Email excellence makes Winchester a winner

Winchester’s award-winning Tourist Information Centre (TIC) has come first for the second year running in a national email ‘mystery shopper’ test, the results of which have just been announced by national tourism agency VisitBritain.

The test was part of an overall customer service assessment consisting of two emails, two telephone enquiries and one personal visit made by the external consultants on behalf of VisitBritain during July and August.

The consultants evaluated each email response on the basis of speed of reply, content and quality. Winchester TIC scored an impressive 97% (7% up on last year’s winning result) compared to a national average of 67%. Winchester also came first overall in the south east region in its combined score for the visit, emails and telephone calls and fourth overall in the national VisitBritain league table. 

Winchester City Council’s Tourist Information Centre Manager Alison Woods said, “We are thrilled with this result which showed improvement on last year – particularly as the tests were carried out during our two busiest months. Both emails were responded to by Sarah Harfield, our Senior Information Assistant, whose enthusiasm and professionalism are always appreciated by our customers.” 

Winchester City Council’s Leader and Portfolio Holder for Economy and Tourism, Cllr George Beckett, added, “These results show the commitment of the City Council’s staff and Members to providing excellent customer service for residents of and visitors to the Winchester district. Our tourism website is going from strength to strength, so I am pleased that we are supporting this with a first class email response which is so critical to ensuring that enquiries turn into cash for our tourism businesses.”

The centre, which is housed in the city’s historic Guildhall and managed by Winchester City Council, handles nearly a quarter of a million enquires each year from all corners of the globe and was named Tourist Information Centre of the Year in the national Enjoy England Awards for Excellence last year. It is open from 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday over the winter months and can be contacted on: 01962 840 500 or e-mail: