Harrogate Borough Council, in partnership with local tourism body Visit Harrogate and Harrogate College, has launched a new, free marketing support service specifically for local visitor-facing businesses whose trade is influenced by tourism, such as cafés, retail stores, guest houses and bed and breakfast accommodation.
In 2012, the council and Harrogate College introduced a free business support and mentoring service for businesses who have been trading for up to three years, or for those wishing to set up a new business. Since the pioneering scheme was established, Harrogate College’s Business Adviser, Nigel Dakin and his team have helped more than 250 people, 70 of whom are now running their own businesses.
In light of this success, the decision was made to create the ‘Tourism Support Gateway’ providing free tourism marketing advice for local visitor-facing businesses, which have been trading for three years or more.
Businesses will receive support and advice to help them produce a marketing plan specifically tailored to them to attract more visitors, and consider ways to maximise income and profit potential. The launch of the new service could not come at a better time, with preparations for the arrival of the Tour de France to the district well underway. The programme will also help capitalize on the opportunities that this international sporting event’s legacy will bring.
Councillor Alan Skidmore, the council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, Transport and Economic Development believes that it is important to recognize the importance of tourism and retail businesses in growing the overall local economy.
Councillor Alan Skidmore said: This support programme has been developed in close collaboration with Visit Harrogate, who see this service as a key part of how to support tourism and visitor-facing businesses in Harrogate and the surrounding area. It provides a way for businesses in the district to get involved and work together, having the aim to grow tourism and commerce throughout the district.
This initiative will be an invaluable tool for many businesses. It will help them to attract the right customers so they can continue to grow and develop in the future. As a consequence, the Harrogate district will benefit from this success, strengthening our reputation as one of the country’s most popular tourist destination and an exciting shopping location.
Angela Harris, Director of Visit Harrogate, said: I am thrilled that Visit Harrogate have had the opportunity to be part of this project as it fits perfectly with our broader role as a ‘Destination Management Organisation’. A vibrant tourism economy depends on robust businesses so we need to support them in their sustainability and development.
Harrogate College’s Business Adviser, Nigel Dakin, who has recently completed several retail and hospitality industry projects, added: There are a lot of opportunities for businesses that regularly review how they match their products and services to customer’s needs, and a carefully developed marketing strategy is essential in making sure that you don’t miss those opportunities. Through this service, you will be able to take advantage of our knowledge and expertise in helping you assessing your businesses position and developing marketing plans through a mixture of one-to-one meetings and group based workshops to enhance turnover and profits.
To book a free one-to-one appointment with an experienced business adviser email: email@example.com