New £4.3m Liverpool BID will promote hotels

New £4.3m Business Improvement District (BID) proposed to promote hotels and serviced apartments in Liverpool. Tony McDonough reports

A room at the Novotel Liverpool Paddington Village hotel, one of the newest in the city


Liverpool BID Company is proposing to set up the first BID (Business Improvement District) in the UK covering hotels and serviced apartments.

Accommodation businesses across the city centre are being asked to vote on the idea in a ballot. If the answer is yes then the new Accommodation BID would be set up on December 1 and will aim to spend £4.3m promoting the sector in the first five years.

Established in 2005 the BID is a not-for-profit organisation representing around 1,500 businesses in Liverpool’s retail and commercial districts. They count as two separate BIDs and their retail bid excludes Liverpool ONE.

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. This work includes improving public realm and cleanliness and providing extra levels of security. It also acts as a lobbying voice for its members.

It was in Toronto in Canada in 1970 that the first BID was formed. Then the idea spread across the border into the US. It wasn’t until 2004 that BIDs arrived in the UK thanks to the Local Government Act 2003.

The Accommodation BID is designed to support the industry over the coming years as it reduces its reliance on public sector investment for destination marketing. Businesses face increased operating costs and a decline in city-wide revenue per available room.

This last factor saw a reduction begin pre-pandemic in 2019, where the hotel trading performance decreased by 5.6% between 2018 and 2019. This coincided with the number of available rooms rising by an average of 6%.

There were almost 2,000 AirBnB homes and private rooms available in Liverpool as of January 2022 and this had an impact on hotel performance.

This new BID would be a joint effort between Liverpool Hospitality, Liverpool BID Company and Growth Platform – Liverpool city region economic development agency.

Liverpool BID Company would run the Accommodation BID day to day. With more than 80 hotels and apartments in the proposed BID area, there would be a five year investment of £4.3m. It is estimated this would protect more than 1,400 jobs and generate average annual GVA of £15m.

“As the first city to explore this option to support the visitor economy, this is a bold strategy by Liverpool,” said Liverpool BID company chief executive Bill Addy. “It confronts the issues the hotel sector is facing head on.

READ MORE: Liverpool visitor economy recovers strongly from pandemic

READ MORE: BIDs can help turbo-charge ‘Levelling-Up’

“Liverpool’s visitor economy is a towering strength, but without investment its growth could make it a victim of its own success. With the public purse shrinking, there simply isn’t the level of public sector investment to support the industry and provide what it needs.

“Specifically that targeted investment of a subvention fund to attract major sporting events, business conferences and other programmes that draw visitors to the city. It is time for business to pull together to help the city continue to be an international draw.” 


Bill Addy
Liverpool BID Company chief executive Bill Addy


Before the pandemic, there were 37.06m day visits and overnight tourist trips to Liverpool. These visitors helped to create a visitor economy worth £3.35bn, supporting more than 36,900 jobs.

Destination marketing is required to target large conferences, business and sporting events. With the public purse shrinking, an Accommodation BID enables the private sector to invest more in the local economy.

Marcus Magee, co-chair of Liverpool Hospitality and general manager of Hilton Hotel Liverpool, said there is a “desire for change in the sector. He explained: “We cannot rely on the economic models of the future.

“We know that without intervention we risk Liverpool’s competitiveness and buoyant visitor economy. Over the past five years we have explored different models and this is the one with both support and endorsement, but also works in terms of investment, confidence and long-term impact.”

The ballot for the new BID opens on September 29.

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