Helping a great city, striving to be greater still
Manchester city centre has gone from strength to strength with visitor numbers up and sales bucking national trends. Manchester is a world-famous destination and by working in partnership with retailers to launch the Heart of Manchester BID in 2013 - CityCo, the city centre management company, is helping businesses invest in Manchester’s prosperous future.
The Four Key Areas
In order to increase the attractiveness of the city centre to potential shoppers and visitors, entice new shoppers, increase repeat visits and provide a direct return on investment the Heart of Manchester BID identified four key focus areas.
- 1. Launching major new events in the city centre to attract footfall
- 2. Launching a city centre hosting scheme to improve the customer experience
- 3. Developing a stream of activity to boost midweek and evening trade
- 4. Delivering promotional campaigns and partnerships to attract more affluent shoppers.
In appointing and closely working with The Welcome People to launch and deliver the city centre hosting scheme, Phil Schulze, BID Manager has seen the positive impact the Ambassadors had.
“I look forward to continuing to work in partnership with The Welcome People in the future, not least as the ‘Lonely Planet’ has just voted Manchester one of the top ten places in the world to visit in 2016.”
BID Manager, Heart of Manchester BID
Finding the right Mix - Visitor Welcome, Business Visits & Operational Management
The Welcome People provide a team of 6 Ambassadors and a dedicated site manager provide visitor welcome, business visits, environmental reporting and council liaison services covering the central shopping district for the Heart of Manchester BID and other CityCo partners.
The Ambassadors capture detailed interactions with around 130,000 visitors in the city centre a year. Around 70% of these are UK visitors, with 25% international visitors and 5% local. This is on top of the thousands of quick directions given to locals around the transport works in the city. This is all done via the STRATA app allowing the BID to ‘heatmap’ key locations and work in partnership with other customer service providers for the first time, for example at Christmas and during large events. Reports produced via the STRATA dashboard are shared with the BID board and member businesses on a regular basis.
In addition to visitor welcome the Ambassadors will carry out around 2500 business visits a year, achieving improved quality interactions with managers and building personal relationships. “These visits are a key service in helping share information from the BID and the city generally and are a huge help to me, as the BID Manager, in maintaining the visibility of the BID to members throughout the year” said Phil Schulze. All Ambassadors have been assigned key zones, ensuring the BID area is fully patrolled three times daily, making sure they are seen by businesses and are noticing and reporting key issues in a timely manner.
The BIDs Site Manager is now working closely with the council’s contact centre and the CityCo-BID operational team. A recent review of reporting procedures is allowing the BID to accurately define where it has ‘added value’ to businesses by detailed reporting and escalation of issues after initially noticing (tallying) them.
Our TWP site manager worked closely with other service hosts, such as Metrolink, Christmas Markets and car parks during the festive rush. He coordinated activities and helped provide expertise in the role, ensuring a welcoming feel for visitors overall.
The Welcome People Ambassadors will continue to play a leading role in face to face customer welcome in the city centre, especially with increasing visitor numbers and a number of large infrastructure projects continuing for at least the next couple of years.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Ambassadors now regularly visit all of Manchester’s principal cultural, sporting, leisure and retail attractions, as well as many of the leading hotels and restaurants. This improved their ability to help guide visitors in the city and is also beneficial for all the BID members and partner businesses. Also improving links and close relationship with member retailers, referring to the BID website and keeping everyone up to date with the changing event calendar and all the other myriad of city projects going on.
I look forward to continuing to work in partnership with The Welcome People in the future, not least as the ‘Lonely Planet’ has just voted Manchester one of the top ten places in the world to visit in 2016.