Improvements in the economy and increased confidence across a range of business sectors has resulted in DoubleTree by Hilton, Bristol enjoying a 12 per cent rise in both August and September conference bookings, while October’s figures smashed previous records, up 30 per cent compared to the year before. November was also up 14 per cent.
News on the development at Hinkley Point and the city’s Green Capital title have contributed to the rise in the conference bookings, while an undercurrent of improved confidence has seen businesses, both locally and nationally, increase their conference activity, the likes of which haven’t been seen since before the recession.
Having completed a six-figure, front-of-house improvement progamme during the summer, including the installation of new equipment in all conference rooms, the hotel’s management want to ensure business stays in the West Country capital.
John Dowling, general manager at the four-star, city-centre hotel is looking forward to 2015 but is conscious Bristol improves its overall appeal to maintain the good progress made in 2014.
He said: “As 2014 progressed businesses released budgets for conference and events, which is hugely encouraging. During the recession conference and meetings was one area that suffered and is a good indicator for business confidence, so it’s great to see it bounce back.
“Bristol also has a number of attributes which positions it as a great place for business meetings and events so we’re looking ahead with renewed confidence. It’s the natural gateway to the South West and within easy distance of many bigger cities including London and Birmingham.
“The approval of Hinkley Point will drive more businesses to use the city as a meeting point and we’re going to be gearing up to take this expected increase in business.
“More locally, further work on the Enterprise Zone and news that Bristol will at last get an arena worthy of the city’s size will also boost not only the use of meeting space, but occupancy in the hotel’s bedrooms.
“The Rugby World Cup is also going to have an impact on the city’s hotels with Exeter, Gloucester and Cardiff between them hosting 15 games.
“Having taken bookings already on the back of all these events and announcements, 2015 looks like it is going to be a very promising one.”