Hiring seasonal employees is imperative for tour and transport operators as they sail through peak season. Training and equipping new hires with everything they need is one of the priorities on the operators’ checklist as they start up for the season.
For a customer-focused industry like tourism, hiring and training tour guides, front desk teams, and drivers helps you stay on top of the game and provide your guests with a five-star experience. After all, your staff are at the frontlines, representing your brand and directly interfacing with your guests. Those first touchpoints and impressions live with your guests forever.
However, with seasonal ebbs and flows, finding staff for a short period can be challenging. To help, we’ve rounded up a few tips for hiring the right team to make it the best season for your tour and activity business.
1. Update Job Descriptions
The first step in hiring is to know your new hire’s desired characteristics and qualifications and reflect them in the job descriptions. Detail the exact skills you are looking for so that it attracts the right talent.
Spend some time reviewing the job descriptions. If you don’t have job descriptions, now’s a good time to get started.
When hiring seasonal employees, ensure those job descriptions are accurate, complete and up-to-date. Your requirements change with every season. Outline the responsibilities and set clear expectations behind what this potential guide will do and own this particular season.
As you go through the updating process, consider how the nature of your business and day-to-day operations have changed. Your job descriptions should also reflect this.
2. Focus on Job Seekers Looking for Seasonal Work
Recruiting and hiring seasonal employees will be easier if you target and tap into individuals who want to work for the season.
For many, hiring university students is the most obvious solution, with many students having time off during peak seasons. Their availability would be more in line with your requirements, along with their flexibility to take on shifts, especially during public holidays.
Be sure to advertise the hiring news on social media or job portals, where students are most likely browsing for job openings.
3. Look for Attitude as Much as Hard Skills
Many seasonal positions are about being flexible, learning quickly, and getting up to speed, rather than having an elaborate set of skills or experience.
If your onboarding and training processes are well-defined, you don’t need individuals with a lot of experience. That way, you can focus on looking for dependable team members who show strong regard for customer focus.
4. Dedicate Resources to Onboarding and Training
Consider paying more attention (and yes, that means money) to train new hires. One of the pitfalls of hiring seasonal employees is “throwing them to the wolves.” It means putting them into action without proper skills and tools to succeed and exposing them to blame and criticism.
It’s not just a harrowing experience for them, but terrible for your business too. Lack of proper training will come back to haunt you with poor reviews from guests. Take all the necessary steps to empower your seasonal hires with the training they need to succeed; so they’re able to delight guests, address questions, and create positive experiences.
If your business utilizes booking software or hardware (i.e. Terminals, chip and pin devices etc.) in your day-to-day operations, make sure your team is properly trained on using your technology investments.
For instance, Zaui Mobile comes with an intuitive user interface, reducing time for intensive training. Having an easy-to-use technology solution helps your staff effortlessly sell products and quickly check-in guests at the desk or on the go.
5. Hire Employees That are Likely to Return
Recruiting, hiring and training entirely new staff for every busy season can be exhausting and inefficient. Companies spend an average of 42 days to fill a position and $4,129 per hire, according to the 2016 Human Capital Benchmarking Report from the Society for Human Resource Management.
While the numbers may not be nearly as high in the tourism sector, hiring new employees—advertising the job, interviewing the candidates, training the right person— is time-consuming and expensive. If a new employee is not a good fit, then it may cause additional, unnecessary costs.
Hiring candidates that are likely to return for next season might help you save your budget. This will make the process easier when you start the recruiting process all over again next year. Don’t forget to reach out to your previous hires. Other than updating them with any changes in your operation, returning employees won’t require a full-fledged onboarding process.
6. Offer End of Season Bonuses
Making it to the end of a busy season is imperative. Unfortunately, you can never guarantee that all the folks you hire at the start of the season will make it to the end. Having to get out there and hire again during the middle of the season eats up your valuable time.
Some operators mitigate this by offering additional compensation for those that work the entire season. If you think it through, in some cases (like if your hires need a lot of training), it is less expensive to pay an end-of-season bonus than to rehire and retrain in the middle of the season.
7. Retain Good Seasonal Hires
Not all of your seasonal hires will be candidates for year-round positions, but some would be. Pay attention to the performance of your new hires. Once the season winds down, take some time to evaluate who may be a good fit for any possible full-time positions.
Keep your lines of communication open with them. If they loved their seasonal job, they might stay back for the full-time offer.
Retaining seasonal hires is an excellent option, especially if your training and onboarding process is costly and time-intensive.
As you ramp up seasonal hiring, it is equally important to look at your booking system. From adding the new hires to the system to reviewing your activities and schedules, a few additional areas need to look at more closely to ensure an optimal season ahead. We have covered the seven things for you to consider when starting up for the season here.
If you are looking for an online booking system to drive more direct bookings and increase revenue this summer, we can help you. Connect with Zaui experts today to schedule a demo.
For Zaui customers requiring assistance as you prepare to welcome guests, please don’t hesitate to reach out and connect with our Customer Success team.