As a small business in the tourism industry, summer may very well be the most important season of the year for you. Ensuring adequate employees to handle your busy season can prove quite the challenge, especially with the limited resources that small tour operators, activity providers, or accommodation owners have to work with. To help you get set up for peak season, here are 4 things to keep in mind when you hire a tour guide:
1. Start hiring early, long before peak time
The last thing you want to be doing is still recruiting once peak season hits. Make sure to start the hiring process early, so that you can get both recruitment and training completed before your busy season truly kicks off. The beginning of April is a great time to start if your goal is to be fully staffed by June.
Remember the old adage “the early bird gets the worm”? The same holds true for hiring – if you start early you’ll be able to pick from a larger pool of talent. You will also be giving yourself time to get to know your new recruits and cultivate their strengths and talents before putting them in charge of your customers.
2. Use multiple sources to find your ideal recruit
There are a variety of options available for tour operators, activity providers or small accommodation owners to find a passionate tour guide. It is, of course, important to still leverage the classic resources such as online and print job boards, recruitment agencies and your website, but you should also leverage out-of-the-box hiring sources such as:
Local colleges: A local university or college may offer a perfect pool of talent, because a college student’s slow season happens to coincide with your busy season – summer.
Word of mouth: Ask your current employees, favorite customers, vendor partners or family and friends for referrals. These are the people who know your tourism business and they may be able to connect you with someone who is a perfect fit.
Social media: Your social audience has already shown an interest in your business, making social channels the ideal place to post your job ad. Unlike online job boards, social media gives you the opportunity to reach those not actively seeking a job. Also, don’t be afraid to also use social media to get to know a little bit about your potential hires.
3. Invest in training
Even though you may see your seasonal hire as temporary, ensure you give them the tools and support to represent your company in the best way possible — like a tour booking script. As a tourism-based business, customer service should be one of your biggest focuses.
Your customers won’t be able to identify between a full-time staff member, and a seasonal employee, so both should deliver the same standards of service. Training is never a bad investment, and you have the opportunity to mold temporary hires with the potential to become full-time team members. Which leads us to tip number 4…
4. Ask your seasonal employees to return
It’s impossible to start the hiring process for your next peak season any earlier than the end of your last one. You may offer employees returning incentives, such as a better wage, a promotion or access to more training/certifications. Make sure that the incentives you’re offering can be built upon each year, to keep those best recruits coming back summer after summer. Check out these unique job benefits seasonal employees will love.
Whether you manage a outdoor adventure zip-lining operation, or a 10-bedroom inn, you need to find seasonal hires with the right skills, attitude and knowledge to help get you through peak season. The secret to successful seasonal hiring is being continually prepared for the hiring process.