Message from John Fox, Chair of Harrogate BID

Christmas is a vital time of year for our High Streets. We’ve been busy supporting events, delivering robust marketing campaigns and new initiatives this winter.

A new campaign in October encouraged footfall for our food and drink sector. ‘Eat Out for £10’ engaged a wide-range of venues. The response has been so good that we plan to bring the scheme back in February, a traditionally quieter month for the sector.

November also saw us celebrate Cocktail Month in time for the festive celebrations.

We were proud to support ‘Harrogate at Christmas’ to put the sparkle into our streets. The ‘Big Switch On’ was bigger and better than ever before, with support from Stray FM. Many retailers and cafes reported record sales over the Harrogate Christmas Market, benefiting from the 80,000 visitors spilling into town.

A wide-reaching six-week creative marketing campaign for Christmas has helped promote the events from the Lantern Parade to the Christmas Shop Window competition to drive awareness and encourage footfall. Through regional publications (Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Eve Post, Harrogate Advertiser) we’ve reached a print readership of 290,000 and online audience of 960,000, with 245,225 social media followers.

We’ve invested in film to reach even wider audiences on social media, with bespoke films on Dine Out, Cocktail Month, the Gift Card and a general showcase film via Welcome to Yorkshire that had 12,000 hits in one week.

November also saw the launch of the Gift Card with over 80 businesses signed up to accept the card, tying in our #ShopLocal campaigns over the festive season.

Other projects include Meercat to help our businesses make vital cost savings.

Wishing you a busy Christmas, and peaceful New Year.

John Fox

Lights, Camera, Action!

Film dominates social media, and our Welcome to Yorkshire produced film generated over 12,000 hits when it was launched online in November. We’ve worked hard producing a series of films with Cause UK and JPI Media, Harrogate Informer and others, as part of our robust marketing strategies to promote bespoke campaigns. As well as promoting film via our own social channels, we’ve used key platforms such as the Yorkshire Post and Harrogate Advertiser to get the word out.

Harrogate Gift Card

Over 80 businesses now accept the Harrogate Gift Card. The initiative was launched with a comprehensive marketing/PR campaign, including film via Cause UK and JCI Media platforms on social media and in the press this November.

The Gift Cards are available from Harrogate Tourist Information Centre, Harrogate Theatre and Harrogate Bus Station. The cards can be pre-loaded with any value up to £500 and used in participating town centre shops, restaurants, bars, cafes, businesses and attractions.

We commissioned bespoke photography to capture the retail offer for media/marketing use, flyers and branding. The launch was covered by local and regional press.

Reach has been phenomenal with our official Gift Card film reaching an online audience of 960,000, with 245,225 social media followers via the JPI Media newspaper series.

The response has been positive and the BID is looking forwards to build on the Gift Card presence over three years.

Dine Out Success

A Dine Out campaign was devised with the help of Cause UK, which launched via a film across the Yorkshire Post/Advertiser with media stories, radio profile and social media campaigns. The Dine-Out trial ran in October over 10-days – a traditionally quiet time in the sector. Offers were adapted to suit cafes, high end restaurants, pubs etc. with a bespoke website created to list participating venues. Social media reach for the Dine Out film and campaign again capitalised on the JPI Media platform (Harrogate Advertiser, Yorkshire Evening Post, and Yorkshire Post) on Facebook (an audience of 286,958) and Twitter (421,764).

Initial feedback showed a positive response from diners and businesses alike. We will build on Dine Out in the first ten days of February 2020.

Harrogate at Christmas

Our Christmas jumpers were dusted off months ago in preparation to support Christmas events in the town, including the Big Switch On, providing street theatre and local talent for entertainment. Retailers, cafes and restaurants reported their busiest times during the Harrogate Christmas Market with the 80,000 visitors to the market spilling into town.

A partnership with the JPI Media sees an on-going six-week marketing campaign for Christmas in Harrogate to increase footfall to our Christmas initiatives. We built on the #ShopLocal movement with an ‘I’m Sp£nding Christmas in Harrogate’ campaign, including branded carrier bags given away during the Big Switch On, and ads on Stray FM.

Offers Booklet

The BID is working on the next Offer Booklet to encourage shoppers for Jan-March 2020. If you’d like to take part, please get in touch before (ADD DATE):

Save Money!

We are promoting Meercat Associates Limited via direct marketing to local businesses. The savings advisory service is free to all BID members. Their team of consultants analyse bills for services including energy, telecoms, merchant, water, insurance, stationery and print. They then provide a bespoke, easy to digest report for each business detailing all the savings available.

To start saving send Meercat a copy of a single bill for each service (by email to or call 01444 416 529 to speak to their savings team).

Adventures with Comic Conn

The BID supported the new Thought Bubble Convention in Harrogate hosted at the Convention Centre, as an exciting new event that attracted huge footfall as the UK’s largest comic art festival. 11,000 attended the weekend. The BID worked with Red Cape (who support the Christmas Lantern Parade), with engagement activities across the town centre, including actors in Cosplay (resulting in huge social media engagement), maps handed out to visitors, keyrings etc. Thought Bubble returns in November 2020.

Harrogate Review

Look out for the December/January edition of Harrogate Review which can be found in venues across the town. As part of our sponsorship, we have dedicated content on our four fabulous Quarters (Kings, Montpellier, Victoria and West Park Quarter) with a spotlight on festive shopping, as well as a bespoke look at the long-standing heritage retailers that give our town its character and charm. The message – to #ShopLocal runs through all our campaigns and media work, and we aim to encourage footfall and foster pride in our town centre offer.

If you have news, stories, or initiatives in your business that you’d like featuring in the next edition, please get in touch: