Visit Scotland Quality Assurance Report

Visit Scotland Quality Assurance Report

Ace Adventure

Visit Scotland Logo

 

Company URN:       78487
Property URN:        103050
Attraction:               Ace Adventure
Date of Visit:            26/08/2013
QTA Name:               Hidden
Discussed with :      Jim Davis

Grading:                   4 Star
Designator:              Activity Provider
Overall Score:         173/200           86% 


Summary:

Ace Adventures is an experienced operator in the outdoor activities market and one of Scotland’s leading white water rafting specialists. The operational side of the business has changed significantly since the initial grading under the Visit Scotland’s Activity Provider pilot in 2009. The experience overall was excellent and your staff in particular have been recognised in the assessment for their professional and friendly attitude. Many thanks Jim for your time at the end of the activity to discuss the grading. This report provides an overview of the visit experience and suggestions for improvement should you wish to aim for a 5 star award in the future.

All sections meet sectional consistency requirements. Award confirmed.

Visitors will have an expectation that all areas of an attraction display a similar degree of quality. This expectation is reflected in the grading by sectional consistency. The areas that must achieve sectional consistency are Arrival, Attraction (Core), Catering, Retail and Toilets. All of these areas must achieve the minimum percentage of the relevant grading band for that award to be confirmed. The single exception to this is that one of Catering, Retail and Toilets can sit one grading band below the overall award. At the time of this visit all areas meet the requirements for sectional consistency.

Riders:

All riders met. Award Confirmed.

At 3, 4 and 5 stars, key elements of the attraction must achieve a minimum score before these awards can be confirmed. These are called riders and the minimum scores are indicated below. At the time of this visit all riders were met and the award is confirmed.

To confirm an award of:           4 Stars

the following areas need to score above a certain level. ‘Pass’ indicates the required score has been met.

Riders (7/10 for 3 Stars, 8/10 for 4 Stars, 9/10 for 5 Stars)

In Place

Pre-Arrival: Booking Procedure/Efficiency  (Rider)

Pass

Pre-Arrival: Booking Procedure/Friendliness/Attitude   (Rider)

Pass

Arrival: Welcome/Attitude of Staff  (Rider)

Pass

Arrival : Cleanliness – building/vehicle  (Rider)

Pass

Attraction: Orientation  (Rider)

Pass

Attraction: Changing Facilities  (Rider)

Pass

Attraction: Attitude/Friendliness of Instructor  (Rider)

Pass

Attraction: Activity  Experience/Instruction   (Rider)

Pass

Attraction: Cleanliness (Centre based activity)  (Rider)

Not Scored

Catering: Attitude & Efficiency of Staff  (Rider)

Not Scored

Catering: Cleanliness  (Rider)

Not Scored

Retail: Attitude & Efficiency of Staff  (Rider)

Not Scored

Retail: Cleanliness  (Rider)

Not Scored

Toilets: Cleanliness  (Rider)

Not Scored

Please Note: To achieve an award of 4 Stars an overall score of 78-84% must be achieved. Additionally, one area (catering, retail or toilets) may score below 78% but not less than 71%, which is the  minimum percentage score for 3 Stars. If so, the grading would drop to 3 Stars.

Pre-Arrival

Available

Actual

1 Brochure/Leaflet/Website

10

8

2 Road and Directional Signs

10

8

3 Booking Procedure/Efficiency (Rider)

10

10

4 Booking Procedure/Friendliness/Attitude  (Rider)

10

10

Pre-arrival section is scoring: 5 Stars

40

36

90%

Arrival

Available

Actual

5 Car Park

10

7

6 Signage

10

8

7 Price Display

N/A

8 Welcome/Attitude Staff (Rider)

10

10

9 Appearance of Staff

10

7

10 Arrival Organisation

10

9

11 Cleanliness – building/vehicle (Rider)

10

10

Arrival section is scoring:5 Stars

60

51

80%

Attraction/Presentation

Available

Actual

12 Orientation (Rider)

10

8

13 Changing Facilities (Rider)

10

8

14 Group Management

10

9

15 Attitude/Friendliness of Instructor (Rider)

10

10

16 Activity Experience/Instruction (Rider)

10

9

17 Environmental Awareness

10

9

18 Appearance of Staff/Instructor

10

8

19 Equipment

10

8

20 Signage (Directional Signs) (where applicable)

N/A

21 Decor/Maintenace (Facility only)

10

8

22 Cleanliness (Centre based activity)

N/A

23 Farewell/Departure

10

9

Attraction section is scoring: 5 Stars

100

86

86%

Catering

Available

Actual

24 Layout

N/A

25 Menu Presentation

N/A

26 Food Content & Service

N/A

27 Attitude & Efficiency of Staff (Rider)

N/A

28 Appearance of Staff

N/A

29 Ambience & Atmosphere

N/A

30 Décor/Maintenance

N/A

31 Cleanliness (Rider)

N/A

Catering section is scoring: Not Scored

0

0

N/A

Retailing

Available

Actual

32 Layout

N/A

33 Merchandise

N/A

34 Presentation

N/A

35 Decor/Maintenance

N/A

36 Attitude & Efficiency of Staff (Rider)

N/A

37 Appearance of Staff

N/A

38 Cleanliness (Rider)

N/A

Retailing section is scoring: Not Scored

0

0

N/A

Toilets

Available

Actual

39 Layout

N/A

40 Fixtures & Fittings (range & provision)

N/A

41 Decor/Maintenance

N/A

42 Adequacy of Provision

N/A

43 Cleanliness (Rider)

N/A

Toilets section is scoring: Not Scored

0

0

N/A

No Grade AwardedUnacceptable1% – 54%
1 StarAcceptable55% – 63%
2 StarGood64% – 70%
3 StarVery Good71% – 77%
4 StarExcellent78% – 84%
5 StarExceptional85% – 100%

Sustainability Advice

In recognition of the many business benefits of sustainable practices, Visit Scotland is working to encourage and support a wide range of businesses to become more sustainable. Quality and Tourism Advisors, in addition to the standard quality checks and advice, are reviewing the sustainable actions that the business is currently undertaking and offering some basic advice and highlighting further support available.

Please note, your quality grading will not be affected in any way as a result of the site’s performance with regards to sustainability.

Incorporating sustainability actions into day to day operations can have significant benefits for businessesr, including reducing costs through using resources more efficiently, providing an authentic quality experience, and attracting new customers whilst encouraging repeat business.

Please find below some suggestions for further activity which could benefit your business a d make it more sustainable .

For additional details on actions you could undertake, case studies, and further advice and sup art please see VisitScotland’s Sustainable Tourism web pages on http://www .visitscotland. org/business_supportlsustainable_tourism.aspx

If  you have any queries please feel free to contact our Sustainability Manager at sustainable-tourism@visitscotland.com

Engagement

Consider drafting and promoting a green policy or statement, which outlines your busines ‘s stance towards the environment in which it operates and your intentions to reduce your impact. The policy should be obviously promoted to customers on site and on your website .

For more information on how to write an environmental policy please see

http://www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/content/how-do-i-write-environmental-policy

 

Feedback and Suggestions for Improvement

Pre-Arrival:  The site is straight forward, easy to navigate, with details provided for each activity allowing visitors to make an informed choice. Booking online is a new feature and I found it helpful to view availability of activities as well as the opportunity to book and pay by card. Before the online booking is complete visitors are directed to terms and conditions which is good to see in place, although I do wonder how many visitors go ahead and look at this before ticking the box. A briefing note advising clients of what equipment is provided and what to take would be helpful, particularly for those who may be first time visitors. Directions to Achnagairn are easy to follow and I als0 used Google maps, using Ace Adventures as the destination, which took me directly to the centre. Additional information which some of your overseas visitors would find useful is an estimate of driving of driving time from the different locations detailed in this section. To further enhance the website it would be great to see some images of Ace Adventure building, as well as the activities on offer, as this could be a little more enticing.  I did take the opportunity of looking at the reviews on TripAdvisor following my feedback session with you Jim. All reviews are extremely positive, with special mention to the professional and friendly attitude from all your staff.

The activity was booked a couple of days in advance and on this occasion I chose kayaking.  In the booking confirmation it details that a follow up call will be made prior to the activity taking place.  This did take place the following day, but unfortunately I missed the first call, however, later on in the day I received another call from Jim. The option of kayaking unfortunately could not take place due to a large group booking and staffing issues, however, we were offered the option of an upgrade with no extra charge to join the group white water rafting. I initially was cautious as the group was young cadets, but I was informed there would be other independent clients who had already booked and on hearing this we said yes. The way in which my booking was handled was friendly, helpful and efficient. The only thing which would have been helpful to know in advance is the difference in the length of time between the rafting compared to the kayaking.

There is advanced Ace Adventure signage once on the B9007 which is helpful. We discussed the potential for official Brown Tourism Signage which is planned and I have arranged for the accreditation letter to be emailed to you. A small gravel car park is provided in front of the activity center building. Additional overflow car park would be a consideration for future improvements and, if aiming for 5 stars, adding signage and delineation to direct clients which will be helpful on busy days.

Arrival:  The building is a renovated byre with an excellent finish to the exterior. The large Ace Adventure branded sign is prominently displayed on the front exterior of the building, letting clients know they have arrived at their destination. Excellent also to see is the wooden signs indicating the reception, changing rooms and equipment store. On arrival, we received a friendly welcome by Jack who asked us to complete the registration form. This was the same form I had completed online and I did wonder why I had to provide the same information again. Time could be saved on check-in if the form was printed out ready for a signature, if this is possible to do on the booking system you use. I had parked my car to the side of the building in the shade for the dog. I had not given any  thought to the additional time required for the rafting experience compared to the two hours for kayaking. I explained my concerns about leaving the dog for so long, whereupon Jack was extremely helpful, he asked another member of staff to man reception and took time to walk me across to the office where I was introduced to Kirstin. She kindly offered to keep an eye on the car and agreed to let 0ut the dog when we were on the trip. The keys were left for Kirstin if there was a need to move the car while we were away. The helpful and friendly attitude was a positive first impression and I did appreciate their help. Excellent also to see the reception desk is always manned which is efficient and ensures a member of staff is always available to answer any queries. During the feedback we discussed the staff uniform and the potential of name badges. The wet suits and helmets worn by staff are completely different from the client which does work well when on the water. I am aware of the difficulties with staff wearing name badges when on the water, however, it would be a consideration for staff during arrival procedures to wear a name badge. There is not always the opportunity for them to introduce themselves, specially on this occasion when there was a large group plus three small groups.

Attraction/Presentation: In the reception area a white board is displayed for clients, showing the course route which does provide a little orientation. I didn’t notice this on arrival, but the area was really busy at the time. Future consideration would be to make this more prominent, possibly on the exterior, or if this is not  possible the board could be pointed out to clients during check-in procedures. Once all the clients were  registered a full briefing was given for the wet suits and changing rooms pointed out. This I found helpful and, from what I could see, so did the cadets, especially with regards to guarding against wearing cotton underneath to prevent getting cold. The management of such a large group being kitted out with wet suits, helmets and shoes was carried out very efficiently. Clients are transported from the centre to Logie Steading for access to the river. The mini buses are not branded at present, although it is your intention to do this in the near future.  Following a short walk to the rafts, we were put into our individual groups and directed to our rafts where we met our instructor. Following introductions there was a full briefing of the course, raft, as well as safety instructions. Barry was an excellent instructor who is clearly experienced and throughout was professional and encouraging  with a good sense of humour. In our raft it did seem to be challenging at the start knowing our left from our right! Throughout the trip, he briefed us on each section of the river and what to anticipate with full instructions given of what was required. The instructors work well together which was noted when they took turnabout with taking photographs throughout the trip. The only slight negative was the length of time we had to wait in some sections but the low water was an issue and I appreciate that safety does come first. The light snacks provided half way through the trip were appreciated.

At the end, returning back to the centre, once changed everyone was invited to go to reception where there is a seated area to watch the photographs of the day on a large LCD screen. This is a great way to end the experience. The images are then uploaded to the website for clients to view, with option of downloading or purchase for a fee. This is a really good opportunity for visitors to have a memento of their day. The reception area also has a selection of snacks with option of hot and cold drinks for sale, which is good to see being available.

We really enjoyed our white water rafting experience at Ace Adventure and I would like to thank you Jim for offering us the opportunity to upgrade.

Ace Adventures has the potential to achieve a 5 star award in the future. Your plans to develop the site to include accommodation and additional facilities will be an asset to enhancing your business. The communal style changing room is quite basic and I would recommend providing the option of individual cubicles with shower, to ensure the facilities meet expectations for the 5 star experience.

Posted in blog