The Importance of Business Improvement Districts

There are now over 200 Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in the UK. These BIDs are working hard to make their responsible geographical area better; introducing new facilities, services and projects to enhance the destination.

Here are some benefits BIDs bring to a local area:

Marketing activity – Raising a town or cities profile

BIDs work hard to create a real buzz and a positive image for their district. They strategise new ways to generate more visitors which will, in turn, support the area’s economy.

Kingston First launched their ‘Keep it Kingston’ card in May earlier this year. The card is available to permanent employees of Kingston First members and entitles those to special offers and discounts in shops; bars; restaurant; entertainment venues and more. This is a great opportunity to promote businesses within the area and encourage visits into the city, making it a lively and active area!

Encouraging development and regeneration projects

BIDs work hard to ensure new developments can get underway and all businesses are equipped to capitalise from them. A BID strives to make a town or city a better place to work, live and visit – developments often encourage more visitors so BIDs strategise to ensure that the city fully maximises off the opportunities.

Go! Southampton has been working hard on the West Quay Watermark development and the Cultural Quarter to ensure the city reaps all the benefits possible! These developments open opportunities for BIDs to organise more events and really drive footfall to the area.

Environment and Sustainability practices

BIDs are often heavily involved in green and infrastructure projects, making the location more attractive to visitors – driving repeat visits.

Projects can include anything from transport to safety & security to cleaning. These projects help increase footfall into a town – transport makes the area more accessible, and a safe and clean environment is one that people want to return to.

An example is The Fitzrovia Partnership in London. To work towards sustainability they have numerous schemes in place including FitzOffice Supplies – a strategy aimed to reduce delivery’s carbon emissions. They also have a ‘Zero to landfill’ service; The Fitzrovia Partnership will collect recyclable waste from businesses for free; significantly reducing waste collection vehicles, the number of waste sacks in the street and business costs.

Enablers of events/projects

BIDs create events to encourage higher footfall and help build awareness. Earlier this month I enjoyed the King Street Festival in Manchester. Manchester BID brought together over 50 shops, restaurants and hotels to celebrate Manchester’s luxury and iconic shopping destination, King Street. Manchester BID had organised pop up stands along the street which included boutique clothing and jewellery, free prosecco and food tasting and an excellent live band which the surrounding bars supplied outside seating and food to enjoy whilst watching. There was also a mini golf course for visitors to enjoy!

There are much more aspects to BIDs than touched on above; they are constantly working hard to develop, improve and introduce innovation to a district.

Kat Whitehead, Senior Marketing Executive, Foundation Recruitment

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