What Do Staff Think and Feel when Creating Service Encounters in Tourism, Events and Hospitality?

We recently published Service Encounters in Tourism, Events and Hospitality by Miriam Firth. In this post the author tells us what to expect from the book.

Satisfying customers and management is not enough. What do the staff think and feel when creating service encounters in tourism, events and hospitality?

The industries of tourism, events and hospitality require service encounters to offer customers intangible products. The service encounters form customer opinion on the business and are often referred to when evaluating service quality and customer satisfaction. But what are the staff perspectives on completing these? Where is the TripAdvisor for staff who want to complain about customers who do not behave appropriately? How does the front/back of house culture affect the service? What culture shocks does an Asian staff member have when serving a European customer in a UK business? These are some of the questions students can consider when using this book. Staff voices are presented in storied incidents from graduates working as staff in businesses associated with these industries to enable understanding and reflection on staff positions when creating service encounters.

In the book I present an examination of existing key terms often taught in programmes management in further and higher education: service quality, soft skills, intercultural communication/sensitivity, emotional/aesthetic/sexualised labour, co-production/-creation, humour use, and legal frameworks are all discussed and aligned to graduate/staff storied incidents for students to consider the staff perspective. When using these stories in my own classes students naturally open up further discussion of their own stories, or opinions on the stories. I have found that these stories enable easier access to theory by considering how and where these manifest in ‘real life’ situations and support critical examination in a more approachable frame. Rather than showcasing a case study of industry, this book offers insights from the staff creating the industry.

Within the discussion presented I question the validity of consistent focus on ‘management’ and ‘customer,’ or how management can support staff to do more, or how staff can listen and work with customers to offer more. I also expand current models on service encounters to include colleagues, management and suppliers and question the large cultural positions taken in contexts of transnational flows of people (including the staff themselves).

As a former worker and manager from these industries I often think of my own stories and incidents when serving customers. The people are what make these industries a fantastic and enjoyable location to pursue a career within, but these experiences are mostly created by the staff, not the customers nor management. This book praises the work completed by staff delivering service encounters and outlines the armoury of skills and knowledge utilised when delivering an intangible product. It also shows ways in which individuals and small cultures form the experiences and how the staff not only create, but educate management and customers within these contexts.

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Tourism and Humour by Philip L. Pearce and Anja Pabel.

Understanding Sport Heritage

We recently published Heritage and Sport by Gregory Ramshaw. In this post the author explains why the book is needed.

Sport is undoubtedly part of our cultural heritage. As Canadian author Roy MacGregor once wrote “it is impossible to know a people until you know the game they play.” Sport heritage tells us much about our shared past, what we remember, and what we value today. Indeed, we see manifestations of sport heritage everywhere! Many communities erect statues and sculptures to their sporting heroes; cities use sports museums and halls of fame as anchors of tourism development; teams, clubs, and organizations regularly employ heritage-themed events and souvenirs; chants, cheers, and rituals at matches are often thought of as a kind of intangible heritage, while sporting stadia and venues are regularly provided heritage designation and protection.

Because of this growing interest in sport heritage, a book like Heritage and Sport could not be more timely. Although there have been other texts which look at elements of the sport heritage phenomenon – such as sport museums, or heritage-based sport tourism – this book is the first which examines the whole of sport heritage. In particular, the book looks at some new topics in sport heritage – such as marketing sport heritage, managing sport heritage, and intangible sport heritages – while also bringing new perspectives to more familiar topics such as sport heritage in the fields of museums, events, and tourism. As the sporting past becomes more a part of our present, it is imperative that we have a broad understanding of sport heritage.

One of the primary aims of this book is to provide the reader with a wide-ranging understanding of sport heritage. In many ways, it is a launching-pad for other investigations, understandings, and research. A reader might associate sport heritage with, say, historic stadia, a hall of fame, or perhaps with a specific sport. What this book helps to do is demonstrate that sport heritage includes these topics – but that it is so much more! If a student, for example, reads the chapter about existential sport heritage – understanding how sport heritage is related to both bloodlines as well as the practice and performance of sport heritage – she or he might think about this in their own culture and experience. Similarly, if a researcher or practitioner reads the chapter about heritage-based sporting events or sport heritage landscapes, it may help spur ideas for future research and development.

Sport heritage has become an integral part of both the sport and heritage landscape. It is hoped that Heritage and Sport will help others to explore this fascinating topic further!

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Sport Tourism Development by James Higham and Tom Hinch.

Tourism and Events Conference in Belfast

Belfast City Hall

Last week I travelled to Belfast for the International Conference on Tourism and Events organised by the Ulster Business School. The conference was packed with thought-provoking keynote speeches and interesting papers. It took place in the Europa Hotel which was a very comfortable venue despite once having been known as the most-bombed hotel in Europe!

Belfast Opera House

Having never been to Northern Ireland before I didn’t know very much about Belfast but found people incredibly welcoming and keen to share their local knowledge. 2012 is a big year for Northern Ireland as they’re hosting many international events and developing the city as an important tourist destination. One of the city’s newest tourist attractions is the brand new Titanic visitor centre which is a fascinating museum which explores Belfast’s role in the Titanic legacy. Definitely worth a visit if you’re in town!

One of the cows from this summer’s Cow Parade in Belfast

The welcome reception took place in the spectacular City Hall. We were given a brief tour and a bit of history about the building and I was surprised to hear that it was built by a lot of the same people who built the Titanic. (Fortunately the City Hall has lasted a lot longer!)

I met a lot of new people at the conference, many from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland but also from much further afield.  Conferences are always a great opportunity to meet new people and it’s always exciting to hear about exciting new research projects.

Council Chambers in Belfast City Hall

As usual, the conference came to an end very quickly and I felt I hadn’t had enough time to experience Belfast fully but I hope to have the chance to head back in the future to explore the city properly.