If you want to run a successful tourism business, you can’t just focus on the bottom line; you should also strive to make your tour or activity company a fun, engaging place where people will want to work. This can sometimes be difficult when you’re a small business with seasonal employees, and can’t give traditional benefits like full health coverage or company cars. However, you can still engage your seasonal workforce with small, affordable perks, which will attract both current and prospective employees, year-round. Here are a few ideas to make your workers happy.
If you don’t have anyone with strong allergies, consider allowing your employees to bring their (trained) dogs into work with them. The owner and animal will both be happier, since they don’t have to lock the dog up at home all day; the rest of the employees will get the proven stress-reducing benefits of interacting with their new canine coworkers. Just make sure that there are certain parts of the office/storefront that are closed off to the dog, so that customers won’t be forced to interact if they are allergic. (Full disclosure: Checkfront has an office puppy, and she’s basically the greatest.)
Food can be expensive, but grabbing lunch for the team once a week or so can really bring everyone together. It gives your seasonal staff a chance to socialize and bond, and who doesn’t like free food? On a smaller scale, consider stocking the tour bus or your brick and mortar location with nutrition bars or other healthy snacks that employees can grab during break times.
At some point, your best seasonal employees will want to become a full-time employees, or take on more responsibility at the company, and sometimes that requires learning new skill sets. This could be anything from organizational skills, to sales skills, to employee management, depending on your tourism company. Sometimes, the only thing standing between your seasonal employees and a promotion is a lack of knowledge, but that doesn’t have to hold them back. You can’t be expected to fully cover a college tuition, but you can help pay for a community college course or professional, job-related training. You’ll gain a more knowledgable employee, one that you can make full-time, and perhaps put them into a more senior position.
In most cases, you should be able to give your staff a free or reduced rate for your tours/activities. If you have a hotel, give them a few days’ free stay for friends and family each year; if you rent out kayaks, let them borrow at a discounted rate. Depending on your business, you can impose limits to prevent abuse of the privilege, but at least give your seasonal workers a few freebies if you can. A seasonal employee is more likely to understand the product and be enthusiastic about it if they’ve experienced it for themselves.
Most small tourism companies do not need to provide the luxuries of fully stocked cafeterias or state-of-the-art workout rooms when hiring a tour guide. However, even small businesses can create a benefits package to treat their seasonal employees to a little something special. With a few perks, you can show your staff, permanent or temporary, that you care about their well-being and want them to be happy at your company—and you will see that that extra thought can make all the difference in their performance and dedication.