Other major venues and events that are supporting the WorldHost programme include the London Eye, Warwick Castle, Epsom Downs Racecourse, Ricoh Arena and the British Open.
Launched in November last year, the campaign aims to train 200,000 hospitality and tourism staff in time for the 2012 Olympics with the goal of raising the country’s overall customer service standards.
Results from last year’s Nation Brand Index (NBI) survey of 20,000 adults worldwide found that although Britain was the fourth most admired country by global tourists, it only came 13th for its hospitality scores.
“We plan to do something about what everyone recognises is a real need,” said Brian Wisdom, CEO of the hospitality sector skills council People 1st.
“The HLTT (hospitality, leisure, tourism and travel) sector is one of the UK’s largest employers and the ‘visitor economy’ contributes over 8 per cent of GDP. If we reach our target of 200,000 it will make a real difference to the experience people have as well as the revenue generated.”
According to recent research conducted by People 1st, 68 per cent of businesses in the UK which implemented customer service training said generating repeat business was a key benefit while 18 percent said they saw increased sales.
WorldHost has already been successfully used at the Vancouver Winter Olympics to train 39,000 staff and volunteers earlier this year. People 1st developed the programme for the UK market, with the support of VisitEngland and the backing of the Institute of Directors.
Miles Templeman, director general of the Institute of Directors, said: “The Olympics offer an outstanding opportunity for the UK. From an economic perspective, many businesses in the UK will profit and we want to make sure that SMEs get just as many opportunities to benefit as larger businesses.
“It also offers the UK the opportunity to advance its reputation and show the world what a great country we are. To make sure Britain is at its best, the standard of our customer service needs attention. It is imperative for businesses to invest in the people who will be on the front line, hosting our visitors and acting as ambassadors for the rest of the country.”