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Frank Pflugfelder © Hamburg Convention Bureau GmbH / Christian Spahrbier

Frank Pflugfelder, Manager of HCB, eyes personal level

Making Hamburg irresistible becoming mission for Marketing Manager of Conventions

Frank Pflugfelder, Marketing Manager of Conventions, has already travelled to around 40 countries, half of them in 2012 on a trip around the world with his wife. “I am inquisitive,” said the 41-year-old. “I like discovering new things and images off the beaten track.” Depending on the country, the father of two tries to bring home the serenity of some cultures and to be humble. “Travelling can make you very aware that achievements such as democracy, freedom of the press and a relatively stable economy, which we experience every day in Germany, are not a matter of course.

“Hamburg’s strength is the cake, I take care of the cherry.”

Hamburg’s economy is extremely successful. And Pflugfelder is tasked with strengthening Hamburg’s international perception as an attractive location for congresses, conferences, events and incentives to add momentum to this successful course. Clusters including logistics, maritime economy and aviation are the main focus of his activities. “Hamburg’s strengths, its infrastructure, hotels and cuisine as well as tourist hotspots, are the cake, so to speak. I’m now taking care of the cherry or the topping to make our location irresistible,” said Pflugfelder. Commenting on what he appreciates about his work, he noted, “the freedom to approach things in an unconventional way at times”.

Exclusive look behind the scenes

A “cherry” can be an exclusive look behind the scenes. “Guided tours, for instance, of Hamburger Hochbahn AG, which is having Germany’s first bus depot for electric buses built in Alsterdorf or of the new logistics centre at Hermes Germany,” Pflugfelder explained. The German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) awarded gold status to the centre in Billbrook. It now aims to provide important impetus for innovative, environment-friendly logistics solutions on the so-called last mile. Up to 100,000 daily packages and parcels are to be delivered almost emission-free by electric transporter from the centre.

Rotary International Convention 2019 in Hamburg

Pflugfelder is particularly pleased that Hamburg is hosting the six-day Rotary International Convention this year. Involved for a good five years now, Hamburg finally prevailed over rival cities such as Hong Kong/Macau and Taipei, he noted. “It is important to present the city personally because ultimately business is done on a personal level,” Pflugfelder believes. Apart from bus and boat tours, he likes to take newcomers on short walks to the Alster to show off Hamburg’s relaxed aquatic side right in the middle of the city. “Hamburg can score points with convincing general conditions, but the decisive factor is often an emotional moment when a guest feels truly welcome in our city as a guest of friends.”

“Simply doing something, or with passion”

Pflugfelder is always on the lookout for topics that hold potential for Hamburg and the market. Then, he brings all the interested parties together and stirs up enthusiasm. This challenge is called “knowing when it is worth investing a lot of time and commitment in a particular project”, he noted. But for Pflugfelder, that probably means having to slow down. The trained event manager and trade fair expert says of himself: “You can simply do things or with passion. I prefer fervour.” Pflugfelder previously spent five years with the world’s largest trade fair company, Reed Exhibitions, and three and a half years as project manager for the Learntec trade fair for Karlsruher Messe- und Kongress-GmbH.

Dealing with tax consultants, lawyers or beekeepers

He tackles all kinds of tasks with fervour and meets and deals with very different people. Apart from cluster events, Pflugfelder also organises large events across various sectors and deals with tax consultants, lawyers and beekeepers. “They all speak their own language and my task is to understand what they need and what they want.” This is where his travel experience proves useful. Putting himself in the other person’s shoes and in ever new situations is simply fun, he said.

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