This May 14th/15th Plymouth Waterfront Partnership presents the 2016 edition of Plymouth Pirate Weekend, hosted around Sutton Harbour and The Barbican, and supported by Sutton Harbour Holdings Plc and Plymouth City Council.

It is always a fantastic family event which is guaranteed to draw a good crowd – but how can the businesses in the area best benefit from this Footfall Bonanza? Some businesses could find it easier than others, depending on which market you face!

Here is a ‘Deep Six’ of ideas that might help you pile up some extra doubloons …..

Get aboard with the event, Me Hearties, and cast an eye over the treasure map that Captain Plymouth has laid out for you…

Dress the part!

It is not at all uncommon for business operators to feel that ‘someone else’ ought to be dressing the place to suit the event, or generally making things happen – but the simple truth is that while the Council and supporting partners do an enormous (and largely unseen) amount of work to generate a large-scale weekend of fun like Pirates, the impact at street level is easily doubled if people engage with the theme. It can be as simple as grabbing some cheap bandannas and face paint for your staff and getting them to practice their ‘’AHARRRR’s’’, or you might have a little spare time and resource to create some ‘set-dressing’. It really does draw people in – and that translates to gold in the treasure chest.

Businesses can hoist up the flag by winning the‘Best Dressed Business’ over the weekend which the public and a few pirates can vote for during the event. So get your Jolly Roger, eye patches and pirate hats at the ready! Let us know what you’ll be doing! Email sarah.lynn@plymouth.gov.uk or call on: 01752 304213 The winner will be announced on the Sunday and receive treasure to display proudly until next year.

Gather the Intelligence

No Pirate worth his (or her!) salt would set sail after a good prize without knowing what adventures were afoot; the programme for the events can be found at (LINK) and Facebook and other Social Media are great ways to watch what is going on and to contact other players easily. Don’t sit back complaining that ‘nobody told me’ – that way lies a good keelhauling! What’s happening, where, and when? How might you best capitalise?

Gather a worthy crew

Send a signal to your neighbour and see whether joining forces might pay a handsome dividend; when was the last time that you cast a shadow in the local tavern and spun a yarn with your piratical pals? (Today some call it ‘networking’, and coffee seems more prevalent than Rum – but knowing your neighbours will always pay you well in the end). Is there a local business group that it would suit you to join? This is of course a great benefit of organised gatherings such as the PWP; your voice is louder!

Check your weapons and make sure you’re ready to capture the prize!

It might sound basic – but don’t go to sea without the powder and provisions that you will need! Check your stock levels, get you machinery up to scratch, have enough trained crew at the ready. Cover the key times and locations if they are near you. If you are in the refreshment trade, offer something to the entertainers and perhaps their presence will draw you a crowd. Set up some face painting or make a simple ‘head-through-hole- photo opportunity with your logo on it. Make your offer attractive and lure the people in…. Then clap’em in irons and ransom them! Or perhaps not….

Pirates, like Fishermen, were skilled at looking attractive to their prey – and also swift to chase and pounce!

If you are a café, have you designed a simple ‘Pirates menu’, especially with children in mind? Added a little Skull’n’Crossbones appeal? If a venue, perhaps a Pirate fancy dress themed event, or music. If a gallery, can you theme an all-things-maritime display for your window? If a café, put together some ‘ships biscuits’ or ‘Pirate chocolate cake with blood sauce’ – or simply sell some eyepatches and foam swords! Catch the children and they will pull the adults with them. If an accommodation provider, have you added the events to your online advertising and especially Social Media following? Give your customers a reason to visit and stay! And then up-sell where you can, get them back for the next event, show them the jewels in Plymouth’s waterfront treasure-house.

Get out your telescope and look ahead

Be critical of yourself and make a cunning plan for the next opportunity; how could you capitalise better next time? Have you space to utilise for entertainers, or to otherwise add to your offer? Better still – how could you get involved? Perhaps PWP projects such as MAD400 (‘Make A Difference’ for 2020 and the Mayflower 400 event by helping to improve the environs in which your business operates). Sometimes it can be easy to be so busy in business that you can forget that you are in business! Plan to thrive, don’t let yourself simply tread water.

Now in its 6th year, Plymouth Pirates Weekend is created by Plymouth Waterfront Partnership and funded by Waterfront Businesses through BID Levy.

Plymouth really IS Britain’s Ocean City, and her Waterfront is World Class; so much of that world has been shaped by the adventurers and explorers – many with a Piratical bent! – who sailed the seven seas from Sutton Pool. We are blessed with such a wonderful heritage and backdrop, and we really DO need to make the most of it – especially as we look forward to 2020, as the eyes of that World turn in our direction….don’t miss the boat!

We would like to help promote any special offers you have planned for the weekend, so please let us know about them and if you’re doing anything particularly piratey!

If your business would prefer to get involved through sponsoring the event or a specific element, then please take a look at the Corporate Sponsorship Pack.

If you would like any more information about the event, please visit one of the following

www.waterfrontbid.co.uk; @plymouthpirates; What’s On Plymouth Facebook; Visit Plymouth website


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