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NMBS 2014: Making the difference in service

Linda Moir lead the Event Services team at the London 2012 Olympics and was formerly director of inflight services VirginAirlines. She talked to the NMBS conference about her experiences.
Moir listed some of the innovations that Virgin Airlines brought in to differentiate itself from the competition . “Take our cocktail bar in Upper Class, for example. It costs a fortune to fly it around the world, but business class passengers love it. We always make sure that there’s someone there’s a someone there to chat to the passengers, to ask how their day is going, what they are flying to wherever for. It makes a real difference.”

When the company launched its Upper Class flat bed, within a couple of months Singapore Airlines had done the same thing. So they asked the crew how they thought the company could differentiate itself even further. They suggested that, instead of a laminated card telling passengers how to turn their seat into a bed, the crew would do it and add tiny teddy bears to each bed.

“Those bears cost us about 20pence each but add so much value to the service to the passengers,” Muir said. “Innovation doesn’t have to cost.”

When it came to the London 2012 Olympics, Moir said that one of the key factors was the decision to use some of the venues already in place in the UK. “We have some amazing, world=class venues already. So we used them. Wimbledon for example. You should use your assets.

“The Beach volleyball court in HorseGuards Parade was a real testament to the ability of the construction sector, as was the beautiful Olympic Park. That’s something to be really proud of .”

However, Moir says that the infrastructure was only part of the amazing process. Keeping the thousands and thousands of volunteer Gamesmakers focussed would be a major service challenge.

“We talked to the people who organised the Sydney Games and learned three golden rules from them. 1. Keep people busy – they like to be busy. 2. Keep people rotated round different tasks – you don’t want to risk them getting bored and demotivated. 3. Recognise your people and their needs and their efforts. So we gave them badges – bronze, silver and gold, depending on how many shifts they did. They were only little plastic badges, but they loved them. We asked the Gamesmakers to treat the visitors to the park as though they were hosting them in their own homes.”

Moir told delegates that, at the 2012 closing ceremony when Lord Coe said he would like to thank the Gamesmakers 80,000 poeple in the Olympic Stadium stood and cheered for 12 minutes.

H+H UK BMJ conference coverage sponsor

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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