Sustainability and Social Responsibility are are the driving force behind the Top 5 trends in restaurants in the U.S. according to the National Restaurant Association. The top food trends, according to the National Restaurant Association Culinary Forecast 2015 are locally sourced meat, seafood and produce and environmental sustainability.
Why do DMO managers need to know this ? Because this trend is helping them meet their goals of improving the economic and social well being of their destination communities.
We are all becoming familiar with infographics touting the economic benefits of tourism. An important way to improve the economic impact is to reduce what economists call “leakage” – the money that leaves the community. Locally sourced restaurants and “farm to table” restaurants keep money in the community ! The money tourists spend at “farm to table” restaurants does “leak away” – it stays close to home. These trends is helping raise the economic impact of tourism in many communities.
DMO managers spend a lot of time attracting new visitors to their destination – but strategies to improve the economic impact of visitors as less common. Leveraging these important trends is a way that progressive DMO management can get the most for their communities from visitor dollars.
Companies wishing to be socially responsible face a world of good and important causes. Over the last few months I have been looking at Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the tourism industry and I have been amazed at the wide number of issues that fall under the topic of CSR. Clearly, no company can address every issue – we simply can’t be everything to everyone. Choosing “the fights’ that are important to the company and its stakeholders is critical in managing this process.
A recent article on adding discipline to sustainability from McKinsey and Company is worth a read. I have been a fan of McKinsey and Co since I first read “In Search of Excellence” by McKinsey Alum, Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, and find McKinsey’s research and insights useful. Enjoy !
So often, tourism is a “bit player” in the health of a community. In the traditional models of tourism, tour operators come and – at best – the visitors they bring spend money that contributes to the local economy. While the tourism income helps, there is a lot of what economists call “leakage”.
Imagine a new type of tourism company – a company founded for the purpose of enhancing the cultural and economic benefit of the host community. Imagine a social enterprise – like Tom’s Shoes or Ethos Water – that plows back profits from tourism operations into the community itself . This is the model that responsible tour operator Adventure Alternative and its sister charity, Moving Mountains have brought to the villages of Bumburi and Bupsa, high in the Himalaya. Congratulations to Gavin Bate, Ang Chhongba Sherpa and Pasange Tendi Sherpa and their team, for finding a new path for tourism in this special part of the world.
Bain and Company, one of the world’s leading consultancy companies, recently released their report – “Great Green Talent Machine” touting the importance of CSR in recruiting talent. This is the latest in a series of articles and papers highlighting the importance of corporate reputation and values, often best expressed through their CSR activities, as a factor in attracting talent.
So what if you are the “talent”? You are attracted to the company and now you want to work with them. How do you get the job ? What do recruiters from these companies look for ?
As a college professor I know this question is particularly important for recent grads trying to establish themselves in new careers. Fortunately, recent research gives some answers to this important question. In a recent study conducted with Aini Karani, we asked college recruiters from hospitality companies whether they felt CSR was an important factor in recruiting college students. Corporate Reputation was the top reason they listed. CSR ranked 10th in things that recruiters felt attracted students to want to join their company. Interestingly – salary was ranked 13th !
Then we asked what they looked for in new recruits. The results reinforced the importance of attitude, team orientation and communications skills. The study showed that recruiters pay little attention to specific activities but that they are influenced by what they perceive to be the values of the potential recruit.
The full study is published in Journal of Human Resources in Hospitality and Tourism – “Corporate Social Responsibility and College Recruiting in the Hospitality Industry”