Blackpool embarks on campaign to become UK’s most welcoming tourist resort
Leading tourism businesses across Blackpool are busy training their staff using the customer service programmes that trained thousands of staff and volunteers at the 2012 Olympic Games, as the resort as a whole seeks to become the first seaside town in the UK to achieve WorldHost Recognised Destination status, renowned for excellent standards of customer service.
WorldHost Recognised Destination status is awarded to areas where 25 percent of businesses have reached WorldHost Recognised Business status – that means they have trained 50 percent or more of their front line staff using any of the WorldHost training programmes and signed a commitment to delivering excellent customer service. This project has been partly supported by HM Government with Employer Ownership funding.
Blackpool has a target to train at least 2,500 front line workers to achieve destination status.
WorldHost is a suite of world-class customer service training programmes that have already been used to train nearly one million people worldwide, including tens of thousands of staff and volunteers for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Programmes include training on the key principles of customer service, serving customers with disabilities, improving sales through customer service, welcoming customers from other cultures and ambassador training.
The campaign is being led by the Blackpool Tourism Academy (BTA), a partnership of leading tourism employers including Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Merlin, Blackpool Zoo, Sandcastle Waterpark, Blackpool Transport Services, the Winter Gardens and Cuerden Leisure.
Nigel Kilgallon, Director at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Chair of the BTA Board, said: “The Blackpool Tourism Academy has received almost £1m of government support though the Employer Ownership Pilot fund to co-invest in a range of vocational training programmes that will lift the skills set of our workforce and offer opportunities to other tourism and retail businesses in the town.
“Quality customer service is a key driver of success for any business in Blackpool and we want all businesses large and small to help us become the UK’s first seaside resort with WorldHost destination status.”
Cllr Graham Cain, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for tourism and leisure, said: “Millions of people come to enjoy Blackpool every year. As well as them making the most of our world class attractions, we want them to get a world class level of customer service too.
“Regardless of which attraction, shop or restaurant that they visit, we want them to feel like a valuable tourist who is welcomed in the town so that they have the best experience possible.
“We’ve all experienced what excellent customer service feels like, but to actually deliver it day in day out is a different matter. Hopefully, this project will help make more people return to the town, thus bringing more money into local shops and businesses which in turns creates and secures jobs.”
Paula Clark, Blackpool’s WorldHost Training Coordinator, said: “The Tourism Academy now has 30 trainers who are licensed to deliver training to the required standard and are rolling this out within their respective businesses. We now want to open up this subsidised training opportunity to other businesses in the town.
“This a fantastic opportunity to embed world-class customer service skills across the resort – from hotels and guest houses, to taxis and public transport, to shops, cafes and other leisure and hospitality businesses’.
For more information about Blackpool’s campaign to achieve WorldHost destination status and related training opportunities please contact Paula Clark on (01253) 477315 or [email protected]
More information about WorldHost training, and details of businesses and destinations that have already achieved recognition, can be found at www.worldhost.uk.com
WorldHost customer service training has been used to train over one million people worldwide.
That includes tens of thousands of volunteers and staff at the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympics, who were widely praised for the fantastic welcome they gave to visitors.
Originally developed in Canada – widely recognised as the leading global destination for visitor welcome – and adapted for the UK market by the People 1st Training Company (www.people1sttraining.co.uk), the WorldHost programmes provide a gold standard in training for any business that relies on day-to-day interaction with customers for success. They are also the only customer service programmes in the UK that come with quality-assured trainers, regularly tested on their ability to deliver top-class training.
About Blackpool Tourism Academy
A partnership of Blackpool’s leading tourism employers who wish to invest in raising the skills of their workforce and nurturing home-grown talent, particularly in areas such as customer service, supervisory and management qualifications. It also wants to encourage other tourism related businesses to do the same and access the same suite of subsidised training programmes.
The Academy is also pioneering the development of a custom designed tourism apprenticeship and hopes to trial this from 2015 onwards.
The Academy was awarded £1m from the Employer Ownership Pilot in February 2014, a government skills initiative, and is investing its own resources alongside over an initial three year period.
The Academy is supported by Blackpool Council in terms of administration; and Blackpool & the Fylde College have been chosen as a preferred training provider for the majority of the training programmes on offer, most of which are available for any tourism or retail businesses operating within Blackpool.
Further general information about the Academy can be obtained from Peter Legg on (01253) 477333 or [email protected]
Further information on the Academy training programmes available (other than WorldHost) can be obtained from Michelle Riley at Blackpool & Fylde College (01253) 504327 or [email protected]