Birmingham hotels achieve record half-year occupancy rates

Major music and conference events drive upturn in occupancy.

Hotel occupancy rates in Birmingham hit 73% in the first six months of 2015 – the best half year results since records began in 2007.

The figures are a 6% increase compared with the same period (January–June) last year, higher than all other major UK cities for that period. Marketing Birmingham’s Regional Observatory has released the data, which was collated by travel research company STR Global.

Occupancy peaked at over 96% on June 9, thanks to the One Day International cricket fixture between England and New Zealand at Edgbaston Stadium. Revenue per available room in Birmingham has also shown consistent growth in 2015, reaching its highest point in January with a £6 rise compared with the same month in 2014. This increase has been driven by major music events and conferences.

Noticeable contributory events include musician Ben Howard’s Barclaycard Arena concert in April, which pushed hotel occupancy up by 62%. In the same month, The Shale Gas
World Conference at the ICC, a two-day event previously held in Manchester, saw weekday occupancy rise from 60% to 87%.

The increasing average length of stay of UK visitors was another key contributory factor to the strong performance figures, as well as the continued growth of international passenger arrivals at Birmingham Airport.

Emma Gray, Director of Marketing & Communications for the city’s leisure and business tourism programmes Visit Birmingham and Meet Birmingham, said: “We continue to attract record numbers of visitors with 34 million people coming to the region each year – as a result our hotel industry is booming. We’ve seen a high-profile programme of events in the first half of the year, ranging from sporting activity to global music performances.

“As Birmingham continues to invest in its leisure offer, it is good to see the hotel industry benefiting. Whether visitors are here for business or pleasure, there is accommodation to suit all. We are confident that this trend will continue in the second half of the year, particularly given the exciting new retail and leisure openings in the months ahead.”

Key highlights in the city’s calendar over the coming weeks include: the completion of the £600 million redevelopment of New Street Station and the opening of the Grand Central shopping destination including a flagship John Lewis department store; the unveiling of new leisure and entertainment complex Meet Birmingham; two fixtures of the Rugby World Cup 2015 at Villa Park and the city’s famous Christmas Markets.

The positive figures are reflected throughout the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership area, with hotel occupancy rates up 5% to 72% in the first six months of 2015 compared with the same period last year.

Damian Goom, General Manager, Malmaison Birmingham, added: “It is a very exciting time for Birmingham and we are proud to share in its continuing success. We’ve experienced high demand across our two Birmingham hotels, Malmaison and Hotel du Vin.

“We believe that this increase and growth in demand has been supported by the increasing appeal of Birmingham as a destination venue for major arts, sports and
business events.”

By 2017, Birmingham will have welcomed an impressive nine new accommodation providers, adding 1,700 rooms to the city’s hospitality sector. These include the 4* Park Regis at Five Ways and the recently-opened Adagio Apartments in Digbeth.