Impressive growth at UK’s number one venue

10 May 2016 Sophia Charalambous

Birmingham’s NEC and its exhibition customers have seen impressive levels of growth during the financial year 2015/16 thanks to a collaborative approach between the venue and its organisers.

The NEC has seen growth in like-for-like exhibitions compared to the previous year, with hall and suite rental increasing by an average of 3.7%, whilst organisers used an average of 2.5% more exhibition space due to an increase in exhibitor demand. 

Organisers hosting second year shows at the NEC also experienced impressive growth, with events growing in size by 25%; welcoming around 28% more exhibitors and 21% more visitors in year two.

Commenting on the results, Ian Taylor, Sales Director for the NEC, said: “We are proud of our performance this year and pleased to see that our organisers are experiencing a similar level of success. We intend to keep the momentum going and are already in a fantastic position for 2016/17, with 85.9% of our budgeted exhibition business already contracted. I believe this success has in part been our commitment to working more closely with our clients to develop new propositions and secure longer term deals which will benefit both us as a venue, and our organisers. 

“We have recently signed a three-event deal with the organisers of MACH, which will see the event return to the NEC bi-annually until 2020. This long term deal ensures that organisers are able to secure their favoured dates and gives certainty to their exhibitors and the wider industry.”

In 2015/16, the NEC, which already hosts more events than any other venue in the UK, welcomed 2.15 million visitors and over 35,000 exhibitors to 522 events. 

Big business wins, including the Insomnia Gaming Festival, which signed up for 10 shows across three years and the return of IPEX to the NEC in 2017, have been key contributors to its success. 

Kathryn James, Managing Director of the NEC, said: “It’s been an exceptional year for us; the venue celebrated its’ 40th year, Resorts World Birmingham opened on our site which turned us into a 24/7 destination and we smashed our sales targets. We know that our success can, in part, be attributed to a recovering economy, but without the fantastic teams that we have working behind the scenes, we wouldn’t have been able to capitalise on these opportunities – it’s been a true team effort.

“It’s an exciting time to be part of the NEC with a number of big developments on the horizon, including the development of HS2 and new inward investment opportunities with UK Central, which will transform the landscape of our campus and positively impact our business. Our focus now is to prepare for the future and reinvest to ensure that we continue to help our organisers deliver fantastic events for customers.”