Get wise to the Japanese market
In your Opinion column (6 June) you said Japanese tourists "are big spenders and they don't complain".
The first comment is correct, the second is not. The Japanese will complain, but not at a time when you can correct the problem.
They complain to their travel agent in Japan, who tells the tour operator, who tells the ground handler, who stops putting business in your property.
Treat the Japanese market with contempt or complacency and you're not in it for very long.
English Lakes Hotels, Windermere, Cumbria.
Join the lobby for real food
Recent articles in various newspapers have highlighted the scandal of the appalling quality of food being served in some pubs, hotels and restaurants throughout the UK.
The Campaign for Real Ale has succeeded in bringing about the increased growth of small breweries in the UK that produce excellent and drinkable ale. Perhaps it is about time we formed the Campaign for Real Food.
If establishments that serve cooked food displayed a sign stating food was cooked to order and was not a frozen dish heated in a microwave, this would certainly give the consumer the confidence that what they were eating was what they ordered.
I would be interested to hear from anyone else who feels the way I do.
The Ilchester Arms, Ilchester, Somerset.
Consort adds to standards checks
The issue of standards is vital to all involved in the hotel industry, which is why Consort hoteliers in the Midlands have decided to introduce additional standards checks alongside the rigorous inspections already undertaken by the AA.
At present, all hotels joining Consort must reach a minimum AA rating of 64%, and those not reaching that standard by August 1997 will be removed from membership. This initiative received unanimous support from the 121 hotels attending Consort's national conference at the Crieff Hydro Hotel, Tayside, where it was introduced earlier this year.
Additionally, some Consort hoteliers recently felt that another perspective on their standards would be valuable, and have hit upon the idea of inviting fellow members to undertake inspections. They are thus able to gain another expert viewpoint on the standards in their hotels without having to employ an external consultant.
Consort Hotels has responded by providing administrative assistance to hotels that wish to become involved in this scheme.
With all these measures in place, a high level of service and quality can be maintained.
Consort applauds all efforts to maintain a high-quality service to guests and believes this idea may prove of use to other hoteliers.
Director of Membership Services,
Consort Hotels, York.
Look at facilities for disabled again
I congratulate David Phillips, chief executive of Holiday Care Service, in rightly promoting his organisation in his reply (6 June) to my letter of 23 May about the disabled toilet at London's Metropole Hotel being used as a staff changing room.
I fully support and endorse what his organisation and its sponsors are doing in this important field.
However, repeatedly I find that facilities and services, such as specially fitted toilets, that have been provided for the less-abled are abused by the management who use them as, say, store-rooms.
Might I suggest that those 1,000-plus establishments in the UK that have been inspected against the Tourism for All National Accessible Standard are revisited.
I believe, my point would then be seen and appreciated.
GRIFFITH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS
Life (Buyer) Member,
Association for Conferences and Events, London W12.
Run a hotel for a taste of reality
Having recently taken over as "management couple" of a 25-bedroom hotel in Gloucester, my partner and I have played host to a varied clientele.
Every day is different, involving bar work, reception work, cooking, accountancy, gardening, waiting and so on. We have come to fully understand the phrase "chief cook and bottle washer".
Despite the fact we feel we need to be in 10 places at once - serving drinks until 1am and breakfast at 7.30am - our guests feel they are in a comfortable atmosphere.
I was left reeling with laughter after a couple of holidaymakers asked: "So what made you two opt-out of the real world and run a cosy little hotel together?" And later: "By the way, could we have breakfast in bed tomorrow at about 10am?" Now to me that is a real fantasy!
The Edward Hotel, Gloucester.
Old problems face new HCIMA leader
It is interesting that Diane Miller has become the youngest ever president of the HCIMA. I willingly hand over the baton after holding the record for 20 years.
The HCIMA does have considerable problems, not only with the young. Many find it indistinguishable from a trade association and the public remains unaware of its function.
A visit to colleges reveals that the professional body plays little or no part in the professional development of many students. I became a student member at the age of 16 and served in a variety of capacities for 40 years.
If the leaders of industry were consulted, they would tell the HCIMA that they are very unhappy about what is being taught in many colleges - as would many of the tutors.
I suggest the new president should raise the intellectual debate above issues of age and sex and try to find out what the profession needs. It does not consist of the old and the young, it comprises the committed of all ages, who are willing to practice and promote professional standards.
Past President HCIMA,
Stourbridge, West Midlands.
Signing up for a way of life
Regarding the article about recruitment of members for the HCIMA, it would seem that many of the professional catering bodies are at present suffering from a lack of membership.
Our own association continually gets asked "what is in it for me?". Regrettably, our stock answer is often "as much as you put in".
It is strange that we have bred a culture of people wanting something for nothing.
Those who are successful and enjoy the many benefits of working in the catering industry will tell you that all they enjoy now has often been earned with blood, sweat and tears. Our craft is a way of life not just a job.
The Catering Managers Association of Great Britain and the Channel Islands will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary next year. In this time we have seen recessions come and go, but we have not changed our name and are still surviving.
We would like to gather as many past officers and old members for our celebration next year.
Catering Managers Association, 30 Ollgar Close, London W12.
Published by: The Caterer