According to Next Tourism Generation Alliance country field research conducted in Hungary, curiosity, tolerance and trustworthiness are the most important social skills in tourism in Hungary nowadays.
Another highly sought-after attitude is to be aware that “one makes a living from their guests” and treats them accordingly. Since employees in the tourism industry have to get along with guests and co-workers, interpersonal skills are of high value.
Social skills in tourism in Hungary are considered more important than in other European countries in the NTG Alliance
The Next Tourism Generation Alliance (NTG) consortium partners in Hungary, VIMOSZ and University of Sopron, interviewed 32 tourism managing directors and entrepreneurs to acquire in-depth understanding and insights into the future social skills needed by people working in the tourism industry. In addition to interviews, a quantitative survey was undertaken to support the field research. The research found that social skills in Hungary are considered more important than average across the NTG Alliance. Due to the fast manpower export in the last couple of years, Hungary has lost a lot of skilled people and during their substitution, the most important value has become the proper attitude.
Examining the particular sub-sectors, for hoteliers, empathy is considered to be the most important in 2030, communication with guests will naturally have an outstanding role. Companies like to hire ‘raw talent’ that they can shape into the workforce they need. Communication, behavior, knowledge and the local company standards are seen as such raw talents that will be shaped once an employee is hired.
Clumsiness is acceptable if this is balanced by kindness
According to caterers, there is a widening gap between a small circle of highly-qualified managers and unskilled workers who will no longer need vocational training, just proper attitude and compliance with the given standards. Employees have to be very tolerant and flexible, as their working time is dependent on the presence of guests. Workers can even be clumsy if this is balanced by their kindness.
Even smile on the phone
For the visitor attractions, communication, organizational and problem-solving skills are the most important skills, while tour operators and travel agencies consider an honest attitude as the most important skill by 2030. The importance of these skills is perfectly captured in a company’s motto: “we even smile while on the phone”.
Education is best done by setting a good example
Bigger companies are able to provide sales and communication training programmes, language and other courses if needed but the sector is overwhelmingly characterized by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in certain sub-sectors (micro enterprises represent up to 90% of the industry). Therefore, the financial and management capacities of most businesses to provide training is very limited, and this was expressed in comments in the survey. Businesses said they don’t have the money and the time to do more training, while some enterprises do not even realize the necessity of training for the skills gaps. On the other hand, some companies have developed internal training and hold experience sharing sessions to help improve skills. Nonetheless, education is best done by setting a good example, but how to keep staff motivated in the long run still remains an important question.
More insights, trends, issues and challenges in digital and sustainability skills development for the tourism and hospitality sector, researched in partner countries involved in the NTG project can be found here.