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BENEFITS OF INTERNS IN THE UK TRAVEL INDUSTRY

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You don't really hear of internships in the UK travel industry; which is strange as they are commonly available and seen as beneficial to the travel industry in continental Europe and other parts of the World.  There is a wealth of untapped talent out there who are extremely keen to get some travel industry experience.  I can't count the amount of times we have to politely turn away strong candidates who are looking for that opportunity in the industry, so the list of benefits in hiring interns might persuade you to start an program:

  1. New perspectives on processes/challenging the norm. Interns challenge processes and bring fresh, new ideas to the company and potentially to the travel industry.  I recall my first travel industry job back in 1997 in the sales & marketing department of a large international airline and questioning why we are not emailing our frequent flyers rather than sending out expensive print - the rest is history!

  2. Technologically advanced. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, Pinterest - Young professionals have grown up with social media and computer programmes.  Whilst you might think you are a dab-hand yourself, you can always learn from the Y generation.

  3. Help with projects.  I know I have an ever growing list of 'must-do' projects but due to time constraints they are always lingering at the bottom of my 'to-do-list'.  The potential intern is wanting meaningful experience that they can add to their CV.  With the correct guidance, they can help you close off more projects than you might imagine.

  4. Opportunity to assess a potential employees suitability. An internship is a fantastic way to see how much potential they have in the your travel business. In addition, you can see how they work with your company culture and interact with others in the organisation.  Many interns become permanent employees so this allows you to assess their skills and work ethic before you take that step.

  5. Fresh blood. All too often with recruitment assignments, we are told candidate must have experience in their given area of the industry.  Many experienced candidates from other industries are looking for a career/industry change and these individuals can bring to the table new and fresh ideas that could help improve your business and potentially the wider UK travel industry.

  6. Brand advocates. Hiring an intern can possibly spread the word about your company, not just as a potential employer but also an advocate for your product.

Tips- Know the legal bits - for the finer details relating to the employment rights for interns in the travel industry visit -  https://www.gov.uk/employment-rights-for-interns

If you are looking to recruit an intern, please feel free to get in contact with James Roberts @Progressive Personnel - /uk/team/

SOCIAL MEDIA & TRAVEL RECRUITMENT

written by James Roberts

I recently read that more than half of employers have rejected an applicant due to social media posts.

The CareerBuilder study found 55% of employers who research job applicants on social media claim that they've seen something that caused them not to hire the candidate.  Nearly half of recruiters currently use social networking sites to source information on potential employees.

Drinking and drug habits topped the list of 'what put recruiters off' with 45% saying it had put candidates in a negative light while 39% have stopped considering applicants who have bad-mouthed their previous employers and ex colleagues. Inappropriate photos (38%) was another factor that ruled out some candidates.

This made me recall that back in August, the HR Director of a large travel company in the US told me that they had withdrawn an employment offer to a senior learning & development candidate who had applied directly.  It transpired that this decision was taken after they did an 'internet search' and discovered, rather surprisingly that the person had been making remarks online and visible to all.  I wasn't given access to the content, but they must have been deemed severe enough for an employment offer to be withdrawn.

On another occasion, we heard of a client researching a candidate whose Facebook profile was 'public'.  On this occasion, the prospective employee had posted a status which berated her previous employer in an explicit fashion.  Once again these thoughtless remarks lead to the potential employer losing all interest.

As a result of the above, I thought it might be an idea to suggest a list of Do' and Dont's:

DO

  • Make sure any social media profiles mirror what is on your CV
  • Think about remarks that you make.  As you can see above the majority of recruiters will try and find you
  • Manage your privacy settings
  • Be mindful that social media is a great tool to market yourself to potential employers

DON'T

  • Whether you have public profiles or not, it's not clever to make defamatory remarks whether they are work related or not.  Who in the right mind would want someone with this temperament?
  • Expect to build a quality network overnight.  You need to spend time making connections, follow career experts and be engaged with discussions
  • Don't connect with everyone.  Connect with people where you can see there being a mutually beneficial relationship
  • Underestimate how visible you are online.

What Are The Differences Between a Job Description and Job Specification?

written by Matt Smith

There are two sets of criteria that applicants for travel jobs must satisfy. Firstly, they must hold the necessary qualifications and experience to undertake the tasks required of the post. Secondly, they must possess the personal qualities and attributes required to fulfil the role. These criteria are laid out in two key documents that should be sent out to every applicant as part of your recruitment process: the job description and the job specification.

When they receive the job description and job specification, applicants for your vacant travel job can decide whether or not they meet your criteria. This will help unsuitable applicants to self-select out of the application process. It will also enable suitably qualified applicants to present themselves in the best possible manner in their CVs and at interview.

The Importance of Current Job Descriptions and Job Specifications:

Every time a travel job vacancy arises within your company, it is worth reviewing the job description and job specification for the role. Job descriptions and job specifications can become out of date over time. Allocated tasks may change, with new duties added and outdated responsibilities removed. The skills required for travel jobs may evolve. For example, ICT skills will become more important if new technology is introduced by the company. In order to attract talented candidates for your vacant travel jobs, your job descriptions and job specifications must be as accurate as possible.

Job Descriptions for Travel Jobs:

Within each job description you should list the key duties and responsibilities that require to be carried out by the postholder. The most straightforward method of doing this is compiling a bullet-pointed list. While it should cover the main tasks allocated to the post, the list of duties and responsibilities does not need to be exhaustive. If you try to list everything a postholder may have to do, the job description could run to several pages. Even then, you are unlikely to think of every possible eventuality. To keep the job description at a reasonable length, you should group tasks by generic headings. To cover any tasks that are not set out in your list, include a general statement at the end of the job description indicating that the postholder will be expected to carry out any reasonable tasks assigned to him by his line manager.

Each job description should include a brief organisation chart that illustrates which post the travel job reports to and any subordinates for whom the postholder has line management responsibility.

Job Specifications for Travel Jobs:

A candidate's personal qualities and attributes can make a significant difference to how she will perform in a travel job. Essential personal qualities and attributes should be written down in the job specification. For example, many travel jobs require individuals to have excellent interpersonal skills because they will be dealing with people every day. Lack of interpersonal skills could lead to conflict and tension between the postholder and customers.

Each company has its own values and ethos. To ensure that you recruit people who share your company's values, relevant attitudes and behaviours should be outlined in the job specification for each job within the company. If your company prioritises first-class customer service, every job specification should include a requirement that postholders understand the importance of delivering a high-quality service and are customer focussed.

It is vital that the personal qualities and attributes listed in the job specification are limited to those that are essential for the role. This will help the company avoid allegations of discrimination. Indirect discrimination can creep in to job specifications when unnecessary requirements are imposed on applicants. For example, if a job specification states that candidates must have ten years experience in a role, this may discriminate against younger applicants unless this figure can be justified.

Time invested revising and updating the job descriptions and job specifications for vacant travel jobs will pay dividends when you attract top-quality candidates.

How to Motivate and Retain Workers in Frontline Travel Jobs

written by Claire Wright

Around three quarters of employees working in the travel industry feel underpaid. There are many travel jobs that attract relatively low rates of pay, such as kitchen assistants, domestics and waiting staff. While wage rates for these travel jobs need to remain competitive to enable employers to offer the best deals to customers, the quality of service provided by the people in these posts can have a significant impact on customer satisfaction. In addition, turnover of staff in frontline travel jobs can increase expenditure on recruitment activity, which pushes costs up. Employers in the travel industry should put strategies in place to motivate and retain workers in low paid jobs.

Hire the Right Person for the Role:

The starting point in motivating and encouraging employees in frontline travel jobs is to recruit the right person for the role. If you want someone to remain in the post for a number of years, there is little point employing a student who is looking for work during the summer break and who will move back to college or university once term begins again. However, if you know that the work on offer is seasonal, students and transient workers may be a good fit for the travel jobs on offer.

You should seek references and carry out pre-employment checks for all new employees, no matter how low paid the role. This will help you to avoid a situation where you have to dismiss employees with a history of poor performance or behaviours.

Get to Know Your Employees:

By understanding what motivates each employee, line managers can tailor their approach to get the best out of each team member. Some employees in frontline travel jobs will be motivated solely by money, in which case managers can increase motivation by maximising their earning potential. For example, they can ensure that busy periods mean extra hours for the existing team members rather than bringing in additional part-time workers. However, other employees will be motivated by non-monetary rewards, such as recognition and flexibility. It is important that the line manager tailor her approach to encourage and motivate every employee.

Develop Two-Way Communication:

By keeping employees informed about developments in the business and seeking their input on how working practices can be improved, you can help to create a feeling of loyalty to the business. Employees in frontline travel jobs often have valuable insight in to how the business can improve.

Recognise Hard Work:

Praise from a line manager can encourage employees in frontline travel jobs to go the extra mile. When employees understand that extra effort is recognised, they are often prepared to work harder. For some line managers in the travel industry, offering praise for a job well done is a natural part of their management style. However, for others some training may be required to help them develop the necessary skills to offer positive feedback and recognition.

 Be Flexible:

Employers can generate trust and loyalty by offering as much flexibility as possible for employees in frontline travel jobs. This may include permitting some employees to work flexible shift patterns, if the nature of the work allows. For example, if housekeeping staff work alone and need to complete a four hour shift within a six hour period, allowing employees to be flexible about when they begin and end their shifts could be more convenient for them and benefit the business by increasing loyalty and reducing staff turnover.

Career Development:

Where there are career development opportunities within the company, ensure that these travel jobs are offered to high-performing frontline staff. When employees know that their efforts in their current roles can help them to secure promoted posts, they are more likely to give of their best.

Your Hobby Can Help You Pay for International Travel

written by Claire Wright

If you have itchy feet and want to see the world, but you are on a limited budget, you may think that international travel is outwith your reach. However, you can expand your list of possible destinations by turning your hobby in to a job that will allow you to earn as you travel.

Travel Jobs for Foodies:

If food is your passion, there are a number of travel jobs open to you. The most obvious option is to secure work in the kitchens of hotels or restaurants in your chosen destinations. Cooking is a skill that travels well and appetising food is always in demand. Depending on your proficiency, you could secure employment as a kitchen assistant, sous chef, team leader or chef. You could even work your way up the hierarchy as you gain skills and experience.

However, food and drink enthusiasts have other travel jobs open to them. For example, you could use your passion for food or drink to become a tour guide. Drawing on your knowledge of the food or drink available in well-known culinary destinations, you can develop tours that provide holidaymakers with useful information on the area together with visits to local producers. As a gastronomic tour guide, you can visit some of your favourite locations while educating others about your hobby.

Travel Jobs for Sports Enthusiasts:

If you are proficient in a sport, you can use your hobby to earn while you travel. Many tourists are looking for active holidays. They want to ski, golf or scuba dive rather than laze on a beach. By using your experience and knowledge of your favourite sport, you can work your way around the world teaching others the necessary skills. For some sports, you will need to undertake instructor training before you can be hired. But this can be a small price to pay for the privilege of participating in your hobby on a daily basis while exploring new destinations.

If you are a keen walker, you could lead treks in destinations that you want to visit. Guided walks are extremely popular as the leader does much of the planning and organising for participants, who simply need to turn up and walk.

Travel Jobs for Entertainers:

If you love to sing, dance or act, you can find opportunities to hone your talent and perform to a live audience on a daily basis on board cruise ships. The entertainment offered by cruise ships covers everything from orchestras to steel bands, jazz singers to pop groups, full-scale musical numbers to stand-up comedy. When you take a travel job on board a cruise ship, you will wake up in a new location every morning.

Travel Jobs for Socialisers:

If you are an outgoing person who loves to socialise and meet new people, you could pay for your travel by working as a holiday rep. The key duties of a holiday rep are to plan and promote activities that customers will enjoy. You will also be expected to solve any issues that come along, such as problems with accommodation. You are likely to enjoy being a holiday rep if you find a tour company offering holidays to people with similar interests to yourself. If you enjoy visiting pubs and nightclubs, look for a tour operator which organises holidays in well-known clubbing destinations. Alternatively, if you enjoy history and museums, seek out a tour operator catering for culture vultures.

If you want to see more of the world but need to earn cash in order to travel, think of what you enjoy doing most. There may be a way that your hobby can help to pay for your international travel.

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