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The US in the Berlin MICE market: fast and diverse
There are a good 5,000 kilometres separating New York on the east coast and San Francisco on the west coast. It's almost as far from northern Canada to southern Texas. In between extends one of the biggest non-European key markets for the Berlin MICE industry: the US. Since 2005, Katja Sukale has been Senior Marketing Manager for visitBerlin Convention Office, supporting agencies, associations and companies for event planning in Berlin. With her annual marketing activities locally and through close exchange with representatives in the country, she has become very familiar with the market and knows that North America is extremely fast and diverse.
What do US organisers particularly appreciate about Berlin?
Berlin is very popular in the US as a colourful, diverse city, a city of freedom with a special history. But the good price-performance ratio and the new aspect of it also attract American corporations and associations to the capital.
Moreover, Berlin is one of the only German cities that can keep up with the extent of American events: In November, for example, the OpenStack summit with 8,000 participants will be held in Berlin's CityCube. The choice and variety of locations for events of this size is important for US conventions.
Which topics are of interest to American organisers in Berlin?
The history of the city plays an important role. Most Americans have a special relationship to German history and often have a connection to Germany in their own curriculum vitae. They are therefore very interested in Berlin's representative history.
But Berlin's young, creative start-up scene also plays a major role at the moment. Every week, at least two to three requests come from tech customers, mostly from California.
What differences in the market must Berlin event service providers take into account?
Berlin is well known on the east and west coasts. Many customers from New York and California are already personally familiar with the capital or have already been to Berlin for events and would like to return. We receive inquiries from tech companies from the west coast, while demand in the medical and pharmaceutical sectors is growing strongly on the east coast. In middle America, however, Berlin is in part still completely unknown as a meeting destination. Berlin is particularly attractive for these customers as a new congress market. We must always take this into account in our marketing activities.
How is the MICE destination Berlin currently perceived in North America?
Berlin is increasingly perceived as a booming destination in the US and is one of the major players in the MICE sector. This was not always the case. Ten or fifteen years ago, it was not unusual for customers to be familiar with Garmisch Patenkirchen, but not Berlin.
What has changed in recent years?
A whole lot! The US market has always been fast - but now it's even more extreme.
The market as a whole is also much more fragmented today. In the past there were corporations, agencies, and associations. Today, due to numerous mergers and acquisitions, contacts are changing and there are ignificantly more individual players within the industry. The spectrum of inquiries ranges from tailor-made events to one-person companies and gigantic corporations with their own meeting planners in the departments. Every request is completely different. You always have to be up to date.
What is the best way to keep up to date in such a fast market?
Trade fairs such as IMEX in Frankfurt are an important address. We also have our own Berlin stand at IMEX America in Las Vegas every year. In addition, our representative office in New York gives us a good impression of moods and trends in the industry. They receive regular updates directly from associations and companies. As an event service provider, it is very important to be open to what is happening in the US and to be personally informed of the economic and political situation. Because this always has an impact on the industry.
In what way?
One example is the economic and financial crisis ten years ago. At that time, corporate enquiries from North America for events and incentives in Berlin fell sharply due to the economic situation. This has now recovered. Today, however, the political situation in the MICE sector is noticeable: Due to stricter entry regulations in the USA, associations with international participants and guests are no longer planning their events in the country, but increasingly in Europe.
What is important and worth knowing when working with customers from the US?
As already mentioned, the market is extremely fast and therefore always expects a quick response. This means that lead times are very short and you should always react immediately to enquiries. Another tip: many of our American customers now work with Cvent. Agencies in particular frequently use the Internet-based event management platform.
A look into the future: what are the current trends in the American event industry?
Sustainability is also becoming increasingly important in the US. We are increasingly asked about our sustainability strategies. Otherwise the enquiries for IMEX 2018 demonstrate that interest in the Berlin conference and congress market is high!
Thanks: We thank Katja Sukale for the interview!
US facts at a glance
of the organisers in Berlin come from abroad (as of 2017)
of the events annually are from the North American continent (US and Canada)
the number of overnight stays from the USA will also increase and + 11.4 % in the number of guests (from January to December 2017)
- Take advantage of the market, location, and event design knowledge of our team!
- We help you with planning and implementation and introduce you to event partners and experts in our city.
- Whether you're planning a conference, convention, meeting, or incentive, contact us at convention@visitBerlin.de or start looking for a great location in our Meeting Guide Berlin.