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March 01, 2021

ITB Berlin NOW: Events and business travel on the way to a new normal

The ITB Berlin NOW Convention addresses the challenges facing the MICE and business travel industries – Digitalisation and sustainable travel as ways out of the crisis – Full details of the programme of the world’s largest think tank are available online

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, taking business trips and meeting face-to-face at conferences and congresses has come to almost a complete standstill. From 9 to 12 March 2021 at ITB Berlin NOW, experienced speakers will discuss how the events industry is coping with the challenges created by the crisis, the role of sustainable travel in these times, and the conditions necessary in order for business travel to successfully recover. At the lectures and discussion rounds at this year’s virtual ITB Berlin NOW Convention, participants can get the expert views of recognised industry figures on the latest developments and trends.

Ideas for tomorrow’s business travel

On Wednesday, 10 March 2021, various sessions in partnership with the German Business Travel Association (VDR) will examine how business travel can be kickstarted again during the Covid-19 pandemic. ’Business Travel: REthink, REbuild, RElevance – the Future of Meetings & Events’ is the title of a discussion that will look at the prospects for new business models, technology trends and their consequences. Michael Bourke, manager of Clinical Meeting Management Novo Nordisk, Toby Frowen, senior manager, Global Lead – Global Meetings Management Amgen, Daniel Poulsen, senior content marketing specialist of the Content Marketing and Communications SAS Institute, René Proske, CEO of Proske, Nick Pupa, category manager of the DSM Group, and Patric Weiler, director of Strategy & Innovation at Proske, will talk about the developments that will influence tomorrow’s business travel market. Stefan Tolga Gumuseli, general manager of AirFrance KLM Germany, will offer an outlook of the future of business travel. At this session, Florian von Klier, senior director, Global Innovations & Solutions at SIXT and Vinzenz Pflanz, president of Corporate Sales @ SIXT, will talk about the importance of safety and heightened flexibility in the business travel market as well as innovation and digitalisation.

Tim Koch, director of Sales, Central Europe FREE NOW for Business, will explain how multimode transport can increase efficiency and ensure that companies become more sustainable. Martin Gruber, vice president, Commercial (international) Avis Budget Group, and Dorothea Hohn, managing director of global communication experts, will talk about how important flexibility, reliability and digitalisation are in a world of shifting business travel demand. At a discussion round, VDR president Christoph Carnier, senior director of Travel, Fleet & Events Merck, Marina Christensen, head of Sales, BWH Hotel Group Central Europe, Martina Eggler, general manager of ATG Travel Deutschland, and Dominika Rudnick, director of Key Account Management & Consortia Deutsche Hospitality, will present initial steps that the hotel industry can take in order to prepare for corporate business traveller demands.

At a discussion round with Holger Fuchs, CEO of Mavie Films, Steffen Keller, sales director / authorised representative of the PALLADIUM MOBILITY GROUP, Markus Kuckertz, head of Department IT Strategy & Innovation Vodafone, and Oliver Meinicke, director of Global Account Management BCD Travel Services, Julia Harnischfeger, managing director of JOYN Serviced Living, will discuss the benefits that serviced apartments can offer when business travel restarts, and how companies are currently making travel decisions for their employees. Harald Rettich, team leader, Corporate Partnerships manager Germany / myclimate, will give participants advice on how they can kickstart the business travel industry into life again with climate change and sustainable travel solutions.

Transformation in the MICE sector

On Friday, 12 March 2021,Dorothee Bär, State Minister for Digital Affairs, will hold a welcome speech opening the ITB Berlin NOW MICE Track. Leading representatives of the MICE industry will speak at the event, which is presented by the Association of Event Organisers (VDVO). Matthias Schultze, general manager of GCB, will examine the role of events in the corporate communication mix as well as topics that include measuring event success, the shift in event professionals’ qualification profiles and new demands on venues and service providers. Bernd Fritzges, CEO of VDVO, and Daniel Steinbichler, CEO of weframe AG, will present the PUSH`21 initiative. The project is devoted not only to helping overcome the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic but also looks at the ongoing process of digitalisation and resulting event format changes.

Participants in a discussion round with Doreen Biskup, vice chairwoman of the VDVO, Bernd Fritzges, CEO of the VDVO, Stefan Lohmann, founder of Sustainable Event Solutions, Jürgen May, managing director of 2bdifferent, and Dr. Katharina Reuter, managing director of Bundesverband Unternehmensgrün, can find out about the aims they are pursuing with their calls for an immediate economic stimulus package to support a sustainable events industry and how its survival can be ensured. In their keynote speech, Lubomila Jordanova, founder of Plan A, and Felix Rundel, co-founder of futurehain, will share their vision of a sustainable events industry and for the first time will present Plan A’s event carbon calculator, which measures carbon footprints, compares results, and helps offset them.

Together with Irina Graf, founder of The miceblog, selected speakers will discuss how trust in online and social media communications can be built up and exploited for meetings and events. At a panel discussion rounding off events, Doreen Biskup, vice chairwoman of the VDVO, AC Coppens, CEO of The Catalyst, Prof. Dr. Regina Friess, Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin, and Felix Rundel, co-founder of futurehain, will discuss the tools and techniques that can be used to create bonding and strengthen social belonging in virtual spaces.

Full details of the programme and sessions at ITB Berlin NOW Convention are available online. Additional information on how to take part in ITB Berlin NOW and obtain tickets can be found here.

About ITB Berlin NOW and the ITB Berlin NOW Convention

ITB Berlin NOW will take place from Tuesday, 9 to Friday, 12 March for trade visitors only and as an entirely virtual event. ITB Berlin is the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show. As part of ITB Berlin NOW, the ITB Berlin NOW Convention, the largest travel industry event of its kind, will also take place as a virtual event. The World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) is the co-host, Mascontour Track is the sponsor of the ITB Future Track, Google and Lufthansa are track sponsors of the ITB Marketing & Distribution Track, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is the ITB Sustainability Track partner,  SIO AG is the track sponsor of the eTravel DATA TALKS and Studiosus is the session sponsor. For exhibitors, trade visitors and the media, participation in the ITB Berlin NOW Convention is included in the price of a ticket. Additional information is available at and from the ITB Social Media Newsroom.


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