BLACKPOOL needs to capitalise on the national publicity garnered by the Illuminations Switch-On, according to business chiefs.
And one expert has called on smaller firms in Blackpool to “make hay while the sun shines” as the resort welcomes a massive injection of tourist cash over the coming weeks.
Steve Pye, chairman of the Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde branch of the Federation of Small Businesses, spoke following Friday’s Switch-On –which celebrated 100 years of the spectacular display.
He said: “How we build on that success and feel good factor is the important thing now.
“Hopefully local businesses and hoteliers will benefit now in the slipstream of that success because all the publicity should bring people to Blackpool.”
Mr Pye offered his advice on how businesses could get themselves noticed during the Illuminations period.
He said: “I’d advise small businesses to promote themselves online and take advantage of this while it’s all fresh in the mind.
“They should use social media to get their name known and contact all old customers, just to say ‘hey, we’re open for business. It is about making hay while the sun shines.”
Around 40,000 people packed the Promenade with 20,000 in the arena at the festival headland for the Switch-On on Friday evening, while 7,000 watched the ceremony worldwide on the internet.
Claire Smith, president of Stay Blackpool, echoed Mr Pye’s call, adding there was “an awful lot more to do” for hoteliers to achieve their full potential during the period.
She said: “They’re essential to businesses and our absolute bread and butter.
“In view of Government and council cutbacks I had been quite concerned so it’s really down to businesses to start supporting the Illuminations both financially and in other ways too.
“Historically I tend to find the first couple of weekends are quiet because of children going back to school but we’re fully booked for those weekends as well, and the October half-term will be absolutely manic.”
VisitBlackpool managing director Natalie Wyatt added: “It’s been a good week and a good launch.
“The feedback we’ve had has been extremely positive and I just hope we can continue what we’re doing.
“There’s more of a party feel to it and it’s a brilliant business opportunity.”