Madrid tradefair institution IFEMA has taken on the management of the IFEMA Municipal Palace, a key convention venue for 25 years. Belén Mann, IFEMA’s Conventions Department Director, describes the challenges and future plans.
Feria de Madrid’s expansion with IFEMA Municipal Palace means it is possible to host events that for lack of availability we could not previously confirm. This is a space that offers a larger auditorium than the one we have in the North Convention Center (1,812 seats vs 1,100) it has a large number of rooms and it is a multipurpose space, ideal for exhibitions and catering services.
We have strengthened IFEMA's Conference and Convention Department with people in the commercial field.
As regards the technical areas, it is being managed as one more asset of the IFEMA portfolio, making use of the same set of professional resources of our organisation.
The venue traditionally hosts congresses with and without exhibitions, conventions, graduation ceremonies, conferences, concerts and shows. The venue is an extension of IFEMA and, for some congresses and events, the client can request the additional rooms needed in our South building, which is the closest.
One outstanding event in January was Madrid Fusión and from February to the end of the year there are more than 40 events of various kinds confirmed. The type of client is very similar to the one we already had in Ifema Convenciones y Congresos.
It is still very soon in terms of new AV investment. But the client has the option to work with his own supplier or hire this service through us. We have already equipped the building with a free Wi-Fi network. And we are preparing bidding documents for those that require higher investments. The entire infrastructure is being analyzed to determine priorities. There is an investment plan of €10m to ensure this unique space can be marketed in optimal conditions.
The IFEMA Municipal Palace already provides significant activity, but our goal is to grow in number of events, because the current occupation calendar allows it. We must bear in mind that some of those that we have rejected from IFEMA Conventions and Congresses due to lack of space, have opted for other cities. From now on, with a greater offer, it will be possible in many cases to retain them in Madrid.
The Feria de Madrid subway stop is common to both buildings, in fact there is an exit that faces IFEMA Palacio Municipal and another in front of IFEMA. There is a taxi stand, and buses that stop there. In addition, there is a parking lot in the building that is rented to an external company and which is operated with subscribers who work in the area.
When this contract expires, the idea is to take control of the rental of parking for those attending events. In addition, we must not forget that IFEMA has almost 14,000 parking spaces and thanks to its proximity, many events held in the Palace rent spaces from us.