Birmingham’s hotels had a disappointing first half of the year, according to grim occupancy figures from Deloitte.
But June was the best month so far, and Marketing Birmingham is predicting a great future for the sector as more events came to the city.
The Deloitte figures for the six months until the end of June said Birmingham’s hotels were the third-emptiest in the UK, with an occupancy rate of 64.1 per cent. Only Leeds and Reading had lower rates for the period.
And revenue per room available fell by 12.3 per cent to just £41, the second lowest of the UK cities surveyed.
Major cities like Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle all boast higher occupancy levels, with 66.5 per cent, 69.1 per cent, 69.4 per cent and 72 per cent respectively, despite having average room rates of £67, £69, £72 and £69 respectively, compared to just £63 in Birmingham.
Despite the low occupancy levels, Birmingham is set for a significant rise in the number of rooms available in the city as plans get underway for several new hotels, including the five star Weston at One Snowhill and the four star Hotel La Tour at City Park Gate.
Alistair Pritchard, associate partner and leader of Deloitte’s tourism, hospitality and leisure sector across the Midlands, said: “Birmingham’s figures tend to be influenced by conferences with big international conferences really bolstering the numbers. Despite the International Rotary Convention attracting more than 20,000 delegates to the city in June, occupancy levels remained low.”
But Marketing Birmingham said the Rotary Convention had been a huge boost to the city, quoting figures that showed June had been one of the best yet.
Figures from LJF Research showed occupancy in the city centre’s hotels rose to 71 per cent during June, compared with 64 per cent in the previous month and 65 per cent in June 2008.
Ian Taylor, commercial director at Marketing Birmingham, the city’s destination marketing specialist, said: “The figures show how important the Rotary International Convention, which was one of the biggest conventions to come to the UK in two decades, was to the city centre’s hotel sector. The rises in all three indicators in June was down almost solely to influx of some 20,000 Rotarians and support staff into Birmingham.
“These figures indicate just how important large events are to the economy and well being of the city. Over the next few weeks we will see two of the biggest sporting events of the year, the third nPower Ashes Test and Twenty20 Finals come to Edgbaston, attracting thousands of cricket fans to the city. Next year the city will be playing hosts to more major events like the Liberal Democrat and Conservative Party conferences.
“Birmingham’s status as a major events city means that, even in a challenging global economy, investment continues in developing and opening new hotels and venues, demonstrating general confidence in the long term prospects of our visitor economy.”