2 August 2011

Access to local information crucial to quality customer service

According to a survey of 326 people by The Mystery Dining Company (the leading specialist provider of customer experience evaluation for the hospitality and leisure industries in the UK), British people feel that hotel staff “don’t know enough” about their local area, which “significantly reduces the value of customer service provided”.

The report revealed that 61% of respondents indicated there was “room for improvement” in the level of local knowledge demonstrated by hotel employees.

Steven Pike, Director of The Mystery Dining Company said: “As tourism bodies look both for ways to attract visitors from across the globe and to support the local economy, it’s important to assess the underlying conditions of the industry. The way people are made to feel when they visit a new destination – be it a city, hotel or restaurant – can have an enormous impact on how they perceive the experience and whether it represents value for money for them, regardless of what their budget is.”

At a time when Tourist Information Centres are fast disappearing from our high streets due to local authority cutbacks, access to good-quality, easy to find local information is more important than ever. In Gwynedd alone the council has estimated that losing three TICs will save £76,000 per year, while in the North West, centres have begun closing their doors following the decision that limited resources must be channelled to key locations.

The internet and social media resources - such as Twitter and Facebook - have undoubtedly played their part in the demise of the great British TIC. Indeed, Jenny Mcgee, head of strategy and engagement at Visit England, was recently quoted in the Guardian as saying: “When you look at the fact you can sit at home, surf, and get the information you require in advance, why would you sit on a telephone waiting for someone to answer between the hours of 9-5?”

However, Mcgee concedes that when she herself takes a break, “the last thing I want to be doing is looking at my BlackBerry”. She believes that “local advice” is essential to the success of British tourism, and the results of a plethora of recent surveys show that people (both UK residents and foreign tourists) agree with this view.

So how should hoteliers and other accommodation providers avoid missing opportunities to enhance their visitors' experience and promote the local tourism industry? This is where companies like LDS Tourism Services can help.

Many businesses rely on our network of visitor information point (VIPs) throughout the region to lure people to their events, town centres and attractions. Our prominently displayed wall holders, free-standing and desk-top leaflet dispensers are placed in popular visitor attractions, busy eating establishments and bustling shopping parks, as well as in museums, libraries, pubs, garden centres and numerous high-footfall outlets.

The stands are supplied free of charge to suitable establishments throughout North Wales, the North West and parts of Shropshire, then serviced regularly by our team. The benefits include 24 hour access to local information, front desk efficiency, reduced guest questions and an increased professional hospitality image.

If you feel that your establishment would benefit from one of our info points, please drop us a line or call us directly on 01244 671859.

Image © Britainonview / Rod Edwards


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