The WIGHT BID (overview)
Since April 2015 Visit Isle of Wight has been talking to the Isle of Wight’s tourism and hospitality industry about creating a WIGHT BID as a way forward.
For many years, the public sector (and some private sector partners) have been spending money together to promote the Island for holidays, short breaks and day trips. In 2016 this funding stopped when IWCouncil announced that stringent cut-backs demanded by central government meant they were no longer able to make this annual investment on behalf of the Island’s tourism and hospitality economy. The same thing is happening in many parts of the UK.
Visit Isle of Wight, as the Island’s tourism agency, had sufficient ongoing support from private companies to keep going, but nowhere near enough money to promote the Island effectively once the public sector investment had come to an end.
Visit Isle of Wight LTD (VIOW) and its partners looked at a wide range of funding models and ideas, and then invited everyone from the visitor economy to come together and discuss the options. Initially just over 1200 tourism businesses, hospitality owners and retailers were invited to attend meetings between Nov 2015 and March 2016, and later this was followed up with mailings of proposals and letters of explanation to everyone who would be affected by the proposed creation of a Business Improvement District for the visitor economy across the whole of the Isle of Wight.
A Business Improvement District (or BID) is a statutory process, which means that if it is voted for by the majority, the collection of the BID fund becomes compulsory from all those who are included in the BID scope.
The “BID scope” simply means all the different types of tourism and hospitality businesses that the BID is focused on benefiting. Scope is usually determined by looking down the list of Business rated properties and selecting NNDR classification codes that apply to the focus of the BID work, in this case, the visitor economy.
Everyone who will be liable to pay is invited to cast a vote, and they are sent reading material that explains the plan and how it will be governed. You can see the document that was sent to 1100 Isle of Wight levy payers in May 2016 by clicking here. Feedback was requested through social media, local press media and websites. Radio discussions were broadcast on IW Radio and the proposed plan was printed in the County Press and other Island business publications inviting comment. In total we received feedback from 700 tourism businesses before we set the ballot date.
Eventually, every single “visitor economy hereditament” listed on the Council’s non-domestic rateable value list with a rates value of £3000 or more, was included in the scope of the BID proposal. Every one of those hereditaments received letters explaining the forthcoming vote. A “formal notification to ballot” was sent to all those who would be affected by the vote explaining what would happen after the vote went ahead, and IW Council dispatched ballot papers to everyone in the BID scope on the 23rd of June 2016.
On the 15th of July all the votes received from the 1100 levy payers entitled to vote were counted up and the motion to create a BID was carried.
The BID plan then came into affect. Marketing campaigns were created and a new marketing panel made up of levy payers from every sector was created to help steer the campaigns and make them as effective as possible. You can read more about the marketing panel here.
You can read more about our 2017 marketing plan and download a list of our campaigns and themes by clicking here.
A new book of brand guidelines was created to make sure that the marketing and press work undertaken by VIOW was inline with the WIGHT BID plan, attracting new visitors for life.
The WIGHT BID governance obligations means that as well as a marketing panel have also set up other working groups that look at travel & access issues, presentations (the way the Island looks) and event development.
The Board of Visit Isle of Wight welcomed a new board of directors in the summer of 2017 following invitations sent to all levy payers to put themselves forward for board membership. A board of 24 now represents all sectors of the tourism and hospitality industry on the Island.
Under BID rules, our local Council must be appointed to collect the levy payments. VIOW has contracted with IWCouncil to operate the BID collection service, and their normal terms and revenue collection conditions apply. VIOW pays IWCouncil for this service.
The WIGHT BID is a large and very diverse operation. Our aim is to ensure that everyone who contributes gains from the investment they’ve made. We recognise that is going to be a huge task, but we are committed to delivering value to everyone who supports us.
The pages of this industry news and resources website contain a great deal of detail about what we’re doing, how levy payers and contributors benefit, and what you can do to maximise the opportunities created by the BID for your own business.
We are eager to help you make the most of your association with the WIGHT BID, but you’ll need to do some of the work: Look at our plans and themes, think about your own business, the sort of customers you want, and then start participating in our campaigns as described in our campaign pages and the email notifications we send you.
You can read all about BID’s and the WIGHT BID by going to the Wight BID home page now by clicking on this link.