CTHRC Brings Together Canadian Tourism Businesses for Consultations
Meetings designed to ensure emerit® resources continue to meet industry needs
The Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council (CTHRC), in partnership with Delta Hotels and Resorts, recently undertook an extensive industry consultation process to evaluate the effectiveness of its emerit tourism training brand. Nine meetings were held across Canada, involving nearly one hundred participants representing tourism stakeholders, including both users and non-users of emerit. The goal of these sessions was to ensure that emerit offers the right resources in the right format to meet the unique human resource needs of tourism businesses as labour shortages return to the sector.
Discussions at the meetings focused on participants’ awareness and understanding of emerit resources, the perception and value of certification and industry credentials to the sector, how tourism businesses train their employees, barriers to the use of emerit, and ways to overcome these barriers.
There were many encouraging findings around the perception of emerit products. They were seen as an excellent resource for businesses, and non-users were quick to see the potential value offered by emerit. Users of emerit products reported positive effects of their use, including improvement of the perception of tourism occupations as careers, an increase in employees’ pride and satisfaction and a corresponding decrease in employee turnover, and an overall improvement in workforce morale. In particular, emerit Professional Certification was seen as an exceptionally rigorous program, providing a valuable industry credential and helping business to validate in-house training programs or identify gaps in existing training.
Perhaps not surprising in such a large and diverse sector made up mostly of small- and medium-sized enterprises, participants reported that the awareness of emerit resources needed improvement and that there was some confusion around the types of product available. While Professional Certification was well known, participants were less aware of emerit training products and business tools. In fact, the sheer number of resources offered by the brand was seen as a barrier to use: businesses had a hard time identifying which product was right for them when faced with the entire emerit catalogue. This lack of understanding was seen across the sector.
Large accommodations properties might dismiss emerit because they believed it competed with the corporate training of their chain, when in fact emerit is uniquely suited to complement corporate training because of its focus on specific skills needed for competency in an occupation. In smaller operations, there was a perception that too much time was needed to invest in emerit training for employees, when many training products are available as online courses that employees can complete outside of normal work hours, and use of emerit resources can save the business the time it would take to develop in-house programs.
The CTHRC has come away from the industry consultations with two conclusions. First, the emerit brand offers resources that are relevant to the industry and can meet the needs of businesses dealing with human resource challenges. However, there is a need to better communicate how emerit can meet the needs of individual businesses, and to assist employers in identifying the products that are right for their unique operation. As a response to the findings of the consultations, the CTHRC will be undergoing a comprehensive marketing review and developing a focused strategy aimed at improving the understanding and uptake of the entire emerit tourism training brand. By striving towards increasing awareness and use of emerit, the Council will continue to serve the needs of Canada’s tourism businesses and help ensure the competitiveness and sustainability of the Canadian tourism sector for years to come.