Longer nights. Shorter days. Leaves turning gold and dropping from the trees. Yes, summer is over, autumn is underway and Christmas will be upon us in 3 short months. For cities, towns and public spaces, winter can sometimes feel like the quiet time of the year: visitor number drop, grey days and early evenings keep residents indoors and thanks to online shopping, local business of all types can experience a drop in turnover just when they need an economic boost.
If this sounds depressing, not to worry. We have some ideas to help you overcome the winter slump and fill your city with a festive atmosphere that will encourage people out of their homes and into your streets, and they all begin with light…
Lead the way with light
When it comes to lighting up your city over the winter months, we’d suggest that you start with the streets. Add extra pizazz to your existing street lights with custom-design lighting motifs, string festive lighting overhead, or brighten up minor roads by lighting up trees.
The result: people will literally “follow the light” straight into the heart of your city. And people leaving the city will know that a warm welcome awaits them when they return.
Bonus tip: invite local businesses to get involved and give them the opportunity to sponsor individual lamps or motifs, which they can then use as part of their winter advertising campaigns.
Lots of highlights, large and small
When people arrive in your city, give them a reason to move around. Instead of filling one square or street with light, why not decorate multiple streets with different lights, different motifs or even place individual pieces of light art throughout your city to encourage people to wander, explore, enjoy and of course, visit shops and cafes and local businesses on their way.
The result: local businesses will benefit from exposure from foot traffic, and locals and visitors will be surprised and delighted in equal measure as they wander your streets.
Bonus tip: create a free map of your city that shows visitors where to see your lights to make it even easier for them to explore. Offer local businesses the opportunity to advertise, or perhaps even build an app that you can promote through your local tourist and marketing board.
Their name in “lights”
A wise person once commented that people love sharing photos filled with people, and if the selfie craze is anything to go by, he or she was right! By all means, encourage people to take photos of your beautiful city lights, but why not go one step further and install a light sculpture or motif that doubles as a photo point where visitors can take a photo of themselves, in your city, surrounded by light?
The result: raise the profile of your city online whilst giving visitors a memory of their visit to take home with them.
Bonus tip: encourage visitors to post their photos online with a hashtag unique to your city for a chance to win fun prizes and get even more exposure and perhaps free media coverage, too.
Need a little help adding sparkle?
Here at MK Illumination, we know a thing or two about creating glittering winter experiences in cities and public spaces. Get in touch and let’s explore how we can help you this winter.