The Birmingham NEC has launched a three-pronged offensive to
establish itself as a venue for meetings and conferences - not just
The initiative includes two new conference packages and the
promise to pay agent commissions for the first time.
NEC spokeswoman Clare Usher said: “A lot of venue finders
and agents think we only do exhibitions, not conferences, so we really want to
increase awareness of the fact that we have 33 meeting rooms and the
flexibility to cater for small groups as well as large numbers.”
The venue has also launched a competitive day delegate rate
(DDR) of £35+ VAT including room hire, free parking for delegates, internet
connection, two-course hot and cold buffet lunch and three coffee breaks.
In addition, it is offering 8 per cent commission on
pre-ordered food and beverages to agencies bringing events to the NEC between 1
April 2012 and 31 March 2013.
“We haven’t done it before so we’re going to trial it for a year
and see how it goes,” said Usher. “A lot of venue finders wouldn’t consider the
NEC so it’s to get us into different areas of the market.”
Meanwhile, ‘Black Box’ is an off-the-shelf conference
product created to stop event organisers being scared off by the NEC’s vast
halls. It includes everything required from power, drapes, carpeting and
furniture, to cleaning, security, AV and staging.
“Once you get more than 400 delegates you have to jump into
a hall and if you’re not experienced in dressing a blank canvass it can be
quite daunting,” said Usher. “The new solution means clients don’t have to
worry about sourcing all of these things separately and know the costs up
Pictured: The Birmingham