The Gift of Travel
December is a month for the giving of gifts. It is also a time to motivate employees during a season not only of joy but also for many a time of great frustrations. For those employed in the tourism industry December often means large crowds and challenging weather situations. It is a time when those who work in the travel industry not only suffer from personal exhaustion but also from a low level of ésprit de corps. December’s difficulties are a perpetual challenge for any tourism administrator. When we add to this situation the fact that the long cold and often dark winter months add to the desire to hibernate rather than creatively work, we can understand how important motivation is for a successful business.
We all know that travel can be fun, exciting, and even romantic. It is also an excellent motivational tool. In a world where distances have become at the same time both smaller and larger, travel helps to unite family and friends and it provides a tool that allows for both spiritual and psychological rejuvenation.
Creating positive employee motivation can be a challenge, especially during the winter season when many parts of the world suffer from a lack of sun and weather conditions that can make even the shortest commute to work difficult. The gift of post December travel can help us to motivate our staffs to do their best and to bring a bit of sunshine to the pursuit of good customer service. Smart business managers get results by using travel as a means to develop well-motivated and creative staffs.
A common complaint among heard from shopkeepers to major business corporations is that all too many front-line personnel have forgotten that one way to fight against employee blasé attitudes is by using travel as an incentive. Ironically many people who work in the travel and tourism world do not have the time or resources to experience the joys of travel. What is true for the general public is also true for tourism and travel employees: travel helps to change attitudes and is a wonderful teaching took for our staff members to learn about different parts of the world and to experience both good and bad customer service.
Tourism Tidbits presents here some ideas on how tourism and travel managers can use travel as a motivational tool to help stimulate employees and to instill a desire to provide the type of service that produces the best possible customer service.
-Create situations that allow employees to compete for travel rewards. Many in the travel industry are exhausted after the holidays, the late winter and the early spring are the perfect time for short get-away vacations. Amazingly the three-day get-away may have as much motivational value as the two week vacation and costs an employer a whole lot less.
-Think about how much this reward will cost the receiver. It is not helpful to give an airline ticket or a free night stay at a hotel if the person cannot afford to get to the destination and/or stay at a destination’s hotels. Make sure to match the reward with the receiver’s ability to pay for the other parts of travel.
-Send employees to where the action is occurring. There is nothing wrong with combining an incentive or motivational trip with a learning experience. In fact, seeing how others do the same or similar jobs builds not only competence but also a sense of fellowship.
-Check with the person to whom you are giving the reward to determine which dates will work for him/her/them and which dates will become a problem. Remember that airlines prices can vary greatly so if you give an open ended ticket be prepared for a great deal of price variations. This problem is avoided by using air reward miles.
-Make the reward matches the receiver’s agenda and not yours. It does not matter what you like or think the other person ought to like, rather make sure that your travel reward reflects the receiver’s lifestyle rather than yours.
-Be savvy in giving air miles. Most airlines charge for transferring miles but allow you to ”purchase” a trip for another person for free. Do not transfer miles but rather purchase the trip for the person who is to receive the reward. Remember that paid airline tickets usually are not refundable and charge for date transfers, most tickets bought with air miles are much more flexible.
–Book early or give the reward so that the receiver does not have time limits. If the reward receiver is going to be using air transportation, remember that airlines have had tremendous numbers of cutbacks. That means that air travel options are limited, that there are less seats and higher levels of frustration. Make sure that your reward offers a great deal of flexibility.
-Give the reward around the other person’s likes and dislikes. Know if the person to whom you are giving the reward likes adventure travel, urban travel or perhaps countryside travel. You will get the most brilliant results from you reward of travel if you match the travel experience to the person’s psychological profile.
-If giving an urban travel reward, provide special add-ons. Travel is about memories so if you decide to give the reward of travel, turn the trip into special memories. These special memories need not be expensive. For example, a bottle of wine or a fruit basket will set the stage. If you can afford a bit more, consider theater ticket(s) or tickets to a sporting event. Make sure that you chose things that fit the receiver’s lifestyle.
-Have fun! Perhaps the best motivational technique is to work hard and at the same time have fun at work. Providing our employees with the gift of travel helps to transform the work into one of our most brilliant motivational tools, puts a smile on our employees’ faces, and encourages them to encourage their fellow employees to do their best. Take the time to laugh and lighten up. What makes travel a great motivational tool for industry is that seeing new places, experiencing new foods, meeting new people and developing a network of colleagues helps to turn every job into a profession and every profession into a vocation. The result can be brilliant results for the business and better customer service for our clients.
-Remember that travel is more than merely seeing and doing new things. It is also about sharing memories and creating brilliant results by letting someone else know that you care.
The author, Dr. Peter Tarlow, is leading the SaferTourism program by eTN Corporation. Dr. Tarlow has been working for over 2 decades with hotels, tourism-oriented cities and countries, and both public and private security officers and police in the field of tourism security. Dr. Tarlow is a world-renowned expert in the field of tourism security and safety. For more information, visit safertourism.com.