Over the last two years we have been lucky enough to work with Cheltenham BID and Marketing Cheltenham as their retained events consultants. Not only has this given us a fantastic opportunity to work in the heart of Cheltenham, our hometown, but a chance to learn more about the whole placemaking industry, the drivers to increase footfall into our local towns, as well as giving us real insight into how to serve a community, whilst driving tourism and visitors to a town.
The events we have supported have been varied, from the inaugural Cheltenham Christmas Ice Rink, and the Queens’ Baton Relay, to smaller street theatre events, and the visit of a large observation wheel.
One thing we have been keen to focus on with these events are the objectives and how well the event has met the original objective, and we have really taken forward learnings each time. The reason for this ‘uber’ objective based focus is that the indicators of success for this type of event are sometimes not always obvious.
Wimbledon at the Brewery Quarter
In July 2022, we supported the installation of a big screen and viewing area for the Wimbledon tennis championships. This’ event’ took place in a busy leisure complex, with the tennis showing from midday to 9pm each day.
Considerations were made to ensure there were no noise issues for residents, and access to all the businesses was maintained.
We considered this event a drop in type of event, whilst it was unlikely anyone would sit and watch an entire match, they would drop buy and watch key moments or take a moment as they passed the screen. Some businesses were able to sell ‘takeaway’ and on the weekends various onsite businesses and also off site organisations hosted pop ups.
On average there were around 100 visitors each day and local restaurants saw increased footfall.
Food and Drink week 2022
In September 2022, the restaurants, bars, and cafes of Cheltenham were celebrated by hosting live music around the town and in venue music and entertainment, as well as bespoke ticketed masterclasses in participating venues.
This was in order to attract a higher footfall into town and encourage local people into the many restaurants and bars that Cheltenham has to offer. The main stage for live music was located in the Brewery Quarter, and resulted in all of the venues experiencing busy evenings with extra entertainment for outdoor diners.
Hospitality businesses across the town reported increased spend and footfall, as well as enjoying the entertainment in their premises.
Cheltenham Observation Wheel
In February 2023, we supported the Observation Wheel returning to Cheltenham. On previous visits the observation wheel had been part of the Light Up Cheltenham campaign but for 2023, this was a stand alone event.
The wheel operated by de Koning Leisure was erected into Imperial Gardens. We have worked on this site multiple times so know resident and stakeholder relationships are key. Luckily we have built up good relationships and were able to keep residents informed and provide a 24 hour resident line for any issues.
February is generally a quiet time around the town, and whilst half term provides a ready made audience we were keen for the entire 3 weeks that the wheel was in place to be worth while.
The BID have several members around the area so the hospitality businesses were all able to offer various incentives to drive footfall to both the wheel and their establishments.
Additionally we arranged entertainment across 3 weekends, with visits from PAW Patrol and Paddington Bear, as well as the Dapper Chaps sculpting heart balloons for the crowds on valentines weekend.
Over the entire valentines period we installed a ‘heart arch’ light installation, which proved a massive hit with people. This created a huge amount of user generated social media content, and whilst derigging we received so many comments that people didn’t want us to take them away.
The whole event was a huge success with footfall in the area increased by 10% across the period.
*Wheel photos by Mikal Ludlow