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Hospitality industry urged to improve customer service for 2012 Olympics

By Emma Eversham , 21-Jun-2011

Related topics: Business

Businesses within the hospitality industry are being urged to improve their service standards in time for the 2012 London Olympics as a survey reveals that nearly three quarters of people don't think they are good enough.

With one year to go until the London Olympics, restaurants, hotels and pubs are urged to ensure their customer service is up to scratch

With one year to go until the London Olympics, restaurants, hotels and pubs are urged to ensure their customer service is up to scratch

With exactly one year to go before the start of the event, sector skills council People 1st, is sending out a message to all operators to review their offering so they can ensure visitors from within and outside of the UK will return in the future.

People 1st director Sharon Glancy said: “Businesses in the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism industry really need to step up and take customer service training seriously, especially if they want to take advantage of the estimated £2bn that could be generated from visitors.

“It’s not too strong to say that London 2012 will be deemed a success or failure on the strength of how well we welcome and look after our international guests and workers across the sector will be representing Britain on the frontline.”

Food and accommodation

According to the YouGov survey of 2,000 adults in the UK, 73 per cent of people think service standards in the UK need improving.

Hospitality also scored badly overall in the list of things that people think would impress visitors to Britain. When asked what would ensure that Britain was seen as a good host, only 5 per cent of people cited accommodation while just 1 per cent said food.

The findings reinforce existing statistics that score the UK 13th in the world for hospitality despite being the fourth most admired country by international tourists.

Olympics events

Marketing body VisitEngland has also today revealed details of a 12-week UK-wide cultural celebration to coincide with the Olympics, that will start on 21 June 2012. Events will happen all over the country, including art, comedy and film-based events.

“The London bid always promised that culture along with education and sport would be a key pillar of the Games and I am delighted that such an exciting programme has been announced today which takes in events all over the country, providing yet more reasons to holiday in England in 2012," said VisitEngland chief executive James Berresford.

"The opportunity for international and domestic tourism is enormous with such a rich cultural programme giving tourism in this country a creative boost throughout the summer months."

People 1st said it is aiming to train 200,000 hospitality and tourism staff ahead of the Olympics using WorldHost training programme, whose track record includes training 39,000 people for the Vancouver Winter Olympics last year.

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