Last month I was invited to attend an Educational Trip to Munich, city famous for the Oktoberfest, FC Bayern and BMW, among others. I was very excited to join this trip because between 2010-11 I lived 10 month in Munich and did an internship in events. I thought I knew Munich well before arriving, but the trip definitely showed me few hidden gems I wasn’t familiar with. The trip was organised by German Convention Bureau and Munich Convention Bureau and 12 event planners attended from Europe: Austria, Italy, Belgium, Poland, UK and Holland and represented agencies, corporate planners and associations. The trip took place from 26 – 28 June 2016.
A few delegates arrived on the 26th and others, like me, the day before, and we all met at the hotel lobby of The Westin Grand Munich, where we also stayed both nights. To make it logistically convenient our first stop on the tour was the hotel for a show round and lunch. The hotel has two restaurants, the Paulaner’s Wirtshaus, offering traditional Bavarian hospitality and the ZEN, where the breakfast is served, and in the evening is available for private hire. The Ducktail’s bar is also open for hotel guests in the evening until 2am. Our lunch was at the Paulaner’s Wirtshaus to kick off the trip the right way with a wide selection of Bavarian delights. That’s a great lunch option if your delegates arrive on the day and you just want to keep it easy for everyone. Starting with a sharing platter we then had a second starter, main and dessert.
For meetings and events, the hotel has three dedicated floors on levels 1 – 3. On the Lobby level you can find the ballroom, suitable for large events. For example it can accommodate up to 600 delegates for dinner. There is no natural day light in this one. On the second floor, the rooms benefit from natural daylight and when the weather allows, events can be held outside on the terrace. There are six meeting rooms in total for up to 200 delegates. On the third floor there are more meeting rooms, 11 in total that can accommodate up to 420 delegates. Very flexible and large event space, it can cater for small and large events.
After the lunch it was time for some exercise so we left for City Rally with My DMC to learn about Munich and explore it by foot and bike. We were given a set of questions about key city attractions, including Odeonsplatz, Marienplatz and Viktualienmarkt and had to complete them in teams. We also climbed the Frauenkirche, from where you probably have one of the most beautiful views over the city.
Our last stop on the tour was Platzl Hotel, a boutique, family owned hotel with a traditional Bavarian flair. There we had a presentation from Green City e.V. about the different green initiatives in Munich, including urban mobility and urban design, for example – Munich bike sharing and night bike tours, roof greening to create cooling effect in summer and warming effect in winter and others.
Sustainability is very high on corporate agendas today and it’s important if the destination has green initiatives in place that you can incorporate them into your event. Our next stop was to hear about München Summt. Since 2011 bee hives are placed on rooftops to prevent their disappearing in cities and this initiative is run by volunteers to take care of the bees and educate the public about the importance of the bees to our planet.
From there we came back to the hotel before leaving for dinner at the Sheraton Arabellapark Hotel. The hotel is just 5 minutes walking distance from The Westin Grand Munich Hotel and also offers large meetings spaces and catering facilities. With 17 rooms for up to 450 delegates, the hotel can be also used jointly with the Westin Grand Munich, together possible to accommodate up to 1250 delegates. After the tour we had dinner at the SixtySix restaurant.
Second day began with individual breakfast at The Westin Grand Munich hotel. It’s one of the nicest breakfast buffets I’ve experienced so far, offering a wide variety of cold and warm buffet.
First stop on the second day was Allianz Arena, home of FC Bayern Football Club. One of the iconic venues in Munich, they host around 1400 corporate events per year on non-match days. I was very looking forward to visit this venue because when I worked in Munich in events I used to take clients there for a meet and greet with a football professional, before we watched the match together. On this occasion, there was no game so we got to see all the event spaces available for hire on non-match days. On non-match days, event boxes can be set up for trainings, seminars, dinners or conferences. For larger groups, the Saebener Lounge can be used for up 450 delegates for seated dinner. The Saebener Lounge has also a show-kitchen and delegates can see the dishes before ordering. The in-house catering is provided exclusively by DO & CO. The largest event space, The Business Club, overlooking the pitch can be used for banquets or exhibitions for groups larger than 2000 delegates. Last but not least, FC Bayern Museum can be used as an event space, for up to 200 delegates for seated dinner and 500 delegates for drinks reception. Venue tours can be also incorporated in the programme, as well as organisers can host a small drinks reception on the border of the pitch.
Our next stop was DOLCE Hotel Munich Unterschleissheim. Hotel’s focus is primarily on MICE and they offer modern and well equipped facilities for business travellers. In addition to the 19 meeting rooms, the hotel has also a dedicated Auditorium for events, the BallhausForum. Another USP is the Hotel’s free of charge parking with 1000 slots (as several people during our trips mentioned how hard and expensive it is to find parking space in Munich). For breaks between meetings, the hotel has an e-café, a self-service area where delegates can boost their energy with healthy snacks, juices and coffee.
After the tour we had lunch at Redox restaurant and for coffee and petite furs moved to view the Winter Chalet, another venue for groups offering Bavarian specialties.
After this light and enjoyable lunch we headed to the English Garden, another must when in Munich, for a Yodel Seminar hosted by Conference & Touring.
When our instructor Horst taught us how to make these Yodel sounds everyone was laughing but was engaged. Adding some instruments to make more sounds and atmosphere, everyone loved it. This activity can be as short as 30 minutes to energise attendees between meetings or after lunch or can be a longer group team building activity, including a song composition, for example.
Well entertained and energised our tour continued to Brewery Giesinger Bräu for beer tasting. After a short presentation about brewing process we were given three beers to taste.
From there we went back to the hotel to have a short rest and check emails before leaving for dinner at the Bayerischer Hof, an iconic 5* hotel. The dinner was hosted by Interplan, one of the leading German PCOs. After a short hotel tour we had a drinks reception on the terrace, with beautiful views of the famous Frauenkirche and since the weather allowed it, also had our dinner outside on the terrace. We all enjoyed our last night in Munich over great food, drinks and conversations. I must say that the service was impeccable at all venues.
The last day of our trip started with breakfast at the hotel, before heading to BMW World, another highlight of the local (but also national and global) car industry to view their event spaces at BMW Group Classic, suitable for seminars and training and BMW World, suitable for dinners, conferences, product launches and other big events. Spaces are very modern with very distinct architecture, technology driven and futuristic. AV facility is included in the venue hire and the in-house caterer is Käfer, a high-end Munich based company.
I’m very proud to say that my first major experience in events was in Munich so I definitely can recommend this city for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibition. It’s an international city with very good connections by car, rail and air, it offers modern facilities, expertise and know how. Hopefully will be back soon!