Here are the Dartmouth footfall measurements for week 2 2018. Again they show a dramatic drop compared to the same week last year.
Let me explain for the benefit of the Mayor, Richard Cooke, who does not seem to want to accept these numbers as meaningful. They are provided by Springboard, an international company recognised as the leading provider of data for measuring the performance of High streets and stores. They have an established reputation for the accuracy of their data and their reports are often quoted by governments as indicators of economic performance. Dartmouth retains one Springboard camera overlooking the quay which is probably the focal point of Dartmouth’s retail center and will give a fair indication of visitor numbers to the town. Of course it is not an absolute figure but without counting every person coming in on the ferry and by road it is the best indicator we have.
If you watch the Top-Cameraman video of the Council meeting (see previous post) you will hear that the Mayor also challenged the fact that footfall was down during the regatta this year.
To explain that - the numbers that were down were the week on week comparisons, so the decreased footfall means that there were about 12% less visitors in the quay area during regatta week compared to the previous week. Probably indicating that the increased visitor numbers are more focused around the river embankment stalls rather than in the town center. I suspect many town center businesses will endorse that view, indicating that the town center tends to lose out during regatta because of the embankment stalls.
Finally in the Video you will also see that Cllr Allen asked the Chairman of the DVC if he had thought about carrying out a survey of businesses and/or visitors. The response was, I quote “I don’t know what questions to ask!”.
Here is our suggestion for some of the questions that need asking of local businesses, especially in view of the fact that subscriptions were the main source of income for the TIC just a few years ago:
- Are you subscribing to the DVC each year.
- If not why not?
- What must the DVC do to regain your subscription?
- If you are subscribing, are you happy with the value the DVC provides?
- Where do you think the DVC could improve its service to subscribers and visitors?
That’s just a few of the areas that might help the DVC understand how best to support Dartmouth’s tourist economy. Experience tells you that you must know your customers well to succeed in your chosen sector, so in our view a survey would be a very good idea. There is no doubt that the DVC does a good job as a visitor center, but the problem we have is getting the visitors here in the first place. That is where the DVC can do the most to help the towns economy.
This Blog would be very happy to help the DVC carry out this kind of survey among its 340 subscribers.
The first Paragraph of the Town Councils strategy document: