Spreading the word

Tony OpenshawBlackpool Council’s successful bid to take ownership of the Winter Gardens in the £40million deal, which includes Blackpool Tower and other assets, highlights just how unique Lancashire & Blackpool is as a business tourism destination
The variety and diversity which the area has to offer delegates, coupled with the investment in and regeneration of places such as the iconic Blackpool venue, is a major plus as we step up to challenge the ‘big city’ conference and meetings offerings.

The key is how best to communicate the message, both nationally and internationally, about the wonderful things we have to offer - and add to the 3.5million business visitors we have each year.

Lancashire & Blackpool is blessed with some inspirational business men and women.

Estelle Livesey, from Blackpool’s Beach House and highly commended business woman of the Year in the 2010 BIBA’s is a prime example – providing five-star luxury self-catering in Britains’ favourite beach resort.

Nigel Haworth, provides Michelin-star luxury in a wonderful setting at Northcote in Langho.

The challenge is to harness that kind of initiative and expertise to help us spread the word about the area, the unusual and intriguing, the exciting and modern – and to ultimately increase business tourism numbers.

One way we can achieve this is through the Ambassador Programme, currently being developed by Lancashire & Blackpool Conference & Meetings, a joint initiative involving Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board in partnership with visitBlackpool.

As I mentioned earlier, we already have millions of business visitors each year – but this scheme will harness the credibility and reputation of our best business people and academics and use them to secure even more conference and event bookings.

Successful people are inevitably very busy people and, although they can see the benefits of a raised personal and business profile associated with bringing conference business into the area, they do have time constraints and other priorities which can affect how much they can to devote to it.

This scheme will provide all the support, resources and promotional material they may need along with sourcing and booking venues.

It will tap into people’s pride at representing their area and allow them to bring increased revenue and profile to the area – and that is something the whole business community will benefit from.

Tony Openshaw, Director of Marketing, Lancashire & Blackpool Conference & Meetings