Since 2009, 15 airports across England have undertaken a ‘Welcome Audit and Improvement Plan’ process, which reviews the visitor’s journey throughout the airport from booking, to arrival and departure. Several airport representatives attending the seminar shared details of improvements made following the results from their Welcome Audits. Outcomes included greater collaboration with local travel operators to improve onward travel links, partnering with Destination Management Organisations to offer enhanced visitor information onsite and customer service training projects.
Chief Executive of VisitEngland, James Berresford, commented:
“Our airports play a vital role in a visitor’s first impression of a destination, both from overseas and at home. This is particularly important during one of the most exciting years for tourism in England and the event today is a great example of the industry working together to make England’s airports the most welcoming in the world.”
Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick Airport said, “We are delighted to have hosted the VisitEngland seminar, providing airports across the country with an opportunity to come together and share best practice on how to provide passengers with a world class welcome. One of our core business priorities is to deliver excellent customer service every day, at every touch point through the airport.”
The event was part of VisitEngland’s Welcome Airport project, which aims to ensure that visitors’ first and last impressions of England’s airports are as positive as possible by bringing together airport operators and their supporting partners, and highlighting best practice. Partners involved in the project include local tourism and transport bodies and national organisations such as the Airport Operators Association and People1st, the sector skills council for hospitality, passenger transport, travel and tourism.