When people think of our Quality Assurance schemes they think of stars and plaques and levels of luxury. Indeed, our schemes are designed to give businesses new levels to aspire to, driving up standards and making Scotland a total quality destination.
But this is not the only way we help drive the quality agenda in the industry. The Scottish Thistle Awards has been driving quality too. As well as being an opportunity for the industry to reward the greatest examples of forward-thinking, innovative and customer-focused businesses in each category every year, the winners also give other businesses inspiration and a position to aspire to.
Much has happened over the last 25 years that has affected hospitality and tourism – budget flights disrupting the air travel industry, the development of the internet and mobile technology completely changing the way we go about booking our holidays, and the number of people visiting Scotland in this time (between 1990 and 2015) has grown by over 57% bringing with it more spend and more capital investment across the industry.
One thing that has been a welcome constant across Scottish tourism over this time is our annual Scottish Thistle Awards, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
Customer reviews and recommendations play an important role for any business, and none more so than in the hospitality and tourism sector. The advancing presence of websites like TripAdvisor and TrustYou is testament to that. Bad reviews left on a website can often publicly damage the reputation of a business, which can take time to rebuild. Alternatively, great reviews can be very rewarding for all those team members who are involved in the delivery of the service. Awards can bolster those reviews, especially when nominations come from the public and entries are judged by industry peers – just like the Thistles.
The way the Thistle Awards work is firstly by nominations from the public, then the business can create an entry and finally this is judged by an industry panel. Three layers of rigorous recommendation and review that gives the Thistle Awards kudos across the Scottish tourism industry.
Stellar customer service, innovation, embracing digital technologies and training and development for your staff are all vital contributing factors for creating a winning Thistle award entry and they are all factors that’ll make sure we are creating a total quality destination and continue to ensure customers are leaving positive reviews and recommending your business too.
Yesterday, we marked the 25th anniversary at Stirling Castle and announced a new category to celebrate the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. If you want to be part of our 25th anniversary Scottish Thistle Awards celebrations, you can get your entry in now.