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Delegates today want easy access to a destination’s landmarks and transit hubs. Here’s how Amsterdam is making its convention centre as accessible as possible.

By Boardroom editors

As convention centres across Europe compete to host association meetings, one factor is playing a large determining role: accessibility.

When a convention centre is easily accessible for delegates — meaning they can quickly get to city landmarks, bars, restaurants, and airports —their experience is said to be instantly improved, and so is the facilitation of knowledge transfer. Some of Europe’s most accessible convention centres, such as RAI Amsterdam, are looking at ways to up their game by improving infrastructure for an even more seamless experience.

One of the main factors to consider when bringing groups to a destination is transport. Safe and streamlined infrastructure can make or break a meeting experience, so when a city makes major strides to improve an already efficient system, this offers planners an even greater incentive. Case in point: Amsterdam’s latest investment, 1.3 billion euros to enhance the metro system. A new North-South metro line connects RAI Amsterdam to the Central rail station in less than 10 minutes, with up to 10 trains per hour. Thanks to this new line, RAI, is considered part of the city centre, instead of hovering on the outskirts.

Air travel is a major influence in destination choice, as, according to an American Express Meetings & Events group survey, negative experiences en route can taint attendees’ overall impression of the event. Less time spent traveling or in traffic means more time for delegates to engage with experts and peers, and money better spent on the event. Pair ease of associations to meet with sustainable modes of transport and planners not only make delegates happy, they also make host destinations greener in the process.

RAI, for example, is already considered one of Europe’s most accessible convention centres, sitting a 30-minute walk away from landmarks such as the Rijksmuseum and a 10-minute train ride away from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

With the new Station Europaplein, it’s anticipated that 20,000 passengers a day will be accessing the line. According to Wim Braakman, traffic manager at RAI Amsterdam, the new line will make transportation logistics even easier for planners, offering a quicker—and more sustainable—form of transport. Not only can attendees reach the city centre in mere minutes, they can also beat rush-hour traffic, meaning less stress heading to the airport or hotel after events wrap up.