With many UK residents deciding to go on holiday in England rather than abroad, holiday makers seem to be more and more comfortable choosing a ‘staycation’ - in the UK. Due to the recent economic climate, hundreds of people cannot afford four or five star luxury accommodation but still expect quality, whatever the budget.
Budget accommodation-offers peace of mind and reassurance for guests, as they already know what to expect. When people book budget accommodation, they already have an idea -that they should get a clean and comfortable room for a decent price. While prices between establishments are competitive during peak times, as travel agents you should ensure that the places you book your customers into are providing them with the essentials that they need, while also providing quality.
Budget accommodation, like any other type of accommodation, comes in a variety of styles to suit all needs. Most towns and cities now offer at least one of the well-known budget hotel brands, with new additions to this sector appearing all the time.
Hostels are no longer the isolated, rather basic, facility that you might remember staying in while on a school trip. Many purpose built city centre hostels are now springing up, which are not only decorated and furnished in a contemporary design, but offer a wide range of facilities and different room styles.
More and more university campuses are letting their student accommodation out during the holidays, and can often offer dinner, as well as bed and breakfast, or like hostels, can offer the convenience of a self-catering kitchen.
Below is a checklist of what you should be doing to make sure you are booking your customers into high quality budget accommodation:
· Find out if it’s accredited! This is just as important for budget accommodation as it is with 4 and 5 star hotels, if not more. An accredited establishment generally wins a customer’s trust over one that is not accredited.
· Check the basics! – Just because your guests are not paying for a luxury suite doesn’t mean that the accommodation can get away without doing some of the basics. Guests should always expect a clean and comfortable bed, a safe and secure place to leave belongings and plenty of hot water for a bath or shower, etc.
· Squeaky clean – Ensure that the facilities have a high standard of cleanliness maintained throughout the property.
· Service and hospitality– Ensure that there is a good level of customer service. Quality service should not be ignored just because it’s ‘budget’ accommodation. Staff should always make guests feel welcome, and try and deal with any special requests where possible.
· Booking service – Choose accommodation where you won’t have a hassle booking! The accommodation should have an easy and efficient booking service to -make the reservation process as simple as possible. There’s nothing more embarrassing than having a client in front of you, and you are struggling to book a place for them, which you’ve recommended.
· Speak to reception – This is the first and last place your clients will be visiting. It should give you a pretty good idea about the standard of customer care. So before booking, why not phone reception and have a conversation, -to check their knowledge and helpfulness – this is a good indicator as to whether the rest of the team, and indeed the establishment itself, are providing a quality service.
· Technology! I know most of us don’t stay in accommodation to watch TV or listen to the radio, however it’s always nice to have the option! And your customers will no doubt be expecting --adequate plug sockets to charge up their gadgets, Internet connection and access to a television, even if it is - budget accommodation.
· Convenience – Make sure you choose the right location for your client, ask them what they are wanting from their stay, -whether they need to be close to train or bus stations, major road links, restaurant and bars, or whether they want the peace and tranquility of the countryside. There is bound to be some quality assessed budget accommodation to suit their needs, whatever part of the country they are visiting.
As a travel agent it is your job to make sure that wherever you are booking guests the quality of the accommodation is guaranteed.
Quality in Tourism accredited properties ensure that quality is -consistent throughout the accommodation. As a trusted brand throughout the whole of the UK, look out for our logo or check online when booking. Each establishment is independently assessed and guaranteed to give visitors the quality they expect whatever their budget.
Quality in Tourism (QiT) is the official assessment service provided for VisitEngland. The organisation carries out assessments and handles the administration of the national quality assessment schemes on behalf of VisitEngland.
For more information either email James.Ardley@uk.g4s.com or visit www.qualityintourism.com