Conference bid for more trade

CONFERENCE bosses have launched an intensive training programme to build on their venues’ reputation for having among the best staff in the UK.

Already ranked among the best venues in the country for customer service, bosses at Blackpool and Lancashire venues have taken part in intensive training in the past two months.

And it is hoped the move will help build on the record 3.7m business visitors using the area’s venues in the past year.

The programme, organised by Lancashire and Blackpool Conferences and Meetings, and managed by Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board, aimed to build on the success of a recent ‘mystery shopper’ survey which showed that the region’s conference and meetings establishments had some of the highest standards of customer service and enquiry handling in the country.

Tony Openshaw, director of marketing at Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board, said: “The training has involved delegates from a number of venues and is part of our commitment to continuous skills improvement and valuing the importance of the staff in the venues.

“The bespoke courses have been sourced to specifically suit the staff within the venues and we have had fantastic feedback from those taking part.”

Delegates from a dozen venues – including Pleasure Beach and Barton Grange Hotel – took part in the training.

The courses included Win More Conferences and Events – the first time the one-day programme dealing with the secrets of sales success has been run outside the South West of England, where it was piloted.

Two other bespoke training courses dealt with all aspects of business tourism, including how to generate more sales as well as how to deal effectively with enquiries and show-round techniques with potential clients.

The ‘mystery shopper’ survey, carried out by independent researchers, tested 46 venues on key areas, such as managing initial enquiries and customer service.

One venue scored 100 per cent across all categories and another four scored 97 per cent or above.