The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Ayrshire Smiles all round as 5-Star visitor attraction gets 100%

There are big smiles all round at Hunterston B power station visitor centre after its entire team of guides received their certificates for passing the Ayrshire Smiles service excellence training course – the first business with 100% of its customer-facing staff to complete Ayrshire Smiles.      

The team of tour guides (pictured above) show visitors around EDF Energy’s Hunterston B power station and explain the fascinating workings of the station. Welcoming people from the local area and much further afield on a daily basis to the visitor centre, which has a 5-Star rating by VisitScotland, the guides decided to rise to the challenge of enhancing their already excellent customer services skills.      

Ayrshire Smiles mixes customer service training with destination knowledge and is designed to inspire people employed within tourism and hospitality-related businesses to share their passion for Ayrshire and give a genuine warm welcome to visitors.

It builds on tried and tested destination and service delivery courses and helps create a consistent and quality approach to customer service.

Speaking about the training, Valerie Poyser, Hunterston B power station visitor centre co-ordinator said: “All our guides found the training really very worthwhile to do and it only took just over a couple of hours to complete online. We were tested on our knowledge of other attractions in the local area and on the best way to deal with customers. I would recommend the training to other Ayrshire organisations as it really is a very useful tool.”

Moira Birtwistle, member of the Ayrshire & Arran Tourism Leadership Group said: “We are delighted to have been involved in the development of the Ayrshire Smiles programme, which empowers businesses to enhance the quality and delivery of excellent service to their visitors. 

“The warmth of welcome and customer care through excellent product knowledge are among the most important factors influencing how an area is perceived. By exceeding expectations, the area can benefit from visitors returning and also sharing their enjoyment of all that Ayrshire and Arran has to offer.”

Ayrshire Smiles online training is available free of charge. Individuals can register and businesses can find out more about using the course as part of their staff training at 

The initiative was developed by Ayrshire & Arran Tourism Team with a wide variety of industry partners. The initiative supports the aims and ambitions of the Ayrshire & Arran Tourism Strategy 2012-2017 and recognises the importance that the people of Ayrshire & Arran and the service they deliver make to the overall visitor experience.

The Ayrshire & Arran Tourism Team is funded by the three Ayrshire local authorities (East, North and South Ayrshire Councils).

The team works with the industry under the guidance of the Ayrshire & Arran Tourism Leadership Group to support the delivery and aims of the Ayrshire & Arran Tourism Strategy 2012-2017 (which targets growth of visitor numbers, spend and employment). 

Tourism is very important to the economy of Ayrshire & Arran, generating £348 million of revenue per year, from some 3.5 million visitors. This directly supports almost 9,000 jobs. 

The region has tremendous strengths that offer the visitor a range of great experiences, spanning rural, coastal, historic and built environments; world class golf, sailing, culture and heritage; high quality food, drink and hospitality; beautiful islands, marine and countryside. 

There is a dedicated website for Ayrshire Smiles – 

Find out more about Ayrshire & Arran Tourism at 

Hunterston B power station visitor centre is open from Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm or at weekends between 10am and 4pm. If you would like a plant tour, book in advance on 01294 826008 or you can e-mail

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

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