Last Summer, West Coast Cycle Tours was entered into a Business Excellence Awards Competition in County Clare. Our category was the Top Tourism Experience – and it was hotly contested! With so many great places to visit and things to do in Clare, it was always going to attract a large entry! Our only information from the organisers of the competition was that secret shoppers would be visiting us at some stage over the next 6 to 8 weeks. So, this meant I had to start being nice to people for 6 to 8 weeks.
The summer came and the summer sadly went and I genuinely thought very little more of it. We had tourists visit us from near and from far, from Clare and Cork and Dublin and Donegal to England and Japan and Australia and Germany and the United States. Needless to say I checked each of these visitors for any indication that they may be the secret shoppers – a checklist, a notebook, anything! I even googled “Tell Tale Signs of Secret Shoppers”. Like I say, I hardly thought about it… until I received notification that we had been shortlisted for the finals – we’d made it to the Top 3! Those sneaky secret shoppers! They’re masters of deception!
The best was yet to come…
“As soon as we were picked up we were greeted by the tour guide. He explained in a very relaxed manner the general plan for the day and explained that there would be good flexibility to do everything we wanted to do – all to a level we were happy with.”
“During the entire day there was great interaction between us and the tour guide. He took great care to make sure we were comfortable and happy with the bike set up. The interaction between the group and tour guide was very good. At no stage did anyone feel left out of any conversation or learning point.
Each stage of the day led effortlessly on to the next. At all times we were never asked or made to do more than we wanted. He was also very helpful to suggest locations for great photos!”
The day far exceeded my expectations! I wasn’t entirely sure what the day would bring and as I had visited the area before I was curious to know what could be new to me.
“The entire day kept throwing surprises at us and from start to finish we enjoyed all of the points of interest we were shown. The entire tour was done at a pace that we were comfortable with and at no point did we feel rushed to move on to the next stage.
There were plenty of small surprises along the way that I would never have known existed in Clare. This kept us interested and looking forward to the next stop.
The cycle routes were safe and easy to follow with plenty of options to stop if we needed to or if we felt like a break. A job very well done!”
Final Score: 98%
So, “Clare’s Best Tourism Experience” – feels nice to be able to say that. I always felt it was possible, but it was nice to be presented with a shiny award that says it too!
A fantastic night was had and it was great to meet so many of the other businesses across all the other categories. I’d like to thank all who organised and hosted the event, Jean and all the staff at the Ennis Chamber of Commerce, FBD Insurance Dublin Coach and the West County Hotel. I’d also like to wish every other business all the best for the coming season – Up The Banner!
On a personal note, the night of the awards coincided with the birth of my sister’s first child – Matteo. Suffice to say, I genuinely thought very little about the awards in the build up to the event!
– Enda (Apr 17)