The AA is introducing a new customer service training scheme to hotels, bed and breakfasts and guest houses that want to improve their AA rating.
Drawn up in partnership with the People 1st Training Company, the scheme will see the AA Hotel Services team deliver the WorldHost Principles of Customer Service programme to AA establishments.
WorldHost programmes have been used to train over a million people worldwide - including thousands of volunteers and local ambassadors at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Originally developed in Canada, the training has been adapted for the UK market by the People 1st Training Company.
The programme covers all the most important elements of welcoming customers, including making a great first impression, using and remembering names, how to listen to customers effectively and communication techniques.
Simon Numphud, AA Hotel Services manager, said: "Customer service is one of the key factors we consider when awarding our star ratings, and we feel that it is important to offer businesses support in this area where they could deliver improvements.
"In a difficult economic climate, businesses are having to compete even harder for customers' attention and outstanding service can really set you apart."
Sharon Glancy, managing director of the People 1st Training Company, added: "Last summer's Olympics demonstrated what a fantastic impact offering a warm welcome can have on visitors - we want to build on this momentum help businesses reap the benefits of providing a great service.
If hotels train over 50% of their front-line staff using the WorldHost programme, they can also apply to become a WorldHost Recognised Business, allowing them to display the WorldHost logo in their business and on their website.
By Janet Harmer
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