Errors that the Tourism Industry Is Currently Making

Ireland: A troubled yet enchanted land
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Some of the Basic Errors that the Tourism Industry Is Currently Making were released by World Tourism Network.

World Tourism Network President Dr. Peter Tarlow, who is an award winning travel and tourism safety and security expert explains errors made in the travel and tourism industry in his Tourism Tidbits.

The summer of 2023 is not only a high season in much of the world but also the first official post-Covid pandemic summer.  The World Health Organization has officially stated that the Covid pandemic is history.  

The end of the pandemic and a renewed desire to travel means that the travel and tourism industry might have a record-breaking summer.

Facing what might be the travel and tourism industry’s most successful summer, it is a good idea to review how to make one’s business a success and how to avoid failures. 

A casual perusal of the tourism literature demonstrates the emphasis on having a thriving industry or career.  However, there is another side of the coin: many tourism businesses err and fail.  

here are multiple reasons that a business might fail.  Failures can occur due to a lack of a person’s or team’s passion or pure laziness, bad timing, lack of correct data or incorrect data analysis,  or simply bad luck. 

 Often tourism business failures occur due to overconfidence or arrogance, and in a time of high tourism volume, overconfidence can sow the seeds of future failures.  We can classify most tourism business failures into sociological taxonomies.

These categories help us think about what we may be doing wrong and correct these mistakes before they cause failure. 

We offer the following suggestions to help you keep bankruptcy far from your door during these challenging times.

-Failures occur when tourism leadership fails to provide people, employees, and clients, with a meaningful experience.

Employees do a better job when they believe in the product and understand the direction their manager is leading them. However, that policy does not mean that every decision needs a group decision.

In the end, the tourism businesses are more similar to families than to democracies, and that means that leadership needs to maintain a careful balance between listening and teaching and making the final decisions.

-Businesses that lack passion tend to fail.  In the end, travel and tourism is a people’s industry.

Currently, the airline industry seems to have forgotten this basic concept.  If its employees or owners do not see their work as a vocation rather than a job, they produce a lack of passion and commitment that destroys customer loyalty and, ultimately, the business. 

Tourism professionals must have a sense of joie de vivre, look forward to coming to work and see their jobs not as a means to receive a salary but as a calling.  

Introverted people and/or those who do not like people should not be on the front lines of the tourism/travel industry.

– A lack of security can result in a tourism community, nation or attraction’s failure.  The 21st century is one in which good marketing will include good security and safety as a part of customer service.  

Those places that seek profit over tourism surety (safety and security) will, in the end, self-destruct.  Tourism surety is no longer a luxury but should be a part of every tourism entity’s basic marketing plan. 

Currently, too many places worldwide have chosen to overlook tourism well-being and, in the end, have done great damage to their tourism industry.

-Failures often take place when there are no core questions for improvement. Every part of the tourism industry needs to ask itself its mission, how it differs from the competition, how it can improve, where its weakness is, and how it measures success.  

Many tourism products that fail, be they in the lodging industry or in the attractions industry, fail to ask these essential questions. 

-Know when to consider a complete overhaul of the system, not merely a minor change. 

 Often these cosmetic changes are symbolized by scapegoating the head of a CVB or tourism office rather than in-depth problem analysis.

Additionally, another reason for tourism business failure is that often the people who are supposed to be making the change do not believe in the change. Thus, either the new program is never fully understood by employees or, after a short amount of time, employees figure out a way to return to their old ways, though expressed in new terms.

-A failure to understand the role of accurate data and how to interpret it can be fatal.   

Businesses that do poor research can be caught from behind, taken over by more in-tune competitors, or become irrelevant to the marketplace.

Often tourism officials are so enamored by data that they over-collect data. An overabundance of data can be just as harmful as too little data.

Too much data can cause data fog, where the irrelevant covers the critical information.  Data collection can become counterproductive due to failure to integrate analysis into the workplace.

Data not used or clearly defined can lead to paralysis by over-analysis with no clear policies or marketing plan.

-When a tourism business lacks core values, it has a higher probability of failure. Among these may be the business’ or business’ leadership’s ability to express itself to its constituency, lack of vision, lack of leadership, poor measurement techniques, poor marketing, and the recycling of old ideas rather than creatively developing new ideas.

-Rapid staff changeovers and staff dissatisfaction can cause tourism paralysis.  Many tourism industries see their positions as entry-level positions.

The positive aspect of an entry-level position is that it provides for a continuous infusion of new blood into the tourism organization. Nevertheless, the lack of continuity means that employees are constantly at the beginning of the learning curve and that the tourism business may lack a sense of collective memory.

Furthermore, as employees mature, the lack of professional mobility means that the best and brightest talent moves on to other industries creating an internal brain drain.

-Failure and bankruptcies often occur due to lack of service and product quality.   

This is a standard error in periods of economic stagnation or inflation. All too often, tourism providers go for immediate profit rather than consistency.

Once customers get used to a certain standard, cutting back on service, quantities, or quality is hard.  

For example, a restaurant that provides irregular service will have a high probability of losing its clientele. Similarly, the airline industry has produced significant resentment by lowering its standard of service and reducing its in-flight amenities.

About the author

Avatar of Dr. Peter E. Tarlow

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.

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