The increase number of cities, alongside the rise of population with the deterioration of the environmental situation in cities requires a change in the stereotype of urbanized life for other activities. Avoiding everyday worries and stress actively increase the demand for recreation in an ecologically friendly environment. In the structure of costs of the consumer of economically developed countries, the cost of tourist services came in the second place after housing costs (industriya_turizma_i_industriya_gostepriimstva, 2009-2018).
According to V.A. Kvartalnov, Head of the International Chair of UNESCO for Cultural Tourism, the main factors of growth of the tourism industry are currently growth of incomes of the population, growth of an array of free time, development of organizational means and infrastructure, development of international trade exchanges, development of mass media and information technologies (industriya_turizma_i_industriya_gostepriimstva, 2009-2018).
The middle class all over the world does not deny it travels during the summer and Christmas vacations, no matter what happens in the economy. In addition, globalization leads to the development and strengthening of economic ties between countries, industries and companies.
By long-term forecasts of Tourism Towards 2030, tourism has substantial potential for further growth, the number of international tourist arrivals worldwide is expected to increase by an average of 3.3% a year over the period 2010 to 2030. Expenditure by Chinese travelers grew by 12% (US$261 billion), 8% by US travelers (US$ 124 billion), 3% by Germany travelers (US$ 80 billion), France reported a 3% growth in 2016 to reach US$ 40 billion, UK expenditure close to US$ 64 billion (+14%) ( (World Tourism Organization, 2017 Edition).
It should also be noted that the growth of the hotel business does not stop even during a global economic crisis.
But at the same time, both the number of competitors and consumer requirements are growing. Business develops under the influence of consumer demand. Customers expect variety and a high quality of service, personalized approach, taking into account their individual needs. Moreover, consumer needs change rapidly, and if you want to survive in this business and be successful you need to improve the quality of service continually, consider understanding customers’ needs and to be more flexible, to be customer-oriented and to be ready to satisfy any consumer needs, and this might be a challenge for the industry.
Nevertheless, hotel business is also threatened with online aggregators of private housing, which flood the market, in particular the European one, with new proposals. In addition, fluctuations in the economic situation have a huge impact on the hotel business, airline business and other representatives of the tourism industry. One of the vivid examples is the increase in oil prices, which led to an increase in the operating costs of airlines, which in turn leads to an increase in the cost of air tickets and reduced the number of tourists.
Terroristic threats and actions are one of the problems for the tourism industry, too. It might the reduce number of travellers to the certain countries. Safety is a necessity for people. Denis Can Teoman in his paper examined the effects of terrorist attacks on tourism in Europe, and argued in his paper that the dangers on trips are very different depending on their destination, where Turkey suffers much more from terrorist attacks in regards to tourism compared to France (Teoman, 2017). Here you can also include the threat of cyber-attacks, as long as hotel industry works with private data from a huge number of customers, including the number of bank cards, since many payments are made by credit cards that can pose significant risks to brand reputation and growth.
The next challenge for the hotel industry are technology and big data. This is a time when hotels stop to think about the technology itself but what the customer is ready to use and value. The development of technology has made it easier for us to access information, you can get information any time wherever you are, has also increased the amount of information. Big data gave us a huge package of information, information about consumer behavior, economic situation, competitors, technology and etc., companies are data-rich but insight-poor. To understand consumer needs and deliver an outstanding experience, need to have the right information at the right time. It is necessary to correctly select information and give it value.
The other challenge, that has the most of the industries, is recruiting and retaining the right people. Professionals in this industry need to have excellent interpersonal and technical skills. The main questions are how to develop and implement an effective recruitment strategy? How to retain skilled employees?
The hotel industry has a quite high staff turnover rate, and the workforce is generally young, consequently, the industry has continuous need for talented, hardworking, energetic and multi-skilled staff. In this case promotion prospects can be good for motivated graduates. If you are capable and flexible entrants and have strong trainees progressing, for instance, from assistant front-of-house manager to deputy manager and head of department roles, your promotion can be rapid, within two years. And to reach the post of general manager perhaps you need a further five to six years.
If you are easy-going, easily adapt, like to travel and challenges, most of the international hotel groups offer career opportunities around the world by working overseas, combining travel with a structured training program.
Opportunity and challenges in hotel industry in Bulgaria.
The hospitality industry has many entry-level jobs. To achieve the desired position in the future and to gain sufficient experience and knowledge in this industry, I chose the post of a day receptionist to start with and become more familiar with work from the bottom. This position is provided in the luxurious five-star Lighthouse Golf & Spa hotel in Bulgaria.
Lighthouse Golf & Spa hotel has won in the category Luxury Sea view Hotel of the Year in 2016, granted by the Luxury Travel Awards, and Bulgaria’s Best Golf Hotel 2016, and it is again nominated by the World Golf Awards for Best Golf Hotel 2017 in the Bulgaria category (lighthousegolfresort, n.d.). This hotel is for those who like to play golf or want to learn how to play and so, for people who care about their health. The main guests of the hotel are golfers, families and businessmen. The advantage of the hotel is the availability of a golf course and spa-care, which prolongs the seasonality of the hotel, if for swimming in the sea is no longer a season.
Bulgaria is one of the touristic countries in Europe. One of the main branches of the economy Bulgaria are tourism and services. The benefits of the attractive tourist image of the country strengthen its political and economic positions.
Nevertheless, due to the modest tourist potential of the country and its late growth as an international tourist destination, the tourist image of Bulgaria, although it gained international fame, has not yet reached the level of attractiveness of such destinations as Italy, France, Spain, Greece. The top 10 countries whose inhabitants traveled to Bulgaria in January 2017 are Greece (87 768), Macedonia (57 856), Turkey (51 357), Serbia (23 418), Romania (22 771), Britain (13 851), Germany (11 112), Italy (10 467), Israel (9 962), Russia (9 933) (statisticheski-danni., ?.?.). Tourism in Bulgaria seasonal. According to the Ministry of Tourism of Bulgaria, the main flow of tourists falls on July-August months (statisticheski-danni., ?.?.).
One of the opportunities for employees in this industry in Bulgaria is a government deep involvement to development tourism industry. To improve the image of Bulgarian tourism government developed strategy which includes long-term step-by-step plans for attracting investments, developing domestic tourism, training professional personnel and personnel that will be involved in the tourism industry (strategicheski-dokumenti, ?.?.). According to the Strategy, Bulgaria will take the leading position in the top five tourist states in the Center and in the East of Europe (strategicheski-dokumenti, n.d.).
Moreover, legal requirements for employment of foreigners are low, there are no complicated procedures for hiring foreigners? and also opportunity to get European blue card scheme, allows you to work and live in EU countries and in the case of early termination of the employment contract, the foreigner does not lose the permission to stay in the EU, and has the right to stay in the EU for another half year in search of another job (zakon-ob-inostrancax-v-respublike-bolgariya, ?.?.). Of course, there is still ongoing risk of changing legislation.
According to UNWTO forecasts, if Bulgaria develops new tourist products, it can expect an increase in tourist trips to Bulgaria by 4% annually until 2020 and then 3% over the period from 2020 to 2030. It is estimated that approximately 9 million foreign visitors in 2020 and 12 million in 2030 (World Tourism Organization, 2017 Edition). That, in turn, logically, will lead to an increase in the means of accommodation of tourists, and hence to the need for qualified personnel. This will give opportunities for the employees and challenges for HR specialist to find talents.
In 2011 only 19.6% of the country’s residents had higher education, 43.4% – secondary, and only 54.1% of homes had personal computers in cities and 18.1% in villages, and approximately this ratio of access to the Internet (Wikipedia Foundation, n.d.). The current and future problem for the hospitality industry in Bulgaria is the population decline, and the total demographic load factor is 47.3%, which is a very low indicator (Bulgaria, n.d.). Based on this information we can assume that Bulgaria has a lack of qualified specialist, what makes harder to find talents inside the country, what gives opportunities for foreigner employees, who have a higher level of education but don’t have experience.
The main challenge in this industry for the graduate students will work under stress and be lack of interpersonal and communication skills. For the last 10 years young generation spent most of their time in digital devices. They forgot how to communicate in real life and see the world around them, which are essential for the tourist industry.
Next one challenge it is lack of experience. Organizations value academic experiences and achievement, but they expect employees, especially, entry-level managers to possess a solid and practical understanding of the industry: knowledge and skills developed through real-world or industry-based experiences (Alonso & O’Neill, 2011; Blake & Worsdale, 2009; Millar, Mao, , 2011; Raybould & Wilkins, 2005; Tesone, 2002)
The other challenge can be lack of cultural and customer awareness. Most of the just graduate students don’t have experience in communication with foreigners from different cultures and also collision problem of two generations. The needs and expectations of the two generations are strikingly different, but when working with customers, you must take into account all the features.
One of the challenges for me would be a local language, but the Bulgarian language uses the Cyrillic alphabet, like other Russian-speaking countries, because of its close cooperation with Russia in the olden days, it has a similarity of languages. This will allow me to learn the language quickly.
The most important competencies for employees who want to work in hotel industry and grow there to managerial position were teamwork, communication skills, and customer service. In hotels, they prefer to promote their own employees along the career ladder, so there are fewer opportunities for the graduates to be appointed as manager on the entry level. For example, as the head of the reception service, whose functions include a personal meeting of VIP clients, the resolution of any issues arising during resettlement, the selection, training of hotel staff at the reception and monitoring of the observance of hotel standards, will be more efficiently to promote the administrator of the placement service, who worked for 1-2 years and completed the relevant training, so he knows the structure of this hotel.
So best to do your job at the top, it is to understand all the job from the bottom.