2014 was a highly successful one for Amsterdam RAI in a variety of ways. The international exhibition and convention company had its best operating profit in the last 15 years, and welcomed a record number of exhibitors. The continued growth in international events made a significant contribution to this success.
Improved operating profit, net result and EBITDA at record levels
The operating profit of Amsterdam RAI in 2014 was €13.7 million or 11.4 percent of the turnover (compared to €7.1 million and 6.1 percent in 2013). EBITDA grew to a record level of 27.9 in 2014 and the net result of €9.3 million (€3.3 million in 2013) was the second highest in the history of the RAI. Turnover increased by €119.7 million to slightly above the level of 2013.
More customers, improved satisfaction
The RAI complex hosted 544 events in 2014, which attracted over 1.6 million visitors. The number of international events continues to grow. Some 18,649 exhibitors took part in events in and by Amsterdam RAI during the course of 2014, a historical record (in 2013 the number of exhibitors was 15,400). Continuous innovation in services and facilities has allowed customer satisfaction to improve further – the average mark given by organizers and exhibitors rose from 7.5 out of 10 to 7.7.
The financial successes of the year can largely be attributed to the international strategy adopted by Amsterdam RAI. “Twelve years ago, the RAI shifted its focus to large international multi-day events,” CEO Hans Bakker points out. “In 2015, 70 percent of the events taking place in the RAI will have an international character. In addition to our own international B2B events, this also includes letting space to external convention and exhibition organizers such as IBC, ISE and PLMA. We worked very closely together with Amsterdam Marketing and NBTC portfolio to acquire these major events.”
The RAI’s international exhibitions – Intertraffic, ISSA/INTERCLEAN, GreenTech and METS – all performed above expectations. In addition, GreenTech – the latest addition to Amsterdam RAI’s own exhibitions, held for the first time in 2014 – was very well received. The entire portfolio of RAI Exhibitions performed better in 2014 than in previous years.
Powerful engine of business tourism
Research agency Ecorys calculated the economic importance of the RAI for the city and region in 2014. The study showed that the added value of activities at the RAI is characterized by a factor of seven. In other words, for every euro spent in the RAI, seven flow to the Amsterdam region (with a total value of 502 million euros). The RAI is a powerful engine for business tourism in Amsterdam. In total, the company represents 1.1 percent of the total economy of Amsterdam. In terms of employment, the RAI provides over 7,000 jobs.
Ready for the future
Amsterdam RAI’s multi-year investment program was nearly completed in 2014. Some €180 million was invested over the course of more than a decade to ensure that the entire convention centre would be state of the art in terms of both technology and quality. In addition to these enhancements, the investments also led to structurally lower maintenance costs.
Amtrium in use, parking building in preparation
The most recent addition is the Amtrium, a new multifunctional exhibition and conference building on the Scheldeplein square. Completed on schedule and within budget, it will be officially opened by Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan on June 2. The Amtrium is the first project resulting from the RAI Spatial Future Vision agreement from 2011, in which the municipality of Amsterdam and Amsterdam RAI jointly determined the parameters for the RAI’s continued and sustainable development at its current location.
A tendering process was started in 2014 for a new multi-story garage, which will accommodate over 1,000 cars. A unique feature of the new complex will be its first floor, which will be twice as high as the other stories and available for use as an exhibition space during major events. The RAI parking building, which is being built in accordance with the latest sustainability standards, will be ready for use in the summer 2016.
Rem Koolhaas | OMA designs RAI hotel
Last year also saw significant progress being made on the development of the new RAI hotel, which is slated for completion in 2018 and will have a capacity of up to 650 rooms. At the end of April 2015, it was announced that project developer COD will realize the design by Rem Koolhaas | OMA, while the NH Hotel Group will operate the hotel under the name nhow Amsterdam RAI. The design was inspired by the distinctive advertising column het Signaal on the RAI site, which was declared a national monument together with the Europa Hall earlier this year.
Redevelopment of Europaplein
After 10 years of intensive construction activities, the restructuring of the Europaplein square was completed in 2014, giving the city of Amsterdam another large square in anticipation of the opening of the new north-south line of the metro. The edges of the square are adorned with six artworks by Guillaume Bijl.
All of these new facilities give Amsterdam RAI plenty of opportunities to maintain and expand its leading position. This allows it to focus in the coming years on its core mission of organizing and facilitating meaningful encounters between people to create real added value.