18 November 2013

Brighton & Hove is Dressed to Impress this Christmas

Brighton & Hove City Council is pulling out all the stops to support local retailers and businesses in the run up to the festive season. 

The city’s official destination marketing unit, VisitBrighton, has recently launched a Christmas campaign designed to inspire potential visitors and highlight what the city has to offer in the run up to Christmas and over the festive period. A micro-site, www.christmasinbrighton.co.uk showcases an array of independent shopping, accommodation and restaurant options as well as providing a searchable what’s on section with details of the diverse range of entertainment on offer across the city; from seasonal shows, ice skating and pantos to Norwegian tipis and advent calendar beach huts.

The campaign is supported through social media channels including VisitBrighton’s Facebook - which has 10,000 members - and 14,000 Twitter followers as well as by work with regional and national bodies, Tourism South East and Visit England to raise awareness through their marketing channels.

Ongoing work by the city council's Economic Development Team to support local businesses and boost trade includes the Dressed for Success scheme, where 25 independent shops in the city are receiving free one-to-one expert training from retail trainers, Metamorphosis, in how to make the most of their window displays in the run up to Christmas.

A winner of the best dressed shop window will be chosen by the public and last year the competition attracted over 2,500 votes.  Feedback from participants included reports of increased footfall and sales and a boost to staff morale at a critical point in the year.

The council has also given its backing to the upcoming Small Business Saturday, due to be held on 7 December at the peak of the Christmas shopping season. This national initiative, which has cross-party support, aims to encourage residents to support small businesses by purchasing local goods and services.

On the day, helpers from Hove Business Association, VisitBrighton & the Council’s Economic Development team will be on hand at Brighton, Hove and Portslade train stations to give out maps and information about the independent retail areas together with information about local festive events such as Artists Open Houses, the annual Santa Dash along Hove seafront and the Rottingdean Smugglers night.

Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council Jason Kitcat, who last month signed the council up to the initiative, said: "Time and time again research proves that money spent with small local businesses is money kept in the local community. The vast majority of businesses in our city are small independent firms, and they remain the lifeblood of our economy.

“The Small Business Saturday event has been hugely successful in America, and I’m delighted to develop a counterpart here in Brighton & Hove to remind everyone of the value of buying local not just on 7th December, but every day of the year.“

Cllr Geoffrey Bowden, chair of the Economic Development & Culture Committee, added: “We have the highest number of independent retailers on the south coast and the Lanes and North Laine areas in particular are a magnet for visitors looking for alternative and quirky shopping options. A recent survey conducted by VisitEngland found that 56% of visitors come to the city for shopping and the council is committed to helping our local retailers survive and thrive.

“We haven’t got pots of money to throw around but we know we achieve positive results by being determined and by being creative.  The VisitBrighton marketing team hosted 40 press trips this summer and that has resulted in positive coverage nationally and internationally.  Since January alone, coverage as a result of hosted press trips has resulted in an equivalent advertising value (EVA) of £7,679,287.  The journalists who have visited the city have all been impressed with the variety of attractions as well as the quality of arts and culture on offer and this ultimately helps to raise awareness of Brighton & Hove as an attractive destination. 

“We know it’s not easy for businesses in the current economic climate but what we can say is that Brighton & Hove has fared considerably better than many other UK destinations. With continued and concerted effort we have every reason to believe it w

Free parking will be available on Saturday, 7 December and Sundays, 8, 15 and 22 December in five city car parks – Trafalgar Street, High Street, Regency Square, London Road, and Norton Road.

For more travel information see: www.visitbrighton.com/plan-your-visit/getting-around

About VisitBrighton.com

VisitBrighton.com is the official destination marketing body for Brighton & Hove and it is part of Brighton and Hove City Council. VisitBrighton.com was established to provide tourists with details of where to stay, what to see and where to visit during their stay. www.VisitBrighton.com

The website offers comprehensive information on visiting the city, and also provides exclusive offers and discounted rates on attractions, entertainment and accommodation.

Dressed for Success

Dressed for Success is funded by Brighton & Hove City Council, and is an annual scheme that supports independent retailers in the run up to Christmas. 25 participating stores receive free expert training on window dressing which includes an action plan for their Christmas display. The shops will then be entered into a public competition, where people can vote for their favourite stores online and via Facebook. A trail will also be created for all 25 shops to encourage the public to visit the participating stores. Dressed for Success culminates in an awards event to recognise and reward participating shops and announce the winning retailers for the various competition categories.

Small Business Saturday

This independent campaign was started in the US by American Express, one of the city’s major employers. Local activities are being co-ordinated by Brighton & Hove City Council and also have the backing of a wide range of business organisations including The Federation of Small Business, The Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce, VisitBrighton, Hove Business Association, London Road Portas Pilot and Brilliant Brighton Business Improvement District. 

These organisations will be actively promoting the campaign through their various networks leading up to what is anticipated to be one of the busiest shopping days of the year, 7 December.

More information about the initiative can be found here: www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com