Tourism, hospitality: engagement over the season – 5 tips to increase engagement

Summer is here and tourism and hospitality are in full swing. Hotels are full, restaurants are fully booked, day and evening shifts are merging, and related service providers are working at full capacity. However, high turnover is a very common problem in this industry due to the specific working patterns and sector-specific expectations. 

Although the arrival of seasonal workers may temporarily alleviate the problem, failure to retain talented workers in the long term will cause serious headaches for employers - and at considerable cost! Moreover, it becomes impossible to keep things running smoothly if you have to worry about recruiting again at the beginning, middle, and end of each season.

Retaining talented employees is a huge challenge in any industry, but in tourism and hospitality, especially in peak season, it can be a crucial factor. As engagement is one of the keys to retention, this is where you need to look for solutions to the problems.

With effective, well-constructed internal communication, employers can do a lot to ensure that employees are effectively engaged, and find their place in the community and professionally - and thus increase their engagement. Let's take a look at 5 key areas that can improve the employee experience and help retain and engage employees in tourism and hospitality.

1. Digitizing processes – unburden, accelerate!

A mindennapi adminisztrációs rutinfeladatok digitális felületre terelése sok időt és energiát megspórolhat. A munkavállalók szeretik és értékelik, ha egyszerűen, pl. a mobiljukon néhány kattintással elintézhetnek valamit, amivel korábban a HR-re vagy a vezetőséghez kellett szaladgálni, telefonálni. A jelenléti ív kitöltése, a szabadságok kikérése, vagy akár egy műszakcsere adminisztrációja egy digitális, saját belső kommunikációs platformmal könnyedén megoldható. A turizmus és vendéglátás területén amúgy is szárnyal az automatizáció (pl. foglalási rendszerek), a belső adminisztrációba is változásokat hozhat. A folyamatok digitalizálása jelentős terheket vehet le a HR válláról, és a munkavállalókat is sok adminisztrációs nyűgtől megkíméli. 

Moving routine everyday administrative tasks to a digital platform can save a lot of time and effort. Employees like and appreciate being able to do things they used to have to run to HR or management with a few clicks on their mobile phones. Filling in attendance sheets, requesting time off or even administering a shift change can be done easily with a digital, dedicated internal communication platform. Automation is already booming in the tourism and hospitality sector (e.g. reservation systems), and this could also bring changes to internal administration. Digitizing processes can take a significant burden off HR's shoulders and save employees a lot of administrative hassle. 

2. Internal communication – inform, and engage everyone!

In tourism and hospitality, there are many unexpected events and ad hoc tasks that can arise. In such cases, the effectiveness of communication can be a zero factor in determining the success of the incident. If internal communication is done on a digital platform, not only can physical distances be bridged more easily, but messages can reach their destination faster. You can set up instant notifications and keep colleagues up to date. It is worth choosing an app that also shows statistics on how many employees have received the message. 

Digital platforms also offer the possibility of two-way communication: users can not only be passive readers of information but can also react or ask questions immediately. This dialogue also facilitates engagement, continuous improvement, and learning.

3. Training and development – provide space for learning and practice! 

Many employees are better able to connect and engage with their employer if they are clear about their exact responsibilities and see their potential for personal development. The potential of the digital internal platform should therefore also be exploited for learning and training. Watchable training videos, various e-learning materials, tests, and even information on occupational safety and health are much more easily accessible on an online platform. Colleagues can learn and repeat at their own pace, always having access to the latest information on their job, e.g. information on the chef's manual, and seasonal news.

4. Recognition and rewards – reward and motivate performance!

Feedback and recognition not only boost morale and team spirit but also positively position the company culture. It can also significantly improve employee engagement by making performance recognition a core principle, motivating colleagues with employee/team of the month rewards, individual bonuses, and gamification. In a fast-paced industry like tourism and hospitality, it is particularly important to give time and space for these. Making feedback and recognition visible, and sharing success stories on a digital platform is very easy to do and can be inspiring for the whole community.

5. Personal stories and success stories - build community, showcase the individual! 

Teams in hotels, hotels, and restaurants, especially with seasonal workers, are very heterogeneous communities. People from different generations, with diverse backgrounds and experiences work together, but they don't always have the opportunity to get to know each other better in the big drive. Team membership, engagement, and therefore retention can be significantly affected if employers make it a priority to bring colleagues closer together. An internal communication app is a good way to do this: from hobby groups to podcasts and regular columns featuring colleagues to sharing individual stories, there are many ways to help create a more cohesive, close-knit community at work.

In tourism/hospitality, retaining a talented workforce is key to success. Long-term partnerships across seasons are a win-win situation, but commitment is never a given - especially in this industry. By applying the 5 tips above, employees can be better connected to their community and their employer, experience more individual professional and community opportunities, and become more engaged. 

With Blue Colibri, the above strategies can be easily implemented. Increase your company's competitiveness and keep your hospitality/tourism team together more effectively with digital internal communication - in season and beyond.