Liverpool could become the first city in the UK to establish a dedicated Accommodation BID (Business Improvement District) for its hotel and serviced apartments industry.
This Autumn, businesses across the sector in the city centre will be asked to vote in a ballot to decide whether to establish the BID which would see a dedicated investment of £4.3m over five years.
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, but yet faces 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 with the number of available rooms rising by an average of 6%. There are almost 2,000 AirBnB homes and private rooms available in Liverpool (Jan 2022) and this has an impact on hotel performance.
The proposed Accommodation BID would be a joint effort between Liverpool Hospitality, Liverpool BID Company and Growth Platform – Liverpool City Region Growth Company. Liverpool BID Company would run the Accommodation BID day to day, alongside the city’s two other BIDs, Culture & Commerce and Retail & Leisure. With over 80 hotels and apartments in the proposed BID area, there would be a five year investment of £4.3m with a return estimated to protect over 1,400 jobs and an average GVA of £15m a year.
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 over 36.9k jobs. Since then, including the pandemic, Liverpool has lost its UNESCO World heritage Status, subvention to support the growth of the ACCL has been reduced, and the current SIF (Strategic Investment Funding) is a short term solution.
Despite this demand, 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, while providing a targeted approach to support the sector. It would also give the sector a greater say in the city, its connectivity and how it works to attract visitors.
Bill Addy is the CEO of Liverpool BID Company, who would manage the Accommodation BID, and is Chair of Liverpool Visitor Economy Network:
“As the first city to explore this option to support the visitor economy, this is a bold strategy by Liverpool that confronts the issues the hotel sector is facing head on. 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. Without this, Liverpool risks relying on a less economically advantageous visitor market that relies on lower spend and cheaper costs. For a balanced visitor economy, and for the city centre’s mixed use economy, we need to be able to attract the higher spending conferences, major events and similar that will have a beneficial impact on the city’s bottom line”.
Marcus Magee is Co Chair of Liverpool Hospitality and General Manager of Hilton Hotel Liverpool:
“Speaking to the hotels and serviced apartments in Liverpool we know that there is a desire for change. We cannot rely on the economic models of the future, and 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 opens on 29 September and, if successful, the new BID would begin on 1st December.