Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Holiday Best Practices and Innovations for BIDs

After Halloween things really start heating up for Business Improvement Districts as the weather really starts cooling down.  Consumers are expected to turn out in large numbers, as usual, this holiday season to make it a successful shopping period.  To help these shoppers, BIDs can go above and beyond the typical lights and banners to make the shopping experience all that much more memorable and enjoyable. 

Commercial District Advisor has composed a list of best practices, or innovations as well, that BIDs can enact this holiday season in late November and December that will give every shopper, whether the family looking to have a memorable experience or the last minute shopper with just a few minutes on their hand.

Valet Parking
Valet parking could provide shoppers, whom might be seeking the convenience or time saving, with the convenience of getting straight to the shopping, dining, or entertainment without the hassle of finding parking at this busy time of year. The Springfield Business Improvement District will be providing a “Park with Ease” valet parking initiative this Thanksgiving weekend in two locations to assist shoppers painlessly to and from their destination. http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2014/11/springfield_business_improveme_1.html

image via steinwaystreet.org
Santa: Not Just at the Mall Anymore
Even though BIDs don’t have an indoor plaza to host a Santa Claus a la indoor malls, they can still find an available space such as a current vacancy or safe open plaza in their BID to host a Santa Claus to draw in those that would want the iconic and memorable experience with Santa. Steinway BID in Queens, NY did just that in 2013. http://steinwaystreet.org/category/news/

Santa Gift Giveaway
Gift giveaways can attract a large crowd of enthusiastic patrons.  The Fordham BID in the Bronx is hosting their 10th annual holiday event with Santa, free gifts for the first 600 kids, free raffles, music and activities. This event also kicks off a 2½ week 10% discounted shopping program starting Dec. 5 with 60 stores participating. Further, Fordham BID has tied the event into their broader digital marketing program with a phone app and a mystery gift registration through Eventbrite. http://www.fordhamroadbid.org/

Pa-Rum-Pa-Pum-Pum, Not Ba-Hum-Bug
image via Atlantic Ave BID Facebook
Carolers can provide that heartwarming seasonal entertainment that shoppers are looking for.  In addition, a group of singers like an elementary school or local church children’s choir can pull parents and family to the BID for support.  Atlantic Avenue BID in Brooklyn performed in 2013 in the Boerum Hill neighborhood and in the past many local Harlem churches caroled in the 125th Street BID in Manhattan. Other BIDs can take Madison Downtown BID’s lead with Saturday seasonal entertainment: http://www.visitdowntownmadison.com/events/index.php?category_id=2801

Special Holiday Transportation
image via visitdowntownmadison.com
Maneuvering the streets quickly to get that “I gotta have it” toy or just sharing a memorable experience with others can be a meaningful thing for holiday shoppers.  They can complete both or either by riding a special seasonal transportation such as a decorated bus or trolley around the district or corridor.  This especially comes in handy with unsafe or inconvenient sidewalks such as ice, snow, or bad weather.  Madison, WI Central BID provides a Downtown Holiday Shopping Trolley for its shoppers: http://www.visitdowntownmadison.com/events/index.php?category_id=2801

Coat Drive or Coat Give Away
Often times coat donation bins in cities are dilapidated or possibly untrustworthy, so it is nice to connect holiday shoppers with the idea of giving back by offering and promoting a coat drop off bin or coat drive within the BID like the Granville
image via Granville BID
 BID.  And in the giving spirit, Southern Blvd BID in the Bronx is distributing new children's coats in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx on December 17th. Yonkers Downtown BID mixed giving with pleasure by offering an event that combined a coat drive with a mixer, "Collective for a Cause."  

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