We love working alongside so many inspiring business partners who are all so dedicated in wanting to help the hospitality industry. One of these is Quality in Tourism and we’ve been catching up with director, Deborah Heather to find out more about the fantastic work they are doing at the moment.
Tell us a little more about Quality in Tourism and how you work with hospitality businesses.
Quality in Tourism works with hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses and provides expertise and advice to quantify and improve their business performance and profile.
Describe some of the services you offer the industry
We offer a range of products and services from mystery shopping to quality assessment, sustainability reviews to market advice. Our field force of industry experts are available to share advice and guidance, benchmark your business, and identify opportunity for improvement. We offer accreditation at entry level named Safe, Clean and Legal and consumer orientated star ratings alongside accolades and marketing tools.
What’s the biggest challenge you see hospitality businesses facing in 2019?
The biggest challenges facing most of the industry at present is Brexit and what in reality it actually means. The uncertainty about the future is making it difficult for businesses to put effective measures in place. Although, I do feel that there is an upside in the increase in staycations that we are seeing with more providers able to maximise their occupancy through visitors not wishing to travel abroad at the moment.
How do accreditations help drive sales?
With the rise of user generated content, the consumer has lost the ability to know and truly understand what they are buying and as a result are making assumptions. Our accreditations make basic safety checks including insurance, fire assessment and food hygiene along with the welcome received on check in, how easy the website is to navigate and what breakfast options there are. By encouraging accommodation providers to be more transparent, the customer is happy with the service and provision that they receive, whilst also knowing that where they are staying is safe and fit for purpose. Our schemes are modern and innovative, focused on consumers, and I am proud to say we have the only qualified assessment team in tourism in the UK.
How important is it for hospitality businesses to enter awards and aim for accreditations?
We sponsor a number of awards across the country as we believe it’s really important to celebrate success. There are a number of establishments that we have worked with and each year they take on a different part of the business; challenging it and seeing if it can be done differently. This continuing cycle of adaptation and change has meant that they remain competitive whilst responding to consumer needs and demands. We usually carry out the mystery shopping element for many of these awards and give helpful, constructive feedback to help the business adapt and move to the next level. It is incredibly rewarding to watch a business take that advice, apply it and return stronger the following year.
What’s your biggest success as a business?
One of our biggest successes has to be revolutionising accreditation schemes for us to work with to meet consumer demand. Through our knowledge of working in the industry and using feedback from key operators and partners, the new quality schemes and accreditations that we work with no longer focus purely on facilities and tick boxes. Instead, we take into account the full customer journey. These schemes are gaining more and more traction in the marketplace. We have Primary Authority Partnership status with Cornwall Council, who ensure we operate at certain levels, and offer support and legislative advice to our membership. We are rapidly gaining market penetration in new and old styles of operation, both in the UK and internationally for our innovative products.
What do you think makes the hospitality industry so special to work in?
It’s the people. I think to succeed in this industry you need to be a special kind of person; willing to get stuck in and roll your sleeves up to do what is right for the customer. I’ve met some superstars during my time and learnt a lot from some amazing operators. I love talking to people, understanding where they have been before and how they have impacted people’s lives during their stay and encouraging and supporting the next generation of stars up the ladder.
You are an Institute of Hospitality Business Partner, why did you decide to get involved?
For us, it’s an incredible platform to let everyone know about a modern alternative to common standard accreditation. The Institute of Hospitality also represents managers and aspiring managers within the industry, those that crave success through driving continuous improvement and embracing innovation with a thirst for more knowledge along the way. Working with people who have that desire and passion is key as we know together we can really make a difference.