Blackpool bids to become most welcoming resort

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.

Tourism WorldhostThe resort as a whole is seeking 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 – meaning 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’.