According to Fáilte Ireland, the towns selected will now be subject to unannounced inspections by ‘secret shoppers’ over the coming weeks. The list then gets narrowed down to 10, with both the best large and small tourism town announced in November. Youghal will be considered for the ‘large towns’ category.
Aileen Murray of the Youghal Socio-Economic Development Group anticipates the ‘secret shoppers’ will rate customer interaction across a range of services, not alone the traditional tourist providers. “We expect adjudication to take place on everything from customer service interaction at the local petrol station or pharmacy through to restaurants, bars and the traditional tourism activities”, said Aileen. Youghal is highly rated already for it’s customer service, but if we can all have a heightened awareness across the board, it may just reap huge benefits to the town for our reputation if we do really well in this competition. Concluded Aileen.
Failte Ireland has indicated they expected towns to consider the needs of the visitor and the type of experience they will have on their holiday. “The visitor journey begins at search or planning stage where they gather information and decide upon a destination / town to visit and continues when they arrive, stay, eat and interact with the environment, the local community and product providers.” Said their spokesperson.
A summary of the outcome of the assessment will be provided to each of the fifteen shortlisted towns, which can be used by each town for further development and / or preparation for the 2016 competition. This is the fourth year the awards have been held. Last year, Westport won the award for best large tourism town and Kinsale was given the award in the small town category.