Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Hebridean Celtic Festival - service complaints

My eyebrows hit the ceiling this morning, when the newsfeed for the Highlands and Islands coughed up this story that people attending the HCF two weeks ago complained about the level of service.

The Hebrides are justifiably famous for hospitality, and this sort of feedback comes as an unpleasant surprise. Basically, people grumble at the length of time they had to wait to be served, either in shops or in restaurants and the like.

I have to say that this is the first time in the 12 years of the HCF that such complaints have surfaced, to my knowledge at any rate. The Festival is enjoying a continuing surge of interest, with close to 15,000 people coming to Lewis to attend. It should born in mind though that the total resident population in this island is about 20,000, so such a large influx puts a strain on human resources.

Lessons should be learned for the 2008 festival, so that adequate staff are hired in good time by various establishments. There is talk of a staffbank being set up. The only problem is that the summer season is short, and for the rest of the year (between October and Easter), alternative employment would have to be found for these folk; unless they are drafted in from elsewhere in Scotland or beyond.

I sincerely hope that those who experienced a level of service below their expectation during the Festival are not put off revisiting, and are willing to bear in mind that this was an extremely busy time for the island.

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