Congrescentrum B&I focuses even more on guest experience with YOIN certification


Congrescentrum B&I in Harderwijk has taken a big step towards taking the guest experience to a higher level by obtaining the YOIN quality mark. After an extensive renovation, they not only wanted to improve the physical facilities, but also optimize the experience of their guests. In this article we discuss why Congrescentrum B&I opted for the YOIN certification, what it has brought them, and what areas for improvement they have discovered. René van Wijngaarden (Marketing and Communications Coordinator) and Ester Poelhekken (Conference Center and Facilities Manager) explain how this certification has inspired their team and how it contributes to their mission to provide the best guest experience.

Remove blind spots, focus on optimal guest experience and increase pride among employees. Congrescentrum B&I in Harderwijk was recently certified with the YOIN excellent meeting places quality mark, after they decided a few years ago to forego certification with the predecessor of YOIN - de Vergaderhamers. What prompted them to have themselves tested again and what added value do they see in the certification? We spoke about this with René van Wijngaarden, marketing and communications coordinator, and Ester Poelhekken, conference center and facilities manager.

Test renovated location against new criteria
Congrescentrum B&I was certified based on the idea that it is important to look at how you can do better. Ester: 'Besides the fact that we have just renovated our location, we think it is important that you continuously look for ways to improve things that you sometimes no longer see. We see the added value in testing our facilities against bookers' criteria. The YOIN quality mark complements us well in this regard.' CCBI consists of two monumental buildings. Congrescentrum B&I has several modern conference rooms and an events hall. Our hotel Bij Fritz is located in the second building. 'We have just completed a renovation where we have given the locations a major upgrade. CCBI has been completely stripped and rebuilt from the ground up: from interior design to decoration and from room layout to office relocation, reception and toilets. With this we have taken important steps for now and for the future.'

New way of certification
One of the main reasons for joining a quality mark again was the innovative way in which YOIN approaches the qualification. René: 'We were alerted by CLC-VECTA that the former Meeting Hammers had been revived. While the Meeting Hammers mainly focused on hard qualifications, YOIN also pays attention to the soft side of hospitality. The auditors really put themselves in the guest's shoes and also look at the visibility of the staff, for example.' Bianca Cuperus, auditor at YOIN, also confirms this. 'It is important for guests that the logistics are tailored to them. For example, we look at whether a cup of coffee is offered, how open and accessible an employee is and whether they wear a name tag. We call these the 'small bigs', or small things that make a big impact.' In addition, the benchmark, on which YOIN focuses, also played a decisive factor. Ester: 'It is important to test yourself against other locations in the industry, but also that you can measure the inspection figures, for example, against previous (own) scores so that you can see where you have improved.'

Important learnings
The report that Congrescentrum B&I received based on the YOIN audit provided several eye-openers. René: 'As a location you always have a number of blind spots when you look at the quality within your organization. A YOIN audit makes you look at the location in a different way. For example, important learnings emerged from the report in the field of signage. If you walk around the location yourself day in and day out, you become so familiar with the location that you develop a blind spot for the signing, for example. YOIN gave us new insights in this area that allowed us to formulate concrete points for improvement. Especially for our multifunctional site, where several companies are located, it is important that people know where to find their way and how we can help them land in a pleasant way.'

Confirmation of high service level
Not only will you, as a location, be told where there are areas for improvement, the points in which you excel as a location will also be identified. 'We often say that we are very proud of our people. They make the difference in the way they receive guests. It is precisely this confirmation from YOIN that our service is up to standard that inspires clients' confidence to choose us. This goes beyond hospitality, it is also about how your employees act when there is a problem.' Congrescentrum B&I and the Bij Fritz hotel pay a lot of attention to this.