'Why I will be voting yes to new BID'

Picture of Torquay B&B owner

Voting yes - Andy Banner-Price - Credit: 25 Boutique

The future of promoting and marketing the English Riviera as THE top tourism destination is up in the air. 

In the absence of any council funding, the job has befallen the English Riviera BID Company. Its first term is up and it has now started a voting process to obtain a mandate from its levy-paying businesses for a second spell. 

The company has published the ERBID2 Consultation - Draft Business Plan in its quest to secure a further £3.5 million to promote the English Riviera for a further five years from next January. 

The formal consultation process involving over 1,200 eligible businesses will start mid-February with the ERBID2 renewal ballot scheduled for May 27 to June 24.  

Andy Banner-Price owns and runs the award-winning 25 Boutique B&B in Torquay with husband Julian. 

Here Andy explains why a ‘yes’ vote is crucial.  

“As a local B&B owner in Torquay, I’ll be voting in favour of the English Riviera Business Improvement District (ERBID2) renewal this summer. 

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“When planning a holiday or a weekend away, before you start researching where to stay, what to do or where to eat, you need to know which area of the country you want to visit. This is where destination marketing comes in. 

“Why do people choose to have a weekend in the Lake District or a family holiday in Yorkshire? Why do some have a city break in Bath whilst others travel to the English Riviera? They may have visited before or be re-living childhood memories, but to attract new visitors you need destination marketing so you’re at the forefront of people’s minds when they start to think about going away. Just hoping tourists will continue to come without advertising is a false hope – ask yourself why Coca Cola and Disney still feel the need to advertise? 

“We are lucky to have the English Riviera BID to perform this role for us, as it would be impossible for businesses like mine to achieve such widespread marketing individually. We would have to employ a team ourselves to perform the role, but even then, we’d never be able to afford things like TV or transport hub advertising. 

“The annual BID levy is cost effective when we compare it to the likes of commission we pay to third party booking sites, advertising on other websites or in guides, so I have no hesitation at all in voting for the ERBID2 renewal. 

“Our guests find the English Riviera website and the printed guides and maps useful for ideas of things to do and places to visit along with information on events. Without the BID, many events would simply not happen which both locals and tourists alike can enjoy, and there would be no tourist information office, social media or website. 

“During the lockdowns, we’ve found the information via the BID invaluable, ensuring we were a step ahead of many areas in creating a COVID-safe environment for new and returning guests, resulting in a bumper summer for many businesses.  

“It has been a worrying time for us all and to proactively have the latest information on Government advice and business support has been invaluable. Communication has been two-way and it’s good to know we have been able to help shape the support the hospitality industry receives through the lobbying done by Carolyn Custerson, Chief Executive.  

“Her intervention also saw the minister responsible for tourism visit the area, really heightening the profile of the destination. 

“We found that many of our guests last summer were first time visitors following the effective marketing done by the ERBID. Having a professional and dedicated team is the only way to ensure we continue the success of the English Riviera as a destination moving forward. 

“I’m excited to see what we can all achieve together over the coming five years. It’s a great time to be running a business here. Despite the global pandemic which has had such an effect on us all, now is the ideal time for the BID company to attract more people than ever who are looking for a staycation. There is a lot of investment coming into the Bay, both from private investors and the Government. 

“We need to remember that all destinations both at home and abroad will be increasing their marketing in the years to come to bring back guests, so we need to be part of this push to compete with the likes of Bournemouth, Isle of Wight and Great Yarmouth as well as towns like Bath and Stratford, and even whole counties like Yorkshire. 

“By us all pulling together with the ERBID2 as the glue, giving us direction and resources, we can all achieve great things and guarantee our future success. Don’t forget to vote YES when the time comes