|work shadowing at the Bath Tourist Information Centre|
Our day at the Bath Tourist Information Centre began on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. Fiona Humphreys, who is the Commercial Manager of Bath Tourism Plus, which is the official marketing organisation for Bath, was the person to show us around for the day and to introduce us to her work. The Tourist Information Centre is located in the centre of Bath next to the Abbey and the Roman Baths. On the ground floor, there is an information desk where several employees help tourists in booking their accommodation for their stay in Bath and the Bath area or give information about places of interest and how to reach them. Apart from that, there is also a section where postcards and other souvenirs on Bath are sold and recent or events are promoted. On the first floor of there are numerous offices where about ten people work on the official Bath website www.visitbath.co.uk and the annual Christmas Market as well as on developing new marketing ideas for the upcoming year.
First we were introduced to the whole team and everyone's personal function, whereby the fact that everyone in the team was really young was quite striking. Fiona then gave us the opportunity to watch the busy everyday life of the employees at the information desk and find out with what sort of customers, tasks and problems they have to deal with each day. Meanwhile, we also had a look at the Bath website and were supposed to cast a glance on the German version of the texts, which - as we were told - a German trainee and students from the University of Bath had translated.
The next point on our schedule for the day was the Windsor Hotel that is situated about five minutes walking distance from the Tourist Information Centre. Fiona explained to us that she had an appointment with the new manager of the hotel in order to show her how to expose the availability of their rooms online on the Bath website and how to enable customers to book their accommodation online as well, as this is beneficial for both customers and the hotel. The owner of the hotel had changed recently and the new owner was currently trying to build up a new team and to regain the evaluation points that are lost whenever the owner of a hotel changes, as Fiona told us.
The visit at the hotel was followed by a lunch break and we returned to the Tourist Information Centre at half past one in order to attend a meeting of the whole crew where various business and marketing issues were to be discussed. Each equipped with a large cup of coffee, which would be "absolutely indispensable", as we were told, since such meetings usually were rather long-winded and boring, we headed off to the meeting room. Several issues were presented and discussed and the meeting started off with a comparison of the numbers of bookings in respect to the month in which they were made and to how they were made (telephone, internet, directly). It turned out that the number of bookings made via the internet was increasing, whereas booking accommodation directly was gradually losing its popularity with customers. It was then discussed what to do about these tendencies and how to attract more people to come to the Tourist Information Centre in person. Finally, ideas for new marketing campaigns for the next couple of months were introduced and debated.
In conclusion I can say that even though it was only one day, our internship was a very good experience that provided an insight into many things that happen "behind the scenes". We found out that one person works on the planning of the Christmas Market throughout the whole year to assure that the market running for only eleven days flows smoothly. Furthermore, there is a special campaign for each season such as "Romantic Bath" or "Rediscover Bath", which is also reflected on the Bath site, which needs to be designed and realised. Our day came to a perfect ending when Fiona handed us a "complimentary pass" which allowed us to visit all attractions and sites in and around Bath, for example the Roman Baths and all museums including the Jane Austen Centre for the duration of our stay - free of charge.