How BIDs Can Increase the Footfall and Generate More Revenue through Regeneration of High Streets

Photo for Discover Fulham by Photography By Ginger

The pandemic and numerous lockdowns have affected small businesses; from the food & drink, retail, travel and hospitality sectors the most. Local businesses are relying on government and local support more than ever. So, this in turn means if BIDs do not deliver on commercial benefits for fast recovery, they themselves can be at risk of not getting through another ballot.

InspoHub has a strong history of working with businesses and local communities to improve and market their town centres and regions. Today we had the pleasure to interview Wesley James, a UK public sector expert in developing and commercialising new technology solutions that can help BIDs support local businesses through the hard times.

Wesley, how can councils & BIDs help with regeneration of high streets to increase the footfall and encourage dwell time in order to help local businesses?

It is essential that they invest in rejuvenating the high street and making it more captivating as a place to visit and spend time. Our concept of investing in innovative smart street furniture, such as smart benches, helps involve the businesses and people, while adding value to high street experiences.

How can this technology help with local marketing?

Along with the accessibility features of free Wi-Fi and smartphone charging, the digital screens can help local businesses with an innovative place to advertise. With impressions built in and data recorded for usage, these screens will help businesses understand how people are engaging with the technology.

How can BIDs utilise these digital screens?

BIDs can offer a platform to local businesses to advertise, as well as communicate key messages in real time to the area. When local events bring in crowds, sponsorship packages can be implemented to help boost revenue streams, in turn can be reinvested into the wider community plans.

What could be the challenges for BIDs around becoming an independent media provider?

The biggest challenge for BIDs is that the council may have outsourced the media rights to a single provider, creating a monopoly on digital advertising opportunity in the town or city. Besides that, resources and skill sets are a big issue for most BIDs, however, working in partnership with a company like InspoHub would help bring this all together due to having previous experience in working with BIDs.

How to choose land for smart benches? Any perfect spots that you would recommend?

Areas that have a high footfall, or locations where people want to sit and relax such as town centre squares, sea views, transport hubs are also key.

Could you please share the most recent example of using those tech solutions?

Have a look at our video in collaboration with Transport For Wales gathering key passenger and staff feedback on our smart bench technology to enhance the passenger experience. We were the first for the UK rail industry to implement new innovative technology.

The value of these smart benches is unquestionable, but let’s talk about money. My immediate thought was a smart bench must cost a LOT. Or does it?

Depending on the configuration chosen will determine the price. Just think how much money you will save instead of paying to outsource to other media providers, you can place your own ads for free on your own screen!

And what about other costs, such as maintenance and electricity?

The benches are all solar powered which powers all the features in the bench. For a digital screen to be included, a standard AC power source is required, to which minimal electricity is used. We include all the extras such as maintenance in our managed service offerings.

And the last question. What is the first step to leverage the power of new innovative tech solutions?

Be clear on what your aim is with the technology, is it to increase awareness of local businesses or even upcoming events within the district, or perhaps it is to add more value to the high street experience. Once you have an idea, call us on 01273 019 177 or email and we will make it a reality.

In a few weeks time we will be talking to Wesley about the government programme of testing e-scooters and e-bikes, and how micromobility solutions can help with health, safety and street declutter.

InspoHub help BIDs build a like-minded community of members, partners and district visitors who share their beliefs and love their products and services. We don’t waste marketing budgets, and we are not copycats. We start every task with clear why and make sure that what we do brings our clients closer to their goal.

We’ve put together the 2021 guide on Marketing Trends for Business Improvement Districts, so that our current BID clients and friends in the industry know what to look out for this year to market their areas better and bring more value to levy payers who need help during the pandemic more than ever.

Download your guide here.