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The Hilton Birmingham Metropole, NEC, Undergoes Brand Transformation with Harrison

Harrison – the full service 360 design agency, has completed a momentous three-year project with leading global hospitality company, Hilton. The Hilton Birmingham Metropole, NEC, which originally opened in 1976 before joining the Hilton family in 1999, has now re-opened offering guests and visitors alike the opportunity to experience a true taste of everything Birmingham has to offer through four new and distinct spaces.

During the COVID19 pandemic when hospitality businesses were forced to shut their doors, the Hilton began a complete transformation from 90’s ‘cookie cutter’ hotel to one fit for 2022’s discerning customers. Tasked with the challenge of unlocking the bespoke personality of the UK’s largest hotel outside of the capital, Harrison devised an integrated, brand-led approach. This covered all aspects from narrative development, through to F&B and operational strategy, to interior design and GA concepts.

By creating an offer which oozed authenticity and created a true connection between the hotel and the city of Birmingham, the transformed spaces now engage guests and encourage them to make full use of the Hilton’s facilities. Through immersing visitors in the ‘Brummy’ experience, it maximises revenue and encourages repeat visits.

Creating spaces which not only look great but are functional and generate income too is a core part of the Harrison strategy. At The Hilton Birmingham Metropole, NEC, the design and functionality of the core businesses spaces – outside of the rooms themselves – had not been reviewed since the 90’s. This led to bars and conference rooms which were no longer fit for purpose.

To combat this, the Harrison team, led by Design Director, Dean Concannon and Senior Designer, Nathan Stevenson, stripped the hotel back to its foundations in order to rebuild with a brand proposition to improve the hotel’s connection to Birmingham through bespoke story telling, optimise functionality and in turn generate revenue, and create welcoming environments people genuinely want to spend time in. In order to do this, Harrison:

·         Identified guest portfolios

·         Developed key brand pillars and cornerstones

·         Delved deep into the history of Birmingham and created a connected and genuine storyline between the hotel and the city itself

Harrison rewrote the narrative and created four individual concepts with a connecting thread throughout, each encompassing a different aspect of the city’s personality, such as ink drawings which represent the 10,000 plus people who used to make ink pens exported worldwide. Intertwining and working together as one living, breathing entity, the four new spaces are – Brightsmith on the Water, the Gild Bar & Lounge, The Arbor, and the Executive Lounge.

The result is a destination of two tales – ideal for those looking to take in the sights, sounds and flavours of the City of a Thousand Trades, as well as creating a welcoming and warm one-stop-destination for those visiting the NEC, or on their way to the airport.

Throughout, Harrison wanted to continue the celebration of Birmingham’s trades, and incorporate those keeping the traditions alive today, such as by using local artists and photographers who’s work can be found adorning the walls.

Harrison Design Director, Dean Concannon, comments: “Hilton Hotels are iconic and well-known worldwide. While it has been a part of Birmingham’s landscape for 46 years, The Hilton Birmingham Metropole, NEC, felt like it had been left behind – as the rest of the city flourished and thrived, the Hilton firmly still had its feet rooted in 1999. We approached this project from the ground up. We wanted to reimagine the space as a lakeside hotel, colliding rich history, industry, and luxury all in one place. Every element needed to be recreated, from the layout to the design and everything in between to ensure first and foremost it could cope with the incredible number of people that pass through the hotel’s doors on a daily basis. But more than that, the hotel has become a destination in itself, not just a place to sleep.

“Each of the new spaces has its own bespoke look and feel – with the unifying gravity of the city of Birmingham pulling it all together. Our team, based in and around Birmingham, really dug deep into the city’s history, its culture, and its people – looking beyond the stereotype and finding the true and authentic Birmingham, from the post-war industrial giant to the brutalist architecture, to the glitz and the glamour. This has been a long process, but we are incredibly proud of what we have achieved.”

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Hilton Birmingham Metropole, Brightsmith by Harrison

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About Harrison Harrison is a global specialist in architecture, interior design, and branding consultancy. The team creates global brands with distinctive spaces, commercially successful brand positioning, and practical and sales optimised interior design. With 30 years’ experience, Harrison has worked on over 3,500 spaces channeling storytelling, creativity, imagination, and a genuine passion for developing unique guest experiences in all they do. Harrison clients have included Nando’s, Hilton, Wyndham Hotels, Harrods, Warwick University and Brewed at Dallas Fort Worth Airport to name just a few. Harrison has offices in London, Birmingham, Dallas and Mebourne, working exclusively in the hospitality and leisure sectors. W: https://www.weareharrison.com/ | Instagram: designedbyharrison| LinkedIn: Harrison

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Chloe Walden

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