The Importance of Giving and Receiving in the Tourism Industry in a Covid-19 World

This month we published Philosophies of Hospitality and Tourism by Prokopis A. Christou. In this post the author explains the importance of the book’s central topics of ‘giving and receiving’ in the Covid-19 era.

In an era of numerous challenges for the tourism industry this book aims to remind travel, tourism and hospitality professionals and students of some of the core rudiments of the tourism and hospitality domain. The acquisition and channeling of certain notions and practices, such as care for the well-being of our guests are deemed crucial at an organisational and societal level. In a COVID-19 world, our guests trust that we will convey them safely to their loved ones, accommodate, feed, and guide them, while taking care of their health and well-being.

Crises like the recent pandemic lead us to reflect on our actions and behaviour towards our employees and guests. Professionalism and quality-driven service provision are vital for the sector’s success. Nonetheless, the cultivation and circulation of virtues such as care, kindness and patience are of the utmost importance if destinations, hotels and restaurants are to be associated by their guests with terms such as “genuine care”, “extraordinary experience”, “anthropocentric-driven”, “unexpected treatment”, “quality” and “satisfaction”.  

This book moves beyond the very basics of what is the professional way to greet a guest, serve a dish, answer a phone, or deal with a complaint. It provides hotel managers, tourism stakeholders, students and other readers with the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of some of the most important and core aspects of tourism and hospitality, such as how to nurture a caring and anthropocentric organisational culture, how to contribute towards the well-being of people, how to cultivate genuine and personalised hospitality, philoxenia and philanthropy, how to trigger certain “emotions”, fulfil and satisfy the “senses”, and create “memorable experiences”.

By reading this book, tourism and hospitality professionals will better understand tourists, how and why they behave in certain ways, what they expect from them, and how the managers’ actions (towards tourists, employees, the environment and the community) may negatively or positively affect their organisation. Tourism stakeholders, such as tourism planners and regional authorities will understand how tourism development and uncontrolled tourism activity may impact on the socio-natural environment of their destination. Idiosyncratic niche forms of tourism and associated ethical issues are also covered in this book, including “dark tourism” and “religious/spiritual tourism”.     

For more information about this book please see our website

If you found this interesting, you might also like Tourism Ethics by David A. Fennell.

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.

What Opportunities do Modelling and Simulation Techniques Offer to Researchers and Practitioners?

We recently published Modelling and Simulations for Tourism and Hospitality by Jacopo A. Baggio and Rodolfo Baggio. In this post the authors explain the need for new methods in tourism and hospitality research.

Tourism is a complex phenomenon because of the many interdependent activities and organizations that deal with the movement of millions of people across the world for the most diverse purposes. The enterprise of understanding tourism’s main characteristics and attempting to predict future behaviors of tourism systems is thus complex. What is more, there is no satisfactory definition for “tourism”, despite a vast and enduring effort of a wide number of scholars and practitioners, thus making the endeavors of rigorously framing many questions even more difficult.

This complexity, as many scholars have recognized in recent times, requires tools and methods that are more sophisticated than the qualitative and quantitative techniques traditionally employed.

Today there are a number of methods that are facilitated by the availability of good hardware and software applications, which can be used to model systems and phenomena, and stimulate possible configurations and the effects that these have on many dynamic processes. These tools come from the work done in several different disciplines but are, however, not very widely diffused in the tourism and hospitality domain, even though they could prove quite effective in analyzing, assessing and predicting complex systems and phenomena, such as those observed in tourism and hospitality.

In recent years we have studied and used many of these methods, applying them in different contexts, often with a special focus on issues connected with the tourism and hospitality domains.

In Modelling and Simulation for Tourism and Hospitality we provide an introduction to the main opportunities modelling and simulation techniques and tools offer to researchers and practitioners. The approach we follow is mainly “practical”. We do not delve into complicated theoretical descriptions of the methods, and when we do, we mainly focus on highlighting the conceptual nature of the technique at hand.

Instead, we concentrate on discussing examples aiming to show the basic features, the possibilities of the different techniques and how these methods complement each other in providing a wider array of tools for all those interested or involved in studying or managing tourism or hospitality organizations. Finally, we complement the book with suggestions for further readings and with a list of software tools usable for the different modelling techniques discussed.

Jacopo A. Baggio, jacopo.baggio@ucf.edu

Rodolfo Baggio, rodolfo.baggio@unibocconi.it

 

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Quantitative Methods in Tourism by Rodolfo Baggio and Jane Klobas.

The ‘Hotel Rat’: Personal Identity, Social Relationships and Hotel Space

This month we published Histories, Meanings and Representations of the Modern Hotel by Kevin J. James. In this post Kevin explains what first sparked his interest in hotel history.

Until I read the report in the pages of an 1833 newspaper, the story seemed to belong only to the madcap antics in one of the most memorable episodes of the John Cleese television classic ‘Fawlty Towers’. A German baron, ‘about 35 or 36 years of age, of slender make, with light hair, and sandy moustachios’, speaking imperfect English, arrived in a hotel near Berkeley Square. The baron impressed the management with impeccable credentials, including letters of introduction to Foreign Ministers, and ‘one of the principal embassies’. He declared that he was undertaking crucial diplomatic business. In the conduct of those important affairs, he hired ‘a dashing cabriolet and livery servants’, ordered a number of luxurious hand-crafted goods, and entertained lavishly. Only when the keeper of a hotel at which he had previously stayed paid a visit to the keeper of the smart establishment was the swindler – and the extent of his fraud – revealed. The single trunk with which he travelled was discovered to be completely empty, and the names under which he had commissioned expensive craft work were false!

This story played out many times, and drew my interest: yes, these cases were especially sensational (and the press knew that). But they also raised profound questions about personal identity, social relationships, and hotel space. Under what pretences could people identify themselves as guests? What systems of surveillance operated in the public and private spaces of the hotel? How were agents of the law involved in hotels? How, in an age before credit card authorisations, when people still travelled long distances for business and pleasure, was risk addressed by keepers of grand hotels keen to fill their rooms with the best sort of guest, and thereby accrue prestige? No place seemed immune from the designs of the figure who became known as the ‘hotel rat’ – a man or woman who appeared well dressed and respectable, and insinuated themselves into the spaces of, and exploited, the hotels which accepted them, and their credit, at face value.  No place was immune from the seductions of high rank: The Evening Telegraph in 1883 reported that a ‘spurious Duke of Richmond’ travelling in New York had ‘traded rather unscrupulously on the veneration which many people in that democratic capital feel for a title’. In a world in which the petty nobility of the continent boasted a range of lofty-sounding titles almost unfathomable in number, the ease with which a swindler could claim aristocratic birth and a swift place in the high society of a foreign city, including access to its finest hotels, is sometimes shocking to the modern reader.

Thus began my quest to understand more about the nature of ‘modern hotel life’, and how other historians have handled it. In researching and writing about hotels, I have encountered cases of adultery, and of thefts of hotel articles as mundane as towels monogrammed with the initials of a railway hotel. I have also discovered reports of spies operating under the cloak of anonymity in restaurants and lobbies of an institution – the hotel – so complex and compelling that it demands as close attention from today’s readers as the press accorded the most notorious imposters who savoured the hotel’s splendour, and then failed to pay their bills.

For more information about this book please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like Histories of Tourism edited by John K. Walton.

 

CAUTHE 2014, Brisbane, 10-13 February

Story Bridge
Story Bridge

It was the University of Queensland’s turn to host CAUTHE this year and the conference was held in the Sofitel in Brisbane – with a lovely view for us exhibitors of Anzac Square. Noel Scott and his team of volunteers did a great job of organising especially as there were more delegates this year! 

As usual, it was a successful trip for Channel View and a great chance to catch up with a lot of our authors and meet new people.

UQ's YMCA
UQ’s YMCA

There were some thought-provoking keynotes from Stefan Gössling and Ulrike Gretzel and the Great Debate was won by the Aussies this year – in keeping with general sporting results!

UQ arranged for the conference cocktail reception to be held at the Customs House situated on Eagle St Pier, which was a lovely venue with great views of the Story Bridge – designed by the same man who designed the Sydney Harbour Bridge (fun fact!)

The conference finished with a great evening of dinner and dancing – made even better by an awesome YMCA performance from the UQ staff!

 

The Gabbatoir
The Gabbatoir

After the conference I went to watch some cricket at the GABBA – though haunted by the Ashes memories…

We’re looking forward to next year’s CAUTHE which will be hosted by Southern Cross University.

Sarah