South east coach companies win gold in national awards scheme
Coach operators and their staff in the South East are celebrating after being named as winners in the 2017 UK Coach Awards. The ninth annual awards were presented before an audience of 250 industry movers and shakers in a glittering ceremony at Manchester's Mercure Piccadilly Hotel on the evening of Thursday 4 May. Operators from the region scooped two Gold, two Silver and one Bronze in the nationwide contest.
>Gillingham-based commuter coach specialist The Kings Ferry took the Gold Award for Top Large Fleet Operator. The company, owned by transport giant National Express, went on the compete for the title of UK Coach Operator of the Year, but had to be content with the Silver Award after being pipped to the post by Scottish company Maynes Coaches.
Meanwhile, there were multiple celebrations for Ramsgate-based Carol Peters Travel. Office manager Julie Herbert took home Gold in the Customer Service Award. Julie is Office Manager for the firm, and has worked for them for more than 15 years. She is loved by customers and staff alike and cares for the business as well as everyone in it. The firm took home the Silver Award in the Top Small Fleet Operator category as well - and then won a third award - the Bronze in the Innovation category for a pair of ground-breaking promotional videos specially made to promote the business on social media.
The awards were hosted and presented by Carol Kirkwood from BBC Breakfast, a great favourite with the coach industry.
Congratulating all the winners, UK Coach Awards chairman John Gilbert said, "Our awards are recognise and reward excellence and good practice at all levels in the industry, amongst all operators, large or small, and in all types of work from express through contracting to coach touring."Awards were presented for high quality operation, and for a range of professional disciplines such marketing, travel programmes and passenger facilities.
The biggest cheers of the night were reserved for the people awards, which provide recognition to a range of different staff categories, including both customer-facing and back office personnel. Some 200 nominations were received for this year's awards from all over the country, including coach customers, operators and attractions.
“Coaching is above all a people business,” explained John Gilbert. “Our customers demand improved quality both in terms of vehicles and staff. We cannot meet these demands without good business organisation and excellent staff, and to retain good staff, we need to recognise and reward them, and this is why I believe this event has a major part to play in recognising leading operators, business innovation, excellent managers, staff and operating crews .”