Oktoberfest – the pinnacle of the networking calendar for Germany’s leaders

The Munich beer festival is an occasion which banishes the stereotype of disciplined, work-focussed, and fun-averse Germans. Here they drink, feast, dance and sing in celebration of a product, not normally associated with productivity. The truth is however, Oktoberfest is the region’s greatest corporate networking event of the year.

Walk into one of the big ‘tents’ and expect a buzzing, raucous atmosphere – think world championship darts. Bands play through the day and the waiting staff trundle past, carrying inhuman volumes of beer. Bands play and when Sweet Caroline hits the airwaves the roof is close to detaching. These venues must be seen, to be believed, with up to 6 million people making the annual pilgrimage, this is a celebration of beer and lifestyle like nowhere else.

The Oktoberfest carnival attracts the full spectrum of society, young and old, lumberjacks and leaders. In fact, the Munich beer festival is possibly the greatest corporate hospitality and networking event in Germany. Forget the fact the product does little to improve efficiency in the workplace, this is the time for demarcation, where fun and networking wholly replace normal weekly activities.

Invitations that make impressions

Conventional corporate hospitality can be anything from flying clients out to the desert, hosting them during the Monaco GP, or seats at Wimbledon. The Germans have a far more practical path to communicating appreciation without shoe-horning the attendees into an undersized corporate box somewhere. Oktoberfest is a free, public event that runs for 2 weeks – there is nothing outwardly exclusive about it. Yet enterprises all over Germany use invitations to clients and partners to communicate appreciation, to signal goodwill. The results are mighty impressive – an invitation to a table in a festival tent is a much appreciated and talked-about occasion, not matter how often the gift is given.

VIP tents and tables

Away from the cavernous tents, there are a range of ‘small’ tents to host more intimate feasts. Still accommodating several hundred people, these tents offer reserved tables, personal service and a rocking atmosphere, especially once the bands start to play. Located in the heart of the festival layout, these private tents are Oktoberfest-lite – the real product but slightly less raucous and a little more polished – think immaculate toilets, waiting service and restricted entry.

Wimbledon for the masses

Oktoberfest is the ultimate public event in Germany – famous the world over, the festival is a central plank of Bavarian life. Trying to understand the psyche of another nation can be more challenging with language and geographical separation. It is mystifying to think that a public event can carry such prestige amongst German business classes. Yet it does and it says much for the German ‘clear-eyed’ mentality – the world’s best products, delivered from superb infrastructure and celebrating the wider culture and lifestyle of this hugely successful region, what better way to relax and network?

For those looking to offer corporate hospitality to German and non-German partners and clients, the formula of the Oktoberfest is incredibly successful. It is a celebration of a region, its products and customs and the ensuing glow around the event is hard to miss. You won't find a Michelin-starred menu, over-priced champagne or restricted table booking policies at Oktoberfest, yet it is one of Europe’s great networking events. 

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