By one estimate, the tourism industry makes up 9.6% of jobs in the UK and contributes 9% of GDP. However, employment in the tourism sector suffers from a number of problems: low pay, poor career progression, and a poor public reputation which discourages people from entering the tourism industry. This leads to high staff turnover, which imposes large costs on employers for recruitment and induction training, and can lead to low morale among remaining staff and eventually lower revenue.
The National Coastal Tourism Academy (NCTA) is seeking to address the issue of career progression with a UKCES-funded 18-month project called Fast Track. It is working with the owners and managers of six hotels in Bournemouth, a coastal town on the south coast of England, to document recruitment, training and development processes and to gather opinions from staff themselves. It is also providing training for managers and masterclasses where role models who have ascended to top posts in their careers – such as chefs, sommeliers and managers – will speak about their experiences.
Fast Track hopes to see whether the “service-profit-chain principle” works in the hospitality industry. In theory, staff who feel valued will have a more rewarding career, gaining more income and satisfaction in the process. This improves guests’ experiences, so they are more likely to return to and recommend the hotel, thus improving revenues for the business.
The NCTA is committed to testing and evaluating the project and sharing the results publicly, especially with those who operate small businesses in the hospitality sector.