The 785-bedroom Strand Palace hotel in London has become the first organisation in the UK to be awarded WorldHost Recognised Business status, with over 80% of its front-line staff having been trained to WorldHost customer service standards.
WorldHost is a customer service training programme that has already been used to train nearly one million people worldwide.
It was developed by British Columbia tourism authorities and was used for training nearly 40,000 staff and volunteers for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
People 1st, with the support of VisitEngland, has developed the programme for the UK market, including additional learning modules on serving customers with disabilities, service across cultures and welcoming tourists to the country.
WorldHost Recognised Business status is awarded to businesses committed to delivering superior customer service and with 50% or more of their front-line staff having completed any of the WorldHost training programmes.
Nadia Simmonds, the human resources manager of Strand Palace Hotel, said the programme was intended to set businesses apart from the competition and get customers returning time and again.
"The Olympics offer a big business opportunity, but we're on a longer-term mission at Strand Palace," Simmonds said. "We want our staff to become customer service specialists so our reputation with customers is one of offering a warm and helpful service and we become their hotel of choice every time they stay in London."
Sharon Glancy, director of the People 1st Training Company, is urging more businesses to embrace the ethos of WorldHost.
"WorldHost is a modern and energetic training programme that can be used across a variety of industries where the quality of front-line customer service is key to the success of the business," she said.
By Janet Harmer
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