During 2012-13, Tourism Growth managed and delivered a business support and training programme for 32 hospitality, tourism and leisure businesses in Southport.
Southport Tourism Development Programme
The programme was designed to meet the specific needs of smaller, independent businesses – those taking part included hotels, bed and breakfasts, guest houses, serviced apartments, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, an amusement business and a golf club.
The project, which was backed by the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and the European Regional Development Fund, had two key objectives. Firstly, to help businesses improve performance and build profits – which owners could then re-invest back into their operations. This would then help to achieve a second objective – to drive up the overall quality and attractiveness of Southport as a leading resort and destination.
There were 5 parts to the programme :
Initial Meeting at the Business
- so that specific business needs and priorities could be identified and an action plan drawn up.
- a series of on-site ‘in the business’ coaching sessions from a sector specialist who had been carefully ‘matched’ and allocated to the business.
Training Courses and Workshops
- a selection of training courses and workshops on key topics, including social media, eMarketing and PR – all held locally in Southport.
Best Practice Visits
- organised by Tourism Growth and hosted by a number of award-winning tourism businesses – Best Practice Visits are an opportunity to pick up new ideas and techniques first-hand from top performing employers.
Review Session at the Business
- to review progress and achievements – and help the business plan to achieve its financial targets for the year ahead.
Tourism Growth brought together a strong team of 7 business coaches and trainers – all hospitality, tourism and leisure experts selected against strict quality criteria set down by the national tourism trade bodies – all were highly credible in the sector.
As well as having run very successful businesses in the sector themselves, the Tourism Growth business coaches and trainers all had proven track records in working with owners and managers – and helping them to improve their productivity, performance and profits.
Southport Hotels Association
Judith Wynn, owner of Bowden Lodge and Chair of the Southport Hotels Association in 2012, together with other executive members of the group were instrumental in providing word of mouth support and helping Paul engage other hoteliers onto the programme.
Steve Christian, Principal Marketing Officer at the local authority, Sefton MBC was another important partner. He identified a number of businesses, in particular key members of the Southport Tourism Business Network, who went on to take up the opportunity and sign up.