Birmingham hoteliers enjoy Indian summer

Best August and September hotel occupancy levels since current records began.

Hotels in Birmingham posted average occupancy rates of 71% for August and 84% in September – the best results for these months since current records began in 2003.

The record figures are a 3% and 1% increase respectively on the same months in 2015, according to data from Marketing Birmingham’s Regional Observatory in association with travel research company STR Global.

Hotel occupancy in August passed 70% for the first time as more Brits opted for staycations following the EU Referendum in June and the UK enjoyed a record-breaking month for inbound tourism with 3.8 million visits, up 2% on the same month last year.

Other contributory events in Birmingham across August and September included the England v Pakistan Test Match (3rd-7th August) and the T20 Blast Finals Day (20th August) at Edgbaston Stadium; the cultural festival, The Flyover Show (20th August); the Moseley Folk Festival (2nd-4th September); the Autumn Fair trade show (4th-7th September); and the UK’s biggest games event, EGX at the NEC (22nd-25th September). Revenue per available room in Birmingham has also gone up – to £41 in August (up £4 on 2015) and £59 in September (up £2 on 2015).

Cllr John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “With an 18% increase in domestic tourists since 2008 and the largest international tourism growth of any UK regional destination, record-breaking numbers of visitors are taking advantage of Birmingham’s leisure offer, and our hoteliers and the region’s economy are reaping the benefits.

“Average occupancy in August has grown by two-fifths in the last eight years, as we inspire more people to enjoy our attractions, great food, retail and sporting fixtures.”

Gavin Burns, General Manager of Staying Cool at the Rotunda in Birmingham, added: “We’re delighted to be part of the Birmingham success story. We enjoyed the best sales for August and September since we opened in the city in 2008. August, traditionally a quiet month for us, saw 88% average occupancy whilst September ended at 89%. Staying Cool’s serviced apartments are unique to Birmingham and this thriving city continues to be the perfect location for us.”

It has also been announced that Marketing Birmingham has secured funding from VisitEngland’s £40 million Discover England Fund to promote the region’s waterways to overseas visitors. Working closely with partners across the Midlands region, including Shakespeare’s England, LeicesterShire Promotions and Tamworth, Marketing Birmingham will develop two itineraries – as well as a digital guidebook – along a stretch of waterway known as the Warwickshire Ring.

Tim Manson, Operations & Policy Director at Marketing Birmingham, which operates the city’s leisure and business tourism programmes Visit Birmingham and Meet Birmingham, said: “An unprecedented number of tourists are choosing to spend their leisure time in the Midlands area, evidenced by encouraging recent hotel occupancy figures in Birmingham, and the city attracting more visitors than ever last year. Our challenge now is to encourage our guests to stay longer, so we are taking this opportunity to join forces with partners across the region to further develop our tourism offer using the area’s outstanding heritage and culture.

“Learning from mature markets in France – such as the Canal du Midi – we will be targeting visitors from Germany and Scandinavia by developing a set of mini-excursions with boat hire operators, attractions and local businesses to demonstrate how easy it is for tourists to find their way around the area.”