Experts’ Corner: Five Questions for Deborah Rothe

Friday, 03.03.2023

Deborah Rothe, the new Exhibition Director of ITB Berlin, has been with Messe Berlin since 2011 and has worked for ITB since 2014. She succeeds David Ruetz, who replaced Martin Buck as senior vice president for Travel + Logistics at Messe Berlin in December 2022.

New ITB Director Deborah Rothe has succeeded David Ruetz at the turn of 2022/2023. Photo: Messe Berlin GmbH

How important is the MICE industry at ITB Berlin?

MICE has always been an important part of ITB Berlin, as has business travel. The VDVO [a German association of decision-makers in the meeting and event industry], our official MICE partner, will have a big presence at ITB Berlin 2023 at Stand 112 in Hall 3.1.

How many exhibitors will be represented there?

The VDVO will have many co-exhibitors at this year’s ITB Berlin. The VDVO’s central theme this year revolves around co-creative sessions and hybrid meetings. Together with CISCO, the association will be showing what the meetings of tomorrow will look like. Fiylo will be presenting a colourful array of event venues, and Georgia will be this year’s guest country. In addition, on 9 March, all visitors can expect to hear some fascinating talks on the convention stage in Hall 3.1 as part of the ITB MICE Track. For example, Florian Wirthgen of denkmalneu will be discussing innovative business models, and Jasmine Mortimer of the VICTORIA International University of Applied Sciences will be speaking about how innovation is encouraged in the event industry.

Will there be further expansion of this section of the event?

We’ll discuss that with the VDVO, our partner, and our exhibitors during our debriefing following the event.

What is on the agenda at the ITB Berlin convention?

Under the heading “mastering transformation”, top speakers and experts from the event industry will be discussing trends and new themes. Business models change or disappear entirely, making room for others. Processes are optimised and standardised. ITB Berlin delegates will learn how successful transformation is possible in all these areas at ITB MICE Track from 10.30 am on 9 March at the convention stage in Hall 3.1.

The topics addressed will include the use of AI and other tech innovations, the participation of and interaction with event participants and the question of how to create “micro-moments”. Consideration will also be given to how employees, customers and suppliers will be able to interact in future to improve productivity. Stefan Schumacher, a senior manager of strategic partnerships at BWH Hotel Group Central Europe, will be delivering a keynote speech at 12.15 pm entitled “How to achieve more without doing more – using Project NICE as an example?!”.

What are you particularly looking forward to?

Overall, I am looking forward to the world’s leading travel event making a fantastic live comeback under our slogan “Open for Change”. Change is taking place on many levels – in the MICE industry, as well. I am particularly looking forward to the ITB MICE Night on 8 March from 6 pm at the Hotel Berlin. As always, the industry’s top decision-makers and executives will be coming to this event. This year, the MICE Achievement Award will be presented. I am also looking forward to the return of the ITB Buyers’ Circle and the exclusive memberships offered to top buyers, including buyers from the MICE and business travel sectors. We have already had a high number of membership applications. That demonstrates to us how strongly the industry believes in the event’s format and the quality of those who take part in it.

Ute Fiedler