for creating value collaboratively through new forms of cooperation between congress organisers and the host city.

Asked what they wished for in Hamburg, the representatives of the IAPCO mentioned, among other things, increased direct flight connections. In addition, representatives repeatedly emphasized that growing cost consciousness on the part of association convention planners remains a decisive factor in the international competition among destinations.

For several participants the meeting was an opportunity to get to know Hamburg. Mónica Freire, Director of the Congress Department of the AIM Group International with 16 locations in Europe and the US, was impressed with the exceptional quality of life on offer in the Hanseatic city: “I found Hamburg to be a big surprise. I wasn’t expecting such a good balance between its cosmopolitan feel and the sense of tranquillity as well as security you get.”

Others discovered new sides of the metropolis on the Elbe. Annette Bulgrin, Account Director of the Berlin K.I.T. Group with 75 agencies worldwide, declared: “Even if Hamburg is not an unknown city for me, it surprises me again and again.”

Applause for Hamburg

The discussions were accompanied by a choice supporting programme, among the highlights of which was a visit to the Elbphilharmonie. The IAPCO representatives also gladly accepted an invitation into the showroom of the CCH – Congress Center Hamburg, where they had the chance to experience the future of the revitalised location and explore its groundbreaking architecture in an interactive hologramme generated by a real-time engine.

Nicola Testai, CEO of the Florence-based OIC Group, revealed his excitement over his first visit to Hamburg: “The city is embracing innovation in so many ways. You can feel that buzz of new things in the air.”

Sissy Lignou, Director of Operations and Development at AFEA Travel & Congress Services with locations in Athens and Thessaloniki, is sure that the Hanseatic city is well on its way to developing an international reputation: “Hamburg is definitely growing into one of the top quality meeting destinations in the near future!”

Ori Lahav, VP Clients & Operations at the globally active Kenes Group, bid farewell with the conclusion: “You have proven that Hamburg is a place to attract international meetings and the HCB with its partners are the team you want to work with when bringing conferences to Germany.”

The PCOs represented in the IAPCO Advisory Board:

AFEA Travel & Congress Services, AIM Group International, DIS Congress Service Copenhagen, INTERPLAN Congress Meeting & Event Management, K.I.T. Group, Kenes Group, OIC Group

The Hamburg partners of the HCB represented:

Grand Elysée Hamburg, CCH, Louis C. Jacob – Carls an der Elbphilharmonie, east cosmos, The Fontenay, Barkassen Meyer, Authority for Culture & Media, Ministry of Economy, Transport and Innovation, Party Rent, Empire Riverside Hotel, Hamburg Invest, Tomas Kaiser

Photos: HCB, www.mediaserver.hamburg.de / Doublevision