«Ultimately we all benefit»

– A convention is never just a convention: the participants arrive, have a meal, explore their surroundings, and spend the night – preferably in the immediate vicinity. Zurich Convention Center wants to satisfy all these requirements as part of a package, so it has established a tried & tested partner network. Stephanie Scheiwiller, Director of Consulting & Marketing, tells us more about the range of overnight accommodation.

These partnerships with selected hotels have recently been listed on the Zurich Convention Center website – including the opportunity to make a reservation. Is it normal for an offer of this sort to be communicated so transparently?

We thought it was really important that the offers from our partner hotels shouldn’t just exist «in the background» and be aimed exclusively at big occasions. In our case, you can not only inspect the partner hotels on our website, but even make a direct booking. You can also do that as a private individual, if for example you attend one of our concerts and then want to spend the night nearby – and this includes the benefits you receive if you make a reservation via us. Our guests are guaranteed the best price.

But this offer is mainly aimed at big events, isn’t it?

Yes, of course it’s chiefly geared towards major international events which – if at all possible – would like everything connected to the event to be provided as a package too. It’s important here to have a good understanding of people’s needs and then offer them comprehensive advice – even if this then requires hundreds of hotel rooms at a stroke. When it comes to conventions or large events that are supervised by an agency, the request usually already includes an expectation that we can satisfy and organize the accommodation that’s needed. This is where we’re competing with venues throughout the world.

«People expect an organization such as ourselves to offer an amazing overall package.»

Stephanie Scheiwiller, Director of Consulting & Marketing, Zurich Convention Center

Is it the hotels rather than the Convention Center that benefit from this sort of partnership?

There’s an element of give and take. Of course ultimately everyone benefits if small or large events take place in Zurich. That’s why we have the reverse situation where hotels contact us if they themselves don’t have any capacity for events.
As I’ve already said, people expect an organization such as ourselves to offer an amazing overall package – that’s to say, far beyond just events and catering, and as holistic as possible. That begins with transfers from the airport and then goes on to include overnight accommodation and the various options for the social programme. Of course we’re spoilt for choice in Zurich, but you nevertheless need stable and well-functioning partnerships to ensure that everything runs smoothly; that would be completely impossible without all these partners.

Will this initiative be extended?

Yes, we’re talking to other interested parties, even though there’s already something for every taste. But especially in the 5-star range, it’s often the case that such a large number of rooms won’t suddenly be available in one place, so you need a particularly wide selection. Luckily we can rely on a range of excellent hotel options in every category. Spoilt for choice again! (laughs)

What do you look out for when choosing hotels?

One important criterion is definitely how far it is from the Convention Center: «walking distance» is a flexible concept, but of course it’s really important that the accommodation shouldn’t be too far away from where the event is happening. That isn’t so much of a problem in Zurich because the distances are generally short and public transportation is extremely well developed. Another thing that’s important when it comes to this offer is that we need a good mixture: we want to cater for a variety of requirements, from classic business hotels to sophisticated boutique options – everyone should get exactly what they want. And if that might initially seem impossible, we’ll definitely find a way in the end.

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