Awards, do they mean anything?
Over the summer we have obtained 3 awards – all of which were very welcome and made us feel good but some are better than others in commercial terms, some help us with our trade dealings and some help with our credibility.
Lets start with the most important – the sandcastle competition. For 10 years I have been trying to get the award for best sandcastle building on The Treloyhan Manor sand castle building competition on Porthminster Beach at St Ives in Cornwall. Each year it got more and more difficult as I grew older and the competition grew younger and younger (3 year old children aided by overly competitive mums and dads) and then someone suggested I try for another prize – go for a niche award so imagine my surprise on awards night when I won the prize for the most historically accurate sandcastle. My design was based on a little fisherman’s chapel on the hill. (you can just see it in the background) That’s what we do at Langford Travel. We try to be the best in a limited market – the complicated (multi stop itineraries, coordinating trips one with another) and the special (honeymoons and anniversaries.)
So what about the award for being agent of the month? This award is based on how much you support a particular tour operator. At Langford Travel we only use operators we trust not only for good value pricing but also for their service levels. If something goes wrong before or during your holiday we know we can sort it out. Just recently a client of ours checked into a New York hotel and there was (supposedly) no booking for them. They telephoned me and I sorted it out temporarily for them (at midnight) so the could check in at the hotel and sorted out the problem permanently the next morning because I had confidence in the operator I used. Sure enough the problem was because the receptionist did not know the right way to retrieve bookings made through 3rd parties rather than direct with the hotel. These awards are sometimes a bit hit and miss as it depends on how busy you are that month or what sort of holidays your customers are looking for.
The 3rd award is the mystery shopper where we were adjudged best out of 4 venues that the mystery shopper visited for a trip to visit the gorillas in Uganda. These awards are very welcome but also rely on chance. We did not have a queue, Claire knew where to get the information and the mystery shopper just happened to choose our agency but she still had to be ultra welcoming, ultra service orientated and able quickly to assess what the client wanted (3 of the things she was commended for. However a mystery shopper has visited Harrogate 3 times since 2010 and Langford Travel has won each time – the 3 destinations involved were China Dubai and Rwanda. Langford Travel has been open since 1988 so that’s a lot of travelers we have sent away, lots of research done, lots of feedback and lots of customer service. All of that we use to help book your individual trip, holiday or travel.
All 3 awards are equally important and our ideal client would be someone who needed to be booked with a great tour operator to anywhere (but particularly China, Dubai or Rwanda) and wanted advice on how to build a sandcastle there.