User:Christabel Neboht/Crossgates en

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Crossgates Travel (Germany) Ltd.
Industry Tourism / Business travel
Founded 1974
Headquarters London, England
Key people
Max Bolton and Simon Lawday
Products Hotelship charter / Hotelship accommodation / Hotel
Revenue 1.8 – 3.5 million Euros per annum depending on the size of trade fair

The British company Crossgates Travel is one of two leading charter agents for hotelships in Germany and has specialised in providing accommodation for international trade fair visitors for 35 years. In 2008, Crossgates provided over 20,000 rooms for both visitors and exhibitors to trade fairs in Frankfurt, Cologne, Duesseldorf and Hannover. Their head office is in London, England. Their German office is in Pulheim near Cologne. In the financial year 2007/8 Crossgates turned over 2.8 million Euros.

Business Model[edit]

Crossgates is a charter agency marketing hotelships to international trade fair guests and exhibitors by using space made available by shipping companies and private ship owners. Crossgates charters these river cruisers and positions them in the required towns ensuring that the high standards agreed are maintained at all times. There are 3 types of customer:

1) Crossgates usually reserves its ships at least 2 years before a trade fair and then rents them to large companies.

2) Room allocations are also made available to international travel agencies anything from 6 months to 2 years before a trade fair.

3) Private group or individual room bookings can be made, even at short notice anything up to 2 weeks before a trade fair.

Crossgates usually charters ships in the 4 to 5 star category. These ships are then moored for the duration of each trade fair, either in the harbour or on the banks of the river.

The agency works closely with both trade fair offices and tourist offices in Cologne, Frankfurt and Duesseldorf to make hotel ships available. Individual visitors can also book rooms on hotel ships directly with the tourist information in Duesseldorf [1] and Frankfurt [2]. Crossgates is particularly busy during important international trade fairs in Germany where there is often a shortage of accommodation e.g. Medica, Drupa and ‘K’ in Duesseldorf, Anuga, IMM and Eisenwaren in Cologne, Cebit in Hannover and Ambiente and Frankfurt Book Fair. Hotelships are a flexible way of filling the gap in the local hotel market.

Role in the Market[edit]

The number of visitors to trade fairs in Cologne, Duesseldorf and Frankfurt varies each year from 4.4 to 5.6 million.[3][4][5] In total, hotel ships in Germany only provide accommodation for 60 to 70,000 room nights per year. So in view of the number of trade fair visitors to Cologne, Duesseldorf and Frankfurt, and the number of room nights provided by hotel ships, the proportion of the hotel market taken up by hotel ships is very small. The percentage of visitors accommodated on hotel ships is still in single figures. These figures can be explained by the limited number of ships and moorings available.

The hotel ship business turns over between 7 and 9 million Euros a year. Between 65 and 70% of this is generated in Duesseldorf, Cologne and Frankfurt because of their convenient location on the Rhine and Main Rivers and because of their significant trade fair grounds. Crossgates with its annual turnover of between 1.8 and 3.5 million Euros and over 20,000 additional room nights is one of the market leaders.[6] More than 85% of Crossgates customers are foreign.[7] This is important when considering competition within the business as half of all exhibitors at German trade fairs are foreign.[8]


Crossgates was founded in 1974 by Max Bolton who is still part of the present management. Crossgates was the first company in Germany to rent ships from Rhine Shipping companies outside of the main cruising season (September/October to April/May)in order to use them as hotel ships during trade fairs. This new business concept was born out of shortages and elevated prices in the hotel sector during trade fair time. It was at the International Textile Trade Fair in Frankfurt in 1973 that the idea of mooring a river cruiser on the banks of the Main to increase bed capacity in the city centre was first put into practise.[9]

During the first year of business, the company operated in Frankfurt am Main with 5 ships and a capacity of 1,000 room nights. Today Crossgates has a hotelship presence at about 25 of almost 140 international trade fairs in Germany.[10]. On average they operate approximately 60 ships at 15 trade fairs a year. One of the biggest trade fairs is Medica in Duesseldorf. Of anything up to 40 ships present here, Crossgates alone has provided on average 20 in recent years. [11]

In the 70’s there were more trade fairs and then a move beyond the textile and fashion trade fair to other consumer trade fairs such as Ambiente in Frankfurt or Photokina and Anuga in Cologne. The growth of Crossgates went hand in hand with the growth of the trade fair programme in Germany. The most significant development, however, occurred as a result of the opening of the Main Danube Canal at the beginning of the 90’s. River cruising developed as a result of these new inland waterways. As demand for river cruising increased, especially on the US market, so the need for more luxurious ships grew. [12] As a result, Crossgates saw new markets open especially in the business sector.

The future of the company is dependant on developments in the local hotel market of trade fair cities, as well as the international trade fair market. Hotel ships, like trade fair business, are subject to the cycle of trade fairs. Important international trade fairs usually take place every 2 to 3, sometimes even 4 years. This explains the variations in turnover in any given financial year.


  1. ^ Düsseldorf Marketing & Tourismus GmbH
  2. ^ Tourismus+Congress GmbH Frankfurt am Main
  3. ^ koelnmesse | Bilanz-Pressekonferenz 2008, Cologne Trade Fair press conference regarding the annual balance 2008
  4. ^ Messe düsseldorf | Bilanz 2007, Annual balance 2007 of Düsseldorf Trade Fair
  5. ^ Frankfurt Interaktiv | Messe Frankfurt, Facts and figures on Frankfurt as Trade Fair location
  6. ^ Crossgates | Hotelships: Facts and Figures
  7. ^ Crossgates | Hotelships: Facts and Figures
  8. ^ AUMA | German Trade Fair Industry | Review 2007, page 16
  9. ^ Crossgates | Hotelships: Facts and Figures
  10. ^ AUMA | German Trade Fair Industry | Review 2007, page 16
  11. ^ Rheinische Post Daily Germany Newspaper, published in Düsseldorf, the state capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, The article “Volles Haus in Düsseldorf” (Full House in Düsseldorf) describes the hotel situation and the need of hotelships during the major trade fairs in Germany.
  12. ^ Crossgates | Hotelships: Facts and Figures