Birmingham’s hotels posted an average occupancy rate of 81% in October 2016 – with the Conservative Party Conference, the Great Birmingham Run, Grand Designs Live and three Justin Bieber concerts helping the sector to achieve its highest October figures on record.
The figures, released by Marketing Birmingham’s Regional Observatory in collaboration with travel research company STR Global, are 0.6% higher than the previous best October (80.8%), achieved in 2015. Birmingham’s October 2016 occupancy rates (81.4%) also showed a 0.5% increase compared with the UK average (80.9%).
Birmingham’s busiest night during the month was on Tuesday 18 October, when more than 97% of the city’s hotel rooms were filled thanks in part to the second of three concerts by Canadian pop star Justin Bieber and the start of the Grand Designs Live exhibition at the NEC. Occupancy rates hit 96% on the evening of Monday 3 October – the second day of the Conservative Party Conference at the International Convention Centre (ICC) Birmingham – and also on the eve of the Great Birmingham Run on Saturday 15 October. The event saw 20,000 people take part in the 13.1-mile race, with the city set to host its first marathon for more than 30 years in 2017.
Revenue per available room (RevPAR) – the performance metric used to evaluate a hotel’s performance, calculated by dividing the total room revenue for a particular period by the average number of rooms available in the same period – also rose to £62. This was the highest figure in Birmingham since May 2010.
Cllr John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham’s hotels are thriving, with the city benefiting from increasing numbers of visitors and welcoming more high-profile events across the political, sporting and cultural spectrum.
“The city’s hoteliers saw a 10% rise in occupancy at the start of October as Birmingham successfully hosted its 13th major political conference since 2008, while revenue per available room – the main measure of performance for the hotel industry – has also risen significantly to a six-and-a-half-year high.
“Perceptions of Birmingham as a leading tourism and business destination continue to grow – and with the city proving a firm favourite over the festive period, 2016 is on course to be our accommodation sector’s busiest year.”
James Elston, Sales Director at ICC Birmingham, added: “October is a very busy month for us as we have many association conferences at the ICC where delegates stay in Birmingham for two to four days. The most notable was the Conservative Party Conference at the beginning of the month when we welcomed over 12,000 delegates and 1,000 international media over four days, along with Heart Rhythm Congress and Royal College of Psychiatrists to name a few.
“We always encourage our delegates to stay a while longer to enjoy everything Birmingham has to offer and the more events we bring to our venue of this nature is brilliant for the local economy. We are extremely proud to help bring visitors to our city.”
The local market is currently experiencing significant development activity, with 15 hotels at various stages of planning or construction, including easyHotel (2017), Radisson Blu at Birmingham Airport (2018) and the Grand Hotel (2018). The largest hotel to open in the city in 2016 was Park Regis Birmingham, with 253 rooms and two new restaurants.
Robin Ford, General Manager at Park Regis Birmingham, said: “Park Regis is a new brand to the city which has integrated seamlessly into its blossoming hospitality sector. Since opening in March we’ve seen strong occupancy and rate growth, testament to Birmingham’s thriving events and cultural calendars and also the need for a new, upscale hotel. Occupancy peaked at 99% in October, with events such as the Conservative Party Conference and Great Birmingham Run significantly contributing to our performance in our first year of opening.
“Looking to the future and we’re already experiencing high demand for key dates in 2017. Our location and size, with the ICC and Barclaycard Arena on our doorstep, positions us firmly as a destination for both business and leisure travellers.”