CTC Chief Executive, Chris Wales, reports on the new Hotel Charter

A major initiative to improve how hotels do business with coach operators and groups has moved a step closer to fruition with several hotel groups committing to meeting the objectives of the CTC’s new Hotel Charter.

CTC Chief Executive, Chris Wales

CTC Chief Executive, Chris Wales

For years, coach operators and group travel organisers have complained that many hotels – and it should be emphasised not all – have treated their customers as ‘second class citizens’, with scant regard to providing even a basic level of service. It is believed this initiative will help make these complaints a thing of the past.
All hotels and hotel groups who are CTC members have now been asked to adopt and include the charter as the basis for agreements when contracting with coach operators, group travel organisers and wholesalers.
Each part of the charter is simple best practice and the CTC believes all hotels should be happy to ‘buy into’ the key objectives. Doing so will help ensure that all group customers get the holiday experience they expect and deserve, and being part of the initiative will help hotels not only retain existing clients but attract new group business.
While subscribing to the charter will remain voluntary for existing hotel and hotel group members of the CTC, it is the intention that new hotels joining the CTC from 2012 onwards will have to sign up to this charter in order to be eligible to become members.
Speaking of hotels, our annual summer barbecue, held at the Thistle in Cheltenham, attracted a record number of guests this year, with more than 100 people attending what was voted one of the best ever events for the CTC. Thistle certainly ensured everyone had a great evening with truly excellent food and hospitality. A notable statistic was more coach operators attending than suppliers.

The CTC group at Ascot Racecourse.

The CTC group at Ascot Racecourse.

We also had an excellent turn out of operators on a day out at the races – and a behind the scenes tour – as guests of Ascot Racecourse, which is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year.
Looking forward, during September and October we have a number of familiarisation trips, including Northern Ireland, Dublin and the east coast of Ireland with Tourism Ireland.
CTC operators are also being given the chance to discover the historic city of Troyes and the Champagne-Ardennes region of France on a fourday visit from 9th to 12th September, organised by Atout France UK.
There will be an added opportunity to sail on P&O Ferries’ new ‘Spirit of Britain’, the largest ship on the Dover-Calais route.
Meanwhile, the world famous Floriade World Horticultural Expo takes place every 10 years in the Dutch city of Venlo, and the next event opens in April 2012. Group organisers can find out why it should be included in tour programmes on a familiarisation visit as guests of Stena Line.
The trip takes place from 30th September to 2nd October and includes overnight ferry crossings in both directions on the Harwich-Hook of Holland route and a day visit to the Floriade site.
Finally, we are always delighted to welcome new members, especially coach tour operators, and Britain’s biggest privately-owned coach holiday operator, David Urquhart Travel, is the latest high-profile company to join the ranks of the CTC. We also welcome Leons Coach Travel of Stafford, Longmynd Travel of Shrewsbury, Coach Tourism LogoClarks Village in Street, Somerset, Leicester Shire Promotions – the destination management organisation for Leicester and Leicestershire – and Akkeron Hotels, which has 35 hotels in England and Scotland.