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The need for qualified staff in the hospitality industry

Abstract from main body

The aim of our project is to discuss and analyze the need for qualified employees in the hospitality industry and the way they contribute to the development of this segment. Our objective is to find out if education is an indispensable element or if there is another string in the mix that accounts for the success of today’s leading hotel chains. We had the opportunity to speak with some of the managers of leading hotel chains from Bulgaria who gave an honest answer to all of our questions so we can compare theory and practice. After a considerable amount of literature covered we put to a debate the results from our conducted interviews and the initial literature review in order to conclude on the role of education in this rapidly developing business. In the end we came to a decision that higher education is of great importance for the start of any career and nowadays it is a necessity rather than an extra. Combined with the right personal qualities theoretical knowledge is the springboard to future success where nothing is impossible.

Acknowledgements

I would like to express my gratitude to Mrs. E. Stoyanova and Mr. S. Ivanov who have supported me throughout the making of this dissertation.

Table of Contents

Introduction …………………………………..p. 8 - 9

Literature Review ………………………….p. 10 - 20

Methodology ………………………………p. 21 - 26

Results ……………………………………..p. 26 - 29

Discussion and recommendations …………p. 29 - 32

Conclusion …………………………………p.

Reference

Appendix

List of Abbreviations

GDP – Gross Domestic Product

HRM – Human Resource Management

NVQS -National Vocational Qualifications

List of Tables

Table 1. The Strengths and Weaknesses of evidence sources .……………………….. p.22 – p.23

Introduction

Travel and tourism industry is one of the greatest contributors to the World’s Economy. It employs over a quarter million employees worldwide and accounts for more than ten percent of the Global GDP. The industry’s stability is vital because it keeps the flow of money circulating not only amongst developed countries but also within emerging regions where at times the population is entirely dependent on tourism. Since this sort of industry is based on enjoyment, cultural and natural diversity, it has an educational and placating affect which unifies the people around the world. It is an industry generating a high profit while it does not cause the same environmental damage as other industries do; therefore it is in the interests of the inhabitants of the respective region that its development should be sustained. That has to be done in a balanced manner so that it does not bring negative consequences upon the natural habitat or the local community. The problem is that most people are unaware of the significance that travel and tourism have. For most individuals it is just a two-week period during their summer holiday, which brings back pleasant memories, if any at all. But in fact, the tourism industry is a complex machine, which has its own special features and plays an important role in the global development, preservation of cultures and bio-diversity. There is a high demand in it for qualified staff who understand how this machine works and behaves, who know what to avoid and what measures to take in order to sustain its gradual development.

In the new millennium most profits are generated from services. The Travel and Tourism industries are actively engaged in producing all sorts of services, both tangible and intangible. They also happen to be perishable, therefore we need qualified personnel who know how to deliver these services at a maximum efficiency, thus obtaining as much income as possible but at the same time remaining customer and environment orientated. We need to acknowledge the importance of higher education and training programs since they are the ones which can train and give the needed edge to hospitality employees. Education is an important link at the beginning of a chain responsible for the economic and environmental balance on Earth. The sooner we understand this, the sooner we will have more positive results towards sustaining and expanding the industry.

People from all over the world could benefit from the development of the hospitality industry. Every place on Earth has its beauty and diversity and can deliver attractive sights to visiting tourists. When given the knowledge developing countries can also use their natural resources to enter this business which has a smaller entry barrier compared to other industries. It could bring profit and wealth to places where no other natural resources can be found. In currently popular tourist destinations qualified and educated employees can develop and sustain the business that has been already created. When maintained accordingly, tourism will accumulate wealth in a destination and can improve the infrastructure and everyday life of the people living there but not at the expense of cultural integrity or political stability. If prosperity rises, the lifestyle of the population will improve and people will spend more money, thus stimulating other businesses causing the economy to flourish. That is why tourism is an important segment of the world’s economy and we need to pay more attention to it. On the other hand, if we are not aware of what we are doing we can easily destroy what we already have. Should we continue to manage this industry in a reckless manner, we will inevitably reach the point where most natural resources will be depleted and the tourist destination diversity will be destroyed. Least of all by managing it incorrectly we will suffer greatly from tourist outflows, bankruptcy of hoteliers, insufficient rate of return of the capital invested, all that potentially leading to a financial decay. We have to battle these issues or face the consequences and we can do so by providing better and affordable education.

In this dissertation our aim will be to analyze the significance of hospitality personnel, their contribution to the industry and we will indicate if there is a need for further development in this sector so that the needs of the hospitality industry are met. Also we will show the direct link between education and the impacts it has on the industry. Through analysis of the current state of the educational and on-the-job training systems we will be able to see where sufficient knowledge can be found and where it needs to be developed or upgraded so we can neutralize this weak point in the chain of hospitality industry. We will collect data and analyze different documents and archives as well as conduct interviews that can help us in the evaluation of the state at which the educational system is and how we can improve it so it satisfies the hunger of the tourism industry. There are various ways to collect information for this project, whether it be an interview or analysis of documents and archives or simply by means of observation. We have decided to conduct a document analysis in the form of a case study since it is reliable and practical and can deliver information prior to the study. It is precise and can be reviewed repeatedly. Combined with the exact names of authors it could help us analyze it more accurately. Unfortunately this method will give us the author’s perspective, and as far as the opinions gathered from the interviews are concerned, subjective as they may appear, they will also make up the total objectivity of the study at-hand as this industry is run by people, and more often than not, the successes and failures in it are due to the subjectivity of a decision made or a course taken at any given point in time. At the same time we can examine such documents and review the information and ideas provided to us from other authors and sources, which could be useful in the process. We are going to use the interview research method since it could easily provide the opinion of experienced managers from the hospitality industry.

The results will give us a clear idea of where such educational improvements are needed and how they can contribute to the progress in the hospitality industry and the global economy. We will analyze their long-term effects and their close relation with success.

Literature review

Significant changes have been made to the attitudes and attention to training over the last 50 years. From a historical perspective, manual and trade skills have often been realized by means of training apprentices. In more recent years management training has gained a big importance. With the help of modern technology, trainers have significantly improved their efficiency due to the fact that training itself has received a great development and improvement so as to cater to all aspects of modern business.

The data obtained from the HR Focus’s Survey (2001) in the USA define training as having extreme importance second only to that of strategic planning. It is given more prominence than the usually discussed issues of hiring and retention. As regards to planning and forming a strategy, the survey makes he defines training as crucial for every company especially with the advent of high technologies (HR focus, 2001).

Definition

It is a process aiming to continually modify attitude knowledge or skill behaviour by means of providing learning experience so that efficient performance can be achieved. It is always a planned process. Its goal as regards the situation at work is to enhance the abilities of the individual so that the current and future needs for qualified staff of the organization are satisfied.

What is the Training Philosophy?

According to Armstrong (1999) roughly speaking there are three approaches to training available to companies. Some adopt a laissez-faire approach believing that employees will eventually figure out how to deal with that themselves or by consulting others. (E.g. If skill shortages are incurred, the situation would be rectified by means of staff supply from other companies having already invested in training). Secondly, other companies may invest in training in a time of prosperity for the company, but in a time of woe, money for training will be the first to spare. Furthermore, enterprises adopting a positive training doctrine, do so because they are convinced that a competitive edge is achieved by means of hiring better staff than the competition. This goal cannot be attained to if managers do not invest in improving the abilities and competencies of their employees. It is likewise important for employees to realize that companies are acting driven by pure faith in creating opportunities for further training and improvement. This is the so-called proactive approach assigning to training a continuous and on-going role within the company as opposed to the reactive approach.

What are The Main Principles of Efficient and Effective Training?

For a company to work out an efficient training program the following principles should be well known and consistently implemented:

People have their own different rate of learning, and particularly as far as adults are concerned, often have a different starting point as regards to knowledge and skill; they are often driven by different motives and attitudes as well.

Training can only be successful if it implies the recognition of the fact that learning is a voluntary process and also, that individuals must be eager to learn; therefore they must be properly motivated.

Instruction must be delivered regularly in short frequent sessions rather than remain a one-time activity per year, thus providing the much needed continuity of the learning process.

Learning is impeded by inner psychological barriers of a sense of inferiority, previous unpleasant experience, stage frights for trainees lacking previous learning experience.

Appropriate and varied techniques involving the use of all senses are to be implemented during training, which presupposes the active participation of the trainees during training.

Active participation on part of the trainees is to be guaranteed during training sessions.

Praise and reprimand are to be used with care by the trainers, aiming to build up confidence but at the same time curb potential outbursts of overconfidence on part of the trainees.

Targets should be set regularly and cleared by trainees, their progress being checked frequently so that gradual acquisition of knowledge is guaranteed.

It should be recognized that Skills and Knowledge are acquired gradually with periods of progress offset by periods of "standstill" and even regress of what has been so far acquired so instructors must be perfectly aware of the existence of the so-called learning curve, as it can cause disappointment and frustration in many trainees.

What are the Effective and Efficient Training Benefits?

The principles of effective and efficient training exact that trainers must also care about the needs of the trainees themselves and only if followed through and understood completely, the following benefits can be realized:

Minimization of learning costs.

Improvement in the performance at an individual, team and corporate level in terms of overall productivity.

Improvement of the operational flexibility by expanding the scope of skills in operators, a combination of many skills, which once achieved, can hopefully bring about multitasking as well.

Attraction of high quality employees with the offer of learning and development opportunities, an increase of their levels of competence and enhancement of their skills, thus enabling them to enjoy a higher job satisfaction so they can gain higher rewards and advance within the enterprise.

Increase of the commitment of employees by introduction of the idea of “ownership” of the objectives and goals of the enterprise.

Change management realized by means of increasing the awareness of the necessity of change needed to adjust to new situations.

Development of a positive culture in the enterprise – respect for and tolerance to other religions, races, etc.

Provide customers with a higher quality service:

The great significance of training managers to the hospitality industry has been emphasized on by Peterson and Hicks (1996). According to them training managers is essential because of the inevitable changes concomitant to enterprises. To achieve a continuity successful enterprises will reprogram themselves in such a way as to retrain their employees in a way compliant with the exigencies at-hand, e.g. to be able to stand out and survive in the harsh competitive world of the Hospitality Industry where the battle for and every client will be won with a little edge based on skills, knowledge and competence, etc.

What is The significance of Training Managers in Hospitality?

The significance o training managers to the hospitality industry has been emphasized on by Peterson and Hicks (1996). According to them training managers is of paramount importance because of the unavoidable changes occurring in enterprises. To achieve a continuity in their work, successful enterprises will reprogram themselves in such a way so as to retrain their best staff, thus realizing a clear advantage over the competition in the field stemming from the increased competence of the trained managers.

What are Some of the Consequences of not Providing Training?

The above mentioned authors are also adamant that the enterprises successful at present operating without sufficient and timely change and rejecting the idea of change may slacken off the quality of their services and will be in for a big surprise at what will befall them as a result of neglected training.

They claim that training is a process which cannot and should not be stopped under any circumstances ensuring the continuity in updating and upgrading operators’ competences their becoming obsolete or obsolescent just like equipment and technologies become “morally” old or outdated.

What are the Real Benefits of Effective Training?

The same authors have pointed out the consequences of not providing training; they have also clarified how enterprises can also benefit from a successful training of managers.

The effect of management training at high levels should be effectuated throughout the entire company where trained staff enjoy having stronger teams of employees, some of whom have the potential to become managers, with that in turn leading to a more competent company at all levels and better financial results.

We can be convinced that hotel owners abroad generally believe strongly in management training and would consider investing in effective training programs as can be seen in the example of a large sum of money spent on training staff at a Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas (Gob, 1999).

 

The significance of management training is reemphasized by the president of Hospitality Department at HFS, John Russell according to whom only chains focusing on training have chances of survival in the Hospitality Industry (Cited by Gillette, 1996).

What is The Economy’s Effect on Training?

Serious investment in quality training will hopefully bring the emergence of managers capable of facing new challenges etc leading the enterprise in a positive and competent manner. During the 80s owing to stresses in the economies of lots of countries, many Hospitality enterprises discontinued management training programs to economize. Once these problems were done away with, almost all enterprises resumed the management training programs as satisfied staff would definitely attract satisfied customers (Gob, 1999).

This pinpoints one of the three approaches propounded by Armstrong that when times are good, enterprises would invest in training while in bad times money for training would be cut out.

What is the Importance of Training in Regards to Staff?

Gob (1999) states that this point is often neglected by companies, and it will definitely trigger bad implications as new employees are keen to become contributing members of the team but may be denied this positive urge of theirs. Conversely, in the event that training is effectuated, employees will undoubtedly appreciate the amount of time and effort, an enterprise devotes to them to help them become competent and integrate them better. In the eventuality of the company, not making use of a strong training program, the latter may be viewed from the employees as an indication that the employee in question is not worthy enough to necessitate any such efforts on part of the enterprise.

How Important is Management Training in Regards to Education?

Most educational institutions offering Hospitality management-training programs are well aware of the real significance of training according to Gob (1999). The training programs themselves are, to a significant extent, a form of management training.

Gob (1999) claims that most specialists in Hospitality are unanimous as regards the theoretical aspects of management training. However, specialists may remain divided as to the practical application of this theoretical training at work when students already educated on these programs actually enter the Hospitality Industry.

What Are the Types of Training Offered?

Professionals in Hospitality also concur in that there are three main places where training can be held. In an Enterprise on the job as well as in an Enterprise off the job. External training can also be provided, each one of them having its advantages and disadvantages deserving to be discussed and interpreted at length.

What is In company — On –the-Job Training?

It is a process consisting of several steps as stated by Armstrong (1999). This kind of training involves teaching and coaching by managers or supervisors or training provided at a desk or bench. The efficiency of OJT will remain a function of the quality of this guidance exercised on part of the managers or team leaders.

It is therefore of extreme importance that appropriate training be made available for managers and team leaders, and that it be elucidated to them that it is part and parcel of their job and will constitute a point where their performance as managers and supervisors will be assessed.

Many managers/ team leaders are inexperienced in training techniques and are heavily reliant on their employees’ providing the required training to trainees rather than attempt to acquire the required training capacity themselves. That is why Go et al (1996) claims that OJT is the most widely spread training approach but overusing it can also be detrimental rather than beneficial firstly to the trainee and subsequently or consequently to the enterprise. Specialists in the field also agree that such actions can and will ultimately spell disaster. Employees inexperienced in training techniques may unknowingly instill bad habits or practices in their trainees. In the first instance, the employee may not have the appropriate personality let alone clear idea of the subject-matter be imparted as knowledge to the trainees. It is therefore of paramount importance that if employees are entrusted with the responsibility of developing competence in “rookies”, they must be very knowledgeable of the job at-hand to be able to effectuate a successful training. A more obvious problem which could potentially deter fast acquisition of knowledge among trainees is the attitude to training itself they may have. They should realize what their role in the training is – not of passive onlookers but of actual doers of the training itself together with the trainers. This can be achieved by means of appropriate ways of delivering the training – roleplaying, PBL, etc.

Overall OJT remains the only way to successfully develop specific managerial, technical and administrative skills required by the enterprise as stated by Armstrong (1999). In regards to this point Go et al (1996) is of the opinion that in order for OJT to be effective, planning, structuring and supervising is to be effected. The principal advantages of OJT are as the following:

Actuality and immediacy.

Theory immediately effectuated with relevance easy to observe on site.

Much of the knowledge necessary for the job can be obtained in a natural environment being an integral part of the process where trainees learn how exactly they will be expected to perform at work.

Most efficient if the specific learning objectives have been explained appropriately to the trainees.

Examples can be taken from Domino Pizza where up to 85% of training is OJT given by store managers using training programs developed by corporations. This type of training exemplifies clearly and succinctly the objectives and benefits both to the trainees and the company. It also procures the trainee with the algorithm that should be followed so that all tasks are performed correctly as well as all equipment, materials necessary for effectuating the training. Last but not least, the training aid provides an evaluation form to the trainee so that he/she is allowed to observe his or her progress at any point in time and thus make corrections to his/ her performance at any given moment, thus continually upgrading his/her skills and abilities.

(Go et al, 1996)

What is In Company - Off the job Training?

Armstrong (1999) considers this type of training to be the most appropriate way for the trainee to acquire advanced office, customer service or selling skills as well as to make himself/ herself familiarized with company procedures and products. Another asset of this type of training is the increased identification on part of the trainee with the enterprise The availability of equipment and well trained trainers helps in so far as the basic skills are acquired more quickly and often more economically.

The choice of techniques and methods of imparting knowledge may vary. Here are some of them:

Training can be effectuated in the form of talks delivered by the trainers to the trainees. That way, legal matters, outline of procedures, working with applications can be very effective provided that, the newly acquired knowledge is checked on a daily, oftentimes, hourly basis.

Lectures should be avoided as modern trainers nowadays rightfully say: “We don’t lecture”. The trainees are not there to be lectured on anything but to actively participate in the knowledge acquisition.

Discussions based on results of role-playing can also be made use of. They are very effective as knowledge is elicited through the active participation on part of the trainees.

Role-playing is absolutely important as it gives the student a clear idea what his/her role in the company is, as well as helps establish the fact that people play different roles in life – they can be customers or staff even within the same day and they should be good at their roles, no matter how different they can be.

Case studies, PBL based games are to be encouraged. Students, children or adults equally enjoy games as has been discovered by relevant studies, etc.

Films, charts, and other visual materials should not be used alone but be an illustration of something discussed, an additional proof that something is so and so. They are therefore a very good argument, and also develop certain analytical skills in the trainees as they may precede or follow a discussion, thus can be used inductively to the matter-at-hand or as additional arguments.

Interactive videos, computer programs, CD ROMs with relevant software can be used as self-study, but also may be used as group activities where trainees will be expected to analyze in groups a given task, or cover a certain training material.

Questions and answers can be used at any moment following the previous mentioned techniques in which the trainee will ask a question trying to engage the trainees in an activity where they will need to remember what has been covered in a previous session. They are especially useful as warm-up activities and as such may precede other knowledge-building techniques.

(Boella, 1996)

As with any other system apart from the advantages there are always going to be disadvantages as well, as stated by Armstrong (1999). Trainees may be performing very well at class and still find it hard to transfer the knowledge acquired in the classroom on to the working environment due to various reasons – the specificalities of the Hospitality Establishment where there may be some different conditions to the ones encountered during training. Also, the human factor should not be underestimated – different temperaments, mentalities on part of the different members of the staff. Putting the theoretical knowledge to practice, undoubtedly, will require a certain taking into account of lots of other factors specific to each different organization.

The action learning approach was developed by Revans (1989) aiming to eliminate similar situations.

What is External — Off the job Training?

As a specific form of training it may include the release of employees so they can have learning sessions at a local college or another learning centre for either short term or their engagement in formal certified programs. Go et al (1996) states that training can either be tailored to the specific needs of an enterprise or it can have its focus on the specific subjects related to both the Hospitality and Tourism Industry. External training can also be concerned with more technical or management topics advantageous to the development of managers or team leaders as well as skills as highlighted by Armstrong (1999).

Various forms of external training could rendered by means of special courses and conferences organized by other enterprises other than educational institutions. Another very beneficial approach used by larger corporations, which Go et al (1996) proposed, are work-based placements at different locations within the mother company or other companies. For those who can participate in external training courses, it broadens their views on the subject as they are exposed to the input of colleagues from different enterprises.

Like most other forms of training, the transfer of what has been learned into practice is more difficult than the two types of training discussed so far. Another major concern is that the efficiency of this type of training will be determined by how quickly the newly obtained knowledge and skills are used; Armstrong (1999) states if not put to practice shortly after completion of the training, it can quickly be forgotten. Finally owing to the variety of courses available, it may be difficult for enterprises to pick the ones most suitable to their objectives.

Hospitality is a business which is demands lots of physical labour, which has been proven time and again in the work of all the establishments in the industry. It definitely depends very much on the commitment and attitude of the staff, the loyalty of the clients depending critically on the human factor’ (Gabriel, 1988:7). Quality and concern for guest service depends crucially on the competence and motivation of employees.

Hochschild (1983) has pointed out that many occupations, in addition to manual and/or mental effort, require the employee to control or manipulate their own or other people's feelings: what she defined as 'emotional labor'. This is particularly the case in interactive service occupations (Leidner, 1993) where personality and style of role performance are key components. This is the case in most 'front of house' hospitality jobs where, according to Western norms, part of giving service is to maintain the fictions that 'the customer is always right' and 'nothing is too much trouble'. Hochschild's hospitality example is of the air hostess who has been given that job because of her physical attractiveness and personality, and is therefore trained to exude charm and cheerful enjoyment of her stressful, servile and routine job, even when facing an unreasonable, rude or drunken passenger. Smiling is part of the job, however tired, ill or unhappy the employee may be feeling. Failing to smile warmly or frequently enough can be construed as a punishable offence. In some occupations, as with Hochschild's air cabin crew, emotional labour is part of the job contract and a recognized component of the job training;

Boella (1992:9) has said, 'sophisticated techniques of marketing, planning, food and beverage control or computer application may be used in a business and these are important, but the extent to which employees can successfully cope with their jobs will determine the level of 'service' so often stated as being [the] basic endeavour [of the hospitality industry]'. More effective human resource management is very likely to become an increasingly important priority for the Bulgarian hospitality industry. In a situation of an economic crisis, the call for change in the management of a hotel or a restaurant is great which entails the hiring of competent managers who will be able to increase greatly the chances of success on the tourist market for the respective organization by ensuring that informed decisions are made and also that decision-making has been part of a larger number of people who have all contributed to the respective decisions and who would also be held accountable for the consequences of the respective decisions.

It is well documented that different approaches to handling people can substantially affect the morale and productivity of the HRM within the hotel industry. The management style of an organization is claimed to be one of the most critical factors in determining the organizational strategy. Management style (via the emergent strategies in which it is reflected) is assumed to set the tone for the organization and influences the communication, decision-making and leadership patterns of the entire

system. Management tends to be seen as the principal agent for organizational change according to this school of thought, which suggests that change normally occurs in a 'topdown' direction.

What is Evaluation of the Training Process?

Torrington and Hall (1998) have established that many organizations consider training ended upon completion of the training program. This conviction brings about two consequences:

It enters into contradiction with the sustained here view that training is an ongoing continual process, which is part and parcel of every worker’s life.

Secondly and more importantly, the continual checking of the progress of the employee in question is thus inhibited and no reliable data can be obtained as to his/her advancement in company knowledge acquisition.

Most professionals are agreed on the fact that, evaluation is of paramount importance in establishing the success or failure of a training program has been as for the organization it is essential to produce value for money.

It is very easy for the evaluation to be effectuated when the training output is clear as stated by Torrington & Hall (1998).

Armstrong (1999) claims that implementing an evaluation practice for the entire company comprising all levels in it will result in the company’s having a stable control on all processes. The evaluation program itself needs to be evaluated because:

It is very important to establish if the training program corresponds to the objectives outlined at the planning stage.

It is also very important that it be established what improvements may be necessary in order for the training to be more efficient.

Sometimes the output may be hard to assess, which may lead to undesired effects. Torrington & Hall (1998) are of the opinion that difficult as it may be, it is of great importance that evaluation be done by all means.

When training programs are evaluated, Kirkpatrick (1994) states the existence of four levels of evaluation to be carried out:

Level 1 — Reaction — at this level, it is measured how the people respond to evaluation once it has been applied to them. In a sense, it measures immediate customer satisfaction. The following guidelines as proposed by Kirkpatrick (1994) for evaluating reactions are:

Establish what you need to find out.

Work out a form that quantifies reactions.

Encourage written output in the form of comments and suggestions.

Elicit 100% immediate response.

Elicit honest and truthful responses.

Develop appropriate standards.

Assess output of collected data and juxtapose against pre-existing standards.

Communicate the obtained results as appropriate.

Level 2 — Evaluating learning — it deals with gathering information to the extent to which the objectives in learning have been collected. It will aim at establishing the improvement of skills and the development realized by the respective test-takers, also if the progress made corresponds to pre-existing standards

Level 3 — Evaluating behaviour — this level is related to assessing the amount and success of the transferred knowledge from the classroom to the workplace. In order for best results to be obtained, this assessment should be conducted before and after training.

Level 4 — Evaluating results — this is the final level of evaluation providing the grounds on which the positive results of the effectuated training are to be viewed against the costs incurred.

The evaluation is related to establishing what objectives have been achieved as regards to sales, customer satisfaction, etc. However, contribution may not always be easy to establish and as Kirkpatrick says ‘we should be satisfied with evidence as proof is usually impossible to come by’.

(Cited by Armstrong, 1999)

While Kirkpatrick’s approach to evaluation in 1994 is very detailed, it remains in accordance with Hamblins approach (1974). On the whole, things may appear to be more or less the same, with the exception that training has been increasingly perceived as very important within organizations. To enable the training programs to be successful Boella (1996) is of the opinion that management must embrace the idea of supporting the effectuation of training initiatives. Their support can be best demonstrated if they actually participate as much as possible. If, however, instruction is entirely left to trainers, a gap may arise between the employees and the supervisors or managers, which would be hard to bridge once employees have already been put in production.

In order for such gaps to be prevented, supervisors can take the imitative to conduct some training sessions themselves in assistance of the trainer. If this is done, it can also have the positive effect of demonstrating to the operator the continuity between a trainer and a supervisor, and last but not least between operator and trainer as the different positions they occupy at any given point in time may shift upwards in the hierarchy of the company.

Through such actions Boella (1996) is convinced that the instruction is done in accordance with the pre-existing requirements.

What Are the Basic Concepts in Training?

After having dealt with the types of training available as well as with the options we have of effectuating evaluation, we may as well consider what principles are behind it:

Training deeply integrated within the processes at work in a business and is not something separate and should not be viewed as such.

Training is continuous in nature and is conducted at all levels within a company; through a constant improvement of the training expertise, it is ensured that operators receive the most actualized training possible.

Training must be conducted systematically and consistently. If not it will lose in value, especially if it lags behind on current realities.

Training must be planned, detailed and meticulously organized.

Training is an indispensable means in boosting the careers of young people engaged in Hospitality.

Nowadays training above all remains a motivating technique for the employees as well as is especially effective in filtering the best candidates for the job. An increasing number of young people are interested in finding out if the company has a good training policy before they make up their minds as to whether they would like to work there or not. (Go et al, 1996)

Finally Boella (1996) is convinced that training as a tool management should be part and parcel of the means of increasing workers’ quality in the output they provide.

 

 

Methodology

In this part of the dissertation we are going to review the various methods of acquiring data that will be used for the evaluation of the thesis.

As stated by (1984), there are up to six sources of evidence that can be made use of in a Case Study. They are outlined in the following paragraphs where table 1 shows their respective strengths and weaknesses.

Documentation may involve the use of letters, memoranda, proposals etc. It is of great importance in case studies that evidence be corroborated from other sources such as other case studies, articles, etc. As Yin, 1984 suggests overreliance on certain documents and their preference over others may also be a cause of confusion.

This has been a result of casual investigations which are not error-proof (e.g. proposals supposedly containing the unmitigated truth)

Archival records normally deal with service records ascertaining the number of guests at the hotel over a certain period of time etc. Yin 1984 therefore is convinced that it is essential that the investigator be careful in establishing the accuracy and authenticity of records and the conditions under which they were obtained and produced.

Interviews have the biggest significance by comparison with other sources in a case study, and can vary from an interview with open-end questions to a structured interview. Interviews data can therefore corroborated with evidence from other sources as stated by Yin (1984). Interviews must be considered as evidence in as much as allowance is given for the fact that they were spoken. Still when recorded properly they do pose a valuable source of information as can easily be taken down to paper with the above risks still present.

Direct Observation is the case when the investigator makes a routine check e.g. to a new hotel. In regards to direct observations, it can be either formal or casual, the problem, however, is if can be relied on as a source of gathered information. One way to deal with this problem as stated by Yin (1984) is to make use of multiple observers and analyze the data provided by them, comparing, contrasting it and finally drawing a conclusion based on it.

Participant Observation has the unique quality of involving the researcher into taking part in what is being observed, thus hopefully or potentially increasing the amount of his/her understanding of the subject-matter; this on-hands approach can however pose a problem as there may be an eventuality of bias.

Physical Artefacts may involve the use of any physical evidence that may be collected during a field visit as proposed by Yin 1984.

Table 1. The Strengths and Weaknesses Outlined

Types of Sources

Strengths

Weaknesses

Documentation

Reliable —recurring reviews.

Unobtrusive — pre-existing to the time the case was effectuated

Broad coverage — covering a bigger period of time.

Reliability — obstructed due to biased selectivity.

Bias report — reflects of the author

Access — may be denied due to various factors.

Archival

Same as above can be relied on as it contains information over a time period.

Same as above access may be inhibited.

Interviews

With a specific aim - focused on case study topic.

Insightful — elicits information through perceptions

Bias due to poorly asked questions.

Incomplete recollection

Boomerang effect — interviewee provides the output desired by interviewer

Direct Observation

Reality — real-time events are covered

Contextual — deals with the context within which the event takes place.

Time — time-consuming

Selectivity — misses facts

Boomerang effect — observer’s presence might induce change.

Cost — for the time and money spent on the visit

Participant Observation

Same as above interpersonal behavior can be perceived.

Same as above

Bias as an effect of actions taken by investigator

Physical Evidence

Cultural perceptions

Perceived technical information

Selectivity

Availability

We will implement a qualitative research method which will give us an idea of what managers think about educated staff as well as their opinion on whether there is need for qualified staff and how can education have a beneficial effect on the tourism industry. The aim of our methodology will be to show the correlation of education and success in the hospitality industry and to determine if there is a need for qualified staff and how they contribute to the process. One-to-one interviews are most suitable because they can create a two-way interaction between the interviewer and the interviewee, thus maintaining focused communication as well as allow for additional questions that might come up during the process. The information is directly received from the “source” and is referred to the issue of discussion, thus enabling the interviewer to read between the lines if needed. However there are some weak points of this approach. For instance, the interviewers’ questions might be leading the interviewee to answer whatever the interviewer wants to hear. Another problem would be that the interviewee might be expressing his/her own opinion on a certain subject-matter when a more comprehensive answer would be required. Last but not least, the interviewee’s answers might be misconstrued when they are being “decoded”.

We will interview several managers in Sunny Beach, who will state their point of view on the matter. The results will have an analytical value which could be used in establishing a comparison with the literature review and will enable us to determine whether or not there is a need for qualified staff in the hospitality industry which could contribute as an added value in the performance of the respective enterprise.

The reason why we chose this method and hotel was because our interviewees have had a successful hospitality career in Bulgaria for over fifteen years in both seaside and mountain resorts. They have a reasonable amount of experience and could be used as an example for successful management of an enterprise.

We have chosen to use the most common three-star hotels for our research because they are the most common type of accommodation on the tourism market. These units are situated along the coastline of the Black Sea in Sunny Beach resort. Some are popular family hotels working both with foreign and native tourists who offer a variety of services and exceptional quality of traditional Bulgarian cuisine. They can be easily recognized by its authentic architecture which defines their unique design and contributes to its internal ambience. Others are franchised by international chains. We will speak directly with the managers of these hotels in order to find out the formula of their success strategy and to assess whether education plays an important role in it.

During our interviews we asked the hotels’ representatives a dozen of questions concerning their attitudes towards education, qualified personnel and experience as opposed to theory. The questions asked contributed to the final result of the methodology and gave us a base from which we could compare the theory in the literature review with the final results from the interview. Our questions were asked to gain the opinions of experienced hoteliers who have a clear idea and knowledge on how to maintain a steady and sustainable business. We asked each and every interviewee the same questions with no attempt to mislead or corrupt their answers. Some of the questions are overlapping and may appear as a repetition, but this is done so on purpose. The idea is that if there is information not clearly addressed in the previous question, it is dealt with in the second as there will be more elicited relevant information based on two partially overlapping questions.

1. How important is education for an employee's success in the hospitality industry?

Our first question was how important education is for an employee's success in the hospitality industry. We asked this question because we wanted to find out the importance of education in the tourism industry and if it can affect the probability of success in this industry of the employee.

2. How can education contribute to development of the industry?

Our next question was how education can contribute to the development of the industry in question. This question aimed to determine if development of the travel and tourism industry can be influenced by better training or education.

3. Is there a need for qualified staff in your organization?

This question was used to determine if there is a need for better qualified staff to support the growth and development of this business. Later on we wanted to assess whether education is an important factor when it comes down to hiring an employee. The answer will show us the employers’ attitude towards theory and knowledge of the industry and how valued education is according to him.

4. How important is theory and how can it contribute to the improvement of the progress of the industry?

During our research we decided to ask the interviewees’ opinion on how important theory is and how it could contribute to the progress of the industry. Again we seek to find out if there is any relation between education, better service and improved results in the hospitality industry.

5. Do you offer on -the-job training to your staff at your hotel?

To asses furthermore the employers’ attitude towards education we asked them if they offers “on the job” training at their premises. It is important to know this because the answer will determine the interviewee’s true standpoint concerning the matter. On-the-job training requires time, financing, efforts and is a very demanding process. If they are willing to make this sacrifice, this would indicate that the managers truly value and understand the significance of training and education and they support this idea.

6. Is there a strong demand for qualified staff?

The sixth question in the interview was whether or not there is a strong demand for qualified staff in the hospitality industry. The purpose of this question is to determine if there is a need for such employees so we can conclude if they are important or not for hoteliers in their business.

7. Is education an important factor in determining whether or not an employee is to be hired?

This question is asked to clarify if the degree ownership is of relevance to the potential employers.

8. What are some of the requirements for hiring an employee?

Similar to question number 7, again we want to know what are the requirements expected from successful candidates.

9. Which of the following do you think is more important and why?

- education

- experience

We had an interesting choice to make in question nine. Our presenters were asked to determine which is more important – experience or theory. By posing this question we are putting experience and theory on a scale in an attempt to evaluate which is more important. Hospitality is a sphere where practical skills are placed on pedestal and through asking this question we are aiming to find out if education is more important than theory or not.

10. Do you think experience could replace education, if yes to what extent?

To untangle the mystery of the relationship between education and practice, we asked if experience could replace education and to what extent. Similarly to the previous question we are asking if experience and practical skills can fully replace education and vice versa.

11. Does better education mean better quality of service in the hospitality industry?

In question eleven cared to find out if better education means better quality of service in the hospitality industry. Travel and tourism industry mainly sell services therefore we had to know if better education can be related to better quality of services provided in the tourism industry. Quality service is popular to have a beneficial effect therefore we assumed it would be important to know if education can contribute to improving the services offered. S

12. How can a company achieve success in sustaining a steady clientele?

Our final question was just as important to us as the ones preceding it so we can analyze if there is any relation between better service and positive customer long-term relationship.

Results

This section of the dissertation will present what results and evidence we have found so far during our research. They will provide data that will be compared with the literature review and will be analyzed in order to find out if there is supportive evidence of our hypothesis. We will use this data for comparison with the literature review to see if there is any relation between education and improved employee capabilities and performance on the job and if they have an impact on the hospitality industry. The results will provide supportive data used in the most important part of the dissertation – the discussion and analysis of the given issue.

1. How important is education for an employee's success in the hospitality industry?

According to most of the interviewed managers the importance of education is undisputed, but there are also many factors on the side that need to be noted: for example motivation, ability to work in a team, attitude, willingness to accept other peoples cultures, traditions and differences. Probably the most important factor, something that can be applied to every profession, is the satisfaction a person experiences from doing a certain job, and whether or not he likes it is what matters and what determines how well an employee will perform and how much he will grow in his organization.

2. How can education contribute to the industry's development?

It was agreed by all of the interviewee’s that education can have a significant impact on the industry. At the moment in Bulgaria there is a real shortage of qualified staff and this can have a negative impact on our long- term investments. High turnover is a problem due to the low wages which drives better prepared staff abroad where they can receive a better remuneration. However this leaves the Bulgarian resorts with post-socialist managers who were trained in the old regime and their ways haven’t changed much ever since. Tourism is a dynamic, fast-changing industry and requires more flexibility and adaptability from hoteliers, something that has been ignored by the “old school” system since back then everything was a set standard. Present day post graduates have little experience and as soon as they gain some in local hospitality units flee abroad where the standards and wages are much higher. If we could retain these educated young men and women we would be able to deliver a better service and products than our competitors abroad. In Bulgaria we have four seasons and ample supply of natural resources, but unfortunately our staff is not prepared to make a much bigger contribution to our industry. I must say that education can improve dramatically the quality and amount of tourism services as well as it can improve the way the whole process is being run.”

3. Is there a need for qualified staff in your organization?

Some hoteliers at the moment have a great team who is well prepared and works very efficiently but it is uncertain how long it will remain the way it is. As mentioned earlier high turnover is a fact in Bulgaria and a problem for every general manager. Those who have secured their hotel with prepared staff are worried that next season might lose some of their employees because are a small hotel and their financial capabilities are limited. They try to motivate financially its staff but they are aware that everyone seeks improvement and development, and quite possibly their crew will seek better chance elsewhere.

4. How important is theory and how can it contribute to improvement of the industry's process?

According to the interviewees theory can significantly increase a learner’s understanding of the hospitality industry and when combined with enough practice could produce a well prepared employee with great future potential. It is good to know things the way they are in theory they can be applied later on in practice. Again it is something that leaves staff with a head start as well as it can make their job better, easier and more effective.

5. Do you offer on-the-job training to the staff at your hotel?

In most hotels it is required that all staff take a minimum of one month pre-training period, also known as a trial contract. During that time their behavior is evaluated as well as their personal characteristics, willingness to work and how well they can adapt to the environment. During the season there are multiple seminars and team building events where it is attempted to improve and smoothen out the edges in search for flawlessness and perfection.

6. Is there a strong demand for qualified staff?

Definitely good employees are hard to come by and even harder to retain. They are needed if we want this business to prosper. Strong, reliable and educated people who can support the development and running of the business nowadays are very rare and hard to find because most of them emigrate in search of better opportunities. In reality most hoteliers are not willing to pay for brains. Instead they would rather invest in back-bones so this question is difficult to answer. Mostly there is a need but it is not backed up by money in order for it to become a demand.

7. Is education an important factor determining whether or not to hire an employee?

It is preferred to hire educated staff because of their value and how difficult they are to find. However what is needed is a combination of various factors before the final decision whether or not to hire someone is taken. If two employees with similar characteristics have to be assessed but one of them has completed higher education, surely the post-graduate will have a greater chance of being hired then someone without any degree. It is preferred to hire graduates because they are a good investment for the future and they will be extremely valuable to the company they work in the future.

8. What are some of the requirements for hiring an employee?

Most of the employers look for people who seem reliable and trustworthy. They also look for people with more knowledge and practical skills, who enjoy and understand the true meaning of teamwork.

9. Which of the following do you think is more important and why?

- education

- experience

Experience is more beneficial and useful than the knowledge obtained in classrooms, but it takes much longer to be acquired and turned into use compared to the knowledge learnt in schools, while education is an easy way to learn the “know-how” and put it into use rather than just repeating and improving previous work. It must said that both are of extreme importance when it comes to positive final results and that hoteliers wouldn’t do well without a smooth combination of both.

10. Do you think experience could replace education, if yes to what extent?

Experience can replace education but the latter can be used as a spring board and could considerably improve the performance of employees in their future activities.

11. Does better education mean better quality of service in the hospitality industry?

Without a doubt theoretical knowledge has a positive influence on the process and can upgrade and lift it to another level where it can satisfy the demand of more wealthy customers whose expectations exceeding what less educated people might be able go satisfy. But this can be applied not only to high class venues but also to more common units that operate with the mass tourist who also requires proper service.

12. How can a company achieve success in sustaining a steady clientele?

There is no secret recipe that assures a sustainable business but one simple way of maintaining a steady clientele is to satisfy the needs and wants of potential clients reassuring them that their requirements are fulfilled. Good, accurate and service focused on their needs is the key to having satisfied guests. Also that it is surrounded by the tangible amenities that make up for the rest of the comfort of the guests. Managers would expect from their employees to understand and get used to the concept that the customer is always right and be supportive of any of the issues that their clients have. Another way to create a loyal clientele is by making the latter feel at home even when he is in a foreign country that differs significantly from the lifestyle and traits of the respective guests. Hospitality is the key factor when it comes to tourism, without it there wouldn’t be a desire for the people to visit the same place again.

Discussion and recommendations

In this section of the case study we will discuss, analyze and compare the literature review with the methodology and the results we have obtained so we can conclude and decide whether or not the thesis has stable ground beneath it. We have gathered significant data in the literature review which clearly indicates the importance of education and the positive impact it has on the hospitality industry. In the methodology we had the opportunity to raise the question if there really is a need and relation between success and education. The results provided us with the opportunity to observe the viewpoint of a number of Bulgarian hoteliers who also supported our thesis but during the interview they mentioned some things bringing controversy to the topic.

The economical benefit of tourism is undoubted and as seen in the literature review and the conducted interview we can say that education is extremely helpful and supportive for the hospitality industry. But the link between education – industry – success has been interrupted by another factor – the human factor. During the interviews it has been repeatedly supported and concurred the importance of education but also quite often reclined on the significance of personal characteristics of staff. Interpersonal abilities happen to dominate over educational and practical capabilities in this perspective which raises the question if education is the most important factor that can elevate and improve the conditions of world tourism. It was mentioned a few times that experience is more beneficial probably meaning of better use, which clearly confronts the initial thesis. Throughout the interviews it was also discussed the environmental adaptability, willingness to work, trust and reliability are key factors as well. Despite the fondness of educated staff the interviewees hired people who are reliable, trustworthy, and able to work in a team and who adapt well to the environment. Some of those characteristics could be imported from school, for example, teamwork and social/environmental adaptability but the rest are not – again disrupting the initial thesis that there is a need for qualified employees in the industry. Furthermore during the interviews we discussed hospitality itself. It was stated that one of the ways to create and maintain a steady clientele is by making his guests feel “at home” by being “hospitable”. These words are just an opinion and are not the undoubted truth but again ring a bell because the human sincere warmth and welcoming cannot be taught at school as well. All this creates a conflict between education and the human factor and opens the question which of the two is a more valuable contributor to the hospitality industry – education and training or the personal characteristics and individual motivation of the employees. As Gabriel (1988) states:

“The nature and quality of service as well as the satisfaction and loyalty of the clients depend critically on the human factor' as well as ' the social and technical skills of its personnel, their ingenuity and hard work, their commitment and attitude.”

At the same time Peterson and Hicks (1996) believe that management training is essential as changes are concomitant to all organizations and therefore cannot be avoided. To achieve continuing progress successful organizations will find the way to change their programs and provide update training to staff accordingly so as to have a competitive edge over other operators in the business by bettering service quality in their hotel etc.

In the literature review we can observe additional support to training where the hospitality industry is recognized as a major contributor to the world economy and as Gob (1999) states, training has a significant effect on the business and companies should not be afraid to invest in it because it is an investment that will pay off in the long term.

Investment in training will hopefully result in the emergence of managers capable of facing up to new challenges etc and leading the enterprise in a positive and competent manner. During the 80s owing to economic problems in many countries a number of Hospitality enterprises discontinued programs for training managers to make economies. Once these problems were done away with almost all enterprises reintroduced the management training programs and money was also spent on training managers, which produced satisfied staff (Gob. 1999).

While the literature review showed more affection for training and education, the conducted interviews with the representatives of the Bulgarian hospitality industry revealed their opinions on what is more valuable. They supported and acknowledged education as a positive and important factor for the development of the hospitality industry but at the same time insisted on hiring employees with specific personal characteristics most of which are based on personality traits rather than abilities obtained from school.

From the information given we can assume that education does play an important role in the development and proper management of the hotel industry and that it should be implemented by hoteliers through different means but also shows that interpersonal characteristics also play a vital role in the process. It would be difficult to evaluate which is more significant of the two since education has some sort of degree while personal characteristics are immeasurable and difficult to define and assess. Therefore we can conclude that the hotel industry needs a mixture of people who have superb interpersonal qualities and proper education - a modern breed of highly qualified employees who will have the conscience and knowledge to develop and sustain this global industry which is of great importance to the worlds’ economy’s stability.

In the future HRM management should find a way to improve its capability to recognize and select appropriate candidates that match these requirements. This will be a difficult task to achieve since interpersonal characteristics take time to be evaluated unlike a diploma degree status. One suggestion to the matter would be the introduction of evaluation charts that give a detailed evaluation of the work, attitude and behavior of newly hired employees. Through this method the HRM can track and observe the work and behavior of its staff and their personal characteristics because it is just as important to have highly motivated, self-conscious, and trustworthy employees as well as educated and skilled ones. Should one of these aspects be missing the results will suffer depending on what needs to be improved but either way we would have a malfunctioning unit, delivering unsatisfactory results. This can have a negative impact upon tourism industry and should be avoided for the sake of economic stability. The improvement of training expertise as well as personal motivation will bring about fast and positive results, thus improving the lifestyle of people all over the world.

Another recommendation towards the improvement of the industry would be the development of additional educational courses aiming to improve the communicational abilities of the staff. Guests feel more comfortable when the staff speak their native language therefore hoteliers should try to respond to this reality because this is an excellent way to welcome the guests and really make them feel at home.

Languages should be made an integral part of education and be considered as a key element to all Hospitality Management courses instead of being taught as an optional subject. Students graduating without having sat a foreign language exam or courses are already at a disadvantage if they want to pursue a career in Hospitality. This fact becomes evidently true with large hotel corporations running businesses in hotel chains all over the world. For instance, if a promotional opportunity arose in Quebec an employee who has French as a second or first language is much more likely to be promoted than the employee who only speaks English. Bilinguism among staff, usually English and another language is becoming a norm. It can be safely said, that English only, regardless of the fact that it is such a popular language is already insufficient for a candidate manager in Hospitality.

It would be beneficial if a greater co-ordination between Universities and Colleges is established so they can give prospective students the most suitable of Colleges or Universities relevant to their career aspirations

Placements before starting Hospitality courses regardless of the fact if they are managers’ courses or courses for lower positions, would predispose students much more to what is in store for them and would prepare them much more successfully for their chosen profession where practice and theory would complement each other most naturally. Perhaps the invention of profiled high-schools engaged in practical and theoretical knowledge of the hospitality business can prepare better the potential future employees in their path to managerial career.

Another problem that can be redressed is the reputation of the hospitality industry. Many people see it in a bad light in regards to the long hours at work where staff communicate with clients or among themselves while running errands and orders. It rests with the businesses then to present a more attractive image of this profession where nothing is impossible but almost anyone in it has to start from the bottom and work his/her way up.

The step forward towards fulfilling the needs of the hospitality industry can start in the early stage of a persons’ life – directly from school where the traits will be presented and explained combined with a practical education. This will introduce the core concept of hospitality to the students who will have the opportunity to decide whether or not to continue forward or look for a different occupation. The ones who stay will graduate with basic knowledge and will most likely start working on lower hierarchy positions during summer time at hotels, resorts, taverns or restaurants where additional knowledge and experience will be gained. If the employees are satisfied and enjoy their work they can continue to work towards improvement of what they have already learned and could continue their education in college where they will perfect and polish their skills thus becoming a competitive and fulfilling breed of employees who will meet and satisfy the thirst for qualified staff in the field.

Last but not least, the Hospitality Students should realize that when staring a job in the hospitality business, they actually are very likely to start at a low position regardless of their Hospitality Education as the Managers are willing to see how they actually perform at work and normally would be willing to promote them on basis of their superior education to that of other less educated staff, but also will take into consideration how they actually deal with the routine requirements of simple servicing the client. They should understand that this is “servant” work as opposed to “savant” work and does not have much to do with theoretical studies once on the job. Students more prone to scholar studies would therefore need to have the patience and demonstrate the necessary practical skills to see themselves rise in the hotel hierarchy to the much desired position of a manager.

Conclusion

The hospitality industry needs and deserves to have properly prepared employees who will support further its development without jeopardizing the natural resources, local community or political integrity of a country. This industry is of great importance and must not be neglected in terms of sustainability and should be addressed with great importance.

From our research we have come to a conclusion that there is a vast demand for qualified employees that have completed both theoretical and practical courses since the last two need to be entangled together in order to have a complete and fulfilling final result, that is to have more satisfied and loyal clients. From the covered literature we had the opportunity to see the perspective of the authors who gave a clear understanding of what training and education have become in recent time and how they have influenced the hospitality industry. We interviewed a number of Bulgarian managers currently working in the field who have long term experience and are aware of the way this business is being run and more importantly know exactly which piece of the puzzle is missing. They gave us an opinion on which is needed and has to be improved in the training of potential employees, which we used for comparison with the literature review and we came to the conclusion that there is indeed a demand for well trained and capable employees who will take control of this demanding industry.

The only way to maintain the stability and security in the field would be to employ people who are aware of what they are doing and meet the requirements of this challenging and dynamic field of work.

By

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