The author notes that this is one way to improve training for some 18,000 people at 1,800 locations with only 11 trainers, using nteractive web-based training, including instructor-led segments, to teach reservation operations, house-keeping duties, supervision, and even specific skills such as dealing with surly guests. Included in these packages are products to help deliver interactive audio and video to virtual classrooms and also to manage enrollment, self-paced learning, and testing and tracking. Internet training reduces training time by about 50%.
More specialized areas of training are becoming more necessary to provide better service, such as the diversity training program used by one chain. Adam's Mark Hotels & Resorts launched a diversity training program for its nearly 11,000 employees chainwide at which all employees are to participate in a daylong seminar to learn sensitivity and to provide quality service to every guest (Tri-State Defender Publishing, 2001).
This is precisely the sort of training recommended by Yama*****a (2004) in his study of the hotel industry in Minneapolis, stating a belief that "developing multicultural diversity training programs is needed to build better work relationship among people who work together in hospitality industry" (p. ii). Yama*****a sees this need as part of the globalization of the hospitality industry. He cites Rynes and Benson (1998) on some of the reasons why organizations adopt training programs in general, noting that they tend to focus on the dramatic increase in organizational training programs that are not meant to transmit technical job knowledge but at influencing employee attitudes, values, and ways of relating to one another.
Spillane (2007) agrees with this idea and with the need for diversity training because of changes in the global economy. His own study was centered in Southeast Asia and shows how training can improve hotel operatons. Olsen and JinLin (1997) agree and stat that the environment for international hotel operations has changed radically in recent years, moving from the old-style business model in which hotel managers were focused inwards on the hotel and its operations to a new paradigm encompassing a more externally oriented focus. They find that this especially relates to the need for asset productivity and includes a constant assessment of how the environment is changing and what competitive practices need to be adopted to achieve competitive advantage over other companies, including ongoing training.
March (1997) says that such a consumer-oriented focus must recognize the similarities and differences among tourists, with training for employees to be able to serve the needs of each group identified.
A survey of a number of studies on the hotel industry shows several problems cited, such as finding and keeping workers willing to work in entry-level, minimum-wage jobs, which is a major concern in the industry, and hospitality industry professionals state that in many cases they are having to pay more for labor than their peers in major markets, such as New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. Another problem that might be cited is possible over-building in the hotel industry, or the inability of the industry to keep up with technologies that change faster than they can master them or finance them. This also makes it more difficult to find and keep good employees.
The research with current employees found what those workers thought of their orientation and training and where the training may have failed. It was found that the employees saw their training as boring and ineffective, and the kind of service they delivered showed that it was certainly ineffective. The training method used relied heavily on videotapes. Benchmarking was used, meaning examining high standards found elsewhere in the hospitality industry to serve as goals or norms by which to measure the performance in this particular company. It has been found that training that includes high employee involvement is most effective, as is training that involves fun. Such training is also more likely to generate a positive employee attitude, and this is also considered a critical element of exceptional customer service.
In looking at employee motivation programs, it was found that most such programs in the industry were shaped around a limited number of big-ticket rewards. However, employees also point out that they find it difficult to maintain interest in a program that takes too much effort to achieve one or a limited number of rewards over a long period of time.
Hospitality companies today are giving more attention to training and are more cognizant of the possibilities and the limitations of training, of the need to develop better and more effective training methods, of ways of using new technologies in training, and of how costs can be cut without losing the value or efficiency of the training programs being used. Designers of training programs look to the industry to see what issues need to be addressed in training and then include those issues in general training and in more targeted programs for specific issues. Training effectiveness can be indicated by improved performance and higher retention rates.
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Yama*****a, K. (2004, May). Importance of developing multicultural diversity training program in hotel industry in Minneapolis area. The Graduate School, University of…