Management of resorts and tourism business is the separate direction of the common managerial theory and practice regarding both natural resources and human recreation. The business operation and customer service face the risk of probable incidents. Therefore, the occurrence of these incidents plays a special role in resort management and quality support. Management of tour operators is engaged in the assessment of the quality of tourism services and handling incidents.
Task 1.1 Organization in Virgin Holidays
Tour operator Virgin Holidays collaborates with a number of suppliers of tourism services. Tourism companies organize individual and group tours for the people to go abroad and sign written agreements (contracts) concerning the provision of tourism services involving both foreign and domestic partners.
Tour operator establishes relations with the airlines through mutual agreements and the inclusion of air travel in the travel vouchers of Virgin Holidays. Virgin Holidays handles all the issues concerning airlines, passengers, and cargo based on the signed contract in the framework of its scope. For example, the tour operator cooperates with Virgin Atlantic on the basis of the contract of the international air transportation of passengers and cargo as it derives from international conventions, agreements and national legislation obliging the airlines to deliver passengers (cargo) to the needed destination. Other rights and obligations of the parties specify and complement the basic content of the air carriage contract of tour operators and airlines. The international nature of the contract of carriage by air implies that the passenger should go abroad.
Terms and conditions of air transportation of passengers and goods are governed by the conventions on international air transport for the unification of certain rules. In particular, these are the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules regarding international movement of air carriage, certain refinements of the Convention in Hague Protocol and Guatemala City Protocol, and guidelines of International Association of Air Transport. These documents focus on tickets, order of baggage, administrative procedures, human carrier, arrangements with the passengers, and the responsibility of the airlines.
Relationship between Virgin Holidays and the resorts as the suppliers of tourist services also depends on the nature of the contract. Virgin Holidays signs long-term contracts with the resorts for a certain number of rooms to ensure the full load of the hotel, which gives them a low price, but is a risk for the resort's owner who can lose money during a period of high inflation. There is also a risk for the tour operator, who will lose money if not all tours are sold.
The contracts of Virgin Holidays with the auto and cruise transport companies are based on a model contract including the issues related to tourist services and the relationship with business partner. All relationships with partners, suppliers of services for tourists on the tour itinerary, are determined by a written contract (contracts). Virgin Holidays concluded a contract with international transport companies in the form of reached agreement on all essential terms of the contract.
Le Blanc Spa Resort and Barceló Tucancun Beach Resort provide a wide range of resort services including the hotels that are located in their territory. Their head office is placed in Zona Hotelera. Moreover, Le Blanc Spa Resort offers restaurant service from 10 restaurants and bars including international buffet, Mexican, Italian, Asian, and French cuisine provided by the international and local Mexican teams of employees. Among the resort operations, there are entertainment services, spa, fitness, golf, and other outdoor activities offered by local companies and international teams of the resorts in Cancun. Barceló Tucancun Beach provides the transport rent, restaurant services with banquet and conference rooms, business centres, excursions, nursing services, etc. The majority of these services are ensured by local departments of the resort. Currency is served by Cancun department of the Central Bank of Mexico.
Representatives of the resorts act in Cancun and neighbouring countries of the Caribbean beach. Handling staff include chart agents and representatives who provide the interested people with the appropriate information about the resort. The profit of Le Blanc increased by almost 20% over the last four years. The activity of Barceló Tucancun Beach was profitable, too. The resort has a line management that controls its functioning. Operations cover all directions of the resort activities. Recent guest activities increased by 45%, mostly due to the visitors from the Northern countries, Asia, Europe, USA, UK, etc. The resort does not provide direct legal services for the guests, but they have legal service for their resort business. The risk management of Le Blanc Spa secures the guests from tsunami and earthquakes, but they have a low-level protection from transport incidents although these incidents may be handled with medical service.
Local laws fortify and encourage dominant domestic ownership of hostels and resorts with frequently accepted international capital. The legislation in Mexican tourism is directed towards the local ownership. Tourism legislation guides all the aspects related with international tourism and its secure operation according to the foundations of Roman Law and Napoleonic Code.
The resorts protect the data of their guests with the effective client databases. Furthermore, both recreational complexes secure their own business information due to trade secret. Resorts set and achieve objectives, profit, and targets according to the special line design of management and vertical distribution of authority and power. Their performance criteria include safety and health of the customers, correlation of positive and negative responses, the rate of the staff response and professionalism, level of customer satisfaction, etc. Ethical issues consist of service-related performance. The resorts help the people who suffered from natural disaster and participate in social projects concerning youth development in Cancun.
Task 1.2 Resort Management Structure
Organizational structures of both resorts are linear as the heads of all departments directly manage only their department, while General Director Deputy manages all the units of a lower level management structure of the resorts. Higher levels of management in the organizational structures of Le Blanc and Barceló Tucancun include the CEO, senior managers, finance departments, and the PR department that collaborate with tour operators worldwide and provide communication and primary meeting.
The middle level of management include hotel management, lawyers, doctors, middle managers, instructors of the sports complex and spa, and the managers of entertainment complex and outdoor activities. The lowest level of management represents the kitchen and maintenance staff in both resorts. All these employees manage material and technical resources of Le Blanc Spa Resort and Barceló Tucancun Beach Resort.
The resorts maintain a direct communication with international tour operators and indirect connection with foreign tour operators. Senior managers handle all aspects of guest-related issues and trial tour for the specialized managers of these tour operators. Virgin Holidays examines the programs of both resorts and delivers the information about their quality to the customers. The management of the resorts informs the incoming managers about the whole-year recreational programs, thematic amenities (diving, events), and seasonal offers (winter sports). Virgin Holidays regards the recreational services and thematic excursions of Le Blanc Spa Resort as the most distinguished peculiarities of this resort. The leading managers of Virgin Holidays use the transport and seasonal offers.
Task 2.1. Quality System
Management of the quality of the resorts' services is based on their preliminary assessment. Quality of service is a very important criterion for evaluation of the resorts by their clients. Therefore, the recreational complexes monitor the characteristics of the correlation processes and procedures and their strict compliance with certain rules and requirements of consumers. In addition, international cooperation with tour operators and visitors ensures that the quality of all operations and staff work adheres to international standards.
Managing conflicts and resolving any legal issues, Le Blanc Spa Resort ensures that the level of satisfaction of the customers is high. Virgin Holidays considers the conflicts involving the customers and compares the conflict outcomes and contractual provisions. The resort’s managers collaborate with the managers of Virgin Holidays trying to minimize the problems occurrence and make certain discounts or offer additional services to compensate the possible losses to retain the customers.
The resort’s staff has developed a perfect ability to resolve conflicts. Thus, the professionalism of the employees in Le Blanc Spa is estimated by the ability of the service personnel to demonstrate their practical skills in conflict management. On the other hand, Barceló Tucancun Resort conducts a special training for its employees to obtain such skills. Monitoring of quality concentrates the efforts of the senior managers of both resorts on the elimination and quick reduction of any conflict situation or consequent legal issue as they may indicate a low satisfaction of any expected needs of customers in recreation and health improvement (Laws, Prideaux & Chon 2006). Collaboration with tour operators is based on the provision of true information about the resort services and opportunity of a trial tour.
Conflict can arise if the resort does not provide the health improvement and curing procedures which the tour operator notes among recreational activities. This conflict may occur when the customers would buy the tour to Le Blanc and face the lack of specialized cure procedures. Therefore, both entities will experience claims and extra losses. If the tour operator sells the tickets and tour application to a family with children, Le Blanc may refuse to provide certain adult-only services that were not be delivered by the tour operator timely or accurately. This situation will cause legal issues on out-of-sequence confirmation and discrimination of the customers and their children. While the tour operator is focused on the intensity of any tourist offer, the resort is interested in promoting quality of only their services. This situation is a conflict of interest.
Quality management is supported by both resorts in the best way as the management of the complexes traces the compliance with international standards. Independent regular examination of this compliance by international association and ongoing support of reputation during the tours serve as the landmarks for Le Blanc and Barcelo Tucancun Resorts.
Task 2.2 Affection on the Resort
It is difficult for customers to obtain high-quality information about the resort. In case of the direct purchase, the consumer contacts with all suppliers of tourism services to compare the required products (services) and make a successful purchase. Therefore, the tour operator performs this task for the consumer through indirect sales and immediate connection with the tourism suppliers. Tour operator relieves the clients from the exhausting search for the most optimal variant of recreational place. Therefore, the quality of information provided by the tour operator to the customer defines its perception, impression, and the final choice of the supplier of tourism services. If the tour operator is able to receive quality information and serve potential consumers of the resort, then Le Blanc will get more customers through indirect sales to the intermediary.
Improving the quality of service of the tour operator is the basis of promoting the resort. Therefore, a high level of computerization of the services, visualization of a tour, and the provision of the additional information to the consumers from the tour operator will allow persuading the consumers to choose Le Blanc Resort guaranteeing high attendance rate. Regular refreshment by the tour operator through direct operational communication via speed traffic of Internet connection will ensure timely completion of the resort services and reduce the level of visit irregularities. Constant monitoring of the quality of services and recording help reduces information asymmetry and provides the customers with the accurate and complete information about the resort which, in turn, will increase the demand for its services. Compliance with all points of the contract, especially those related to the health and safety of consumers and the legal problems, will be a guarantee that conflicts will be prevented or quickly solved. Moreover, both parties will be successful in the execution of their mutual obligations.
Task 3.1 Incidents in the Resort and Tour Operator’s Actions
The resort may face the following incidents:
- Lost things and sightseers;
- Food poisoning and domestic damages;
- Failure of utility or other service;
- Congestion of programs and the complexity of the routes accidents due to improper or faulty use of the resort’s facilities;
- Injuries or deaths due to natural phenomena (tsunami, earthquake, storm, hurricane, lightning);
- Inadaptability of consumers to the climatic conditions of the resort;
- All modes of transport accidents;
Involvement in internal political conflicts, terrorism, criminal acts, occasional presence in combat areas, etc.
These situations should be mentioned in the bilateral contract between Le Blanc or Barceló Tucancun Resorts and the tour operator to reduce the probability of their occurrence. Therefore, the tour operator should be involved in the cooperation with incident local rescue team, PR team, and the teams providing passenger information and support (police, public). These communications will secure the health and safety of the tourists in transit and the resort.
Task 3.2 Incident Plan of the Tour Operator
To deal with the mentioned incidents, the tour operator should develop a plan of the procedures that would save the health and lives of the customers of the tours to Mexico or Cancun. This plan should involve stakeholders of the company. These procedures rely on the scale brought forward when evaluating the factors that may impact the incident probability.
Primary choice relates to the choice of the tourism suppliers. As the majority of the customers will fly to either Le Blanc or Barcelo Tucancun resorts, the tour operator should select the most secure airline company with the lesser number of accidents, hijacking cases, or other risk situations. The tour operator should identify the best resort for the customers to live and recreate in the most secure and interesting way.
Prior the emergency, the tour operator should keep in touch with the local authorities, instruct the staff to give recommendations and advices to the customers, have separate medical contracts, develop crisis coordination schemes, and select the person in charge. This person should be either responsible for crisis /conflict/ legal management or senior management.
The tour operator should make the customers aware that a person in charge is a manager, not a representative. Therefore, they may call directly the manager of the tour operator in the case of emergency and address the managers of the resort. This responsible person will accept the claims of the customers, solve difficult situations, consult the customers on the phone or via the Internet, analyse the causes of deterioration in the quality of services, develop the measures to address them, and cooperate with competent organizations (create the list of the secure and rescue teams and use these contacts if necessary).
This manager will be a crisis coordinator aware of the public relation regarding the resolution of any of the mentioned problems. Crisis coordinator should serve in duty office and be permanently available for any call of emergency. The tour operator may train these people through the special programs of first emergency, conflict management, and crisis resolution.
For example, in the case of tsunami, the tour operator should make quick decisions, organize extra counselling, send charter airplane, relocate the suffering customers, provide them with food and cloth, and transfer to a secure place. The resort may be damaged due to tsunami or have non-appropriate security system. Therefore, the crisis coordinator should inform the UK Embassy in Mexico and the UK authorities about the issue. Moreover, police and council should be also aware of the problem.
Public relation should be involved in the resolution of the situation. The crisis coordinator should explain the facts to the customers during the prior consultations, purchase of tours, and directly at the resort. The facts should be explained through public relations department. The tourists should be aware of police contacts, crisis management, and UK duty office. If necessary, press can also be informed. All members of crisis and top management should be informed and involved in the joint collaboration to help the suffering customers. Tourists should have all contacts with crisis managers of Virgin Holidays, coordinating centres, and incident local team. Virgin Holidays should inform PR-team about the events and probable management of incidents.
Task 3.3 International Legislation and Trade Association
Virgin Holidays collaborates with ABTA and governing bodies to ensure the financial protection of a tour operator. As trade operations performed in tourism caused problems, they may be considered and examined by the provisions of ABTA. Its guidelines are the important toolset for communication between the UK, the resort, and the office of foreign affairs. Moreover, ABTA provides resolution options in travel industry to provide the customers with secure tour packages and the tour operators with who know information about the suppliers and crisis.
In crisis situations, ABTA assures of the protection of its members from financial risk giving advice, resolving any legal issues, and providing any necessary information including training of the team. Its assistance plays a great role for both the customers and the tour operator if the foreign office does not handle the request. Moreover, additional protection is supported by FCO in the crisis situation and for crisis management.
To sum up, the collaboration of the tour operator and its stakeholders involves different issues. Le Blanc Spa and Barceló Tucancun resorts may co-work with the tour operator on the basis of contractual arrangements to secure the health and safety of the customers. Resort management design and procedures may provide the partners and customers with the obliged security and quality. Both the resort and tour operator should take all possible measures to save heath and lives of their customers. Tour operator should permanently communicate with all the involved teams to eliminate or reduce any danger or threat to the customers.