Conferences and events helped power hotel occupancy rates to a record level of 73% in Birmingham in the first six months of this year. The figure is the highest result reported by the city since records began in 2007. The new mark represents a 6% leap compared with the same period in 2014.
Marketing Birmingham has said that major conference and music events have driven the upturn in occupancy. The England v New Zealand ODI cricket match in June at Edgbaston also saw 96% of the city’s hotel rooms taken.
The new figures come from Marketing Birmingham’s Regional Observatory data, collated by travel research company STR Global.
Revenue per available room (RevPAR) in Birmingham has also shown consistent growth in 2015, again driven by major events and conferences.
Noticeable contributory events include The Shale Gas World Conference at the ICC Birmingham, a two-day event previously held in Manchester, which saw weekday occupancy rise from 60% to 87%.
The increasing average length of stay of UK visitors was another key contributory factor to the strong performance figures, as well as the continued growth of international passenger arrivals at Birmingham Airport.
Emma Gray, director of marketing and communications for the city’s leisure and business tourism programmes Visit Birmingham and Meet Birmingham, said: “We continue to attract record numbers of visitors with 34m people coming to the region each year – as a result our hotel industry is booming. We’ve seen a high-profile programme of events in the first half of the year.
“We are confident that this trend will continue in the second half of the year, particularly given the exciting new retail and leisure openings in the months ahead.”
Key highlights in the city’s calendar over the coming weeks include: the completion of the £600m redevelopment of New Street Station and the opening of the Grand Central shopping destination; the unveiling of new leisure and entertainment complex Resorts World Birmingham; two fixtures of the Rugby World Cup 2015 at Villa Park and the city’s famous Christmas Markets.
Damian Goom, GM, Malmaison Birmingham, added: “This increase and growth in demand has been supported by the increasing appeal of Birmingham as a destination venue for major arts, sports and business events.”
By 2017, Birmingham will have welcomed an impressive nine new accommodation providers, adding 1,700 rooms to the city’s hospitality sector. These include the 4-star Park Regis at Five Ways and the recently-opened Adagio Apartments in Digbeth.
The positive figures are reflected throughout the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership area, with hotel occupancy rates up 5% to 72%, as well as in the Black Country, where there was a rise of 4% to 70% in the first six months of 2015 compared with the same period last year.