Too often tourism professionals talk about “Partnerships and team leadership”, but unfortunately what many of them mean by this sentence is: “Let’s see what you can do for me. Agency-centric tourism, however, in this time of climate crisis, wars, political upheaval and pandemics is becoming increasingly difficult to manage successfully. After 2020-2021, when tourism took an international hiatus, industry leaders in all aspects of travel and tourism, both in the private and public sectors, learned that in the volatile market of today ; communities and even entire nations must work together for a common good.
- See your coworkers as equals rather than people you have to put up with. Too often we tend to view our colleagues in tourism only through the prism of our own business. There’s no tourism Business; rather, travel and tourism is a living system of multiple living parts that work together in the same way as the human body. If one part fails, the whole system is likely to feel the impact.
- Develop mutual respect and trust. It is essential that there is a common tourism objective that crosses the same system. While different people have different skills and abilities, the bottom line is that achieving goals is everyone’s business. Tourism managers must remember that they are in a professional situation, that they do not need to become personal friends of their colleagues, but that they must develop a good working relationship.
- Don’t be afraid to go with your instincts. There are times when, no matter what the news seems to say, your gut tells you it’s not the right decision. Often times, intuition can play an important role in decision making. While we never want to ignore data, don’t ignore your hunches either.
- Try to develop common experiences by spending time with colleagues. Often times, we judge others incorrectly because we assume that we understand the other person’s business. It is not a bad idea for CVB managers to spend some time working in hotels, restaurants and attractions to understand first-hand what the challenges and opportunities are. Likewise, hoteliers who can criticize a city’s marketing efforts can spend a day a year in a CVB or tourist office learning the inner story of region-wide marketing or vice versa. .
- Develop a united front. Whatever the internal arguments of your organization, they must remain strictly internal. It is very destructive for a tourism industry when its internal arguments are made public or leaked to the press. What happens inside meeting rooms should stay in the meeting room. Teach people in the industry that responsibilities come with new responsibilities and that it is much harder (and more professional) to work to keep a group together than to keep it apart.
- Teach each other. Go somewhere else and take notes, then share what you’ve learned with your colleagues. Your community doesn’t need to be the first to come up with an innovative idea, but rather to learn from others and then refine their ideas. Take the gist of each idea, then tailor the ideas to your particular situation.
- Develop a mentoring system. Tourism is such a complicated field that we all need mentors. Mentors should be more than teachers. Mentors should be people who force us to see the big picture and see how each component of tourism fits together. Good mentors should also serve each of us as networking agents who can introduce us to people outside our business circles. In an industry where customers often don’t share their real complaints with us and just don’t come back, all tourism managers need mentors who can act as confidants, set expectations, check reality and at the same time time to help them find new approaches to persistent problems and new challenges.
- Decide how you are going to allocate valuable resources. No community or country has unlimited resources. Do your research first to make sure your resource allocation makes sense in the short and long term. When working out resource allocations, start thinking outside the box. For example, is there a relationship between security and product branding in the post 9/11 world? Does classic advertising make sense for your demographic or niche market? Finally, don’t forget that there is always a lag in tourism. This means that in this post-Covid period, we’re going to have to be very creative. Traditionally, periods of success reflect good work that has been done over the past several years. Likewise, coasting trade rather than construction can cause a lot of problems in a few years.
- Be efficient and never forget to smile! Try to understand how a policy can produce more than one positive result. Not only do we have to be prepared to recycle old products, but creative efficiency can also mean recycling old marketing campaigns, old policies, or even recycling the way we use the earth. Remember that times change and a policy that may not have been successful in one time period can become very effective in another time.
- Hire the best people you can. The tourism industry is based on people and personality skills. Nothing can destroy a tourism industry more than people who work there and who don’t like people. While satisfied employees don’t guarantee good customer service, angry employees almost always guarantee poor customer service. Take the time to treat people with respect and provide them with the best training possible, not only in their own area of expertise, but also in other areas of tourism. When employees do something wrong, don’t send a surrogate, but rather discipline people from above. Remember, no matter how much tourism officials don’t like to discipline others, there are times when there is simply no alternative.
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