Tuesday 20 November Conferences

Up and saw to the washing, emails and dogs before we set off to Buxton for the annual Peak District & Derbyshire (PD&D) Tourism Conference. A chance to find out what is happening next year and meet up with others in similar lines of business. Additionally a number of Master Classes had been arranged and we had signed up to three. The day finishes with a guest speaker so a full day. With tea and coffee on arrival said hello to a few people I knew before settling down to the welcome speech. This followed a review on tourism numbers and a look ahead at next years funding. Like all destination tourist boards the PD&D has to ‘fight’ for its share of funding for marketing and tourism. The Lake District gets twice as much as the PD&D but has three times as many staff. Due to its unique geographical location the PD&D has a high number of day visitors which doesn’t bring in the income for accommodation. The area has had the fortune of being used for film locations such as Pride and Prejudice and more recently the series Jane Eyre, which has brought a lot of ‘set jetting’ and revenue to the area. Next year sees the release of at least one major film set in the area and it is hoped tourism will benefit from this.

The first Master Class was held by the PD&D PR person who told us a lot of interesting facts about the area that we may not have known. One fact that I did not know is the heather moorlands of the PD&D are the largest outside of Scotland and they are disappearing at a faster rate than the rain forest! We need a pop star to campaign for it! The second class was about Customer Service and was interesting. Then it was lunch time but there was a long queue for the buffet lunch so we walked into town and I bought a couple of Birthday cards for my twin nieces. We got back in time to grab a bite before the third class. This was about Marketing on a budget. All these classes had good advice and information for small businesses. We then went back to the main meeting area to hear Ruth Watson (of Channel 5’s “The Hotel Inspector” fame). She is as sharp in real life as on TV. She talked about how she has got to where she is today and then talked about Quality Standards. Our accommodation is Quality Asassed and they have recently changed the standards. We have been assessed under two different standards for the self catering and B&B in the four years we have been here. No system will fit all but she was quite angry that the word ‘excellent’ and ‘quality’ were not always used in the same sentence. Surely you should expect excellent service from an establishment whether it is rated two or four star. I had a chance to have a brief word with her afterwards whilst Chris went off to find somebody else he wanted to chat too.

We came home as we were expecting some B&B guests who arrived just before 6pm. After tea I phoned my sister who had attended her graduation ceremony today in St Albans. She could only have two guests so our dad and my nephew went. Started to blog whilst watching Spooks but only got a few sentences down. A lady can only take so much excitement!