BodenseeMeeting network: short distances and good decisions
Supporting customers and benefiting the region – those are the cornerstones of BodenseeMeeting. Partners in the network from the four countries of the Lake Constance region have been working together now for 20 years – for the mutual benefit of members and clients. Gerhard Stübe, director of Kongresskultur Bregenz, here speaks about the BodenseeMeeting network in an interview with Anna-Lena Gras, managing editor of the magazine Convention International.
The BodenseeMeeting network was set up 20 years ago now. How did it come into being and who were the initiators?
The network was founded by the towns of Lindau, Friedrichshafen, Constance, St. Gallen and Bregenz. The aim was and still remains to spotlight the venues of the Lake Constance region for the MICE industry.
One of the special things about the network is definitely its cross-border character. Both German and Austrian as well as Swiss and also Liechtenstein organisations are members of it. Was this an intentional step or did it arise out of the situation?
The step resulted from the awareness that several countries border on Lake Constance, and that this internationality could be an interesting element in the competitive environment. We’ve had this lack of borders in our minds for decades, which has been really good for creativity in gathering ideas for new marketing options. The lake divides, according to some people; we who use it know it connects.
What are the advantages of this “alliance” for event planners and congress organisers?
One real-life example: through BodenseeMeeting contacts, a major client at Bregenz Festival House links up with the Dornier Museum and arranges to host one of three evenings of its congress there. Or a boat trip as part of a congress that begins in Lindau and ends in Romanshorn and includes a visit to the famous abbey library in St. Gallen. Everything is possible. These are networks that operate across borders. Distances are short and good decisions can be made for the client and for the participants in a meeting.
What trends or developments can you discern?
A trend has an expiry date, developments don’t. I see the efforts some convention centres are making to adjust to and accommodate their customers’ new needs. The development away from being simply a lessor of premises will be one of the big challenges facing congress centres. The really big centres are still having difficulty with that.
You have initiated an exciting project – the “micelab” – with your partners. Could you sum up the basic idea behind the “micelab”?
The basic idea of the project is to bring more “culture” in the sense of good hospitality to conferences, meetings and events, and to do so through further training. What is intended in the project can be explained in terms of three concentric circles. In the innermost circle we have further training for our own personnel at Lake Constance. The second concentric circle contains MICE industry personnel in the German-speaking countries of Europe. The third concentric circle is the European MICE industry, which this kind of further training is supposed to provide with a competitive advantage against the international competition – shooting stars like Asia, but also the USA.
What are the modules that the “micelab” is composed of?
The “micelab” is divided into the following three modules: Explorer, Experts and Experience.
What point is the project at right now?
At the beginning of October we “experimented” first with Explorer. The next step is organising the first Expert module at Bregenz Festival House at the end of November.
Let’s end by looking into the future. What are your hopes with respect to BodenseeMeeting, Kongresskultur Bregenz and the industry as a whole?
We got together in BodenseeMeeting in order to spotlight the venues of the Lake Constance region for our industry. My wish is that this avant-garde seeming project retains its spearhead function in future for the good of our industry. As for my own business, Kongresskultur Bregenz, the name says it all and I would like it to stay that way and I’d like to see it continue evolving as a result. If our project can contribute to the cultivation of the MICE industry in the sense of continuous further development, then we will have got a lot right.
Photo: © Gabriel Kremmel