IDS 2017: Getting there, accommodation and navigating the exhibition
COLOGNE, Germany: The staff of more than 2,300 exhibitors and approximately 140,000 visitors will go to Cologne next week, where this year’s International Dental Show (IDS) is being held from 21 to 25 March. The city is located in the Ruhrgebiet, an urban industrial area encompassing more than ten large cities in an area of over 4,000 km². The region is serviced by a well-developed transportation network, providing a broad range of options for comfortable travel. Thus, visitors to IDS can benefit from an infrastructure that facilitates a pleasant business trip.
Most international visitors will be travelling to Germany by plane. Several airlines are offering discounts for passengers travelling to IDS. The closest airport is Cologne Bonn Airport, which is located only 15 km from Cologne’s city centre and easily reached by bus, train, taxi or car.
There are six car rental companies at the airport, all at the arrival zone, Terminal 2. Cars can be refuelled at the petrol station, which is open 24/7. Travelling to Cologne by taxi will cost between €25 and €30.
A train leaves directly from the airport, arriving at Cologne’s main train station in just 15 minutes. Times can be viewed here. From there, the public transport system spreads out in all directions. Tickets for trains and other public transport must be bought ahead of the ride at ticket offices or from ticket machines. Depending upon the duration of stay and trips planned, it may be worth purchasing a week ticket for €25.10 instead of a single ticket (priced at €2.80) within the Cologne area. People holding exhibitor’s passes or who have already bought their IDS tickets online will be allowed free travel on urban trains, subway, buses and trams, but must have their ticket and valid ID available to show to conductors. Timetable information on the Cologne Public Transport (KVB) in English is available here and shows details for bus rides from Cologne airport to the city. Searching in several other languages is also available on this page. KVB offers the free KVB-mobil app, which, among other services, allows users to search for transport connections, times, stops and delay reports.
Those who have not yet booked a hotel room will most likely have difficulty finding anything affordable nearby or in the wider area. Accommodation is in high demand during IDS. For last-minute hotel bookings, the official Cologne tourism website may be a place to try, in addition to the more commonly known travel websites and apps.
Latecomers who are unsuccessful in finding a room may still be able to book an apartment via Airbnb, an online marketplace that connects people looking for accommodation with those renting out private short-term lodging, including holiday rentals, apartments, homestays, hostel beds or hotel rooms.
It may also be worth searching for accommodation in cities close to Cologne, such as Bonn, Düsseldorf, Bergisch Gladbach or Wuppertal. Owing to the infrastructure, travelling to the fair from there will still be possible without too much trouble.
Entering the fair
As the organisers are expecting around 140,000 visitors to this year’s IDS, purchasing a ticket online ahead of the fair will help avoid queuing. Online purchases can be made by PayPal or credit card and are possible until the last day of the fair. Buyers need to register once at the online ticket shop, select the desired ticket and fill in the order form. After completing the transaction, the ticket is available as a download to a mobile device or to be printed. Pre-sale tickets can be bought until 20 March at a cost of €13 for a day ticket, €17 for a two-day ticket, €21 for the week and €7.50 for a student ticket. From 21 March, regular prices will apply and both online and box office tickets will be sold at €17, €21.50, €27 and €8.50, respectively.
The fairgrounds offer 14,500 parking spaces for visitors arriving by car. Those taking the tram, subway or bus must get off at the stops Köln Messe/Deutz or KÖLN, Bhf Deutz/Messe, to enter the fair at the southern entrance, or at Koelnmesse, Köln-Deutz, to enter at any of the other entrances. Taxis are always available at the entrances and can also be ordered at +49 221 2882. A layout of the grounds and surroundings can be seen here. A detailed multiple-page floor plan will be included in the today newspaper, distributed daily at the fair.
IDS will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Exhibitors may enter the fair at 8 a.m. and must leave by 7 p.m.
Guidance by apps
This year’s fair will be held in six halls, covering an area of 160,000 m2. To help visitors find their way around, the organisers have developed the official IDS app, which allows visitors to search for exhibitors by name, country, hall or product, and includes a directory providing detailed information on all of the exhibitors’ products, as well as the latest information on the supporting programme, and a number of other features.
In addition to the official app, the today Messeguide app will help visitors to plan their visit and navigate their way around the world’s largest dental trade fair most effectively. It features a comprehensive exhibitor search function and an up-to-the-minute news feed in English and German. In addition, users can view special offers from selected exhibitors and find useful information about the trade fair, including a detailed floor plan.
Both apps are free of charge and can be downloaded for iPhone/iPad and Android.
Free WiFi is offered to visitors and only requires application on the portal page of the respective networks.
Detailed information on all aspects regarding a trip to the world’s largest dental exhibition can be found on the official IDS website.