The information contained within this literature provides a complete analysis of The Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Sector. It clearly outlines the importance of quality service delivery, the differences between service in the hospitality industry and service in other business, community based tourism, the advantages and disadvantages of community based tourism, diversification of Jamaica through community based tourism and the effects of technology on the tourism industry.
The Travel Tourism and Hospitality Sector
Definition of key terms
What is hospitality?
Dictionary.com, 2012.”Hospitality is the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors or strangers”.
What is Community Based Tourism?
Responsibletravel.com, 2012 asserts, “Community Based Tourism is tourism in which members of a community, local residents (often rural, poor and economically marginalized) invite tourists to visit their community with the provision of overnight accommodations”.
Pearson Education 2010 online, “Community managed and owned sustainable tourism that aims to share local ways of life and the community’s natural and cultural resources with visitors”.
What is an advantage?
Farlex, The Free Dictionary, 2012, “An advantage is a beneficial factor or combination of factors”.
What is a disadvantage?
Farlex, The Free Dictionary, 2012, “A disadvantage is an unfavourable condition or circumstance.
What is Service?
Farlex, The Free Dictionary, 2012, Service is work done for others as an occupation or business.The Importance of Quality Service Delivery in the Hospitality Industry.
As tourism plays a major role in the economic development of most countries, it is imperative that impeccable services are provided at every given opportunity. A guest or visitor needs to feel welcomed and appreciated to the point where by the end of their trip they have begun planning their return. The industry is also extremely competitive i.e. a lot of products and services offered are similar hence from the customer service perspective providing excellent service is the best option for getting ahead of the competition. A five star hotel may possess the luxurious furniture, the spas, the sporting facilities and all the trimmings that go along with it but because the verbal and physical delivery is lacking in personality and respectfulness, a guest would be willing to settle for the lesser amenities of a three star hotel in which they are made to feel welcome and appreciated as well as treated with the respect they deserve. Providing the service is one thing, however, the method of delivery is another. People tend to pick up on body language, gesticulation as well as facial expression through careful observation. It is best when providing quality hospitality services in the tourism industry to do so with a genuine and honest disposition, anything less will seem as a façade and is unacceptable.
Service in the hospitality and tourism sector is delivered in mostly on a one on one, verbal and or physical manner. This exposes the visitor or guest and the service provider to a range of differences in one or the other which the service provider must handle in a professional manner regardless of his or her personal preferences to secure the longevity and integrity of the business. These differences may include but are not limited to one or more of the following: Religion (Christianity versus Atheism, Islam, Buddhism etc.), Language which causes a barrier (English versus Spanish, French, Japanese, Chinese etc.), preferences in entertainment (an older crowd who is more conservative versus a younger crowd who is more into the party scene), race and cultures (African American and black versus Caucasian), Cuisine and dietary preferences (Asian versus Italian). These differences must be treated with genuine respect rather than disdain as it will undoubtedly create an instant rift between the parties involved and subsequently result in a decline in the return rate of visitors and affect the arrival of new comers. This occurs due to the fact that a bad experience is never forgotten and will most definitely be shared with others to warn them of the possibility of being treated in a similar manner and as individuals tend to believe what is communicated to them by a known acquaintance whether it be friend or family, the end result will mean less business being operated, loss of profit, loss of jobs and subsequently loss of the entire industry. It is widely accepted within the hospitality and customer service industry that a customer’s good experience will be shared with only a few close friends and family while a bad experience will be told to everyone willing to listen. This is proven on a daily basis on websites such as Trip Advisor and it has such far-reaching effect that most progressive companies in the sector have their marketing or public relations teams scouring the internet to respond to all concerns raised and to ensure their reputation remains untarnished.
The Difference between Service Delivery in Hospitality and Other Businesses.
Regardless of industry every business relies on hospitality and customer service to not only retain its current customer base but to also increase it through customer loyalty and positive word of mouth advertisement. Failing to fulfill the needs of a customer through effective and admirable customer service methods is the reason a lot of businesses are failing as their employees are sometimes lacking in the appropriate training, experience and patience required to ensure a satisfactory and memorable experience for the client. There are however differences in the service delivery, in the hospitality industry the service being delivered is geared towards the visitors/tourists and much emphasis is placed on the level of training it requires in order to perfect the necessary skills it takes to get the job done. Due to the fact that the Hospitality industry in Multi- culture there must be a certain level of appreciation for the vast amount culture and cultural diversity, meal preparation, entertainment, dress and rituals of Tourists. The importance of service delivery is stressed more so in the hospitality industry because of the diversity of the consumers and their varying cultural backgrounds. The services must be delivered perfectly to each and every customer in ordered for the guest to have an unmatched experience which will guarantee excellent reviews, return customers, new business opportunities and the survival of the industry which is the fuel of our economy.. The hospitality industry survives due to prompt convenient service which is value for money. In other business the service is mostly geared towards locals (Mono- cultural), who are already a part of the existing community and are familiar with the business. Though some level of customer service is involved it is not as demanding of the service provider to be as vigilant in ensuring that staff provides the best service possible at all times. This is mainly as a result of there being fewer options. For example a Kentucky Fried Chicken (K.F.C) being operated in the down town Montego Bay area, the customer service is extremely lacking however customers return because the location is convenient and they do need to eat, but for no other reason. Some customers do divert their business elsewhere to either Pizza Hut or Island Grill but return after a while because these other entities do not provide what it is they really want. In the hospitality industry it is not the same, there are endless options and if one location fails them, they either find another location within the same country or travel to another country. This now means a loss of business not only for that establishment but also for the country as a whole.
The advantages and Disadvantages of Community Based Tourism
Community tourism has both its supporters and its detractors as does every other type of business venture. Both sides bring across very important concerns which can prove to be either helpful or harmful to the environment based on the implementation methods used and the scale of operations.
Supporters will posit that community based tourism is beneficial and important in that it, transfers decision making to a community level, provides employment, infrastructural development (roads, water, electricity, telecommunications, internet, etc.), superstructure development (buildings and structures covering area),cultural preservation, foreign exchange and development of health care facilities.
Detractors on the other hand will advance that there will be cultural destruction, environmental destruction, the host country fails to benefit as government is unable to withdraw taxes, marginal employment, low benefits, development of illegal and/ or destructive economical activities, seasonal employment, unrealistic expectations, anti-democratic collusion, land controlled by the elite, negative lifestyles as well as diverted and concentrated development.
The implications of the pros and cons of Community Based Tourism on the country as a Whole.
The effects of the advantages of community based tourism on the country as a whole may prove to be widely beneficial to the economy, wherein the unemployment rate is greatly reduced because as more people become exposed and educated the higher percentage will endeavor to become involved. Communities which were considered marginally poor become developed and are more appealing to visitors and other locals alike, its pushes the use and exchange of foreign currency which boosts the economy giving the local dollar more value but most importantly it educates as locals are introduced to varying cultures and are forced to learn their own history, and culture as well as that of the visitors in order to communicate effectively.That is a limitless opportunity as visitors have varying backgrounds and orientations. Locals make valiant efforts to learn their languages as well as cuisine, religion, preferences in entertainment, day to day living and rituals. This in its entirety equates to a more tourist friendly, economically stable, market aware destination which is more appealing to visitors.
The result of the disadvantages of community based tourism on the country as a whole also brings to light some valid points which must be handled with much consideration in mind as it relates to the long term repercussions. The loss of culture as it pertains to age old rituals, language, art, dance, food, religion etc., through modernization, the destruction of natural habitats as a result of infrastructural and super structural changes by building roads and architecture, employment would become limited to members of the community and result in outsourcing whereas businesses would seek to employ the more educated, the question of job security arises, negative changes in the lifestyle would come about where unscrupulous characters engage in the trade of illegal drugs and endangered and exotic wildlife, drug abuse, prostitution, fraudulent practices and new found get rich quick schemes come into existence and causes young people to divert from school and higher education. Compile all these issues and it would result in a lack of order, an upsurge of crime and violence and finally the consequential loss of previous business with a significant decline in any interest from new customers or the hope of creating new opportunities.
Diversifying the Jamaican Tourism Product Through Community Based Tourism.
Communities must go through a process of empowerment and development before tourism becomes the focal point.The first area of focus is to build a sustainable wealth creating community with organized productive activities. These activities would create economic and social benefits for its members through employment and financial stability. After this has taken root, tourism can be introduced to communities, to create even greater wealth, and this will ultimately diversify the jamaican tourism product.
There are many resources which may be enhanced and marketed to give Jamaica a more diverse and competitive edge over other tourist destinations. These include; culture, heritage, Cuisine, natural flora and fauna, landscapes and human resources. It is known world wide that Jamaica is very different from other countries even those located in the same region. In order for Jamaica to diversify and maintain a competitive advantage in the hospitality industry we need to capitalize on these opportunities and the best way to go is from a community level as every community possesses a different amenity which makes it unique. There are quite a number of these locations in jamaica such as; Maroon Town, Outameni Experience ,Croydon Plantation,Accompong, The Bob Marley Museum, outdoor activities i.e ( horse back riding, dune buggies, canopy tours, zipline tours, ect ), the wonderful blue Mountains and Cockpit Country ,rafting on the Martha Brae river and health spas such as Bath Fountain Hotel and Spa in St. Thomas and Milk River Bath in Clarendon.
The jamaican culture and heritage are unlike any other anywhere on earth, it is essential to get jamaicans more educated in culture and heritage as a means of being able to extend the offering of a richer quality cultural and heritage experience to adventure seekers who travel to our destination. A high percentage of traveler’s are more than interested to learn our language, dance, music and cuisine in their purest forms, however not many get the full on experience as there is a lack of manpower in these areas. Much more use can be made of the abundance land, sunlight and water to aid in the development of Jamaica’s tourism product in the area of agricultural tourism. The Blue Mountains are currently used as a source of adventure tourism and farming ground for the infamous Blue Mountain Coffee, should this be expanded into the Cockpit Country and other products introduced it would become a more wide scale operation, in that, it would create more employment, attract more visitors and there would be a greater demand for those areas as tourists would seek to discover whatever new adventures there are. Another avenue that could be enhanced in order to create a greater demand of Jamaica as a tourist destination is our ancillary services in terms of transportation (comfort and luxury of vehicles and condition of roadways), banking ( the exchange rate), accommodations (the quality and value for money they receive by staying in hotels),upgrading the equipment in hospitals in order to have better healthcare facilities and render enhanced medical services to both locals and tourists, providing travel insurance at competitive rates and so forth. Should the quality of these services be improved then it would give Jamaica a more competitive edge in the tourism market.
The impacts of Technology on the Tourism Industry.
Technology and Transportation.
Tourism is quite as old as time itself, from the earliest days when man would travel for long distances on foot, until the evolution of tools of trade and man themselves gave birth to new technological inventions that made traveling gradually easier to the point where what used to take months has been shaved down to mere hours, a day or two being the maximum for travel to the lesser percentage of destinations. Throughout the ages traveling has been developing more and more with each generation. It all began with traveling by foot; however man soon learned to domesticate animals such as mammoths, horses, donkeys, elephants, camels etc. Ever inventive man created the wheel around 3500 BC, then came the joining of the wheel and some animals to form, horse drawn carriages, chariots and wagons, which made travel easier and faster than foot but nothing close to what was coming next. Boats were the next mode of travel and the earliest type was the dug out canoe where a fire was lit on a log then put out and the burnt part was dug out leaving a hallow space for passengers. As with time they too evolved into ships which were large wooden structures built to travel long distances across oceans and seas and then there were mainly two types, the sail and the later invented steam engine, the powerful and fast railway was next to be developed in the 19th century, closely following was the invention of the first cars which were made in 1865 and 1866 respectively by Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler, however cars only became more common in the 1960’s and 1970’s after the first and second world wars as there was mass production companies which made them cheaper. The largest, most used, talked, about and technologically advanced type of travel began in the 20th century, December 17th 1903 to be exact, with the flight of the Wright brothers. This spearheaded the aviation standards which eventually led to the building of larger more elaborate types of aircrafts such as; Zeppelins, blimps, Boeing 700 series airplanes as well as other makes and models, the air balloon, jets, rockets and other spacecraft.
It is clear that technological development has greatly impacted travel and tourism in the field of travel as without these developments the industry would exist but the rate of turn over would be extremely low and slow. Travelers, regardless of net worth would be discouraged as the amount of time it took to get from one place to the next would be so great it would seem a burden and more than likely only destinations that are relatively close to the country of origin would be visited, causing it to become congested, repetitive and eventually boring and uninteresting. Thanks to the inventors and founding fathers of the different types transport, traveling has been made easy and allows for people to travel in large groups in comfort over immense distances within a tolerable time frame. This helps to increase the revenue of the economy for destinations travelled to.
Technology in Research and Communication.
Before anyone thought of “how do I get there?”They first asked, “Where do I go?” In order for one to have gotten an answer to this question he or she spent long periods of time mulling over all sorts of printed media ranging from, newspaper articles,maps,magazines and the like firstly to find a destination, then to garner as much knowledge about the place before deciding to embark on the journey. This was a rather tedious task, very time consuming and exasperating and this combination proved to be a natural deterrent. This was not to remain so as a slew of inventors starting with Konrad Muse and his freely programmable Z1 computer in 1936 began the invention of the computer. It continued with John Anatasoff and Clifford Berry in 1942, Howard Aiken and Grace Hopper in 1944, amongst many others up until 1985 when Microsoft windows became known globally and still is the world leader in computers and computer software. A computer by itself was just another machine. It was the invention of the internet that revolutionized the use of the computer as a means of communication, research and advertisement.According to the Internet, unlike the light bulb and telephone the internet didn’t have any one inventor. Over fifty years ago lt got its start in the United States of America as a weapon In the Cold War and for years scientists and researchers used it to communicate and share data with each other. This technological advancement has made traveling and the tourism industry significantly more developed as it makes life easier for the client and business alike. Instead of spending extended periods of time to get all the necessary information required to travel, everything is now readily available at your fingertips. It has significantly minimized the amount of time it’s takes for booking travel and accommodation as it offers the option of immediate pricing and confirmation as opposed to waiting for a travel agent which could take hours or even days, encourages the use of credit cards as opposed to having to visit a bank to withdraw cash, allows for simultaneous and immediate response in terms of emails and the instant messaging rather than writing letters or sending telegrams. Technology enables tourists to communicate with their family members back home via video chat, instant messaging and emails. Not only has technology benefitted tourists, it has also affected the way in which business is conducted in today’s tourism industry, stakeholders utilize this medium for marketing themselves and their respective companies as well as to communicate with clients before the actual service delivery, communicate with employees and with other business owners as an avenue to conduct business meetings online through video conferencing which has proven to reduce the cost of traveling. Another technological advancement which has greatly affected the growth of the tourism industry is the telephone, an electronic device invented by Mr. Alexander Graham Bell. This device in not only beneficial for tourists for communication with family and friends but also for the tourism industry as it is a means of instant communication between the directors, shareholders and employees within organizations as well as other entities outside the tourism industry which are crucial to the operation of the business. Without both the computer and telephone, communication would be slow and it would cause decision making to be a much delayed process which affects the industry negatively. Other technological advancements which have greatly affected tourism and the tourism industry are the simple machines (lever, pulley, wedge and incline plane etc.) which have been integrated into the design of countless machines used in the building oh hotels to house tourist, roads to travel on, water filtration and plumbing for safe hydration, cooking and bathing purposes, installation of electricity used for lighting and the operation of machines and other electronic devices and in the design of all modes of transportation( ships, airplanes motor vehicles etc.). Without all of these, simply put the tourism industry would not be what it is today and with consistent and continuous modifications being made there is no doubt that in years to come the industry will become a more immense operation.
In conclusion the options must carefully be weighed and careful and contingent planning has to take place before any advertisement or production can manifest. This will allow for smooth and fool proof execution of procedures, hence, the guest/ visitor can have extraordinary and remarkable experiences, the community capitalizes on the opportunities afforded and the country as a whole and its economy can flourish.