Birmingham’s International Convention Centre (ICC) has reported a 30 per cent rise in association conferences held at the venue.
The conference centre has also seen a 75 per cent increase in repeat bookings for 2014-2015 compared to the previous year, along with a seven per cent increase in new bookings for the same period.
In September the ICC struck a deal to host the Conservative Party Conference for three more years, in 2016, 2018 and 2020, bringing an estimated £17 million to the local economy.
Catherine Newhall-Caiger, ICC Birmingham business development director, said the location of the venue, along with its flexibility and customer service, were responsible for the increase in conference numbers.
"The ICC Birmingham is located in the centre of the UK with over 98 per cent of the UK business market within a four-hour travel time and London is just over 1 hour 30 minutes by train,” she said.
“With fantastic transport links to air, road and rail and over 6,200 hotel bedrooms and 200 restaurants, bars and nightclubs within easy walking distance of our venue, it’s perhaps no surprise that many associations report an increase in their delegate numbers when they hold their event with us - therefore contributing to repeat bookings and extensions to contracts.”
Among the ICC's regular clients is the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) congress, which returned for the 25th time this year with more than 8,000 delegates and exhibitors.
Amanda Stranack, head of congress for BSAVA, said the venue's flexibility and level of service were among reasons the congress kept returning.
“With a comprehensive scientific-programme, an exhibition and keynote speakers we need a venue that can provide flexible, purpose built space and that’s exactly what the ICC does. It’s always been an easy and obvious choice for us to return – in fact we’ve already booked for the next three years taking us to 2018,” she said.
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