GO! Southampton, the city’s Business Improvement District (BID) was established in 2017 and is seeking a further five-year term from 2022-2027 to support the city-centre business community with an investment of £6.5m.

The ballot takes place between 14 October and 11 November and some 637 businesses are eligible to vote.

GO! Southampton has four themes which they base their work around. They are:

  1. Stronger Business
  2. A Greater City Centre Experience.
  3. Better Marketing
  4. Culture, Events and Partnerships

Today we are profiling the third of these.

SOUTHAMPTON has so much to shout about in its marketing and public relations campaigns as the city continues the post pandemic recovery.

The Business Improvement District, GO! Southampton has been at the forefront of raising the city’s profile in the past five years and has big proposals for the next five.

Leigh Rengger is the chair of the organisation’s marketing steering committee, which has representation from large and small business across the BID area.

He is also Chief Marketing Officer of Solent University.

He said: “Without doubt there has been a big improvement in the profile of Southampton since the BID was formed in 2017.

“Things are really positive. GO! Southampton has taken the challenge of promoting the city and really driven it.”

Much of this had been achieved through the creation of the Visit Southampton website and associated social media coverage as well as substantial exposure in the mainstream media.

“We have been communicating to local residents but also beyond too.

“The overall reach of all this has been in the millions and the work that GO! Southampton has achieved via the Visit Southampton brand has been really important in getting the message out there. That has been fantastic.”

Mr Rengger said BID organised and backed events had been a big factor, “allowing residents and visitors to come together and enjoy the city.”

He admitted the past 18 months had been challenging because of balancing the need to promote to city but also work within the pandemic restrictions.

“I think if we can continue to come out of the pandemic as well as we have, that will encourage more visitors and the city can only go from strength to strength.”

Mr Rengger said there has been extensive local regional and national media coverage and the SO Card had also been a great initiative in getting people to spend more in the city with BID levy payers.

He added: “We can be pleased that we have achieved a lot but there is still a lot to do.

“First and foremost, we want to continue to help our residents understand what is great about their city - they are number one in terms of our audiences.

“Then there are regional and national audiences too who we want to attract to come for a variety of reasons.

“We also have some specific groups of people for example in the cruise market. How do we get cruise passengers to stay here rather than just pass through?

“Our job for everyone though, residents and visitors, is to make them aware that there is much more to Southampton than they probably realise.”

Students are a big part of the vibrancy of any city and encouraging them to stay as graduates and add value to the local community is another high priority.

“It is also important that our work through the Better Marketing group helps to promote Southampton as a place for business and to attract new businesses into the city.”

Mr Rengger said continuing to raise Southampton’s profile was critical, working with the council and other partners.

He concluded: “GO! Southampton has been the driving force behind this activity and its vital for the BID to keep creating and delivering these campaigns.”

“What the BID can achieve working with all our partners is very exciting.”


  • Postal ballot will take place from the 14 October to 11 November 2021
  • Businesses in the city centre (BID area) should receive the ballot papers in the post by 14 October 2021
  • Return your completed ballot papers by 11 November 2021 by 5pm
  • Further details go to www.gosouthampton.co.uk/ballot2021
  • Vote YES for GO! Southampton