In this week’s episode, Chris chats to Ruth Knight, Director of Norfolk Broads Direct, Broads Tours and Waveney River Centre, and recently retired chair of Visit the Broads. Ruth lives and breathes the Broads, and the tourism sector, but both Ruth and her businesses faced huge challenges with lockdown restrictions and closures. This valuable conversation can be summed up into: innovation; implementation; change; and passion for the sector.
Ruth speaks honestly about the effect that the closures had on both her and her team members, and the subsequent reactions to the changes that needed to be implemented for them to reopen, and how staff motivation was key. She also reflects on the recent re-acquisition they made just before lockdown, and what investment was needed to secure the ongoing success of the company.
They discuss the changes in customer behaviour – no one likes change! – and uncertainties about dealing with future bookings, both financially and for customer morale.
Ruth is confident about the future prosperity of staycations once the sector re-opens, and that the Broads in particular will no longer be a ‘best kept secret’ (they do get more visitors than Cornwall after all). She also explains why engaging with your DMO is key.
Ruth offers a fascinating insight into the pitfalls and positives of running a family business; what businesses need to be doing to attract new talent to the sector; and her advice for those looking for a career in a tourism-based business.
Visit Norfolk Broads Direct here, Waveney River Centre here, and Broads Tours here.
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