Heidelberg ‘s superior medical care has been attracting international patients for years
Heidelberg is one of Germany’s leading medical locations – for years, increasing numbers of international patients have been coming to the city for a variety of medical treatments of the highest standards, most notably patients from Russia and the Arab Gulf states: The number of overnight stays of Russian guests has risen in the last five years by more than 40% despite the drop in 2005 of 5000 overnight stays (28% compared to the previous year). Overnight numbers for the Arab guests have risen in the last five years by almost 100%. Despite difficult economic conditions, 2015 registered an increase here of 4.5% over the previous year (absolute figures show approx. 2000 of the total of almost 51000 overnight stays). After the USA, the Gulf states rank as the second largest foreign market for Heidelberg.
The Heidelberg Marketing GmbH is targeting the international tourist market with its campaign for superior medical care in the city on the Neckar river. The recently released revised medical brochure provides comprehensive information in English, Arabic and Russian about medically-related stays in Heidelberg. For many patients who come for a prolonged stay of a few weeks, the medical brochure provides information not only about the leading medical care facilities at the University Hospital Heidelberg, but also about suitable accommodation and leisure activities for family members who may accompany the patient.
“For years, the number of international guests coming to Germany for medical treatment has been on the rise. This growing market is very important for our city: Heidelberg is renowned as an internationally acclaimed city of science and research, and, with its world class oncology departments, is one of the top medical locations in the world. It is a matter of securing and expanding this reputation “, says Marketing Manager of Heidelberg Marketing GmbH, Mathias Schiemer.
In order to achieve this goal, Heidelberg Marketing GmbH, together with the University Hospital and Heidelberg Hotels, has initiated the so-called “Marketing Program International Patients “. By means of targeted press work and specially designed advertising campaigns, they hope to cultivate the markets in Russia and the Gulf States. Apart from the medical brochure, which will be available at trade fairs in source markets and through the International Office of the University Hospital Heidelberg, web presence and newsletters will also provide comprehensive information for international institutions and patients. Within the scope of the marketing program in 2016, representatives from the University Hospital will be attending a medical workshop in Moscow, at which they are hoping to establish contact with specialized travel service providers and agents.
In 2015, approx. 3500 international patients received medical care at the University Hospital. A high percentage of them were here for the treatment of serious illnesses, for example in the areas of oncology, orthopedics and pediatrics. “The University Hospital offers the highest level of diagnostics and treatments according to internationally recognized standards of medical research – particularly in the field of oncology. In some areas we have been able, through innovation, to set international standards ourselves: at the Heidelberg Ion Beam Therapy Center, certain types of tumor undergo precision irradiation with protons or heavy ions without compromising the surrounding tissue – by means of a 360° rotating beam delivery system,” explains Professor Jürgen Debus, Medical Director of the Department of Radio-Oncology and Radiation Therapy, his Heidelberg beacon in cancer medicine.
This market segment offers the Heidelberg hotels associated with the “Marketing Program International Patients “ the opportunity to attract new guests in this segment – a chance more and more businesses are seizing. Last year, 13 hotel businesses took part in the “International Patients” program which included 17 hotel establishments, and in 2016 another partner from the hotel industry joined the ranks.
Just how important so-called medical tourism is for Heidelberg is expressed in a statement by Dr. Caroline von Kretschmann, CEO of the Europäischer Hof Hotel: “People travel to Heidelberg from all over the world to take advantage of the renowned hospitals and the range of treatments provided by their doctors. These guests now make up a very important client group both for Heidelberg and the city’s hotel industry. The Europäischer Hof Hotel is also geared towards the special needs of these guests, some of whom are severely ill, and their family members in order to provide them with the best possible care in a very personal atmosphere in addition to the ideal clinical treatment.”
Courtesy Heidelberg Marketing GmbH.