EN Awards winner: Messe Berlin

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Berlin is pure dynamism,” stated Messe Berlin’s former CEO Raimund Horsch, and current CEO Christian Göke in the venue’s brochure. “Berlin is entertainment at all hours. Berlin is good for global business.” Founded in 1923, Messe Berlin – “the metropolis at the heart of Europe” organises and manages the exhibition industry in Berlin. With three unique event spaces under its belt, and another on the way in 2014, it’s no surprise that it won Best International Venue at last year’s Exhibition News Awards in 2013. “Being nominated as one of the finalists was already a great honour for all of us,” Ralf Kleinhenz VP of Messe Berlin Conventions and Guest Events told EN. “Winning the award for us was the coronation of all the hard work and effort the whole staff as well as our partners put into the past to achieve this great result, which in the end became the most successful year in our company’s history. “It also shows us that we are moving in the right direction and that we do win more and more international attention.” Messe Berlin said its top five trade fairs; International Green Week, Fruit Logistica, ITB Berlin, IFA and InnoTrans all have strengthening innovation, which is divided into a group of clusters, focusing on the health industry, energy technology, transport, mobility, logistics, information and communication technology, media, creative industries and optics. “The intention is to present the potential offered by the capital and surrounding region, and to promote this potential with maximum effectiveness,” said Göke. At 247 million euros, turnover for the Messe Berlin group of companies in 2012 was the highest in the company’s history. According to convention statistics, in 2013 more than 123,900 events took place in Berlin, with approximately 10.5 million participants, Of those events, the IT, electronics and communications sector led the field with 16.1 per cent. Messe Berlin counts itself to be among the 10 leading trade fair companies in the world operating their own exhibition grounds. The group occupies a workforce of around 700 and secures jobs for more than 20,000 people in the region. “In addition to an expanding portfolio another trend is becoming very evident: a growing number of organisers of guest events are choosing to establish more lasting links with the trade show venue Berlin,” said Detlef Meyer zu Heringdorf, responsible for Messe Berlin’s guest events sector. The German venue and organiser says total attendance at the 38 guest events held at Berlin ExpoCenter City last year exceeded 260,000. Last year, for the first time, Berlin Exhibition Grounds hosted the annual World Publishing Expo, the AutoCampingCaravan and TransporterTage event was held at the new Berlin ExpoCenter Airport for the first time, while coil winding trade show CWIEME will continue to be held at Berlin ExpoCenter City for the next five years following an agreement with London-based organiser i2i Events Group.Expanding Space The firm’s main location, Berlin ExpoCenter City operates in central Berlin, spanning 160,000sqm, with an interlinked network of 26 fair halls. The venue also boasts a 100,000sqm outdoor display site. An urban motorway close to the venue provides a direct link from the venue to Berlin’s international airports Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) and Tegel Airport (TXL). According to Messe Berlin, high demand from organisers in the capital means they are operating an extension adjacent to BER. The firm describe the venue, Berlin Expocenter Airport, as ‘an annex’ to Berlin ExpoCenter City, expanding its portfolio. The compact location, home to the ILA Berlin Air Show, features 20,000sqm of column-free exhibition space in three permanent buildings which can be extended by temporary halls, as well as 128,00sqm of outdoor space for aircraft displays or events needing large open space.  Berlin Expocenter Airport also has direct access to the BER airport, and has parking for up to 13,000 vehicles. In 2014 and beyond, Messe Berlin is poised to bring in new infrastructure, in the form of the CityCube Berlin (CCB), and partnerships into its fold. Its Berlin ExpoCenter City will be home to new and expanded guest events in 2014, supporting its claim that third-party shows are on the increase. The CCB is currently being built on the centrally-located Messe Berlin exhibition grounds. The multi-purpose hall for trade fairs and congresses will be able to host events up to 11,000 visitors, and will feature two levers, each with 6,000sqm. “Opening a new venue is always a huge challenge and it will mean yet more hard work for the team, especially in 2014,” said Kleinhenz. “The financial stability of the Euro region remains, of course, an essential factor. And being able to accommodate all clients who want to bring their events to us remains both a challenge and optimistic hope for the coming years.” The venue has also set up a new consulting division which provides trade fair organisers with a wide range of strategic services covering event planning, business development and operational implementation. Although the new venue will reap the benefits of temporarily covering the growing space needs for Messe Berlin’s trade shows, the firm is prepared for certain factors CCB might impose on the other venues, such as the Internationales Congress Centrum (ICC Berlin). “Despite the tight budget and timetable, Messe Berlin will be able to complete this project successfully,” said Göke. “As the CityCube begins its event operations, the ICC Berlin will be run down. Our priority aim is to manage this changeover with a minimum loss of customers.” Messe Berlin claims ICC Berlin is Europe’s largest congress centre. The venue first opened in 1979 and features multi-functional spaces covering 5,500sqm and one of Europe’s largest professional theatre stages (760sqm). Broadening horizons The organiser and venue claims to develop and promote its products under the twin tenets of ‘economic efficiency and sustainability’, and plans on expanding its business both at home and abroad.  “We’ve benefited from Berlin being a low-cost city, despite its status,” said Kleinhenz. “The cost of living is generally much lower, not only than other large cities in Germany, but also across Europe as a whole – so the economic turndown hasn’t hit us as hard as it has other cities. However, we are very aware that our clients now need to keep an even closer eye on their costs, so we are continually looking into ways in which we can improve efficiency and reduce costs for them.” Earlier this year, Ingrid Maaß was appointed as chief operating officer, where her role embraces all elements of Messe Berlin’s expanded infrastructure. Maaß said she hopes to continue to expand the venue for trade fairs and congresses in its role as one of the economic mainstays of the metropolitan region of Berlin. “With the award, Messe Berlin has increased its degree of international popularity and this, of course, fills us again with pride,” said Kleinhenz. “We definitely will do our utmost to strengthen our new-won reputation and will continue to increase our efforts in all our services – not only with the purpose to be once againannounced for the coveted awards in future.” Nominations are now open for the 2014 Exhibition News Awards. This was first published in the December issue of EN. Any comments? Email exhibitionnews@mashmedia.net
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