Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Western Isles hospitality impugned. Justifiably?

It seems that festival-goers to the Hebridean Celtic Festival have had the temerity to complain about the poor levels of service they received whilst there. The numbers of complainants is quoted as 200 - a remarkable number, given that most people don't take the time to complain formally, they simply mutter to themselves that they are never going back (in my experience).

What is the reaction to this from Lisa Maclean, project co-ordinator for Who Cares Wins, funded by development agency HIE Innse Gall? Is it to recognise there is a problem that needs to be dealt with? No of course not, silly! This is the area which, according to Ms Maclean couldn't possibly have such a problem because it's 'a part of the world famed for its hospitality'! Stuff and nonsense! Try and get a drink there on a Sunday. Until recently it would have been vain even to try and get there (or more likely leave the place!) on a Sunday!

But there's more. Not content with seeming to imply somehow that the complaints are not justified the good lady goes on to say:

"The main grumble was from customers having to wait so long to be served and staff not being as attentive as normal.

"You have to remember that this was festival week which is when they are busiest and when staff were under the most pressure."

Well if this is such a busy and important period, presumably financially quite important too for the Western Isles's economy, then I think that rather than whining about how they are too busy to deal competently with visitors who are paying good money to be there, they should pull their fingers out and gear themselves up for the influx in future! After all people don't go to the Western Isles to get a rich golden tan; if visitors are to be enticed back then they need to know that they are not simply going to be treated as a nuisance by the locals. Ms Maclean has a lot to learn about the hospitality business. So do the good people of the Western Isles, by all accounts.

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