BoHo Award winner
BoHo Award winner
Check-in Nights Adults Children

June – 2018


Raithwaite Estate is delighted to announce its Senior Wedding and Events Planner, Nikki Hopwood, is a finalist in the Outstanding Customer Service category of the prestigious Visit York Tourism Awards 2018.

Billed as the Oscars of the city’s tourism sector, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence across the tourism sector, honouring tours and tearooms, ambassadors and accommodation, shopping, best newcomer and, of course, customer service.

Customer service is a hard-fought category and compelling entries must show the role nominees play within the business and how their customers experience the highest quality service.  Entrants must show excellent skills in managing customer requests and complaints and give three examples where the nominee exceeding customer expectations.  In the wedding industry, where expectations are very high, this can be demanding.  However, excellent customer service is in Nikki’s blood, and examples were not hard to find.

Marketing Manager, Laura Neilson, nominated Nikki, for the Outstanding Customer Service Category, said:  Nikki joined us as three years ago and her role is to plan and deliver one of the most important days of peoples’ lives, something that she takes in her stride.

“She invests her time getting to know all her couples and understand what they want for their perfect day, then goes about her job to make their dreams come true.  She has now managed 77 weddings and the feedback from each of them has been amazing.

“Not only does she plan the day to perfection, but she builds a great relationship with our couples that is professional yet personal, so that they feel at ease form start to finish, knowing they are in safe hands.”

Indeed, nothing is too much trouble for Nikki, from sorting out wet weather cover, to organising a treasured table decoration, or the logistics of having a favourite sheep attend the wedding of a shepherdess bride, the modest Ms Hopwood is a deserving finalist.

Nikki gives the low down to outstanding customer service, in her own words, she said:  “I completed a BTEC National Diploma in 1995 in Hotel management and institutional operations, this gave me a huge grounding in how the hospitality industry works and I was given my first role as assistant hotel manager at the age of 20, during this time I leaned more towards the weddings and events side of the business and that’s how my love for weddings grew.

“I have worked at Raithwaite for just over three years and I find nothing more satisfying than seeing two people come together to start their journey in front of their family and friends.  It is very important to be super organised and incredibly patient, to treat each bride and groom individually, like they are the only ones that have ever gone through this.

“There is a very fine line, when dealing with couples, you have to instinctively know when they require your input and support and when not. You must be professional yet friendly at the same time, they need to know that they are in safe hands, it is the biggest day of their life. You have to be confident in your role, so you can ensure a seamless running of their day, but not over confident!  You must be open and honest, and do not promise something you know you cannot deliver. Overall, I would say it’s about balance, not everyone can do it, but those that can make it look easy and that’s the main quality of a wedding planner.

Nikki very modestly, doesn’t feel that she has done anything out of the ordinary for such recognition as putting the customer first and making sure that guests have a great visit, is the premise of all the staff at Raithwaite, she explains:

“I think that great service is at the heart of everyone and everybody here.  We’re a team made up of ladies and gentlemen and we like treat our guests as ladies and gentlemen.  It’s about offering our customers the service we ourselves would hope to receive.

“I’m very proud to work here and I am delighted, if not a bit surprised, that I have been shortlisted for doing a job that I love.  It’s important to me, and everyone else who is a part of this amazing team, that we carry on creating more of those perfect days for brides and grooms.  This will help us to get the message out, so that we can welcome many more.”

A panel of independent judges will decide the winners form over 130 entries through a mix of mystery shopping and rigorous analysis against the entry criteria.

Nikki will be one of the 60 finalists at a glittering awards ceremony at the National Railway Museum on Thursday 21 June 2018.  Whether she takes home a trophy or not, Nikki is a great role model and fantastic ambassador for Raithwaite Estate.

Raithwaite Estate, Sandsend Road, Whitby, North Yorkshire, YO21 3ST.
Tel: +44 (0)1947 661 661

Raithwaite Estate, Sandsend Road, Whitby, North Yorkshire, YO21 3ST.
Tel: +44 (0)1947 661 661