Despite cutbacks affecting overall event business levels, the executive director of Conference Centres of Excellence, Anthony Lishman, says many specialist venues are continuing to invest in their offerings to become more competitive.
Indeed, many refurbishment programmes are taking place in purpose-built venues. The Cotswold Conference Centre has begun a £3.5m, two-year refurbishment that will create 36 new bedrooms as well as improving some of its 89 existing rooms.
Manchester Central Convention Complex's £30m redevelopment has just been completed. An extension with white walls and natural daylight has been added, which has moveable walls that can divide the space into three and holds up to 800 delegates.
Last year, the Brighton Centre completed the first phase of its refurbishment, which replaced all 4,000 seats in its main auditorium. It recently announced it will invest a further £1m to overhaul its main entrance and redesign the venue's restaurant to include floor-to-ceiling windows for uninterrupted views of the city's seafront.
Nottingham Conference Centre opened last year, following a three-year project. "The centre offers nine meeting rooms that can hold up to 200 delegates, and three stunning event rooms that can hold up to 350 guests," says Simon Thompson, managing director of Conferences UK.
Meanwhile, Cambridge's Pitt Building has opened the Perceval Room, a new meetings space that can hold up to 70 people, and Ashorne Hill in Leamington Spa has also opened a new space, the Kenilworth Room, that can hold up to 80.