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The Night Time Economy: How to Increase Footfall in the Evenings

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The night time economy is the collective term for all commercial and leisure activity that takes place during the evening. This can include everything from night clubs and bars, to late night shopping and 24-hour services.

As one of the biggest and most lucrative industries, accounting for 8% of the UK’s employment and 6% of its economy according to the Night Time Industries Association, the night time-economy holds importance for several reasons: 

  • A significant source of employment 
  • Provides additional revenue for local governments
  • Revitalises urban areas 
  • Boosts footfall 
  • Nurtures hospitality and entertainment industries  
  • Creates social inclusion and community identity 
  • Provides greater security to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour 
  • Develops domestic tourism 

In the past, the evening economy was often overlooked and there are many growing concerns regarding high-streets as desolate, unwelcoming places with limited offerings for visitors and residents once shops close their doors for the evening. 

But with the right policies in place and collaboration between stakeholders, it has the potential to bring valuable economic, social and cultural benefits to an area. One initiative to support the night-time economy was recently announced by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, called Night Time Enterprise Zones

These are designed to help boroughs and local communities boost night-time activity after 6pm and make high streets more accessible, inclusive and safer for everyone. The fund’s goal is to restore the night-time industry’s vibrant image and recover declining sectors, particularly ones that fell hard during the pandemic such as the arts by enabling local businesses, councils and night-time workers to pioneer better ways of living and working. 

How to increase footfall in the evenings 

By using actionable visitor behaviour insights from Place Informatics, towns, retailers and destination management organisations nationwide can learn how to boost their night time economy and increase evening footfall in a number of ways, including:

  • Late night openings for shops and public facilities: 

Late night openings for retailers and businesses can be a great way to provide better access to consumer services for evening crowds and generate more revenue at night. Meanwhile, public facilities such as libraries and museums can also stay open later to inspire creativity, promote cultural diversity and create a sense of belonging. Our data graphs identify which shops and facilities are most popular with visitors, and allowing the benchmarking to assess the results of your interventions, to see how well the late night openings performed. 

  • Utilising empty and under-used spaces for night-time activities: 

Hosting regular markets, festivals, events or workshops in under-utilised spaces is another tactic to help increase footfall in the evenings and  revitalise urban areas that become deserted at night. Postcode origin analysis can help to find out where visitors came from and categorise them into core, local and tourist, as well density heatmaps can help to identify locations with greater or fewer numbers of people with daily, weekly and monthly foot traffic monitoring. This will help to target a much wider area or attract a different demographic to promote and diversify night-time activities in untapped spaces with enriched marketing campaigns. 

  • Optimise public paths, wayfinding, green spaces and parking: 

Making it easy for people to find their way around your area, and providing plenty of green space and parking will make your high-street more inviting for people to visit in the evening. Late night footfall, dwell time and length of stay data can assist in preventing car park crime and anti-social behaviour with improved lighting, better signage, increased security and investment into urban greening and parking facilities.

Get access to night-time footfall data 

Do you want to invest in your night-time economy? Contact us on 0161 706 1343 for more information, or book a webinar of the data available for your area in Calendly here: https://calendly.com/clive-hall/diary-booking 

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Download your free Place Informatics July 2022 Town Centre Footfall Indices Report Below