Business trips can be the perfect opportunity to take a break from the norm and enjoy travel at the company’s expense, but Frankfurt isn’t likely to be top of many people’s lists when it comes to European city breaks. The city’s association with finance is well earned, but that doesn’t mean your trip needs to be all about business, especially if this is your first visit.
Frankfurt is located at the crossroads of Europe, which has made it an important trading city for over 1000 years. Today, Frankfurt is a thriving business hub that’s earned it a reputation as a ‘city that means business’ – but if you’ll have free time on your visit, you owe it to yourself to explore what the city has to offer beyond the boardroom.
Whether you’re a first-time business traveller or hardened by experience, you shouldn’t get complacent when preparing to visit this esteemed financial centre. When packing for the trip, don’t be tempted to leave your best suit behind or go business casual, as you can be sure your German counterparts will be dressed to impress and will expect the same from you. While you won’t be expected to know German, learning the basics of German business etiquette will go a long way towards making the right impression – and yes, that includes punctuality. Addressing delegates on a first name basis should be strictly avoided, even for closer acquaintances.
Food and Drink
Frankfurt hotels ensure international travellers will feel at home with menus offering a range of familiar options from all over the world, but it’s well worth stepping outside of your comfort zone to try local specialties, especially if you’re invited on a business dinner or want to impress your contacts by proving you have what it takes to stomach the local cuisine.
Frankfurt food and drink isn’t as off-putting as some first-time visitors may expect though, and in fact there can be many pleasant surprises, especially if you’re a meat lover. Local dishes include Grüne Sosse (literally ‘green sauce’) on beef and boiled potatoes and Handkäse mit Musik, curdled quark cheese balls with a combination of vinegar and onions. Like many other German cities, you’ll also be spoiled for choice with beers and other alcoholic drinks, from the two best known local pilsners Binding and Henninger to the fermented apfelwein (apple wine).
Things to See
If you have free time between meetings or you treat yourself to an extra day in the city, there’s more to see in Frankfurt than you may have been led to believe. First and foremost a financial city, there are of course skyscrapers offering stunning views over the cityscape, with views from the 650-feet platform of the Main Tower being recommended and a restaurant on the premises. Historical sites are sadly in short supply following the devastation of World War II, but some of the most significant buildings have been lovingly rebuilt for visitors interested in exploring the city’s heritage, the most notable being the house of writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and the Römerberg, the charming square in front of City Hall.
Where to Stay
You’ll never be stuck for a well-appointed business hotel in Frankfurt, with options to suit all budgets. High-speed internet access and conference facilities can be found at competitive rates throughout the city centre, though many people visiting purely for business opt to stay at hotels close to the more convenient Frankfurt Airport, the hub of the Lufthansa airline which has its own dedicated terminal.
Have you considered what Frankfurt has to offer for a business trip?
Victoria Carter is an expat currently travelling around Europe. She writes about european business and travel for a digital marketing company.