Like everywhere else in the world, Germany experienced a plummet in events this past year. Events shifted from in-person to a digital format with everyone scrambling to learn the best way of executing these events technically, creatively while maintaining attendee engagement. Germany also could no longer rely on international demand but rather stayed focused on domestic clients. As the meeting market begins recovery due to the Covid vaccination program being amped up and possibly implementing a vaccine passport, Germany feels optimistic about the meetings future. Predictions are that face-to-face events will return strong in 2022 with a significant growth in hybrid events. Germany views 2021 as a year of transition.
Meetings Made in Germany, as are many other destination organizations, is starting to develop plans for future face-to-face events as the world begins getting out from the pandemic. No one really knows what this will eventually look and feel like but most agree all aspects of events from planning, operating and executing will dramatically change. Organizers are desperately ready to get back to holding in-person events, but most will need guidance from their destination of choice, especially understanding their implemented protocols. Service providers and suppliers must become experts in navigating what will be a new “normal” and assisting the organizers in adapting.
Strategies and objectives likely will change. The focus going forward will be on bringing people together (face-to-face and via video) for idea exchange, knowledge building, teaching/learning, and networking. Staging and design will be key as well as incorporating outdoor venues as much as feasible. Organizers will also heavily rely on tech providers for their expertise with hybrid events.
This past year the German Convention Bureau has been actively researching and speaking with organizers to develop new event strategies that in turn can be implemented with their members, communities and regions. They are finding that most organizers are saying the same thing. For awhile in person events will be combined with digital. Creative elements will need to be implemented to avoid “Zoom fatigue” and to keep attendees engaged, especially for those attending virtually. Innovative sets and arrangements will be key for the in-person aspect. Such formats that will incorporate social distancing guidelines as well as other destination Covid 19 requirements will need to be outlined to the organizers and service providers. We may see the use of more small, informal meeting zones that also incorporate food and beverage.
These areas are where attendees can collaborate, discuss, learn and network. Speaker presentations will be fewer, and more focus will be driven to smaller group interactions both virtually and in-person.
The German Convention Bureau in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering developed the “Future Meeting Space”, an innovative network to research future event trends, innovations and social developments and determining how these will influence event design as well as event requirements. Some of their findings and conclusions are:
- DMOs will need to increase their community building skills by identifying specific regions’ specialties, developing those and using them to compliment events by creating unique experiences combining learning with experiencing what the region offers.
- Participants should be more involved in the planning process to influence events. This “collective intelligence” allows attendees to express themselves through social media outlets and assist the organizers with the assurance of a successful program.
- One off events will be replaced by “event loops” whereby “communities” are created around a respective topic, especially within social media networks. This means a meeting or event will not just occur and then end. Ideas formed will continue through continuous social media networking.
For those organizers interested in Germany as a meeting and congress destination, the German Convention Bureau will begin a hybrid program in June, 2021. A “Roaming Reporter” will guide you on a digital journey while live reporting on social media from at least 12 destinations. At these virtual destinations, planners can have one on one conversations with suppliers.
There will also be online lectures and discussions on the topics of innovation and sustainability. For more information, click on this link . Also, for additional information on Germany and all it has to offer event planners, contact the German Convention Bureau.