Being a bit of a football fan, I started to wonder how the promotion and relegation issues at the end of the season might affect destination marketing in our industry.
I remember visiting Hull a couple of years ago when there was precious little investment in England’s 10th biggest city. Local MPs Allan Johnson and John Prescott were among those driving a renaissance that has resulted in a remodelling of the city and a brand new rail and coach terminal and shopping centre. Now there is also a Premiership football club (but don’t ask Hull FC manager Phil Brown to compare your karaoke).
Such developments provide a feelgood factor and, once there is a critical mass of optimism and confidence, backed up of course by real developments and investment in facilities and infrastructure, a destination takes on a little of that stardust and becomes desirable.
Newcastle, where the ambassador programme has been the envy of many other UK conference bureaus for years now, and where developments on the Quayside and around the forging of the NewcastleGateshead conurbation brand, is likely to lose some of its appeal with the Toon gannin doon. And I speak there as a Geordie, born in North Shields.
With Newcastle losing at least £20m in television revenues next season, the estimated 30 per cent of club income that comes from events and hospitality is likely to be more important than ever.
Colston’s new law of football momentum as applied to the meetings industry is unlikely to work in Burnley, however, although I will be checking out any meetings facilities in the Lancashire town, population 70,000 as we football fans now know, as half of them were reportedly at Wembley for the Championship play-off final. (Which reminds me: Do you know the largest venue in the UK? Answer: the Cavern Club, Liverpool, because at least a million Liverpudlians reckon they were in there when the Beatles played their first gig 🙂
Hotels in Middlesbrough and West Bromwich are likely to see a decrease in visitors in Premiership season 2009-2010, although the West Midlands should make up for that on with the promotion of Wolves and Birmingham.
And, as for my own local club, Barnet FC, well they have a directors’ lounge for hire with room for around two dozen. Don’t all rush at once?