Spring in Conference Aston’s step

Conference Aston, Birmingham’s largest residential conferencing venue, is reporting it’s best-ever Q1, followed by a record May.

Conference Aston recorded a 10% increase in revenue for Q1, compared with 12 months ago, as well as doubling the number of residential delegates against target in May.

The conferencing venue and hotel, part of Aston University, welcomed 15,000 delegates and hotel guests between January and March this year. Clients came from a range of organisations, including West Midlands Police and Jaguar Land Rover.

The Conference Aston May, management reported, came in 37% ahead of budget, with over 4,000 day delegates passing through its doors. The month also saw 1,284 residential delegates stay at the venue.

Conference Aston marketing manager Paul Bunce said Birmingham was enjoying a resurgence in the number of corporate and leisure visitors, as well as residential conferences, and noted it was “gratifying that the venue was playing a significant role in attracting people to the city”.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen a real increase in the number of organisations wanting to hold their training, events or meetings at Conference Aston and that has translated into ever-growing numbers of guests and an increase in revenue,” he said.

Residential conferencing had been a slow part of the market since the recession, Bunce added, so a pick up there had quite an impact. “In the first five months of this year volumes of residential conference delegates is up 16% ahead of expectation. Day meeting

volumes are also up 21% against predicted volumes,” he said, adding that, with the proposed HS2 terminal being located very close to Aston University and Birmingham attracting increasing numbers of international events, the future for venue in the city “continues to be bright”.

In April the venue attained a TripAdvisor gold GreenLeader award for its commitment to environmentally friendly practices.

Visitors from across the globe will be heading to Conference Aston for the International Conference of Urban Pests in July, while in November, the Prosthetics Event, with 1,000 delegates, returns to the venue.

Data from Marketing Birmingham’s Regional Observatory earlier this year revealed that the number of both international visitors and overnight visitors to the city have doubled in the last three years.

Birmingham has also been voted the most popular destination outside London for meetings, conferences and events for six successive years by the annual British Meetings & Events Industry Survey (BMEIS), with visitor expenditure reaching £82 per head last year, compared with £61 in 2013.

Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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