Manchester Central reports 21% increase in visitors as Spend Per Head drops

Manchester Central
  • Visitor numbers up 20.6% on previous quarter, a third consecutive quarterly increase
  • Venue added £47m in economic value to city-region in three months to July
  • Spend per delegate down at £14 on average per head, as cost of living bites

The latest business results released by Manchester Central, 20 July, have revealed the venue welcomed over 139,000 visitors to 38 separate events in the past three months (April – June 2023), a significant 20.6 percent increase on the previous quarter, and up 39,000 on the same period last year.

The figures also showed the city centre venue contributed £47m to the Greater Manchester economy in the past quarter, up £8.8m on the same period last year, cementing the iconic venue’s integral input into the city-region’s hospitality and tourism industry, through secondary spend on hotels, hospitality and travel by attendees visiting the venue.  

Large scale events during the latest quarter included the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) Conference in April which welcomed over 9,000delegates, while a further 12,000 (combined) attended the DTX technology conference and Housing 2023 to hear Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, announce new policy reforms. Both events contributed to hotel occupancies across the city hitting near-capacity. Public-facing events included Warhammer 2023 which saw over 20,000 fans attend, in addition to the HYROX World Fitness Championships. 

Spend per delegate, however, decreased by £3 to £14 (average) per head, attributed to the ongoing cost of living crisis and hesitation to commit disposable income. 

The venue remains confident for the year ahead, with more than 34 events due to take place in the months to December, including the much-anticipated British Weight Lifting Open 2023, Interflora World Cup and The Conservative Party Conference in October.

Importance of events to region’s economic growth

Chief Executive at Manchester Central, Shaun Hinds, commented: “The past quarter has re-established our importance to the city-region’s economic growth, and cemented our position as the leading corporate events venue in the North West.

“I am particularly pleased to see the significant increase in visitor numbers to the venue, up almost 40,000 on last year, suggesting a degree of stability in the face of economic uncertainty. That said, individual delegate spend remains sensitive to volatility in disposable incomes, and we are monitoring the impact this creates on our hospitality offerings, and where we can offer further value for delegates.

“This quarter’s pipeline has been predominantly led by corporate events, and organiser feedback has been exceptional leading to multiple negotiations for the years ahead.

“We continue to move through the remainder of the year with a strong financial bottom line, providing us with confidence despite the current economic climate.

“We have a wide variety of events ahead, and I have no doubt that we will continue to attract crowds in vast numbers. In October, we will be welcoming our country’s leaders for the Conservative Party Conference, and we look forward to showcasing our professionalism and exceptional facilities with the eyes of the global media upon us.”

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