Birmingham success by association

As expected, there has been a reduction in events being held by public sector bodies following the Government’s comprehensive spending review. This drop, however, hasn’t been as dramatic as Birmingham, a city still coming to terms with the demise of its regional development agency, first feared.
In contrast, the city’s association business has remained strong, with The ICC Birmingham able to report a number of success stories, including the Association of Colleges and National Housing Federation both signing new deals to bring their events back to the venue for the next three years.
Two new conferences, the European Peritoneal Dialysis (EuroPD) Meeting in 2011 and CASE Europe’s annual convention the following year, are expected to have an economic impact of £2m for Birmingham and the region.
Most significantly, the hosting of the Conservative Party’s autumn conference, which brought 13,000 delegates to Birmingham over four days last year, has boosted the city’s reputation across both domestic and international platforms as an event destination.
Team Birmingham is already building on this success, eagerly anticipating the return of the Conservative Party in 2012 and the Liberal Democrats’ conference in 2011, both of which will help to cement the status of Birmingham and The ICC as the natural destination for political conferences.
“The events and conferencing sector has not been immune to the current economic downturn,” says Commercial Director at Marketing Birmingham, Ian Taylor. “Our Team Birmingham approach is focusing on winning new business and maximising return for event organisers – looking for how we can provide added value for the client is key.” 
On the sales and marketing front, Taylor says his organisation’s close work with industry partners in Birmingham such as the NEC Group and the hotels has enabled them all to provide a streamlined approach to how the city targets conference business. 
“We have now aligned our sales plan with the NEC, specifically in the association business,” Taylor adds. “We are keen to link the overall themes of Birmingham’s economic strategy, which pinpoints sectors such as low carbon and medical technologies, with the type of association event for which we bid.”

Venue updates:
Edgbaston edges closer to completion
Warwickshire County Cricket Club’s aim to provide world-class facilities for its players and visiting media is well underway with a £30m redevelopment scheduled to be completed in July 2011.
Edgbaston has already unveiled its semi-permanent 1,150sqm Grand Marquee for up to 1,000 delegates. The marquee boasts a reception area with private bar. A banqueting suite able to host 500 covers is due for summer 2011.

Birmingham becomes gateway to London
As part of an ambitious drive to get motorists onto trains, a £250m investment will see a new main line connection to the capital, with trains from Birmingham Moor Street station to London Marylebone taking just 100 minutes. The Chiltern Mainline is set to be completed in May 2011.

Conference Aston’s approach
Conference Aston, at the heart of Aston University, welcomes more than 54,000 delegates a year. 
More than £250,000 is being invested in creating a fresh new look for the bedrooms. Its Marketing Manager Paul Bunce, says: “We are operating in a competitive market with a well-informed client base which expects high standards in all aspects of their stay.”

BCB brings event support to Life
Birmingham Convention Bureau (BCB) recently provided the organisers of the Life conference and exhibition for life actuaries with its event support package.
BCB offered its accommodation booking service, website landing page and discounts for a range of Birmingham restaurants, bars, venues and shops for the conference, which took place at the ICC in November.
Life Event Manager, Kate Harris, says: “We look forward to working with BCB again when we return.”

Digital bid system developed
Marketing Birmingham, in conjunction with The NEC Group, has devised a digital bidding system, to allow for electronic bids to be created and submitted for events of all types.
The purpose of the system is to bring consistency and allow bids to be submitted electronically with the inclusion of films and audio, providing an innovative way to present the city in a bid. The collated content is pulled into a presentation template for the client. 

Deaf Cultural Centre supports CSR policies
Operating as a Social Enterprise, the Conference Centre at the Deaf Cultural Centre was purpose-built three years ago. The centre is located within the Deaf Cultural Centre, which exists to support the deaf community employing a high percentage of deaf staff.
“We are currently reviewing our marketing strategy in order to attract a range of new clients, such as the corporate sector, who are frequently looking for a venue that supports their own corporate social responsibility aims,” says Sales Executive for the centre, Kadian Pow. “Our marketing strategy will include a relaunch and rebranding of the conference centre in the New Year.”

Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel is to host world’s biggest Elvis convention
From 6 to 8 January 2011, Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel will host The European Elvis Championships and Convention. 
There will be more than 80 tribute acts battling it out to be crowned with the top title. The hotel will be transformed into a ‘mini Las Vegas’ with live bands, showcases, merchandise, discos, a gospel contest and a novice contest.
“We are very excited to welcome some of the best Elvis impersonators to the hotel for this event,” says hotel GM Patrick Stapleton.

Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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