Average hotel occupancy rates in Birmingham reached 75% between March and May 2016 – the best spring results since current records began in 2003.
The figures are up from 74% in 2015 and 71% in 2014, according to data from Marketing Birmingham’s Regional Observatory, which was provided by travel research company STR. The average room rate in spring 2016 was £68, an increase of £7 from March to May 2015, while revenue per available room was £50, up from £45 in the same period last year.
Major business tourism conferences, sporting events and festivals are being quoted as boosting spring figures, including the All England Badminton Championships at the Barclaycard Arena and Crufts at the National Exhibition Centre in March and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association congress and Manufacturing in Motion in April. In May, the Royal College of Ophthalmologists’ annual congress (24-26 May) and Birmingham Pride (28-29 May) saw occupancy rate increases of 11% and 22% respectively compared with the same three- and two-day periods last year. Occupancy levels peaked at 83% in September, when the city hosted two Rugby World Cup fixtures and the redeveloped New Street station and Grand Central opened.
In March, international hotel brand Park Regis launched its first European property in Birmingham following a £50 million renovation of the former Auchinleck House building. The 90-bedroom AC by Marriott Birmingham made its UK debut at the Mailbox (pictured) in May.
Emma Gray, director of marketing and communications at Meet Birmingham, said: “With a 17% growth in domestic tourists since 2010, and the largest increase of international guests outside London in the last two years, Birmingham is welcoming more visitors than ever. It’s therefore encouraging to see the city’s rising popularity being mirrored by strong figures within its hotel sector.
“While a host of new brands have recently chosen to launch in Birmingham, there are a further 14 hotels – amounting to more than 2,000 bedrooms – in the pipeline, demonstrating the confidence that investors currently hold in Birmingham’s visitor economy and tourism offer.”
James Thomlinson, general manager of the AC by Marriott Birmingham, said: “Since opening, we have experienced strong demand for a design-led, lifestyle hotel that fits well with the renaissance and vibrancy the city of Birmingham is experiencing right now. Our customer response and positive feedback has been excellent and we are really excited for our future within this great city.”
Madeleine Tye, regional director of sales at Interstate Europe Hotels & Resorts – which operates properties including Hampton by Hilton Birmingham Broad Street, Holiday Inn Express Birmingham Snow Hill and Staybridge Suites Birmingham – added: “We have a strong portfolio of hotels here in Birmingham and this positive trend is something we’re seeing for ourselves. As the city becomes an increasingly popular choice for both leisure and business travellers alike, we hope to see this trend continue as Birmingham further asserts its place as a leading UK destination.”
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