London 2012: Hospitality businesses urged to improve customer service with 100 days to go

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Customer service, Olympic games, Summer olympic games

London 2012: 100 days to go - People 1st has been joined by VisitBritain in encouraging hospitality businesses to 'warm up their welcome'
London 2012: 100 days to go - People 1st has been joined by VisitBritain in encouraging hospitality businesses to 'warm up their welcome'
As the countdown to the London 2012 Olympics reaches the last 100 days hospitality businesses are being urged by VisitBritain and People 1st to 'warm up their welcome' and improve customer service to make the most of the Games. 

People 1st, the sector skills council for hospitality, passenger transport, travel and tourism, and the national tourism agency, VisitBritain, have said it is not too late to focus on improving skills and benefit from the estimated 50,000 people involved with the Olympics who are due to descend on the capital this summer alongside the thousands of spectators and ticket holders.

The WorldHost customer service training programme, which was used to train nearly 40,000 volunteers and tourism staff for the Vancouver Winter Olympics, has been developed by People 1st for the UK market. It is currently being offered to employees working at the Olympic venues.

Still time

However Brian Wisdom, chief executive of People 1st, said that the organisation had carried out recent research which suggested a majority of organisations working in the hospitality sector might not be fully prepared to deliver the high levels of service that Olympics visitors were likely to demand.

"Our research tells us that within the hospitality, leisure travel and tourism industries, 64 per cent of organisations believe that they could improve their customer service skills," he said. 

"Businesses can still make the most of the opportunity that hosting London 2012 brings. Organisations still have time in the last 100 days before the Games to invest in the training their staff need and help ensure the best possible levels of customer service are in place when international visitors arrive to enjoy the celebrations – both on and off the sporting field," Wisdom added.

GREAT Britain

VisitBritain, which earlier this year launched the 'GREAT Britain - You're Invited' campaign​ to help boost visitor numbers in 2012, said it was also encouraging businesses to look at making sure a first-class welcome was on offer.

Sandie Dawe, chief executive of VisitBritain, said the benefits of improving customer service for the Olympics could be long-lasting as strong word of mouth might help influence the likelihood of people recommending Britain to family and friends.

"100 days to go signifies a unique opportunity for the whole of the UK to highlight the great welcome we are ready to offer the world in 2012 and beyond. From restaurants and pubs, to major attractions, hotels and airports, right across the country we want to be able to offer the highest levels of customer service, something which will help create a lasting impression on our international guests and hopefully bring them back time and time again," she said.

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