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Moray Speyside secures World Host destination status

Press release   •   Mar 15, 2018 12:30 GMT

Dawn McNiven; Gill Neill (Chair); Debbie Heron and Vicky Flood from the Moray WorldHost Mangement Group with Ruby Sellar from the Cullen Bay Hotel.

MoraySpeyside has been awarded WorldHost® Regional Destination status in recognition of excellent customer service across the region.

The accolade will support tourism in the area and recognises the businesses who signed up to the scheme as well as their staff who undertook the training. Moray was awarded the status after businesses in the service and tourism sectors put at least 50% of their staff through the WorldHost Principles of Customer Service course.

WorldHost is an internationally recognised programme setting the industry benchmark for businesses and their staff, ensuring that high quality customer service standards are integral to their operation. It has already been used to train over 10 per cent of Scotland’s tourism workforce and represents an investment of over £2million since it was launched in Scotland.

The WorldHost training programmes, which originated from Canada, were first brought to the UK by performance and talent management expert People 1st to prepare local businesses in and around London for the influx of international visitors for the 2012 Olympic Games. The confirmation of MoraySpeyside’s status comes at a time when travel publication Rough Guides announced their readers voted Scotland as the most welcoming destination in the world and their Favourite Destination of 2017. When the region is nominated as top holiday destination by BBC Countryfile magazine.

Gill Neill, Manager of Embrace Elgin (Elgin BID) who Chairs the WorldHost Management group, a small team set up by the Moray Economic Partnership to deliver WorldHost across Moray, said: “This is fantastic news and means that we have tangible proof that Moray can offer visitors a warm welcome and deliver world class customer service.

“This has been achieved through the commitment of the Management Group and the far-sighted businesses who saw the potential and signed up for the course. We also need to say a huge thank you to Dave Stewart Director of the Highland Retail Academy who has delivered the majority of the courses and supported us through this process.”

Jo Robinson, VisitScotland Regional Director for Moray Speyside, said: “I am thrilled that Moray Speyside has achieved WorldHost status. In an increasingly competitive market, good customer service skills are a must and this important accolade ensures that visitors to Moray Speyside can expect that excellent level of service.

“As a tourism destination, Moray Speyside is working hard to ensure it fulfils Scottish tourism’s 2020 vision – every visitor must get a quality experience every single time.”

WorldHost is ace according to Andrew Cowie Director of Ace Taxis, Moray Speyside, who put a number of his drivers through the course in October: “This is the gold standard for customer care and we will wear our badge with pride and emblazon the logo across our website. We are delighted that Moray now has WorldHost destination status proving across the world what we have always known - that Moray knows how to look after tourists and visitors.”

Janis and George Tulloch who opened Tullich House, B&B in April 2016 in Dufftown added: “We want to give our guests the best experience of Moray and Scotland during their stay so we both attended a WorldHost training day in November and found it confirmed we were already doing things well and even gave us some new pointers to make us even better. Feedback from our guests points to our success. We are proud to show the WH logo on our website as it will reassure potential customers that they can expect a high standard of service with us and that they are making a good choice.

“It is wonderful that Moray has achieved WorldHost status and the more service businesses who take visitor treatment seriously the better for Moray and of course Scotland because tourism forms a huge part of the economy in this area.”

Victoria Butler of the Loft near Forres said: “As a local employer customer service and customer satisfaction is vital. We have engaged in World Host training and now all members of staff at The Loft are now World Host trained which has helped improve their individual skills and has also benefitted the business through greater confidence and knowledge of how to interact and exceed the customer’s expectations.

“I would highly recommend World Host training to any employer or business as a way to focus staff attention to the customer and their experience. The training has been valuable to all levels of employee from new employees to long serving.”

Christine Christie, Company Director of Christies of Fochabers said: “Christies of Fochabers are delighted that Moray has been become a World Host Recognised Destination. As a business, one of our key drivers has always been to provide an excellent level of customer service, because of this we have put many of our staff through the World Host Training Programme. Feedback shows that it has helped us to give a greater level of consideration to the needs of our customers. World Host has also encouraged our staff to look at new ways to continually improve our service levels. This, we know, will help to ensure the continued success of our business.”

David Allen, director of Scotland for People 1st, added: “Customer service is vital to the future success of Scottish tourism and it’s taken a huge concerted effort from businesses across the MoraySpeyside region to achieve WorldHost Recognised Business status. Customer expectations are rising all the time, but this training means that MoraySpeyside will be well placed to meet that challenge, and I have no doubt it will have a positive impact on tourism. Congratulations to all the businesses involved!”

Although Destination status has been achieved, the WorldHost Management group is still keen to support businesses who want to take advantage of the training. To find out more about the dates available contact David Stewart on for an informal chat. Additional information can be found on

Notes to Editors

  • Photo by Michael Trail photography.
  • Elgin achieved the status in September 2016, Forres in December 2016 and Fochabers in May 2017.
  • WorldHostWorldHost® is a registered trademark of go2 Tourism HR Society. Used under license. Performance and talent management expert, People 1st, is the authorised licensee of the trademark in the United Kingdom.
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