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Venuemasters award for university's hospitality teams

Posted 24 November 2014

The fact that we secured Hospitality Assured accreditation was success enough, so to have received this award is a real honour! We all work hard to make sure that our clients get the very best, no matter what the size of their event."

Lisa Chapman and David Nuttall, who manage the conference venue and catering teams, with the Venuemasters award

Harper Adams University has won a national award recognising the work of its combined hospitality teams. 

At the Venuemasters annual conference gala dinner on Thursday, Harper Adams won “Best initiative to improve customer service in 2014”. The winning initiative was the university’s bid to gain Hospitality Assured accreditation, which was successfully achieved in October. 

Business Support Manager Lisa Chapman said: “Industry statistics indicate that more and more customers are buying into not only a service or product but also into the people behind it, so first impressions are key when converting business enquiries into bookings. 

“With this in mind, and a need to improve the reporting structure between the university’s Short Course and Conference Office (SCCO) and its Catering Department, it was felt that some common goals needed to be established, with the ultimate intention of enhancing the relationship between both departments. We firmly believed that by improving our processes, we could add value to the business and improve customer service.”

The teams used the nine steps of the Hospitality Assured accreditation process to enhance their strengths and eradicate any weaknesses. 

“Working with the support of the university’s senior management, we examined what we were doing from a customer’s perspective and identified areas for improvement. It was a rigorous review process that involved a number of stakeholders, with champions heading up each of the nine stages. Processes were streamlined, internal communications improved and our champions delivered key messages to the stakeholders, including the customer service promise which is now embedded on all marketing material and is at the heart of everything we do. 

“The fact that we secured Hospitality Assured accreditation was success enough, so to have received this award is a real honour! We all work hard to make sure that our clients get the very best, no matter what the size of their event – we handle everything from full-week conferences or weddings to small group dinners or half-day meetings, so we have a diverse range of customers and believe this process is benefitting them all.” 

Venuemasters is a not-for-profit organisation which promotes the meeting and accommodation facilities available for hire at academic venues across the UK. The theme of this year’s conference, held at the Telford Innovation Campus, was 'delivering service excellence' and three awards were made under that theme at Thursday’s gala dinner: best initiative to improve customer service, best individual contribution to customer service in 2014 and best score for Venuemasters mystery buyer research in 2014. 

Harper Adams is one of only nine UK universities and one of just two venues in Shropshire to hold Hospitality Assured accreditation. 

 

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