Hoteliers in Liverpool approve new Business Improvement District triggering a £4.3m investment for the city centre. Tony McDonough reports
Hoteliers and accommodation providers in Liverpool have voted 84% in favour of establishing the city’s third Business Improvement District (BID).
Established in 2005, Liverpool BID Company operates the existing commercial district and retail BIDs. Representing around 1,500 city centre businesses they improve public realm and cleanliness and act as a lobbying voice for members.
Businesses with a rateable value of £10,000 and above pay a small levy on top of their business rates to fund the work of the BID.
In September Liverpool BID Company unveiled plans for an Accommodation BID. Businesses in the sector have now voted in favour and this will release £4.3m to provide security both for the industry and for visitors, helping to continue to attract major events to the city, such as Eurovision.
Alongside other measures, the new BID will see the establishment of a subvention fund. This will focus on attracting small, medium and large conferences to the city that convert into hotel stays.
It is hoped this will lead to more money being spent per night on hotel rooms, providing additional income for the sector. Additional tourists, and their expenditure, will be attracted to the city, who will then stay within hotels and other serviced accommodation.
Over the past two decades, Liverpool’s visitor economy has grown substantially. In 2019, before Covid, there were 37.06m day visits and overnight tourist trips to Liverpool. In that year the sector was valued at more than £3.3bn.
It saw a dip during the pandemic but recovered back to £3.58bn in 2021, according to figures released in August by Growth Platform. Hotel occupancy was much improved from 38.3% in 2020 to 55.2% in 2021.
With a levy paid by those with a rateable value above £45,000, it is predicted the Accommodation BID would help create jobs and increase the economic performance of the city. By year five it is estimated it could add £16,5m to the city’s economy.
And Liverpool BID Company is also seeking a new term for the Retail & Leisure BID in 2023. This will see changes to the current offer to support both Liverpool’s growth and the viability of the sector.
It will increase the rateable value from which an organisation will begin paying a levy to £45,000, meaning small and independent businesses within the BID area will no longer need to pay an annual levy, whilst still benefiting from its services.
The new BID area will also be extended, including Hardman Street, Hope Street and potentially the Knowledge Quarter.
Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company, said: “This yes vote is a sign of confidence and determination for BID to continue to serve the city.
“In 2023 we’ll be going back to our Retail & Leisure levy payers to seek a new ballot, securing for five years. We are also looking to increase the size of the BID area to incorporate more of the city centre.
“The pressure on the public purse is acute, and a larger BID area means a greater level of investment into the whole city centre. This is vital if we are to attract investment, support the visitor economy and maintain the public realm.”
Marcus Magee, co-chair of Liverpool Hospitality and general manager of Hilton Hotel Liverpool, welcomed the yes vote for the Accommodation BID.
“It has been a long time in the making,” he said. “Its success is testament to the resilience, drive and determination of the accommodation businesses in our great city that have united together to make a difference by investing private sector monies in a robust sales and marketing model that will set the standard for years to come.”