Customers Are Talking: The Hot Line

Interesting………. I came across an article today that I think would be very useful for you accommodation providers.

The most important thing for a service business is customer feedback. How do you collect feedback? Customer comment cards? Reading TripAdvisor reviews with one eye closed?

How about using the phone? Oh yes – the phone – in this age of online comments. If we stop to think about how customers actually behave then this model makes great sense. Read further to find out more…

the following was written by: John Caddell

Have you ever filled in a survey card in a hotel room? I haven’t either. But more times than I could count I have wanted to let a hotel know about something I liked about my stay or wasn’t happy about.

Survey cards don’t capture much meaningful information. During most of my stays, everything is fine; nothing noteworthy. Then again, sometimes, I’m passionate about something, and I want to let the hotel know about it. Survey questions like “Rate the cleanliness of your room 1 2 3 4 5″ are highly unlikely to pinpoint the thing that made me happy or disappointed.

If I do want to relate a situation on a comment card, I need to handwrite it in the space at the bottom. Have you ever seen my handwriting? Sometimes I can’t even read it. And there’s not much room to lay out a whole scenario.

All of the above leaves an impression that the hotel really doesn’t want to know what I think. They are happy with “no comment” or with a card with all 4s and 5s circled. But I don’t believe that. I think that hotels really care about their customers’ feedback and would love an easy-to-use, effective way to gather candid feedback on their services.

I recommend this: set up a hot line.

Imagine a card that says, “We really want to know what you thought of your stay. What delighted you? What outraged you? Call x611 to tell your story. If you do, we’ll give you a £10 meal voucher good for your next stay.” It would take 30 seconds to record a story. And it could be done in the moment, when the customer’s recall was fresh.

The rest is pretty simple. The messages are recorded. There are scads of different recording systems to do that. You can autotranscribe the calls using technologies like SpinVox or Dial2Do. Then you’ll have a real repository of customer stories that will tell you what’s working in your hotel… and what’s not. If you want to know what to do with that repository… well, come to the webinar on July 1.

My thought on this………………. these stories would provide you with quotes for your marketing activities and your website.

Original Post:

Sarah Lundy

It’s Friday and it’s all quietly frantic

Even though it seems quiet in the office today, I can sense the an underlying thud thud of deadlines waiting to pounce. Holiday season has started which automatically puts the pressure on those remaining in the office to cover the myriad of meetings that fill the Tourist Board weeks. More pressure – more fun!

We’ve got the excitement of a national nomination for a TravelMole Award next week in London which takes out the only remaining member of the ‘e’ team out of the office (please don’t ring us on Wednesday!). Here’s hoping we clinch the award for best Tourist Board website away from Cumbria. Yorkshire or Oxford.

Since the Tourism Awards 2009/10 last week at Ribby Hall Village the winners in our 13 categories are frantically updating their entry forms before next week. 26 June is the deadline for entries to go forward for consideration to the Northwest Awards. Good Luck to you all.

Next week is the Marketing Group Meeting. This is where we meet the Tourism Officers from the Districts along with other ‘stakeholders’ such as Lancashire Museums. We discuss plans for the future, report on prior marketing campaigns, run though initiatives such as 2012, and show website and digital developments. It’s at Wyreside Visitor Centre, Stanah this time; we move around the districts for each meeting.

It’s also the Kids Fun Ideas Show next weekend. We’re currently surrounded in bright green little monsters and will be on a stand promoting the Family Fun campaign for this summer which many of you have participated in.

That’s enough random thought for a Friday. Back to ticking off deadlines. Enjoy your weekend. We will be back later next week………….

Duncan Bannatyne and your attraction? filming? at the seaside? really?

We’ve had contact from an independent production company called Two Four Broadcast.

They have been commissioned by Virgin1 to develop a documentary series about Britain’s seaside attractions. Dragon’s Den star Duncan Bannatyne and a host of celebrity sidekicks will be touring the country breathing fresh life into family owned attractions, amusements and leisure parks.

We are looking for any kind of seaside attraction that have had a tough time recently but still have plenty to offer tourists this summer.

This is a fantastic opportunity to have one of Britain’s most successful business men overhaul the nuts and bolts of your business, have high profile celebrities endorse your attraction and area and enjoy an hour of prime time publicity on a major UK TV network.

Britain’s seaside attractions are the heart and soul of the British summer – this programme is a chance to turn around an attraction that has long had pride of place in our domestic holiday destinations.

Criteria for inclusion:
The attraction must be on or near the seaside.
It must be privately owned or run
It must be suffering from some degree of financial difficulty

There is very tight production deadline so please do not hesitate to get in touch – the filming will take place in the next few weeks Call Gill Hennessey on 01752 727 652 or email

Lets have a Lancashire attraction on the tellybox!

Will we succeed? Can you help?

This morning I was pleased to see our nomination for a Travel Mole Award live on the Awards Website. has been nominated as best website from a Tourist Board for the prestigious 6th Travel Mole Awards.

Unfortunately, the public voting ends on 10th June so we only have – realistically – 1 day to spread the word. 1 day to gain votes and comments that will get us a place in the final four shortlist for independent judging. Oh joy.

Thank goodness for instant communications. This morning we have added news items to both our websites ( and, sent Tweets from our Twitter accounts ( and, added an item to our Facebook accoounts, encouraged all our staff to spread the word to everyone they speak to today, got an e-blast ready to roll to our 20,000+ consumers, got an e-blast ready to go out to all you tourism businesses, and written this blog.

phew. you never know what you’re going to have to do in a day that’s an addition to the urgent things winking at you from your desk… what fun!

Finally……….. if you could justify all this effort with a vote and a comment for your destination website then just click here and do it.

Much appreciated

Sarah Lundy

We’re good, we’re good, we’re very very good! (at tweeting)

I’ve already written about Twitter and how to join the rapidly maturing revolution that is occuring in ‘micro-blogging’ and the fact that we are using this medium ourselves as part of our marketing distribution network.

Well have I got news for you! visitLancashire has been included in a Twitter Report article from the Times Online. We are mentioned as one of the best Tourist Boards using Twitter (hurrah) along with @VisitBritain, @visitlondonweb, @visitaviemore and @LakeDistrictPR.

We also have more followers than all the other accounts mentioned (except 1…..):
@VisitBritain                     2440
@VisitLancashire      828 (it’s now 878)
@VisitScotland                 605
@LakeDistrictPR              594
@visitlondonweb             557
@VisitWales                       567
@VisitEngland                  314
@Visitaviemore              256
@DiscoverNI                    119

So by tweeting well – as real people with valid things to say to our visitors – we have secured some valuable PR. We’re really chuffed.

So don’t tell me that you still haven’t got a Twitter account! If you can tweet 1 thing a day interesting to your visitors you are on a winner. Don’t let it take over your life. It’s literally 1 minute per day. Tweet while you wait for the kettle to boil.

And follow us

As a tourism business you’ll be interested in our business tweets

Do you know where to get support?

As a tourism business in Lancashire do you know where to go for any suppport you might need? This support can come in many forms and some of the pathways to help can seem confusing.

There is a document that can help you look for support available to businesses in the Northwest. Written by the Northwest Development Agency it gathers into one source the broad help that you can get as a business.

This is not an exhaustive list – nor is it tailored to tourism. But it is a great one-stop-shop as a starting point for your business.

Support For Northwest Businesses

Don’t forget the most important thing…… your very own Tourist Board! Our business development team are here to help you find the help you need – this might be funding applications, skills development for your staff, networking suggestions or just plain and simple questions answered. Don’t hesitate to call for help. Call us on 01257 226600 or find the person you want to speak to here

Sarah Lundy