Training Hospitality Staff in a Post-Pandemic Context

The Learning and Development pillar of INSETE organises and delivers educational actions to support, promote and enhance capabilities.

Magda starts by explaining that in the last few years the tourism industry has shown itself to be very resilient. Tourism is a key pillar of the Greek economy, so as an organisation it is important to research, support, promote, enhance capability and provide scientific and technical support.

Magda starts by explaining that in the last few years the tourism industry has shown itself to be very resilient. Tourism is a key pillar of the Greek economy, so as an organisation it is important to research, support, promote, enhance capability and provide scientific and technical support.


They do this through Executive Seminars, a school of tourism tour, toolkits and strategic partnerships with clear players in tourism education such as Cornell. The popularity of these resources has been huge, with 2,500 application seminars, just within the Academic period of October through to March, which is held outside of the main tourism season.


Their role and approach focus on subsidising the participants' fees, with new topics continually and providing access to new research as things continue to evolve and change.


So who is INSETE targeting? Firstly, they have a 50/50 split of men and women in the workforce engaged which is key - ensuring a good gender balance and helping to achieve opportunities for all. 75% are from the hotel industry, whilst 53% said they have time to attend between 1 and 3 seminars per year. This in part is the reason to focus training and development only on the low season.


When surveyed, 94.2% said that it met their expectations, with 92.8% saying it met their overall expectations and 97.1% on the trainers - evaluated on how trainers use the platform. What is key to achieving these high numbers is that they are effective in using new educational techniques and being comfortable using digital tools to create a good training experience.


Year-Round Training Programmes


Their focus in the last few years has been on skills, including the following 'competencies'


  1. Strategic perception
  2. Technology savvy
  3. Customer focus
  4. Emotional intelligence
  5. Collaboration & Communication
  6. Systemic Thinking
  7. Motivation & Ethos
  8. Learning Culture
  9. Agility and Innovation
  10. Sustainable Development


They also created seven learning pathways:


  1. Hospitality Operations
  2. Hospitality Sales & Marketing
  3. Food & Beverage
  4. Culinary Arts
  5. Leadership & Management
  6. Personal Development
  7. Human Resources Management


The combination of these elements is key to providing a holistic tourism and hospitality sector training offer which touches on all their needs. Crucially, these broad topic areas allow them to focus both on hard skills as well as soft skills.


Learning partners first have to create a proposal, demonstrating how they can support the growth of capabilities in one area or another. Once a provider is selected, there is a screening process for participants - which with such a high number of participants is key to ensure they are only selecting those who can benefit from the programme and what it's able to give them.


The networking, knowledge sharing and collaborative elements are also key, whilst trainers are given the participant names in advance so that it can be tailored to their needs ensuring it is completely relevant.


A continual feedback loop is key, with surveys allowing them to channel learnings back into the training programme and continue to optimise the approach.


E-Counselling


This new area was launched recently and allows the industry to have tailored made one-to-one sessions which allow them to get direct support in whichever fields they need.


This might be how to go through process change, how to get support on HR matters or how to embed new skills and approaches within the workplace.


The Toolkit


The toolkit is available to everyone in the industry free of charge, offering useful on-demand material to help them day-to-day with their business needs.


This includes 18 videos, 5 research studies, 20 manuals and 10 articles - all original content made by INSETE with the specific needs of the industry considered.


Personalisation of these resources is also key, where a research questionnaire helps understand what people are looking for but also points them towards the content which is most likely to support them with their needs.


Skills Present & Future


The subject of the course itself was the motivation for 96% of applications, whilst 44% were motivated by the trainer and 30% by the method of training.


This is an important insight to consider as DMOs and Training & Development institutions also should be aware that they are competing for attention and the need for resources to stand out as appealing. In fact, recommendations from management were relatively low, with just 4.5% being motivated by this.


Interestingly 46% prefer to attend online, whilst 20% were indifferent to the method of training. This represents a clear shift from before the pandemic, where familiarity with online learning is now normal.


50% also said that they put more value on soft skills, whilst this is also a number that is changing. However, the more technical fields are in need of hard skills as well as soft skills, such as data, analytics and other more specialised areas. So we need to consider both in view of the gaps, specific and broad needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Personalisation of educational resources is key - a research questionnaire helps understand what people are looking for.

  • Most of the staff prefers to attend training online - a clear shift from before the pandemic, where familiarity with online learning is now normal.

  • Staff is increasingly putting more value on soft skills. However, the more technical fields are in need of hard skills as well as soft skills, such as data, analytics and other more specialised areas.

  • The combination of soft and hard skills elements is key to providing a holistic tourism and hospitality sector training offer which touches on all their needs.
Published on:
December 2022
About the contributor

Magda Peistikou

INSETE