Take5: Allan Agerholm, CEO of the Bella Center speaks of the future of the new powerhouse
VisitDenmark put five quick questions to the CEO of the Bella Center, Allan Agerholm, to learn more about the largest merger in the Danish hotel and conference industry and about its plans in the near future.
VisitDenmark: With the recent merger of the Bella Center, Scandinavia’s largest convention centre, the Bella Sky Comwell and Forum Copenhagen with the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers hotel, a giant has been created in the Danish hotel-, meeting-, exhibition- and conference industry. Does this merger facilitate any exciting future projects or initiatives?
Allan Agerholm: We have a number of exciting plans in the pipeline. First of all, we want to fully exploit the commercial opportunities of the merger, essentially being able to offer one of the most diverse hospitality portfolios in Northern Europe. Over the coming summer, we will also launch a multi-million upgrade of the meetings and convention product in Bella Center, bringing it up-to-date and at the same standard as the Bella Sky meetings product.
VisitDenmark: You have now got a Copenhagen-based powerhouse with an impressive 1,178 hotel rooms, 150 meeting and conference rooms, and more than 200,000 m2 of congress, exhibition and conference facilities with room for more than 30,000 guests and delegates. How does this affect your product portfolio and the offers you can provide to foreign clients?
Allan Agerholm: The diversity and sheer magnitude of space will allow us to bid for even more International congresses and events. This will of course on the first hand build our own business, but as many of these events are very large, will also have a spill over effect on the entire city.
VisitDenmark: The Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers is one of the world’s most sustainable conference hotels and the only hotel in Copenhagen to be ISO 14001-certified. The Bella Center too has had a strong CSR-strategy for years – among other things it generates 10 % of its energy consumption from its own wind turbine and it is a loyal sponsor of the CityBee project. Are there any plans to push the sustainable efforts of the various venues even further?
Allan Agerholm: We will work over the coming months to implement sustainable solutions in Bella Center, and all of our other business areas wherever possible. We have already implemented our “Supplier Code of Conduct” and are switching our procurement of food and beverage products to sustainable solutions and will launch a very exciting coffee concept in August.
VisitDenmark: As co-sponsor of the recently launched initiative 'The Future of Meeting Design Concepts - Meetovation 3.0.', the Bella Center is actively involved in taking the renowned Danish meeting design concept 'Meetovation' to the next level. What are your motives for supporting the new initiative, and what significance does the usage of meeting design concepts have for generating business nowadays?
Allan Agerholm: If we do not innovate as a destination and a business – we will loose market share very rapidly. It is therefore critically important that we continue to develop our products and services. Meetovation is, and has been, one of Copenhagen’s key differentiators and we are 100 % behind the continued development of this.
VisitDenmark: Any exciting international events, conferences and congresses at the Bella Center venues that we should keep a watchful eye on in the foreseeable future?
Allan Agerholm: 2014 is a relatively weak year for International congresses and events, but 2015 and 2016 look very strong with a large number of exiting international events. I don’t want to emphasise one over the other, as they are all important but would like to take the opportunity to highlight the importance of the work being done in MeetDenmark and Meetingplace Wonderful Copenhagen. This work is critically important for Copenhagen to remain one of the key congress and events destinations in the World.