Frankfurt Bolsters Its Meetings and Events Business with New Reconstruction
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Frankfurt Bolsters Its Meetings and Events Business with New Reconstruction

By Rich Luna | Feb 4, 2019

Oh, Frankfurt am Main, what have you done?

The city known as the business and financial center of Germany is poised to raise its profile even higher in another vertical as a more desirable meeting and event destination by finding new love in an old but familiar place.

It is said that sooner or later, everything old is new again, and a restoration and reconstruction of the city’s historic Old Town means more options for meetings and events in one of Europe’s leading destinations.

Frankfurt already is an annual pilgrimage for meeting industry professionals who trek in the spring to Messe Frankfurt—the massive trade fair ground with more than 3 million square feet of space—for IMEX Frankfurt, the worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events. Nearly 15,000 participants gather for education, networking and business opportunities.

Frankfurt—which ranks with Berlin, Hamburg and Munich as the top meeting destinations in Germany—is clearly a beneficiary of the IMEX gathering. What better way to show off the city than in front of planners from all over the world?

Part of the answer lies in the city’s restoration project designed to reconstruct an urban space in the heart of the city.

“It’s a beautiful new district that changes completely the face of the inner city,” says Jutta Heinrich, director of the Frankfurt Convention Bureau. “History has been brought back to life. There are unique new event venues and extraordinary restaurants and shops.”

A number of decorative building elements, recovered after the devastating night-time air raid of 1944, have been returned to their original locations.

Since the grand opening, a dazzling three-day celebration last September that included a spectacular LED drone light show above the river Main, the tourist board cannot offer as many daily tours as are requested, Heinrich says.

That is a good problem to have. It is easy to see why the project has been so successful. Frankfurt was once home to Germany’s largest, most concentrated medieval timber-frame old town.

Over the past several years, the restoration project resulted in reconstruction of 15 buildings from the original blueprints and an additional 20 new structures with colorful façades representing diverse eras, historical building emblems, timber-frame constructions and ornaments made of local sandstone—all reminders of Frankfurt’s former glory.

Situated between the Emperors’ Cathedral and Römer City Hall, the quarter is no larger than a football field, consisting of three winding laneways, a number of beautiful hidden courtyards and a picturesque plaza known as the Hühnermarkt, complete with an old fountain honoring Frankfurt’s famous dialect poet Friedrich Stoltze.

Römer-Hall

The ability to host meetings and events was part of the plan. Facilities include the following.

  • Stadthaus. This center includes a semi‑levitating assembly hall that sits over an archeological garden, providing a glimpse into the history of the Old Town.

  • Römer Halls. Meeting delegates will be able to walk the famous Krönungsweg, the coronation path that German kings and emperors took from the Cathedral to the Römer Halls, the city’s town hall and one of its most recognizable landmarks for the last 600 years. These iconic halls are available as meeting venues.

  • Haus am Dom. This venue has conference facilities to accommodate events of up to 250 people and features a rooftop terrace.

  • Others include the Evangelical Academy and the Historisches Museum.

Haus-am-Dom Photo source: https://hausamdom-frankfurt.de/

There were more than 75,000 meetings, conferences and congresses in the city in 2017, an increase of more than 2 percent from the previous year. Of those meetings, nearly 280 attracted more than 1,000 participants each. The city as a whole attracted more than 5.6 million overnight visitors in 2017, up nearly 8 percent from the previous year.

There is demand for more space. There are more than 49,000 guest rooms at 252 hotels in the city. Heinrich says 10 new hotels, adding more than 2,000 rooms, are planned for this year.

With meeting space at more than 80 of the hotels and 130 meeting venues in the city, the enhancements to the popular downtown area, including the new meeting venues, are likely to increase the number of meetings and visitors.

“We plan to make more abundant use of the social media channels,” Heinrich says of future marketing efforts. “The focus will be on the U.S. and UK markets”—the top two countries of origin for conference organizers.

Ray Bloom, chairman and founder of the IMEX Group, has spoken in the past about his passion for bringing his event to Frankfurt after he launched IMEX in 2001.

“When we launched the new show, I thought it would be good to take advantage of both the hosted buyer program and a major market,” he says. “I thought Germany was the appropriate place to put the show. Frankfurt, I thought, was suitable. It had wonderful exhibition halls and excellent hotels.”

Now that the Old Town restoration project is complete, there’s even more reasons for meeting planners to consider Frankfurt.

 

SIDEBAR

Don’t Miss IMEX in Frankfurt

Join industry professionals who will gather for the worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events at Messe Frankfurt for IMEX, May 21-23, 2019. Expect education on key topics such as live events, experiential activities, women in leadership, mental wellbeing and robots to continue, along with new topics such as leveraging creativity, collaboration, technology and sustainability.

“Ours is a diverse industry which needs to make the most of technology and every single asset it has while continuing to encourage social responsibility, inclusion and environmental awareness,” says Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group. “Overall, these emerging trends present exciting opportunities, and one thing’s for certain: they’ll quickly disrupt the marketplace and raise expectations in ways that we can barely imagine.”

EduMonday takes place May 20, 2019. MPI will be presenting education throughout IMEX.

To learn more about Frankfurt, go to meetfrankfurt.com.

 

Author

Rich
Rich Luna

Rich Luna is director of publishing for MPI and editor in chief of The Meeting Professional.