Spa in profit ahead of schedule

Bridlington Spa
Bridlington Spa

Bridlington Spa has turned a profit in each of the last three financial years, figures obtained by the Free Press show.

Bosses have admitted that the venue is in the black well ahead of schedule, having not been expected to hit that target until 10 years after reopening after its multi-million-pound refurbishment in 2008.

Bridlington Spa

Bridlington Spa

General manager Andrew Aldis said: “Registering an operating profit was an enormous coup for the venue and was a reward for the all the hard work needed to get there. But it wasn’t just hard work.

“A theatre is so reliant on the programme meeting the wants and desires of its audience. On top of that, every day is different - there’s no opportunity to ‘get in your stride’.

“We have a diverse product offer that appears in the programme at different times of the year. Something as simple as having an event take place in April instead of March can have a significant effect on the profitability of the venue.”

Under the Freedom of Information Act, the Free Press asked East Riding of Yorkshire Council whether The Spa had made a profit or loss each year since 2010.

Pictures by Paul Atkinson

Pictures by Paul Atkinson

Overall, the figures show the venue lost just over £475,000 up to 2013, but since then it has been in profit every year.

The response showed:

○ 2010-11: £139,501 loss

○ 2011-12: £239,955 loss

○ 2012-13: £96,173 loss

○ 2013-14: £10,151 profit

○ 2014-15: £24,625 profit

○ 2015-16: £8,521 profit

Mr Aldis said it was important to acknowledge the role other council attractions, such as Sewerby Hall and Gardens and the new leisure centre, had played in enabling the Spa to make a profit.

“The great thing about being part of the tourism team is that each venue serves to support the other to ensure that, as a whole, profit is achieved,” he said. “Being able to contribute in a positive manner to this service has been enormously gratifying for the entire team at Bridlington Spa and it certainly doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels.

“Work takes place every day to assess the positives and negatives of doing things and managing the financial risks to the operation.”

One of the key improvements in balancing the books has been the Spa’s annual pantomime which has seen income increase 300% since 2009.

The team at The Spa have pledged to keep trying to bring new events to Bridlington to make sure the venue is profitable in future years.

Mr Aldis said: “We’re currently building the programme for 2018 and 2019, bringing in new entertainment product and new ideas in order to maintain people’s interest in the venue and to generate confidence for promoters through advance ticket sales. “

However, he warned that success in the past was not a guarantee of a repeat in the future.

“Just because we’ve registered an operating profit for three years doesn’t mean we’ll be able to so so every year, but it does mean we’ll always strive for it. A couple of unsuccessful events between January and March, the cancellation of a big event due to artist illness or simply the scheduling of an event on one side or the other of the end of the financial year can result in the venue showing a loss,” he added.