According to the latest results of the study “Cologne Conference Barometer”, 42,923 events took place in the city of Cologne in 2011, which were visited by 3.4 million participants. This is an increase of 0.4 percent in the number of events and 3.3 percent in the participant figures on 2010. The total turnover generated by overnight accommodation for participants in conventions and events also rose to 166 million euro (+ 6 m). The 2011 market for convention and event venues consisted of 163 businesses, which were divided into 20 function centres, 55 convention hotels and 88 specialist event locations. In terms of participant figures, specialist event locations were the leading group, accounting for almost 40 percent of event venues.
“Cologne has succeeded in building on its position as one of Germany’s most popular conference and convention destinations. Its central location, diverse range of venues and wide variety of cultural offerings, as well as its cosmopolitan and friendly image, help make Cologne a strong location”, Josef Sommer, Managing Director of Cologne Tourist Board, explains. “The objective of the partnership between Cologne Convention Bureau and Cologne’s event industry is to establish Cologne as one of the leading convention, conference and incentive metropolises in Europe for the long term.”
Event organisers and industries
More than two thirds (68%) of the conference and convention organisers in Cologne stem from the commercial sector. In terms of industries, first place is occupied once again by banks, followed by medicine. The IT sector was again a climber in 2011, and the leisure industry is also growing. In the non-profit sector (32%), trade associations predominate, followed by private event organisers and social institutions. Culture and science both saw an increase in importance (+ 1% point each). Collaboration is of particular relevance: half of event organisers would like to see greater collaboration between the science and event sectors.
In general, scientists harbour great potential as event organisers in Cologne, with its 12 universities, further education establishments and other scientific institutions. To improve collaboration here, the Conference Barometer also surveyed professors and lecturers from Cologne University of Applied Sciences for the first time.
Altogether, an average of 2.6 events are held per year by each professor, 12 percent of which involve more than 100 participants. With around 770 teaching scientists in the eleven faculties of Cologne University of Applied Sciences alone, and 70 percent of these events taking place in Cologne, this represents enormous potential for events.
Opportunities and potential in international source markets
The United Kingdom remains one of the most important international source markets; the Netherlands and France have also developed into strong growth markets. The most important markets outside of Europe are the USA and China. According to the survey of national event organisers, Cologne is positioned “well” or “very well” as a conference and convention location. Among international event organisers, however, there is still potential in terms of their perception of the city.
Stephanie Franke, Head of Cologne Convention Bureau, sees a need for action in the long term, in order to effectively capitalise on this potential from international markets: “Besides growth in the number of events and participant figures, international focus is another reason why the decision to build a new conference centre in Cologne is gaining importance – especially considering the fact that other destinations, such as Berlin and Frankfurt am Main, are expanding their convention capacities by building new conference centres.”
Cologne Conference Barometer
To highlight the importance of Cologne as a convention and conference destination, Cologne Convention Bureau (CCB) commissioned the EITW (European Institute for the Meeting Industry) to launch an online statistics tool. Since early 2009, local providers of convention and conference venues have been recording data about their events online every month using the “Conference Barometer”. The EITW gathers supplementary data once a year, for instance surveying potential customers about trends and preferences in the convention market. The results are put into an annual report, which is always published in the middle of the following year.
EITW (European Institute for the Meeting Industry)
The EITW is a research institute based at Harz University of Applied Sciences in Wernigerode specialising in innovative project themes from the field of meetings, conventions and events. The EITW researches trends in Germany and across Europe in the convention and conference market (e.g. with the “Meeting & Event Barometer” for Germany), works in close cooperation with the industry’s umbrella organisations and trade associations and nurtures contacts to scientific institutions around the world.
Cologne Convention Bureau
As the first neutral point of contact within Cologne Tourist Board for event planners with questions about Cologne as a convention, conference and incentive metropolis, Cologne Convention Bureau (CCB) operates as an umbrella organisation for all sub-areas of the event industry in the city of Cologne.