Let's pay close attention to the training of tourism staff - that's how everyone benefits

After two difficult years for Icelandic tourism, we are facing brighter times. Everything is heading for a busy summer and many companies have been strict in hiring new staff. We all want to welcome our guests and provide professional services, but this requires ensuring that staff receive appropriate training.

Why should tourism companies invest in staff training?

Tourism staff are often hired on a temporary basis to work during the summer. At the same time, the proportion of foreign workers in the industry has risen. It is therefore often considered that the training of tourism staff does not pay off: Why should companies invest in staff training, if it may not return to work?

The answer to this question, however, is very simple. Good education and training of employees is extremely important for the success of companies, because it increases customer satisfaction as well as employees. Staff who have received good training are better equipped to serve customers. With good reception and training of employees, companies can also reduce employee turnover and become a desirable workplace.

"The staff is our greatest asset"

Recently, Hæfnisetur ferðaþjónustan and Samtök ferðaþjónustan hosted Menntamorgni. At the meeting, Jóhanna Sigríður Svavarsdóttir, HR Manager of Gentle Giants, reviewed education and training issues and said: “The staff is our greatest asset and with good training and emphasis on the company's education, we create a desirable work environment and we give our people tools and equipment to face many challenges that may arise. "

Staff training results in increased corporate profitability, as stated in the case of Þóris Erlingsson, CEO of Tailwind and an experienced player in Icelandic tourism. At Menntamorgni ferðaþjónustan he spoke about the importance of education, training and coaching and said that "education, training and coaching are the key to increased quality, happier customers, happier employees and increased profitability".

But does not always involve staff training?

Of course, staff training involves costs, but on the other hand, good training increases quality, promotes customer satisfaction and reduces staff turnover. All this increases the profitability of companies. In addition, companies can apply for a subsidy for training from vocational training funds through Áttin (áttin.is) and thus significantly reduce costs.

Sales increased by almost 40% after employees took sales courses

The Tourism Competence Center has visited numerous tourism companies around the country and assisted them in establishing education and training of staff. Experience has shown that companies that place great emphasis on education achieve extensive results. An example is a hotel where the booking.com rating went from 7.9 to 8.3 in less than six months. Another example is a tourism company where sales increased by almost 40% after employees took sales courses. Companies that want to achieve real results therefore need to take staff training seriously.

Educational material for managers and staff in tourism

In order to facilitate the reception of new staff, the Icelandic Tourism Competence Center, in collaboration with the Icelandic Tourist Board, has developed material that is useful for staff training. This is an information website on haifni.is, where managers as well as staff can access useful educational material that is available in several languages. Tourism executives can familiarize themselves with the recruitment process for newcomers in simple steps, along with a detailed checklist. It also contains useful material for tourism executives, such as guidelines that facilitate the hiring of foreign staff and information on courses available.

Now the tourism industry is in full swing for the summer. However, it is important to stop and consider the training and reception of new staff, because this is how everyone benefits. With good training, the positive experience of employees as well as customers increases, which results in increased corporate profitability. In this way, we together contribute to the quality and success of Icelandic tourism for the future.

Article published on Vísir on 15 June. The authors are Bryndís Skarphéðinsdóttir and Margrét Wendt, specialists at the Tourism Competence Center.

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