Village, town and city centre events are still the primary means of driving spikes in traffic – for local businesses to benefit from. A recent LDCreport for Hammersmith stated “The empirical results indicate that BID-hosted ‘Yoga in the Square’ and ‘Wimbledon in the Square’ events are most likely to cause abnormally high footfall rates.”
Benefits of town centre events for place managers are numerous:
- Measurable – You can demonstrate a correlation between the event and footfall and therefore tangible evidence of the value you are adding. Important for all place managers, but particular BIDs.
- Families – Events often attract families. Families are known to dwell longer and thus spend more in town and city centres.
- Targeted – In addition to families, events can target a particular demographic. Yoga and Wimbledon in the Square for example, is likely to benefit different traders in the centre too.
- Distinct – They differ from the usual centre offer and as a result attract the attention of local people and stop the centre becoming invisible.
- Relevance – If it is a seasonal event, it can demonstrate how the town/city is relevant. It can also change local people’s perceptions of a town – which is important when trying to reduce economic leakage.
- Retail gaps – Events and specialist markets can plug gaps in the retail mix, particularly in market towns where some national retail brands are pulling out.
- Date – Being on a specific date focuses everyone’s attention, for a drive and push – creates some energy and a buzz (plus a little stress and a few grey hairs!)
These benefits are not always recognised and capitalised on by local business owners. “It might have been busy in the square but we had our worst Saturday for months!” Whilst this can be frustrating for place managers, it may be true. We help address this with our retailer workshops “Maximising on town centre events – a retailers guide to turning visitors into business”. We also published a one page guide last year, we are happy to send you.
For BID’s that exist to serve the businesses, it is important that this gap is bridged in particular.
So here are some of our favourite events from last year, that may inspire you:
- Warwick Pancake race
- Chinese New Year
- Lantern Parade
- Get Cracking – Easter crafts and baking – Abingdon
- Wimbledon – Strawberries and Cream, Pimms, Big Screen
- Lambing Festival – Talks, bottle feeding, tractor rides
- Diwali – Leicester
- In Bloom – Chelsea
- Bunny Hop – Eater trail – Knutsford
- Duck race – bath ducks on local river, stream.
- Town Centre Festival – Northampton
- Dinosaur Invasion – Wigan
- The Big Beach
- Planting Day – Henley
- Winter ball pool ‘for adults!’ – Camden
- Steampunk – Lincoln
- Super Saturday! – Free parking on Saturday (pay day weekend only each month)
- Whatever the Weather – festival of arts and crafts, in all weather
- Medieval Festival – Wellingborough
- Where’s Wally Hunt
- 80’s Weekend – Roller skate rink
- Trivia Trails – Warwick
- Toy Festival
- Street Live – Summer Live, local bands – Woking
The is no evidence to suggest that the current trajectory of shopping habits, away from the High Street, is likely to change anytime soon. Therefore, if we want our local businesses to perform on par or better than last year we need to give them new skills, new tools and share insight into how they can adapt to the ever changing landscape.
That’s where we come in. We have a new series of workshops, designed for the wide mix of High Street facing businesses in your town/city centre. Whether you see skill gaps in windows and presentation, maximising events, sales and customer service or leveraging the opportunities from digital marketing – we have it covered. We also regularly deliver a combination of them all in our “70x tips and tactics – from the world’s most successful independent town centre businesses”.
We have limited availability and can fit in with end of financial year budgets – so do get in touch. View list of popular workshops.