How to support travel and hospitality workers | Tech US News



Traveling has always come with complications, but the coronavirus pandemic has made it more difficult than ever. Our By The Way Concierge column will take your travel dilemmas to the experts to help you navigate the new normal. Want to see your question answered? Send it here.

During the pandemic, I became much more aware of the heroism of our essential workers. What are the best ways to support housekeepers and other hotel workers? How do you know if a hotel treats its employees well? – MaryAnne G., Chapel Hill, NC

On intense travel days, we become the main character in the story, focused on our needs. We can overlook the people who make travel possible: gate agents, bus drivers, baristas, pilots, drivers, concierges and concierges.

Your question is a perennial reminder we all need: these people aren’t cogs in a machine, they’re real people, many of whom rely on advice and make an effort to help you travel. And as you alluded to in your question, “it’s been a challenging couple of years,” says tour guide Rebecca Grawl of DC By Foot. It’s more important than ever to slow down and appreciate your efforts.

I went to people who work in the industry to hear how they would like to be recognized.

Curtis Crimmins, a former five-star hotel concierge and now founder of a hotel booking company called Roomza, said the best way to support front-line travel workers. it’s to recognize them, pay them better if you’re in a position to do so, and try to stay with operators who seem to be doing those things.

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As for whether a hotel is treating its employees well, Crimmins says it can be difficult. Big hotels can outsource some of their work, and many are franchisees, which “means almost zero hotel workers are actually employed by the brands,” says Crimmins.

If you’re really invested, Crimmins says you can research the business and employment practices of where you want to stay; check Glassdoor, social media, or find someone who has worked at the brand and ask them how their experience was.

You can also try to support locally owned travel companies. This could be staying at a breakfast at a big-name chain, or spending an afternoon taking a cooking class to learn a regional dish, learning about the history of a city on a walking tour, or eating at popular restaurants. .

As you go about booking those local experiences, “if I could give one piece of travel advice, it’s to avoid booking through third-party sites,” says Grawl. Not only does booking direct benefit businesses financially (companies like Viator or Airbnb Experiences take a cut of the booking fee), but you’ll also have less paperwork if you need to reschedule or cancel your experience.

Another tip from Grawl: Book as early as possible. As certain travel areas are still recovering from the pandemic, many are still dealing with staffing issues. Booking in advance relieves the stress on the people handling your requests by giving them more time to prepare. “We’re pretty spread out,” Grawl says. “Last minute bookings are going to be very difficult to accommodate.”

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Also, “I encourage people to be flexible,” Grawl says. With such a shortage of staff and busy travel rushes, places may seem more crowded, or it may seem like you’re getting help more slowly. Give employees a break to complain about minor inconveniences and go with the flow.

One of the easiest ways to support the efforts of travel and hospitality workers is to recognize them in person.

“I know we immediately think of things we can buy,” says Atlanta-based travel expert Jewels Rhode, “but on a basic level, you can show them kindness and respect … by thanking them, by making eye contact.”

Carol Whitaker, who has worked as a waitress at San Francisco International Airport since the 1980s, says customers are often distracted by technology and don’t recognize workers.

“People tend to have their headphones on, they’re working on their laptops, so they’re not really present,” says Whitaker. “Instead of paying attention to what they’re doing or where they’re going or how they’re treating people, they’re in their own bubble.”

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Whitaker’s answer to your question about how to support workers: “They could be thankful and grateful and leave them a good tip.”

If you’re confused about how much and when, here’s a rundown. If you’re not the type of traveler who keeps small bills on hand, here are some tips for tipping without cash.

But even in travel situations where tipping isn’t mandatory, it’s still appreciated. For example, we recently spoke with flight attendants about their thoughts on tips and gifts. Even if they don’t expect anyone to give them a gift, receiving a gift card (like Starbucks, Dunkin’, Amazon) or something like candy is a nice surprise that can make a flight attendant’s day.

A free alternative is to give a thank you note. For example, “a handwritten note to the cleaning staff would be nice,” says Rhode. “Little things go a long way.” If you have a few minutes and an Internet connection, share your appreciation with the masses by writing a positive review about the person who helped you on sites like Yelp, Google Maps, or Tripadvisor.

If you still need another push to give back: Showing gratitude is good for us mentally and physically.

“We know that blood pressure and cortisol levels actually go down when you connect with other people,” says Andrea Bonior, a licensed clinical psychologist and host of the new “Baggage Check” podcast. “It helps reduce loneliness and also gives you a sense of making a difference.”


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