Page last updated at 16:42 GMT, Thursday, 8 January 2009

Poor service: Your views

Bucket and spade on a beach
BBC News website readers shared their views about tourism in the UK.

The tourism sector could lose thousands of jobs in the recession according to Britain's chief of that industry.

Visit Britain chairman Christopher Rodrigues said he feared foreign tourists would be put off by low standards in hotels and restaurants.

Hotel owners, frequent travellers and tourism workers have been sending their comments about he service provided by hotels and restaurants in the UK.

Read the full story


I run a five-star hotel with excellent service. Perhaps VisitBritain should look at its own service records. For all the money they get from the government, all we ever seem to get is useless statistics and reports and an astonishingly low service level: no response from call centre, messages left unanswered for weeks and months. One department not knowing what the one next door is doing etc. Not exactly a model for the industry.
Hotel owner, Bath, UK

When I started out in the hotel industry there were 300 full time employed hotel staff. Now we have around 50-60 staff employed on the same basis and around 150 staff on a casual basis. Now if you work 40 hours per week you will put a lot into it and pride in your job and take an interest in the business. However, if you only work 20-24 hours per week you will not bother. Training is also a big issue. When I started at my hotel we had two senior training officers who oversaw all aspects of staff training. There is now only one human resources personnel.
John, UK

I'm surprised that the tone is so negative. Cumbrian Tourism, our county tourism organisation, has provided extensive support and training to tourism businesses like mine. 'Welcome Host' is a series of customer service workshops that the people at my farm shop and tea room have benefited from. The implication is that British tourism is stuck in a 1970's rut. That's not the case, at least it's not here in Cumbria.
Alison Park, Kendal, Cumbria, UK

In the summer, whilst waiting for a rail connection in south east France, we had a quick meal at a cafe by the station. The waiter arrived promptly at our outside table, produced a fresh linen tablecloth, cutlery wrapped in a protective package, carafe of water and glasses. The pizza, which was excellent, was served with little bottles of oil and vinegar and the cup of coffee after, also excellent, came with unexpected biscuits. I just can't imagine this level of service in cafes adjacent to stations in this country, and as a tourist information worker I find it both depressing and embarrassing that we accept and offer such poor standards.
Gill, Worcester, UK

My wife used to be a cleaner in a hotel, she was treated like a slave and had to leave because after every shift she was left shattered by the amount of work they made here do and all for the minimum wage. Low pay, poor service, enough said.
Steve, Sheffield, UK


I am a French resident in Humberside. The standards of British cuisine have clearly improved, though the road is still quite long. But clearly an école hôtelière, a college to teach the fine arts of waiting and serving customers in restaurants is needed. Not that the British kids are unpleasant, but simply they have no clue on how to do it properly, serving gents before ladies, passing or cutting in front of the customer instead on serving on the left and from behind, all that is clearly ignored, as I say the kids are nice but they are not taught in hotel and servicing clients schools and the UKwould benefit from such college trainings
Prieur, Grimsby, UK

I visit the UK several times a year, staying in mid-priced accommodation. I've experienced mainly warm and willing welcomes everywhere, but the quality of same price accommodation in other European countries is much, much better. London is without a doubt the worst place in the UK to have to stay - whereas my experiences in Scotland were very good. I find that B&B's invariably offer better value for money than hotels, probably because the owner gets the flak directly.
Joy Natan, Brussels, Belgium

I live in Italy but come back to England once or twice a year. There's lots of great things to England but service in bars, restaurants and hotels isn't one of them; its absolutely terrible; unbelievably bad staff have just no idea how to either to prepare or then serve food and drink. My parents always insist on taking us out for a meal and I always refuse, since it's just throwing money away. The causes are many but one I feel the problem that English don't complain and therefore quality off service remains low; people just leave things without saying why. The last time I quietly complained that the wine was bad I was told that the glass had already been poured so there was nothing they could do about it - what ! A suggestion to bar and restaurant manages - if you see food and drink untouched or only consumed in part ask yourself why.
Andrew Pindar, Milan, Italy

I travel for a living and find the UK, especially the South East, has got to be one of the worst for service anywhere in the world, especially then you considering the price you have to pay for it. If people are finally not coming to the UK, and spending their money in places where you are treated like a paying guest and not a nuisance, well it's not really a surprise, is it....!
Andrew McLachlan, Denver, US

We had booked a hotel in Scotland a few years back.. last minute, online... it was awful, they were renovating the place when we arrived, we had a window view of various oil rigs, no en-suite (for at least £60 per night) a plug-in de-humidifier in the shower and best of all, what I assume was the female owner of the place, basically told us off at the breakfast table for cancelling the last/second night... I just hope this place is bust now!
Nina Maxwell, Scotland, UK

A reduction of the tourism market can only be a good thing. Speaking as someone from South Devon, the counties roads are ever increasingly overcrowded, the small villages and lanes were not meant for the huge volume and numbers of people, in many areas it has completely stripped villages and towns of their character. We should be looking to reduce numbers dramatically but increase the quality of accommodation. Those in the tourism trade seem to think because of the location they can charge what they like and behave how they like, although to be even handed this also applies to many tourists, mostly, unfortunately, British. A recession will sort the good from the bad and hopefully bring a better balance between what the region can comfortably provide and the sort of service that can be attained. I expect many overcrowded tourism areas will be of the same opinion.
Andrew, Churchstow, Devon, UK

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Poor service: Your views
08 Jan 09 |  UK

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