Contributed by Larking Gowen
1/04/2021 - Larking Gowen
Series one of the Tourism Business Chat podcast is now wrapped up. In the spirit of the podcast itself, we’re taking time to look back on the themes and key points that have come from this first batch of fascinating conversations.
2020 was a tough year on the sector, and each of our guests had a unique insight into the last 12 months, and how to succeed in the sector. The series launched with guest Andrew Hird, from Woodland Holiday Park, who chose the path of optimism throughout. The park was financially secure, so he focused on staff wellbeing and planning for the future. Phillip Turner, MD of Chestnut, spoke about leaders’ frustrations with the Government handling of restrictions; Richard Hughes, from The Assembly House, hoped that the perception of jobs in the sector would change, and he also questioned whether Eat Out to Help Out was the right thing to do.
Ruth Knight, from Norfolk Broads Direct, has an infectious love for the sector and the Broads, which demonstrated how success comes from having a passion for what you do; and Richard Turvill, Managing Director of Camplings, spoke openly about Brexit and how it continues to provide obstacles, and how, alongside dealing with lockdown restrictions, there’s been a focus on staff.
Each guest opened up about how they coped personally and professionally at the start of the first lockdown. Andrew Hird spoke of the worry that came with not being able to honor promises, how they had to ‘lick their wounds’ and write a new plan; Philip talked about his fear of the ‘long-term sick note’, the aftermath for furloughed staff, many of whom he fears may struggle to come back full time; Richard talked about retaining staff into the future, and how having confidence in the business was key for coming out the other side; Ruth spoke about how the worry was in the ‘not-knowing’, and the technology changes that were needed in order to operate; and Richard Turvill described how tourism essentially crashed, and having to tell people there might not be any work for them to come back to, was one of the worst things he’s ever had to do.
There were other hot topics discussed including the reduction of VAT; importance of planning; engaging with Destination Marketing Organisations; wellbeing of teams; the lifeline that was the furlough scheme; and interestingly, the opportunity that leaders in the sector have seen in the downturn of retail and how they can recruit from the job losses. Each episode finishes with their top-tip in business, and their message to those looking to get into the sector ̶ invaluable to all, from budding entrepreneurs to managers and future maître d’s!…To read more on this article and to listen to the episodes, click here
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