Personalised welcome for visitors set to boost Portsmouth tourism industry
From beaches to boutique shops, seaborne fun to perfect picnic spots - visitors to Portsmouth can look forward to top tips and inside knowledge from frontline tourism and hospitality staff thanks to a new training course.
Welcome to Portsmouth combines world-class customer service skills with essential knowledge of the city and its tourism offer. Frontline staff will be able to help visitors with queries and information, including attractions, shopping, history, the waterfront, food and drink, outdoors activities and transport options.
Staff from various hotels and customer-facing workers in Portsmouth City Council-run museums (City Museum, Southsea Castle, Natural History Museum, Eastney Beam Engine, D-Day and Dickens) were the first to take the one-day course. Staff across the tourism sector are set to follow suit.
Jane Singh, the Council's Visitor Services and Development Manager, said: "Our vision is that visitors to the city receive an excellent, knowledgeable welcome, whether this be at an attraction, hotel, restaurant, using public transport or enjoying events and outdoor activities.
"Welcome to Portsmouth has been specially developed by Tourism South East for people working here. It combines the latest thinking and techniques of Welcome Host Gold, the UK's leading customer service training, with the "Portsmouth experience" - essential local knowledge, so staff can add real value to every visitor's experience of our city."
Course participants can take an optional multiple choice examination to gain a nationally-recognised City and Guilds qualification in customer service.
Sue Gill, Training Service Director at Tourism South East said: “Portsmouth City Council has taken a really innovative approach to further improving customer service in its tourism sector, which of course is a key part of the local economy.
“Customer-facing staff in accommodation, catering, retail, transport, leisure, entertainment and many other areas will gain advanced service skills, and be able to sell the city’s many options and opportunities. They will become the best possible ambassadors for this great tourism destination.”
Welcome to Portsmouth incorporates core customer service skills which include; identifying and understanding customers and their needs, encouraging customer loyalty, what makes service excellence, the customer journey, encouraging repeat business to Portsmouth, up-selling and cross-selling, dealing with complaints, problems and difficult situations, and welcoming all types of customers.
The specially-developed Portsmouth Experience content includes; the Waterfront City, history, visitor attractions, Historic Dockyard, shopping, outdoor activities including walking, watersports, boat trips and watching/playing sports, Literary links, food and drink, events and festivals, transport to and around the city: bus, road, rail, air, sea, cycling.
Welcome to Portsmouth’s customer service skills element is based on Welcome Host Gold, part of the UK-leading Welcome to Excellence suite of customer service training courses, taken by more than 370,000 people in the tourism, hospitality, leisure and retail sectors. Clients include Bourne Leisure, London Gatwick Airport, English Heritage, Parkdean Holidays, Beaulieu Enterprises, Imperial War Museum North and many local authorities.
It is a highly flexible course and meets National Occupational Standards for Customer Service, with the option to gain a level 2 City and Guilds qualification.