This is what Chinese MICE experts value about Berlin
The sight of tall buildings is anything but special for visitors from China. Nonetheless, the representatives of the Asian MICE market were duly impressed when they stepped into the revolving restaurant in the Berlin TV Tower, located 207 metres above the city. A 360-degree panoramic view over Berlin, and the swift pace at which the view sweeps by while seated at the tables and chairs, were a source of inspiration for the eight experts in event management from China. And this wasn’t the only thing that made an impression on them: the capital, with all its different facets and a solid level of expertise on China, is inspiring a growing sense of excitement among Chinese planners. Over the course of the four-day trip, which was organised by GCB China and the visitBerlin Berlin Convention Office (BCO), industry representatives revealed what excites them about Berlin and which aspects will be significant in future.
The essential ingredient: A little bit of China for China
Over lunch at the five-star luxury hotel Ritz Carlton Berlin, one of the MICE experts from southern China provided an insight into what she pays particular attention to when planning meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions in other countries: “A few Chinese elements are the most important thing for guests.” Or put differently: a little bit of China makes all the difference when looking after Chinese guests, and ensures their visit is a successful one. She also heaps praise on Berlin as a host with a particular affinity for China: “You are ready for China!” The reason for this are the small details and finer points, particularly in the hotel and hospitality industry. This begins with facilities for preparing tea in a hotel room, typical slippers that should also be present, extending to WiFi infrastructure or the ‘Alipay’ payment system. When it comes to food in particular, destinations can score points when elements of Chinese culture are factored into the way the host presents the cuisine. “Hot or warm water should always be served as a beverage with every meal and, over the course of an extended stay, an authentic Chinese meal will be very well received by way of variety,” as Robert Luft, a marketing manager and expert on China at BCO, explains.
Of utmost priority: Quality and safety
A typically German attribute that has an international reputation has also made its mark on Chinese guests: “Germany means high quality”. Whether technology or service, the high quality standards that are customary here provide a convincing argument for holding international events in Berlin: “It’s hard to top the quality in Berlin and Germany,” as the group from China unanimously agrees. Of equal importance to quality standards are the safety standards, which also have a huge significance.
“We need good advice on what to do in the event of emergencies,” as a Chinese conference planner says, explaining that any inconvenience caused by strikes, lockdowns or political activities create a highly negative impression. According to the experts, this is a key reason why the level of interest in events in the capital is growing: the Chinese industry representatives feel that Berlin, and Germany as a whole, is extremely safe, and certainly consider themselves to be in good hands here in every respect.
Arguments that speak in favour of Berlin: Price, capacity and location
When planning events in detail, the factors price, capacity and location all work to the benefit of Berlin: “For each Chinese event, we need great venues and opportunities to hold welcome dinners and galas – this is very important,” as a representative from Shanghai lets slip, revealing how impressed he is by the resources that Berlin’s hotels have at their disposal. He also explains: “We are often looking for twin rooms to save on the budget.” Rooms are often shared to avoid the additional cost of single-occupancy rooms. Hotels therefore need to offer a sufficient number of rooms with single beds. Understandably, good value for money plays a significant role in Berlin’s MICE industry: In a Germany-wide comparison, Berlin performs very well in this regard, as the representatives underscore. This makes larger events and longer stays possible. Speaking of which: there is one activity in particular that Asian guests like to enjoy when staying for longer periods: shopping. Time for this should always be scheduled in the pre-tours or the activities program, even on business trips. Berlin also scores points in this regard with its innumerable opportunities for shopping and its fair prices. However, the planners from China consider there to be room for improvement when it comes to transport: more international flights and direct connections to the capital would be welcome, especially as many Chinese visitors like to use Berlin as a centrally located starting point for other trips to Europe.
The hottest topics: Culture, sustainability and technology
Culture is an important buzzword, particularly for incentives. As the German capital, Berlin showcases European and German history better than almost any other city for Chinese MICE visitors. “The German capital represents the best of Europe and Germany,” as the experts unanimously agree. The First and Second World Wars, the Cold War and the Berlin Wall on the one hand, and castles, museums and world-famous attractions on the other hand, provide convincing arguments – particularly for incentives in Berlin, as the event planners explain. However, cultural diversity is not the only thing that excites the event organisers: While taking a sightseeing tour in a Velotaxi,all the participants were positively surprised by how green and calm Berlin is, despite being Germany’s largest city. This ties in well with the increasing interest in the topic of sustainability on the Chinese MICE market. However, one of the most important thematic aspects remains Germany’s technology industry. “The high level of technology in Germany” is a source of endless fascination in China, as a representative of Huawei confirms. It therefore comes as no surprise that, in particular, companies from the pharmaceuticals, IT and electronics industries aspire to hold events in Germany’s scientific hub.
A need for expertise: Berlin is uncharted territory
Specific recommendations and a detailed planning aid are particularly sought-after when putting together a detailed program of activities in the city. The reason: For most Chinese customers, Germany and Berlin are uncharted territory. “We don’t know the city – we need good advice,” as a Chinese industry representative explains. This is why he is searching for a reliable local resource to help with planning. For large groups of more than 1,000 guests in particular, it is important to know where and how to organise a stay that is safe and proceeds without problems. “A helpful series of signposts” is therefore exactly what the representatives value most in a city as multifaceted as Berlin.
We can provide assistance!
Make the most of the know-how of, and the contacts maintained by, our team when planning and running your event. We will bring you together with our city’s event experts. Whether for a conference, convention, meeting or incentive, simply write to convention@visitBerlin.de or start browsing through the Meeting Guide Berlin.
Experts on China in Berlin
- As the number of visitors last year confirms: The interest in Berlin among Chinese guests continues to grow.
- Berlin and the visitBerlin Convention Office are therefore showcasing all of the facets of the capital city to Chinese customers organising conferences, and offer a range of networking options to everyone interested in Berlin:
- China MICE Competence – A series of workshops for Berlin
- China MICE Get-together
- Famtrips with industry decision-makers – which, this time, include representatives of Huawei Technologies Co, HCG International Travel Group, or Grand China MICE Holdings Co. (and many more)
- Pooling market knowledge in the blog: Tips for the Chinese MICE market
- More information on request via convention@visitBerlin.de