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Birmingham hotels post record occupancy rates

Hotel occupancy rates in Birmingham reached an 82% average in September – the highest since records began in 2003 – according to latest figures from travel research company STR Global and analysis from the Marketing Birmingham Regional Observatory.

This peak for the city’s hotel sector is a 7% increase on figures in September 2013 and a 16% rise compared with the previous month, August 2014. As well as occupancy, Birmingham’s average room rate in September increased to a three-year high of £66, a £10 rise from £56 in 2013.  

Birmingham hosted two political conferences in September, which played a major role in the city’s hotels performing particularly well. The Conservative Party Autumn Conference at the ICC (28th September – 1st October) saw an estimated 14,000 delegates attend from across the country, while the Green Party also held its autumn event at Conference Aston (5th – 8th September).  

Other key September events in Birmingham included two international cricket fixtures between England and India at Edgbaston Stadium, Autumn Fair 2014 at the NEC and the National Housing Federation Annual Conference, which attracted around 1,000 delegates to the ICC.  

Emma Gray, Director of Marketing Services for Marketing Birmingham, which operates the city’s leisure and business tourism programmes Visit and Meet Birmingham, said: “These are extremely encouraging results for Birmingham’s hotel sector. The sheer number of high-profile events taking place in September has generated an unprecedented peak in hotel occupancy across the city.  

“From conferences and concerts to sporting fixtures and exhibitions, Birmingham is well placed to accommodate its growing number of national and international guests thanks to over 6,000 bedrooms in its city centre and more than 36,000 bed spaces across the wider region. With an exciting calendar of events in 2015, including the Rugby World Cup at Villa Park and the opening of the Grand Central Birmingham shopping complex, early evidence suggests that it will be an equally successful time for our local hoteliers.”  

Michael Mason, General Manager of the Crowne Plaza Birmingham City Centre hotel, added:   “Party political conferences provide a chance to raise the profile of Birmingham internationally, and showcase its thriving hospitality sector. The city is perfectly placed to host events of this scale and prestige – so it is welcome news that hotels across Birmingham are taking advantage of this valuable opportunity.”  

In a separate boost to Birmingham’s business tourism offer, the city has maintained its position as the UK’s most popular conference and events destination outside London in the sixth annual British Meetings & Events Industry Survey 2014/15 (BMEIS).  

The survey, based on the buying trends of more than 500 conference organisers in the UK, revealed that Birmingham was the preferred city outside of the capital for events, ahead of Manchester, Edinburgh and Leeds.  

This year’s study also revealed that the accessibility of a destination – including road and rail links – was the principal factor when choosing where to locate an event.  

In 2015, Birmingham is preparing for one of its most important years in over a decade with the completion of several key redevelopments to further boost its connectivity, including the £600 million transformation of New Street Station and the opening of the £127 million Midland Metro line in Birmingham city centre.  

Chris Montgomery, Network Rail’s project director for the Birmingham New Street project, said:   “Birmingham is a great place to visit and will be even more welcoming once the new station opens in its entirety in September 2015.   

“Before the project started, the station was dark, unwelcoming and overcrowded with poor access for passengers. The first section of the new station opened in April 2013 and it provides a fantastic experience for visitors.  But visitors to the city will be even more impressed when they step off their trains after September next year when the station will be brighter and lighter and give a great first impression of the city.”

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