Last week I had the pleasure of guiding a group of 21 Norwegians around Shetland for three days.
Back in June this group made an advance booking for an evening meal for all 21 of them last Saturday night at the Hay's Dock restaurant in the Museum. When they arrived they found that there was only room for 10 of the group to be seated and the rest had to go elsewhere. This was apparently because Hay's Dock staff had been taking 'walk ins' with no regard to the group's advance booking which seemed to be ignored.
I've been getting feedback from other visitors about poor and disjointed service at Hay's Dock. Some staff are reported as trying to do the right things, but not necessarily in the right order.
A few years ago Hay's Dock had a glowing reputation, but not any more; one lunchtime guest from the Balmoral has been quoted as saying that "they don't have the same sense of urgency as mañana!". Visitors are going away with a bad impression and this can't be good for Shetland tourism.
I am quite astonished that cash strapped Shetland Amenity Trust are planning to hire university graduates to do work that Promote Shetland and Visit Scotland are paid to do from the public purse (Amenity trust graduate to explore cruise ship market and World Heritage site application; SN, 27/07/2018). Perhaps their time and money would be better spent putting their own house in order, starting with staff training at Hay's Dock.
A response from Shetland Amenity Trust chief executive Mat Roberts: "We are very sorry that his tour group was adversely effected by this breakdown and if he would like to contact me directly I will do what I can to compensate him for any inconvenience. We strive every day to offer the best possible service to all customers of the Shetland Amenity Trust. Sometimes we get it wrong and I am grateful to Mr Fraser for bringing this incident to my attention.
"Shetland Amenity Trust is committed to delivering its part of the Shetland Partnership Plan which includes providing opportunities to the next generation of professionals to develop their careers in Shetland. We believe that the ScotGrad programme allows us to do this. All of the work plan for the graduates is for the benefit of the Amenity Trust as well as the wider community and does not duplicate work undertaken by other agencies."