Venue ticket sales up 91% on previous year
51% increase in venue occupancy – Over 2.1 million website visitors
The Winter Gardens Blackpool has launched its Annual Review documenting a dramatic 2022 – 23 financial year of ticket sales, attendances and more delivering its best year to date hosting over 500 events and welcoming more than 1.3m visitors from over 50 different nations.
A developing partnership with EVENTIM, one of the world’s leading ticketing service providers, marked the first time in over 15 years that the venue had launched a new ticketing operation and box office system. The results have been astounding with ticket sales up 91% on 2021 and a ticket sold to every single region in the UK.
The new Winter Gardens website racked up 2.1 million visitors since it was launched in June 2022 – up 1.3million from 2021.
The summer of 2022 saw the first £500k show in Opera House History. SIX set the new Opera House record for the highest grossing musical over a single week in the theatre’s history as it delighted audiences with its remix of 500 hundred years of historical heartbreak.The feat was achieved again as audiences at the end of the year were delighted with the festive favourite Elf – A Christmas Spectacular which worked its magic breaking the £500k threshold.
2023 got off to an amazing start as Mamma Mia! the musical returned as part of its UK tour, following its debut in 2014, which marked the return of an official summer season to the Winter Gardens Blackpool. It smashed records seeing a 64% audience growth versus 2014 and became the highest grossing show in the 2022 – 23 financial year.
As well as reaching out to new external audiences the Winter Gardens has remained focused on its internal teams and the enhancement of skills and ideas. Employee engagement through Working Groups including the employee voice group and the Green Gardens which has been working to tackle the venue’s environmental impact has contributed to staff development and driving business growth.
A total of £250,000 was raised through the restoration levy in 2022-23 which is ringfenced for the restoration and ongoing protection of the venue. A major restoration project is now underway including the re-development of the food and drink offering.
The report also documents the triumphant return of the Blackpool Dance Festival for the first time in three years which reunited dancers from around the world. August saw the return of Rebellion, the largest independent Punk festival in the UK and in autumn the inaugural Word Fest, the first literary celebration of its kind in the north for many years.
The opening of the Blackpool Conference and Exhibition Centre in March 2022 firmly positioned the resort as a major conference destination. The Centre which houses advanced technology and flexible spaces has attracted 55,000 additional delegates over the year and is spearheading economic growth for the resort.
Community outreach also continued with the launch of a new volunteer programme creating a legacy for the future as the venue and its team actively engages with the community to support its vision for the future.
Anthony Williams, Head of Marketing, Winter Gardens Blackpool: “Our ability to attract world-class talent and deliver unforgettable events has been testament to the expertise, passion and dedication of our team.
“The year 2022-23 financial year marked a significant turning point for Winter Gardens Blackpool with exciting new partnerships and developments which have helped us to continue to grow our visitor numbers and our rich and diverse offering.”