Joining the likes of the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef and the Pyramids of Egypt.

So what does this mean for the Lake District? The National Park already has a booming tourism industry and now enjoys year-round business, however the question that is being asked is, “is the Lake District World Heritage-ready?”.

Every tourism and hospitality business in the area must take an inward look and check whether your business is not only up to standard but also being the very best they can be on a consistent basis.  They need to be absolutely sure that they are ready to respond to the extra business and expectations that the region’s new status will bring.

Can you honestly say your sales and marketing is promoting your business well?

Is your team fully trained and motivated in performing to its best?

A new business has been born in Cumbria this month

Focusing on how hospitality and tourism businesses can develop and grow. Fresh from the leading edge in hospitality and with 30 years experience in the hospitality and tourism industry, the renowned Alison Magee-Barker has launched AJ Lakes Consultancy.

Alison has set up AJ Lakes Consultancy to help all hospitality and tourism businesses develop and grow. As Alison says,”this new opportunity for the region comes as businesses face never-ending cost cutting exercises and feel that they are struggling with recruitment issues or to pay for a full-time expert in either sales and marketing or business management. Yet they will benefit enormously from assistance to gain a fresh look at how they can improve, whether it be standards, sales and marketing, occupancy, revenue or general management is some of the many skills where Alison can help.

The question Alison is posing to all businesses in Cumbria today “are you World Heritage-ready?” Many will answer not sure, or no.

The AA released a report recently of England’s best counties to eat, drink and stay and Cumbria appeared 18th on the list and scraping under the overall very good score at 59.6%.

England’s best destinations

The top 20

County Rank Overall B&B Campsites Hotel Restaurant
Berkshire 1 83% 3.97 4.00 3.77 2.00
Surrey 2= 73% 3.62 4.50 3.71 2.17
Staffordshire 2= 73% 3.89 4.50 3.57 1.83
Bedfordshire 4 72% 3.91 5.00 3.80 1.63
Northamptonshire 5 70% 3.95 4.00 3.55 1.80
Nottinghamshire 6= 69% 4.00 3.86 3.46 2.09
Shropshire 6= 69% 4.00 4.25 3.26 1.76
Buckinghamshire 8= 68% 3.79 4.00 3.87 1.75
Cheshire 8= 68% 4.05 4.00 3.76 1.53
West Sussex 10 66.5% 3.94 3.95 3.52 1.90
County Durham 11= 66% 3.71 4.00 3.75 1.80
North Yorkshire 11= 66% 3.97 4.03 3.44 1.75
Herefordshire 13 64% 4.07 4.67 2.89 1.73
Greater London 14= 63% 3.55 4.00 4.16 1.89
Hertfordshire 14= 63% 3.92 4.00 3.80 1.55
Gloucestershire 16 62% 3.98 3.82 3.65 1.75
Cornwall 17 60.1% 4.00 3.89 3.29 1.84
Cumbria 18 59.6% 3.99 4.08 3.43 1.60
East Riding of Yorkshire 19= 55% 3.78 4.29 2.92 2.00
Suffolk 19= 55% 4.19 3.80 3.39 1.72

Andrew Oxley, Head of Hotel & Hospitality Services at the AA said:

“We hope this data will be useful for consumers when planning a summer holiday or short break in England. If a county scores over 80% is should be regarded as outstanding, over 70% excellent and over 60% very good. We hope this information will highlight some of the very best hospitality experiences that England has to offer.”

Andrew Stokes, Director at Visit England said:

“It’s exciting to combine the data from Visit England and the AA for the first time and to celebrate the destinations where we see accommodation achieving excellence in quality. We would like to encourage people to go and try a break somewhere they might not have considered before.”

Looking at the most popular destinations in England, according to TripAdvisor Keswick is the first area of the Lake District to be mentioned – at number 64!  Alison’s response to these figures is:

“How can the area expect to increase tourism if we are not ready to deliver the standards expected at a World Heritage site? Don’t get me wrong, there are many in the industry who are exceptional and are enjoying the fruits of their labour winning national awards for their hard work, but we need to make sure everyone is of the same ilk whether it is a small bed and breakfast or a 5 star establishment we need to ensure the minimum standard of excellence applies.  There is no shame in needing help and this is where AJ Lakes Consultancy comes in to help all businesses big or small, to increase standards, offer sales and marketing techniques, increase revenue and in turn profit to ensure we are all game ready to reap the potential rewards that World Heritage status brings.”

Alison has many talents and whilst working as a Hotel General Manager at Lindeth Howe, Bowness, she wrote and directed a short film ‘Celebrating Beatrix Potter’ for Beatrix Potter’s 150th Anniversary in 2016.  Alison also led the sales and marketing winter campaign for the Lake District Hotels Association in the same year.

Contact Alison at AJ Lakes Consultancy or for further information.

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