From adrenalin fuelled fun, to heritage sites and museums, market town retail therapy and the great outdoors, Staffordshire has got its fair share of visitor attractions to draw in the crowds.
With an ongoing commitment to promote the county’s first class offering, Destination Staffordshire, the region’s Destination Management Organisation (DMO), has been able to give local tourism and hospitality businesses the chance to enrol on free destination and customer service training programmes. Devised and delivered in partnership with Welcome to Excellence, the UK’s renowned customer service training operator, and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Staffordshire Ambassador programme is designed to support small to medium sized businesses whose contributions to the visitor economy are integral to the success of the region.
Part of the Welcome to Excellence suite of training courses, the Staffordshire Ambassador programme was designed to equip businesses with essential local product knowledge, key customer service skills, techniques and business support. Content focuses on delivering a consistent, warm welcome to visitors that exceeds customer expectations and ensures that local businesses offer a cohesive brand promise.
The Chair of Destination Staffordshire, Mark Kerrigan, who is operations and development director at Alton Towers Resort, was fully behind the implementation of the Ambassador programme as he believes that tourism is a major economic provider, job creator and factor for inward investment.
Many small business operators in Staffordshire were behind the development of the initiative including Beth Plant from Little Summerhill Cottages, who was one of the first companies to sign up for the courses. She was keen to become an Ambassador for the region and praised its introduction because of the value she felt it brought not only to her own business but to tourism overall. She has been able to demonstrate additional bookings through her newly gained knowledge which has enabled her to sell the region in a positive way.
Sue Gill, training services director of Welcome to Excellence feels that destination ambassador programmes enable local authorities and DMOs to proactively support their region’s tourism and hospitality businesses, with the overall aim of creating a better visitor experience and a healthier local economy. The initiative in Staffordshire has been successful because of the strong partnerships within the County who all have a desire to offer great service and to grow the visitor economy for the benefit of everyone.