After an extremely challenging year for tourism and hospitality businesses, it may now feel like operations are getting back to normal. Many businesses have been busier than ever as people are eager to get outside and reconnect with friends and family. However, there are still many shifts on the horizon. It is crucial for tourism and hospitality businesses to critically examine and finetune their business practices as uncertainty is here to stay.
Consumer research continues to reveal changing visitor demands. For instance, research firm Destination Analysts reported in June that about one-quarter of travelers intend to change the ways they travel in the future. Travelers intend to take more trips, focus more on outdoor activity, and seek more sustainable choices. Not surprisingly, current priorities are to relax, escape, try new experiences, enjoy food experiences, and take in scenic beauty.
While managers need to look outward toward visitors, they also need to look inward toward staff, as preferences may be shifting internally, as well. Recent national data indicated that 26% of workers plan to seek new employment post-pandemic, with employees expressing increased desires for work/life balance, schedule flexibility, and work-from-home options. The tourism and hospitality sectors in New Hampshire are already facing considerable challenges to hire and maintain appropriate levels of staffing, and employee satisfaction is a serious matter.
With these outlooks in mind, tourism and hospitality businesses will need to be proactive and continually review their business practices. In early May, UNH Cooperative Extension hosted the “10-Point Spring Tune-up for Tourism and Hospitality Businesses” webinar. The ten topics included:
- Inspect Your Web Presence
- Lean Into Feedback
- Evaluate Your Atmosphere
- Understand Your Market
- Check in with Staff
- Know Your Risks
- Revisit Staff Protocol
- Start Fresh with Sustainability
- Leverage Your Community Presence
- Assess & Adjust: the Big Picture
The webinar slides and follow-up worksheets are available here.
While spring is a great time to step back and (re)evaluate business practices, these practices are highly valuable year-round. We suggest an Assess-and-Adjust approach—this is an ongoing process. Right now, in the height of the summer season, it may be difficult to carve out the time, however, some of our recommended activities are quick check-ins and reminders. They may also be appropriate for interns or seasonal staff to tackle during quieter moments.
We hope you find these materials helpful in your efforts to be resilient and competitive. Please reach out with questions, and stay tuned for more tourism-focused programming, including workshops and webinars focused on topics such as agritourism and special events. To stay informed, subscribe to our monthly newsletter.
10 Ways to Tune Up Your Tourism or Hospitality Business is written by Molly Shanahan for extension.unh.edu