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Developing loyal employees in the hope that tourism will soon return to normal

Dr. Peter Tarlow discusses loyal employees

One of the things that the tourism and travel industry learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is the importance of good and loyal employees.

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  1. The tourism sector is known for high employee turnover perhaps due to often low pay and sometimes moody managers.
  2. Employees are the front-line workers who color the tourism experience for any company.
  3. It would behoove employers to build employee loyalty if the goal is a successful business.

Everyone seems to want loyal employees, yet few tourism businesses seem to know how to win this loyalty. In fact, tourism is known for high employee turnover, low pay, and often capricious management. It is a mistake to overlook the fact that employee-employer relations often impact the tourism experience and may become a major form of positive or negative marketing.

Good management inspires loyalty and often results in the type of customer service that produces repeat (loyal) customers. To help create this employee loyalty Tourism Tidbits offers some suggestions as to ways to increase employees’ loyalty and provide a better customer service experience.

– In an industry, such as tourism, where people plan on staying a few years, the employee experience is almost or as important as the customer experience. Some of the principal reasons that tourism employees often complain about their jobs are lack of clearly defined goals, lack of challenging work and lack of fair compensation. These are three areas in which tourism management has to ask itself profound questions. Employees cannot do their job if the job description changes daily. In a like manner dead-end positions without any chance for advancement tend to lead to a refusal to do one’s job well.  In a dynamic business such as tourism treat employees as if they are guests.

– Make sure that employees know that you are part of a single team. Often tourism management has been accused (and sometimes fairly) in compensating itself first and only worrying about employees afterward. Good employers understand that salary increases are much more important to those at the bottom of the ladder than to those at the top. Make sure that you lead employees by example and not merely through words.

– Set out what you expect from employees. Do not assume anything. Employers have a right to expect that propriety information stays private, that personal issues should not impact job performance, and that employees will listen before acting. Employers also have not only a right but also a duty to stop idle gossiping at a job, to enforce laws protecting other employees from a hostile workplace and issues of sexual, ethnic, and religious discrimination.

– Help employees to understand what type of customer service you want them to provide by treating them as customers. Tourists tend to define good customer service as providing reliability, responsiveness and value for time (money). Think how you can translate these basic ideals into the workplace environment. How reliable are you, do you fulfill promises or simply utter them? Are you responsive to special needs or merely quote company regulations, and do employees enjoy (receive value) from their jobs or are they merely putting in time so as to receive a paycheck?

– Employees work best when they are rewarded for a job well done. Positive strokes often accomplish a great deal more than negativity. Be specific when complimenting employees and remember that small rewards given frequently often do more than one big reward given only once or twice a year.

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About the author

Dr. Peter E. Tarlow

Dr. Peter E. Tarlow is a world-renowned speaker and expert specializing in the impact of crime and terrorism on the tourism industry, event and tourism risk management, and tourism and economic development. Since 1990, Tarlow has been aiding the tourism community with issues such as travel safety and security, economic development, creative marketing, and creative thought.

As a well-known author in the field of tourism security, Tarlow is a contributing author to multiple books on tourism security, and publishes numerous academic and applied research articles regarding issues of security including articles published in The Futurist, the Journal of Travel Research and Security Management. Tarlow’s wide range of professional and scholarly articles includes articles on subjects such as: “dark tourism”, theories of terrorism, and economic development through tourism, religion and terrorism and cruise tourism. Tarlow also writes and publishes the popular on-line tourism newsletter Tourism Tidbits read by thousands of tourism and travel professionals around the world in its English, Spanish, and Portuguese language editions.