On September 6th 2006 the American Travel and Tourism Board advised the Secretary of State on the need to improve the Brand image of the US for overseas visitors. In a vast country like the US small percentage drops in visitor numbers can be overlooked, or explained away as short-term issues. That the American Government is reacting quickly to this message is a lesson to the West. In Scotland, where Tourism is the single biggest employer, and competition for visitors and loyalty is fierce, a reduction in Brand "pull" and visitor loyalty can be a death knell.

The rules are simple, indeed perhaps too obvious and easily overlooked for more pressing demands on Management time. Accounting "best practice", compliance with rules from OSCR, HSE, Visit Scotland and staff Employment Law are of course essential, but the obvious rule is "The Customer is King".

From the moment the idea of a visit to your business occurs to them, or indeed is placed before them so it occurs to them, they have become a part of the process. It does not start only when they walk through your door. Nor does it finish once they leave.

An Audit involves a mix of desk work as well as the actual visit, and can take as little as a couple of days.

It can take longer of course but my passion for improving Customer Service Delivery means that "value for money" are my watchwords.

I know from my time at Rosslyn Chapel that budgets for this sort of work can be tight, so I intend that my costs to you relate to as few customers through your door as possible. When you think that confirmation of acceptable practice, or advice on the few teaks needed to make it so can cost less than the income from one coach load of visitors you'll see I'm not here to make my own fortune!

Rosslyn Chapel, and my experience gained in customer service delivery over 30 years  convinces me of the value of my service. Can you afford to ignore this need - the investment is minor and the results just keep on earning you income and visitor approval.

Visitor loyalty is of growing importance. Look at the Supermarket and major store chains.

This element of the audit looks at aspects connected with the actual visit.

A visit is the physical element in something that may well have started months earlier. A potential visitor may well decide on an area and then seek more information about that area. Equally the attraction may command sufficient interest that the area becomes secondary.

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