Memorable customer experiences make businesses stand out

Happy family drinking coffee while sitting near canvas bell tent in the morning in a forest

Jolene Clark of cottages.com says it’s the little things businesses do that make a guest’s holiday memorable - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The East of England Tourism Awards 2021 are open for entries. Here we speak to the judges and sponsors of both the Camping, Glamping, Holiday Park and Self Catering Accommodation of the Year and B&B and Guest House of the Year categories.

CAMPING, GLAMPING, HOLIDAY PARK AND SELF CATERING ACCOMMODATION OF THE YEAR

Jolene Clark, regional sales director at cottages.com:

Can you tell us a bit about your involvement in the tourism industry?

Having lived and worked in the East of England for more than 20 years, helping promote local tourism has played a key part in my career. I now manage a team of local experts that work with holiday homeowners to offer self-catering accommodation that guests want to visit time and time again.

Why were you keen to get involved in the East of England Tourism Awards?

Tourism in the East of England is thriving, offering diversity in the form of stunning coastlines to the unique and glorious Norfolk Broads – a truly exceptional experience for visitors. Our standards are high and competition is fierce. It’s a privilege to be involved in these prestigious awards.

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What do you bring to the judging process?

An eye for detail. I understand the time, effort and sacrifices that go into preparations and the work required to continuously exceed guest expectations and ultimately help create special memories.

Jolene Clark, regional sales director at cottages.com

Jolene Clark, regional sales director at cottages.com - Credit: cottages.com

Do you have any anecdotes of self-catering experiences that have blown you away?

I’m recently back from a self-catering holiday myself. The property was immaculate and had breath-taking views. But the icing on the cake was a personalised welcome note (including the dog), a bottle of our favourite tipple, and chocolates for my daughter that were there to welcome us. That kind of attention to detail helps create an unforgettable experience and puts smiles on faces from the outset.

What advice would you give to a self-catering business that’s considering entering?

It’s the little things you do that make a guest’s holiday memorable and make your accommodation extra special. So, remember to consider the attention to detail.

B&B AND GUEST HOUSE OF THE YEAR

Scott Goodfellow, joint managing director at Tiptree:

Can you tell us a bit about your involvement in the tourism industry?

I'm based at Tiptree, where we grow a wide range of traditional English fruits and use them to make conserves, condiments and other treats in our factory, but I love to chat to customers all over the world. We have our estate of Tea Rooms across Essex, and we supply the tourism industry with our mini jars and love seeing where they end up. We export to more than 60 countries and value being stocked or served in independent coffee shops, B&Bs and quality airlines.

Why were you keen to get involved in the East of England Tourism Awards?

These prestigious awards bring together the very best of the tourism industry. Our region has a very high standard.

Scott Goodfellow, joint managing director of Tiptree

Scott Goodfellow, joint managing director of Tiptree - Credit: Tiptree

What do you bring to the judging process?

A wealth of food and drink knowledge from my time at Tiptree and previously at Mars. We have a chain of Tiptree Tea Rooms across Essex and we understand and appreciate the challenges and rewards of providing excellent customer service.

What have your previous experiences of judging been like?

I have been lucky enough to be involved with the judging for the Essex Life Food and Drink Awards. It was a privilege to taste the delicious food and drink in the region, but it was incredibly tough to decide on the winner as the competition is so high in this region.

What advice would you give to a B&B or Guest House that’s considering entering?

If you have something remarkable to offer, make sure that you enter the awards!

The deadline for entries to the East of England Tourism Awards is midnight on October 3. To see the full list of categories and criteria visit www.tourismawards.co.uk

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