InterviewWelcome Back London: Mikesh Palan, Golden Tours

July 1, 20200

Tell us a little about yourself and your business

My name is Mikesh Palan and I have had the pleasure of being the managing director of Golden Tours since 2016. Golden Tours is a name one might regularly see in the capital or indeed across many parts of southern England. Whilst the distinctive blue hop-on hop-off bus tours are probably our most visual representation of the brand within central London, the breadth of services and experiences on offer goes much further and deeper. Our luxury day excursions take visitors to destinations across the country including Windsor, Stonehenge, Oxford, Canterbury, Bath, Liverpool and Edinburgh to name a few. We are the preferred partner for Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter; we offer day and overnight trips by train to Paris and Brussels as well as provide tickets to all of London’s tourist attractions, river cruises, afternoon tea experiences, theatre tickets and everything in between. In essence we are the one stop shop for both domestic and international visitors arriving in London

What precautionary measures is your business taking to guard the safety and welfare of visitors?
  • COVID19 has had an impact on our business, and industry, that no one could have predicted. While we have always taken extra measures to ensure our employees and visitors are provided with a safe and clean environment, we have reviewed all of the information currently available around the pandemic and will look to begin operations with enhanced Health & Safety measures. As at 29th July we have implemented the following enhancements to our already well-developed processes:
    • All employees will be provided with additional hygiene protocol training and social distancing procedures to ensure the safety for both themselves as well as the visitors they interact with;
    • All employees and visitors are asked to wear face masks while on board any of our vehicles or while visiting any of our sites;
    • All vehicles and sites will undergo additional cleaning measures including: regular aerosol-delivered antiviral spray; additional filtration system via air-conditioning units and enhanced cleaning measures during tours to disinfect all handrails, door handles, tables and seats;
    • All visitors will be asked to undergo a temperature check and use the provided hand sanitizing stations before boarding any vehicle or entering any site;
    • We are limiting the capacity across all our services and experiences in order to maintain proper social distancing and provide more personal space to all;
    • Before any services resume, we will ensure all locations visited on our tours have also updated their own hygiene standards & protocols and we have received updated documentation confirming new policies in place;
  • A full list is available on our website and will continue to be updated as and when new information/advise becomes available

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Can we expect anything different or innovative to enhance the customer experience?

We offer a range of services and experiences and each one will undergo some fundamental change as we begin operations. The first service to relaunch will be a slimmed down version of the well-known Hop-on Hop-off service. While London is a vast space to explore and the HoHo service allows visitors to explore any part of the city at their own pace, we will begin operations with a timed/dated non-stop panoramic tour only. As we begin to release dates on other tours relaunching more information will be provided.

Can you tell us one lesson that you have learnt during the shutdown?

This shutdown has taught us so many things and it is difficult to highlight just one. The hibernation period has provided us with space to innovate and given us the time to consider what we offer and how we deliver it. When the borders reopen and consumers began to travel again, our business will be ready and waiting to deliver fantastic experiences!

Chris Johnson

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