Customer excellence and memorable experiences are key drivers of success

Friends having breakfast at a hotel

A memorable experience, fuelled by top-class customer experience is a winning combination - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The East of England Tourism Awards 2021 are open for entries. Here we speak to the judges and sponsors of the Customer Excellence Award and the Experience of the Year category. 

CUSTOMER EXCELLENCE AWARD

Richard Turvill, managing director of Swiss Camplings:   

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

We are the largest independent supplier of linen services in Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and parts of Essex and Lincolnshire. Supporting the smallest B&Bs to the largest hotels, holiday parks and self-contained holiday lets, Swiss Camplings supply over 27million pieces of laundry per year.   

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

We have sponsored this award for a number of years. We believe it is the service that makes the difference for our customers and would like to believe this ethos is shared by our business partners. 

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Those hospitality partners who strive for customer excellence deserve to be recognised for their efforts. Particularly in a post-pandemic environment, it is good to see the innovation and customer focus.  


What do you bring to the judging process?  

I have over 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry and a keen eye for detail. I take a very objective approach to judging and ensure that all of the applicants get a fair appraisal for their efforts.  

What have your previous experiences of judging been like?  

We have had some very close contenders, but it is the small details and truly innovative customer excellence ideas which have guided us to a winner in the past.  

It has been a privilege to meet so many local and talented suppliers who have been nominated for providing a great service. The nomination is equally rewarding, but to stand out in this category is a true testament to hard work and consideration.  

What will it take to wow you?  

We are looking for those nominations who go above and beyond the norm when considering their customers. Particularly in a post-COVID environment, we are look for businesses that have continued to consider customers at the heart of everything they do, making their experience truly memorable. 

EXPERIENCE OF THE YEAR

Judy Randon, customer experience director at insight6:

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

I have always enjoyed being part of a vibrant tourism industry. Food tourism is a particular area I love to promote and there is nothing I enjoy more than supporting emerging and developing food and drink producers, across the East of England in particular.  

I have a long association with a variety of independent businesses in both the UK, Europe, the US and Australia, who all contribute to food tourism.   

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

I love to support the awards in whatever way I can as I truly believe the region has so many unsung heroes and if we can raise awareness and promote them in any way through these awards, then I am definitely ‘in’. 

Judy Randon, customer experience director at insight6

Judy Randon, customer experience director at insight6 - Credit: insight6

Do you have any anecdotes of experiences that have blown you away?  

Our first family holiday in Italy was at an agri-tourism (farm) B&B in a remote village. We arrived two hours late at 10pm one very hot summer’s evening with three children in tow, and our host insisted on providing us with a ‘light snack’ which consisted of home-baked bread, home-cured salami/hams, olive oil, their own local cheeses, wine (from their own vines), fresh cherries and apricots (from their own trees). 

That was all pretty amazing and the most memorable thing was how the owner, Mario, welcomed us and made us feel like we were the only guests he had ever entertained! Experience is everything!   

What advice would you give to an experience business that’s considering entering?  

To ensure that the whole customer journey has been very well thought through from first impression or touch of the business through to the actual experience, to ensure a lasting impression has been achieved. 

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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