Business in the conference and exhibition sector has returned to pre-pandemic levels in Coventry and Warwickshire, according to three of the region’s venues.

Coombe Abbey Hotel, Coventry Building Society Arena and Warwick Conferences all echo that there is a renewed confidence in the sector in the region, as enquiries are up at the venues for business events of all sizes.

Coventry Building Society Arena and its main exhibition hall is currently running at more than 90 per cent in occupancy – and is forecasting the same business levels as 2019.

Its on-site hotel is forecasting a 90 per cent plus occupancy and in recent months the arena has received more than 300 enquiries to host events on site.

Paul Michael, venue commercial director at Coventry Building Society Arena, said: “We are definitely back to event levels now that we had in the months leading up to the pandemic taking hold.

“Over the last couple of months we have welcomed over 75,000 visitors to the Arena and have 520 events booked for the coming year.

“We are making a multi-million pound investment in our new Commonwealth Convention Centre on site, which will expand our space, give us more capacity and allow is to work with more event organisers.

“The industry has definitely bounced back in region, and where we can, we refer organisers elsewhere in the region if we can’t support them.”

Warwick Conferences, at the University of Warwick, has recently completed a major renovation of its arts centre and is looking forward to a strong 2022, with meeting and conference venue is currently averaging 90 enquiries a week.

Gail Tomlinson-Short, head of business development at Warwick Conferences, said: “It has been mostly returning business for us but we are receiving enquiries which mirror pre-pandemic levels.

“We invested £20,000 during the pandemic to increase our connectivity and hardware capability to deliver hybrid events, and this has proved popular. The new virtual/hybrid technology is not only enhancing our customer’s meeting experience but supports their confidence in booking with us.

“One of the differences is that the conversion time is slightly shorter and organisers confirm much closer to the date of the event. As confidence continues to grow among organisers we expect this lead time to increase and 2022 already looks strong for our venue.”

Paul Jones, managing director at Conference and Coventry and Warwickshire, said: “From speaking with venues across the region you get a real sense of growing confidence in the conference and exhibition sector.

“For venues to already be back at pre-pandemic levels only a couple of months after reopening is fantastic and testament to the strength of our region in being able to attract business tourism.

“We have a diverse range of venues available for booking in Coventry and Warwickshire and that, coupled with our position in the centre of the country, is making the region a popular destination for organisers.”