Chris Ray shines a light on what takes place in the Administration of Tour Activities at Australian Pacific Touring (APT). APT mainly specializes in cruises but touches base on many other forms and fields of tourism attractions. Chris Ray, the tour manager, was the perfect person for this interview because he has been working in the hospitality industry for more than a decade moving between various managerial positions. During our photo interview, I was able to gain a better insight into the different aspects of managing a cruise tour company. It was fascinating to hear some of the first-hand experience Chris has and what it takes to be a successful manager in this field.
Elements Of Management, Situations & Problems Unique To This Domain
1. Crisis Management - This involves dealing with any unforeseen circumstances which can be extremely challenging. Chris' company, Australian Pacific Touring, has company standards to uphold and the tourists were booking with APT are well informed of safety measures when they are booking a travel session. This is set in place to eliminate any future potential conflicts such as clients getting lost or needing immediate medical assistance.
2. Training Manuals and Their Implementation - For APTs staff to perform their roles correctly, Chris must create training manuals that follow strict procedures. For example, Chris has multiple "Meet and Greet" employees around the world that work part-time to assist with guests when they are at the airport. These part-time employees receive specific manuals describing the correct procedure when dealing with problems such as lost luggage, missing guests or transportation complications.
3. Confidentiality Agreements- Agreements have to be kept in the Tour and Travel sector. These are legal contracts between staff and suppliers that protect both parties from the theft of proprietary information such as specific client health issues.
4. Natural Disasters- These rarely happen, but when they do it is vital that the manager be well trained. People will count on him for proper guidance. The travel manager and his crew should be ready for anything from fires to earthquakes to tidal waves. The company has contingency plans such as search and rescue for when a natural disaster strikes.
5. Customer Service- Providing quality service to clients ensures customer satisfaction. Naturally, keeping clients completely satisfied all the time is not possible in any domain. As a manager, it is essential to understand different client personalities and be adjust to managing a complaint accordingly. This requires being very knowledgeable in all aspects of the company to provide clients with whatever information they need and assist them with all issues that arise.
6. Medical problems - Locating nearby hospitals, clinics and all health care institutions that could be useful when a client suffers unforeseen health complications.
7. Guests' Medical insurance- All guests have personal insurance meaning they are covered if there is a natural disaster or they suffer illness while on tour and staying at the hotel.
Certifications and Qualifications Expected of Managers in the Domain
1. University degree in the Tourism and Hospitality - Specialization in Hospitality and Business Management is a big boost.
2. Multi-Tasking - Most of the time there is a lot to plan and coordinate within a short period. Being able to take on multiple projects at once is outstanding quality.
3. Computer skills - The manager must be well-versed with applications such as Microsoft Office, Powerpoint & Excel
4. Problem-solving - This is very common within this domain as issues constantly arise (especially with customer service issues) and it is the responsibility of the manager to deal with the problem accordingly, responsibly, and effectively.
5. Negotiating skills- The manager must be able to work quickly and make proper negotiations. For example, booking transportation companies and negotiating a reasonable price helps reduce costs.
6. Evaluation skills - Involves making decisions promptly and efficiently depending on the situation.
7. Budget control - All the activities must be well within the budget. This requires extensive research towards booking hotels, flights and cruise ship packages.
8. The ability to pay attention to detail - The manager must have eagle eyes and note all the significant events that are happening around them. Being able to notice inconsistencies and making sure the guest's needs are exceeded above expectations is what makes a manager in the field great.
9. Patience- Sometimes the schedule is implemented late, or something comes up that interferes with the routine. The manager must maintain a cool head and know that procedures will not always work correctly.
Chris Ray, the manager of Australian Pacific Touring (APT) which specializes in river cruises, shed light on the uniqueness of operating this type of expedition. It is essential to understand that each problem and issue that arise are unique in each situation. The case he presented to me occurred in late 2016 where a guide and guest almost drowned. It was a hot summer day in the Northern Pacific of New-Zealand when the guest was out on a small fishing boat far out in the ocean. Some guests were drinking while others were determined to reel in some fish. After a few hours, a guest finally caught a fish, and everyone got excited. After taking a few pictures, the guest tried to release the fish back into the ocean gently but ended up falling over the edge. The guest was not wearing a life vest properly, so she was turned onto her stomach and submerged into the water. The tour guide's initial reaction was to jump in the water and help the guest. As he dropped in the water, he got caught in the fishing line which was laying on the side of the boat. Having only one guide meant that the other guests had to work together and pull both tangled individuals out of the water. Looking back on this potentially fatal experience, Chris told me that there were many things they had not planned well for this expedition. First of all, guests were not informed that they had to keep on their life vests at all times and worn correctly. Second, alcohol was allowed on the expedition. Finally, guests were not given a proper fishing crash course. Once these issues were identified, Chris was able to restructure the expedition and improve the overall safety so that this type of accident would be very unlikely to occur in the future.
Eliassen, S. B., & Berge, P. M. (2010). Hospitality and Tourism Management. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
This book is relevant for my project because it explores the many different fields of hospitality and tourism management. What I took back from Eliassen and Berge's book titled Hospitality and Tourism Management is the importance of tourism as an activity and that it can have a major impact on an individual's sustainable development. The book undertakes a critical review of relevant issues affecting the reliability and validity of the cross-cultural research. This book explains that natural beauty and unique cultural resources within a country leads to an economic growth strategy. However, a problem in this domain is that communities and countries often disagree on the nature of development strategies.
Malik, R., Madappa, T., & Chitranshi, J. (2017). Diversity management in tourism and Hospitality: an exploratory study. Foresight, 19(3), 323-336. doi:10.1108/FS-12-2016-0058
This article is important for my research because it addresses the complex nature of cultural diversity and the management issues of multiculturalism within the hospitality and tourism industry. Malik et al., clarify that the hospitality and tourism industry has seen an increase in organizations operating internationally, bringing people from diverse cultural backgrounds together. This study is relevant to my research because it aims to help clarify that with a lack of awareness and understanding of diversity, many problems arise. These problems can include effective intercultural communications between managers and employees and employees and customers. This paper is appropriate for my research because it answers questions related to the importance of cross-cultural management, the intercultural issues faced by an organization, the best practices for diversity management and the future of cultural diversity.
Evans, N., Campbell, D., & Stonehouse, G. (2003). Strategic Management for Travel and Tourism. Oxford: Routledge.
This eBook is beneficial for my research because it brings theory to life by using industry-based case studies and in doing so, speaks the language of the travel and tourism person. It explains that the environment is always changing; therefore, it is important to have a strategic approach to it. This reflects my research, as it is a significant aspect to keep in mind when it comes to the world of traveling and tourism. This book examines the distinct stages in this strategic process.
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