THOSE WINTER JOBS.
By Mari Walk Coordinator at The Walking Holiday Company.
‘What a good idea...stick it on the Winter Jobs List’ Julie (Director of The Walking Holiday Company) says all spring and summer when things here at admin. central of The Walking Holiday Company are at their most busy. So, we do and the list just gets longer and longer and at some stage we have to deal with it.
January at The Walking Holiday Company brings with it numerous enquiries from perspective clients looking to book their ideal walking holiday. This coming January will be particularly exciting as we have our wonderful new website www.thewalkingholidaycompany.co.uk which was launched in September, with even more information, wonderful photographs, more itineraries, reviews and even a ‘chat support’ opportunity - meaning you can simply type in a question and receive a speedy answer. So one of the ‘to do’ items was...get used to the new website... and after hours of work and training with the web designers...we are ‘website ready’ for all that the walking public can throw at us. So whether it is the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Offa’s Dyke Path or Hadrian’s Wall Path, we have the answers to even the trickiest of questions.
From January into mid spring our clients generally book their holidays, we deal with hundreds of enquiries; make lots of suggestions and above all listen to exactly what our clients want. On receiving the booking, we then start to reserve the accommodation and once that final bill is paid (around six weeks before the holiday commences) we compile and issue their personal holiday guide, which we call the holiday pack, the day by day guide to the holiday.
Our walkers then generally take their holidays from April with the last hardy souls still out in late September, during the summer months we are still booking more last minute holidays for clients, we man the phones to provide a back up service for our walkers, deal with the feedback we receive from our clients and as things start to quieten down in September the ‘Winter Jobs List’ starts to appear on the horizon again.
One tactic we have to put off the ‘Winter Jobs List’ is to research further all the accommodation we use on the various routes. We have 13 walks on our website at present with many more currently being researched. Each autumn we check reviews for each establishment, make sure the standards are still what we are expecting, look out for any new guest houses, any refurbished pubs or new hotels we have missed – these can be researched ready for next year’s clients.
At around November time, although holiday enquiries are still coming in the ‘Winter Jobs List’ is back on the agenda again and now we have to deal with it, so the first item is to book our Christmas outing... a spa day and afternoon tea for the staff...tick...done, very important job that one and a big thank you to Julie. Then after putting it off for so long... we just work our way through the ‘Winter Jobs List’ and somehow, it’s not as bad as we are expecting. We want the information that we give our clients to be as up to date as possible, so we double check the listings of shops/facilities/visitor centres we provide on some of our more popular walks, we close down old client files on our system and delete space greedy photographs, double check our wording is correct, double check for any detours on the walks we offer, check transport timetables, its really all about providing accurate information to our walkers each year. After putting the dreaded list off for so long, it actually doesn’t take all that long, what was all the fuss about? Now...off to the spa!