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Beyond Value: "Direct Talk With Decision Makers Is Decisive“

Conferences, congresses, meetings - the number of business tourism is on the rise in Hamburg. Thorsten Kausch, CEO Hamburg Convestion Bureau, sees "huge potential"

Management trainer Jörg Löhr is highly satisfied. The opening event of his seminars in Hamburg was a complete success, the participants were enthusiastic. The fact that the charm of HafenCity, the hotel and the restaurants contributed to the success, Lohr candidly admits. “We want to offer to our participants not only high-class content, but also to experience the most attractive locations”, says Lohr.

The entrepreneur and sought-after keynote speaker from Augsburg is only one example of the growing number of people who travel to Hamburg to attend business events. To develop this highly attractive target group and to address it adequately, Hamburg Convention Bureau GmbH (HCB) as a wholly owned subsidiary of Hamburg Marketing GmbH (HMG) was restructured in early 2014, with Thorsten Kausch at the top and strengthened with additional staff. Initially a team of four, 20 employees are currently involved in supporting and promoting Hamburg for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Events) tourism.

Trade – A Hamburg Tradition

Hamburg is Germany’s commercial capital. With more than 32,000 trading companies, the Elbe city is Germany’s biggest centre of trade after Berlin. In 2013, meetings, incentives, conventions and events accounted for one-fifth of nights in Hamburg. A HCB study shows that the 9.5 million days (overnight guests and day business travelers) contribute 736 million euro of gross value to the economic prosperity of the city. Thorsten Kausch, CEO of HCB: “On average, each of these business travelers spend 236 euro. The travel expenses and the organisation cost are not yet included in the calculation.” Kausch thus sees “hHuge untapped potential”.

Downstream Creation of Added Value

Thus, Kausch wants to support organisers not only in the search for hotels and venues. Moreover, he wants to generate – as an additional value beyond the monetary aspect – other benefits for organisers, participants and players, and consequently for the city. “Beyond Value” – i.e. the downstream creation of added value and the corresponding reciprocal effects – will thus be the future model for meetings and conventions in modern city marketing. Kausch sees the effects among other things the increased networking of operators with the Hamburg economy, science and important decision-makers of the city or in potential contacts with specialists, talents and companies.

Indirect Effects Made Visible

“One example is the ADC Congress, which draws the attention of the industry to Hamburg’s assets in advertising and the creative industrie, and which we strengthen through all our channels. Through target actions, such as the approach of junior staff, we inspire talents and startups sustainable for the Hamburg as a hotspot of creativity. The impulses, ideas and business ties are symbolised by the term “Beyond Value”, but are unfortunately difficult to measure. However, we hope to soon be able to substantiate this.”

Kausch and his team thus help Rotarians to find unique function rooms such as the Elbe Philharmonic Hall and thus to bring the Rotary International Convention 2019 with 22,000 participants to the city. Being also the managing director of Hamburg Marketing GmbH alongside his task as CEO of HCB, brings along, thus Kausch, also great strategic advantages: “The important thing is the direct talk with decision makers – both with potential operators and representatives of Hamburg economy and the city administration. According to Kausch, this one-to-one communcation is often of greater benefit to the city than large campaigns.

Close Co-Operation With Business Clusters

Kausc therefore also closely cooperates with the Hamburg business clusters that bundle industry expertise and and contacts. The close networking of Hamburg Aviation – Hamburg’s aviation cluster – and the HCB will thus bring the important IATA slot conference of the International Federation of Airlines to Hamburg in 2016.

Approximately one in five business from the MICE sector comes from abroad – especially from the UK, followed by Scandinavia, the US and Switzerland. The financial services sector, Medicine & Medical, IT & communication are particularly well represented, the HCB study. In order to validate these numbers and derive further strategic measures, further comparative surveys will follow. The aim of the HCB: Hamburg is to become one of the most sought after premium locations for congresses and events worldwide. In Germany, Hamburg should be second after Berlin by 2022. From his office window, Kausch directly looks at the Port of Hamburg and the Elbe Philharmonic: “Hamburg has the potential and the power to achieve this goal.”
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About the Hamburg Convention Bureau (HCB)

As a direct subsidiary of Hamburg Marketing GmbH, the Hamburg Convention Bureau GmbH (HCB) combines locational expertise with a broad spectrum of industry-specific knowledge, ranging from B2B meetings, conferences and conventions to large-scale public events. HCB is in charge of marketing Hamburg globally as a congress and conventions location and strengthening Hamburg’s profile internationally via highly visible public events.

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