For a city more than 800-years-old, Liverpool is impressively hip even without mention of its supreme selection of quirky to high-end retail, cuisines worthy of any ravenous foodie and, of course, its Beatlemania history. Liverpool is a UNESCO World Heritage City with the Arena and Convention Centre Liverpool (ACC) and upcoming Exhibition Centre planted smack in the middle of all that glitters along the Mersey waterfront. It is this collision of contemporary and positively treasured that has prompted over 3 million visitors to ACC Liverpool and funneled in over $1 billion to the area since opening in 2008.
Kerrin MacPhie, ACC Liverpool’s director of sales says the success of the venue boils down to a smorgasbord of “c” words including cost, culture and conventions all of which afford meeting planners incredible value. Catering costs have reduced year on year at the venue and with eight museum and gallery venues in the city region accessible by foot—including National Museums Liverpool, England’s only national collection outside of London—Liverpool’s charm is also obviously cost effective.
“The city is compact and delegates can really experience the area on foot, moving from hotel to venue seamlessly,” MacPhie says. “This also helps clients avoid costly shuttle services to get delegates to and from the congress venue.”
The new 89,100-sf Exhibition Centre, scheduled to open its doors in the spring of 2015, will be the only venue in Europe with an interconnected arena, convention center and exhibition center. MacPhie says the center reflects Liverpool’s “continuously developing” heritage. The project also adds 200 guest rooms to the mix, more than tripling the number of onsite hotel rooms.
The addition of the Exhibition Centre builds on ACC Liverpool’s reputation for helping meeting planners get the job done. ACC Liverpool offers a range of programs—including ”At Your Service” for value added services and “Advantage” for international conference and event organizer support—that MacPhie believes do just that.
“We bring together all the elements required for success which we have distilled into four pillars: event growth, risk management, destination support and delegate experience.” This may include organizing civic receptions, flying in key decision makers, negotiating preferential rental deals and supporting pre-event marketing.
With two international airports just an hour away and all of the same attractions found in bigger UK cities at much lower costs, Liverpool is more than just a second-tier sightseeing option, it’s for certain a bonafide destination.