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One of the most important indicators of a company’s performance is the level of dedication of its employees. Despite of various resources and supplies a company might require, human resource (HR) is the most important resource because without labor force no business can be done (Milkovich 1997). People within a company design and produce goods and services, control quality, allocate financial resources, market the products, set overall strategies and objectives for the company, etc. So ultimately human resource management (HRM) is an important part of nearly every organization.

In any customer driven business, HRM is vitally important. Especially it applies to tourism and other hospitality businesses. So basically, HRM is a series of integrated decisions that form the employment relationship (Milkovich 1997). Whether these decisions are efficient and consistent with one another directly influences ability of the company and its employees to achieve objectives. The entire HR mix includes the following activities: staffing, training and development, compensation, employee relations, and work structure (Goldsmith 1997). Each of these five in turn comprises several sub-concepts.

Managing personnel of hospitality related business is somewhat different from that of another business. First of all, this kind of businesses is purely customer driven. Hospitality businesses provide series of services and so employees should take into account individual preferences of each customer. Unlike at barber’s shop, for example, where most customers are local dwellers, hospitality businesses deal primarily with tourists, people from distant lands, people with different language, culture, religion, and other beliefs.

There are many ways to boost personnel dedication and overall performance in hospitality businesses. Some of these ways intersect with general HRM concepts, while the rest is applicable to only tourism and hospitality companies. Every qualified HR specialist would want to keep current employees (as long as they meet company’s needs) in lieu of constantly hiring new ones. So holding on to good, experienced, long-term employees saves time, money and effort, however this method requires a knotty strategy that goes far beyond the pay. In the hotel industry, for example, it is not an unusual case that the entire staff changes perpetually. So HR managers would want to implement new series of ideas to boost personnel internal motivation. One way to keep current experienced employees happy is to permit flexible work schedule; not only arrange three of four shifts. This arrangement will allow employees to choose the best time that fits them. Another very useful technique HR manager might want to consider is to communicate much. In travelling companies like Thomas Cook communication is the key. It is natural for people to be interested in how well they are doing, as well as in the productivity of the entire company. So HR specialist must provide this information via different mediums like newsletters, memos, staff presentations, regular meetings, and Internet (or Intranet). Utilizing these channels both up and down, HR managers should keep employees up to speed with the company’s strategies, achievements, directions. This way people would feel they are not separate, but rather inseparable links of a greater entity, and this felling of unity in turn will entail greater internal motivation. Grievance boxes or other mediums that can highlight grievances are also very important. Employees should without fear list grievances, other they might simply leave the company without managers even knowing why. This way resolving current employees’ complaints will reduce future resignations.

There are also several good practices that involve material incentives. It is truly essential to note that people need money so one way to boost they motivation is to provide them with monetary incentives. A very good practice would be to distribute a certain percent of annual revenue (5-10%) to all the employees. By so doing, salaries of the majority will rise up to 20%. Another effective incentive would be providing free training courses and career development classes, which would make employees feel involved, as well as valued (Jerris 1999).

The role of human resource specialist in a big travel company like Thomas Cook differs immensely from that of a small tour agency. Larger businesses have to devote much more time to human resource; first, because much more people are involved in the business, secondly, the more employees are involved, the more effort is required to manage these employees. So it is a huge routine system that requires clear division of labor, and establishing a human resource department is a must in such organizations.

Management of Hospitality businesses requires strict order and at the same time ability to change corresponding to the changes in business environment. On one hand, this kind of business is customer driven, and managers have to make sure that everything flows according to the rules and policies. In many cases, managers of large tourism companies have to travel to other countries where their subsidiaries are located and train employees or supervise training, especially if it is a new subsidiary. In such cases, managers’ main goal it to make sure that employees in that particular subsidiary follow policies and rules of the company as the rest of branches does. On the other hand, tourism businesses are in a special market niche that is very prone to rapid change. Therefore, managers have to be very quick in their decision making when it comes to adapting to new customer tastes and contemporary fashion flows, as well as crises and accidents. The most horrible vent that left a huge trace in hotel industry, as well as in all other spheres of life, is the terrorist attack on September the 11th, 2001. September 11th has forced consumers to travel less, which led the hotel managers to drop their room rates by 30% to 40% on an average. Bjorn Hanson, head of global hotel practice says that the third quarter of 2001 was the industries worst ever. Many people fear that another attack may occur anywhere else such as the one that took place on September 11t. Those fears along with the struggling economy have put a damper on the hotel industry. With no tourist adventuring out to tourist spots such as beaches or big city’s such as London or New York, the industry has had to cut costs in other ways such as downsizing, increasing rates in order to meet monthly expenses, or even completely shutting down. September 11th incident took a big chunk out of the economy, especially the hotel industry.

Political issues have also had an adverse effect on the industry as a whole. After all, economists were looking for different ways to upstart the economy. One of the ways individuals within the hotel industry was hoping for, were tax breaks for travelers. Marriott International CEO Bill Marriott was “lobbying Congress for tax breaks for travelers”. Thinking by adding another benefit to the already reduced prices, people would begin to again venture out and the industry would start to pick up again.

Before actually hiring new employees, human resource managers in a hospitality industry have to recruit them, or to test them and examine their performance. It is significantly important for the employee in such an industry to be communicative and hospitable. However HR managers should also consider another important characteristic as performance. Performance reflects company’s success, so it is crucial to measure it (Jerris 1999). Furthermore, employee performance is fundamental to other HR activities, such as who to hire, promote, reward, and lay off. Employees’ performance reflects mainly the efficiency objectives of the company, but equity objectives are also key to diagnostic approach. A key measure of equity is employee work satisfaction and commitment to the company. Low employee morale may signal future behavior problems, so tracking employee attitudes is also related to efficiency. Performance however as well as attendance, attitudes and opinions are only a few of the employee characteristics that support human resource decisions. Skills and abilities are also relevant to recruiting and hiring, while motivation is relevant to pay. In addition, characteristics indicating family obligations, such as aging parents or small children, are relevant to labor and employee relations.


1. Goldsmith, Alistair and Mickson, Dennis. Human Resource Management for Hospitality Services. International Thomson Business Press, 1997.

2. Milkovich, George and Boudreau, John. Human Resource Management. Irwin McGraw-Hill, 1997.

3. Jerris, Linda. Human Resource Management for Hospitality. Pearson Education, 1999.
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