140 Tourist Information Centres (TIC) across the country are participating in the national TIC benchmarking programme. Delivered through the Regional Tourist Boards, the programme provides comparative monthly data on performance as a means of satisfying the basic requirements of Best Value and providing more detailed operational data to prompt service improvements and facilitate the sharing of Best Practice.
All participating TIC’s are sent two types of questionnaire – an annual ‘baseline questionnaire’ to collect information on operational indicators which will remain constant throughout the year and a monthly questionnaire. The monthly questionnaire covers aspects of the TIC operation which change throughout the year, such as opening times, numbers of enquiries, accommodation bookings, ticket sales and seasonal staffing. A series of consultation workshops with Local Authorities and a pilot in 1999 helped to shape the process.
Participation in the national benchmarking programme costs £395 per TIC. In return each TIC receives reports covering the peak and off peak periods of the year, including comparative aggregated performance data for similar TICs. Response to date to the national programme has been excellent and many more TICs are expected to take part.