Acting the part: emotional intelligence and travel agencies

Our new paper ‘Acting the part: Emotional intelligence and job satisfaction as predictors of emotional labor in travel agencies’ has been published open-access in the journal Tourism and Hospitality Research.

Because the paper is open-access, anyone can read it for free, and I have copied the abstract below.

Skadarlija street,  Belgrade
Skadarlija street, Belgrade

“Employees of retail travel agencies in sales roles can have long-lasting, direct contact with tourists which, in the case of poor customer service, can be extremely problematic for businesses. Because of this, it is important to understand how employees manage their emotions to help them to remain satisfied with their work, thus contributing to the satisfaction of tourists. However, job satisfaction, emotional intelligence and emotional labor in tourism have not previously been studied together as variables in a single model. This research analyses the mediating role of emotional intelligence in the relationship between job satisfaction and emotional labor in travel agencies, as well as job satisfaction as an antecedent of emotional labor. Data were collected from 160 employees of 45 travel agencies in the Serbian cities of Belgrade and Novi Sad. Results show that employees’ emotional intelligence mediates the positive relationship between job satisfaction and emotional labor. Management implications: Increasing employees’ emotional intelligence through training and development and actively recruiting employees with high emotional intelligence will reduce emotional exhaustion and improve customer satisfaction for retail travel agencies. Future research should include employees from other countries, in order to make comparisons and to validate results, as well as to test the created model by structural equation modelling (SEM), involving some other possible mediators, such as socio-demographics, personality traits or work motivation.”

Tourism Entrepreneurship and Industrial Restructuring

Our latest paper, on industrial restructuring and tourism entrepreneurship in Serbia, has just been published. This is an open access paper that you can download and read, for free, from here. The abstract is below:

Aerial view Orthodox church Lazarevac, Kolubara, Serbia

National culture can influence entrepreneurship by creating a specific cultural framework that defines the possibilities for the recognition of opportunities for entrepreneurial activities, as well as their social desirability. Very large corporations, especially those that dominate a region, also have their own organizational cultures, which in turn influence local social culture, and which can constitute a specific subculture within society. The “Kolubara” mine is the largest in Serbia, employing more than 11,000 workers. As most of its employees are living close to its headquarters, the small town of Lazarevac (Central Serbia), the culture nurtured within this organization and among its employees is heavily intertwined with the social culture of the inhabitants of the town. The GLOBE (Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness) approach was used to investigate the relation between this organizational culture and national culture, by measuring the nine GLOBE cultural dimensions of the “Kolubara” employees and of the inhabitants of Lazarevac. The results of this are discussed and analyzed in the context of the ongoing economic transformation in many post-socialist economies. This study highlights the readiness of the people of small industrial towns, such as Lazarevac, to adapt to this ongoing transition and to undertake entrepreneurial activities in tourism during periods of industrial restructuring and the growth of service industries in former industrial areas.

Journal of the Geographical Institute “Jovan Cvijić” SASA

I have recently been invited to join the Journal of the Geographical Institute “Jovan Cvijić”, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, as an Associate Editor for the Human Geography section.  The journal is published by a national academy which is the most prominent academic institution in Serbia, founded in 1841.

cover image of the journal

I am delighted to become involved with this excellent journal, which has an online archive stretching back to 1951, and which publishes papers related to tourism which are aligned with the journal’s focus and scope.  It is listed on various academic databases and has recently been accepted for listing on ESCI (Web of Science) and Scopus.

If you would like to discuss a potential submission with me, please just get in touch.

Travel Constraints for City Break Travel: Novi Sad, Serbia

I was recently very pleased to be invited onto the Scientific Committee for the 17th Contemporary Trends in Tourism and Hospitality conference in Novi Sad, Serbia.  With colleagues from the University of Novi Sad, we presented a paper on the constraints affecting city break tourists, based on research by my colleague Dr Miroslav Vujičić into visitors to the city of Novi Sad itself.  This is useful research for researchers and practitioners considering city marketing and urban destination management as it identifies the factors that impact on potential tourists’ decision to travel.  The abstract for this paper is below:

 

TRAVEL CONSTRAINTS FOR CITY BREAK TRAVEL – CASE STUDY: NOVI SAD, VOJVODINA, SERBIA

 

Miroslav D. Vujičić (1)*, James Kennell (2), Tamara Jovanović (1), Đorđije A. Vasiljević (1), Snežana Besermenji (1), Uglješa Stankov (1), Igor Stamenković (1)

(1) Department of geography, tourism and hotel management, Faculty of Sciences, University of Novi Sad, Trg Dositeja Obradovića 3, 21000 Novi Sad, Serbia

(2) Department of Marketing, Events and Tourism, Faculty of Business, University of Greenwich, Old Royal Naval College, Park Row, Greenwich, London SE10 9LS

* Corresponding author: miroslav.vujicic@dgt.uns.ac.rs

 

Travel constraints in general can be described as barriers or blockages that inhibit continued use of recreation service, but maybe a better definition was given by Jackson (1991) which described them as factors that “limit the formation of leisure preferences and … inhibit or prohibit participation and enjoyment in leisure”.  Most researchers distinguish three categories of constraints: interpersonal (attributes of the individual) intrapersonal (social interaction) and structural (characteristics of the physical environment).

 

In recent times cities emerged as principal centres of human activity and can be perceived as places that facilitate a diverse range of social, cultural and economic activities and where tourism and entertainment form major service components. Novi Sad is the second largest city of Serbia, the capital of the autonomous province of Vojvodina and the administrative centre of the South Bačka District. This research deals with limitations for city break travel, for tourists who visit Novi Sad. The authors used the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) method with the aim to rank constraints in city break travel. Preliminary results indicate that structural constrains (0.633) are most dominant, followed by intrapersonal (0.199) and that the least dominant are interpersonal constrains (0.169).  The synthesis of results, 22 items in total, indicate that the most dominant constraints are:

 

  • Travel is too expensive (0.078)
  • Business obligations limit my travel (0.072)
  • Travel involves too much risk (0.060)

 

and the least dominant are:

 

  • I don’t have time to travel (0.017)
  • Too much traffic on destination (0.022)
  • I don’t have enough information about a place I plan to visit (0.029)

 

This research showed that most dominant constraint factors are structural in nature,  as shown by criteria weights on first level of hierarchy and the synergy of the results of criteria weights which acknowledge that fact. The study showed that the consistency ratio (CR), according to the AHP method, is 0.07 (CR<0.1), indicating that the study is reliable and accurate and that therefore there is no need for adjustments in the comparison between criteria.

 

Key words: Travel constraints, city break, Novi Sad, analytical hierarchy process

Conference: New Spaces in Cultural Tourism

Contemporary Trends in Tourism and Hospitality – CTTH 2017 is an International conference regarding research in tourism, leisure, hotel management and multidisciplinary studies such as events and meeting industry, entrepreneurship in hospitality, creative industries etc.  I am on the Scientific Committee for this year’s event, the 17th in a successful series.  Information about the conference from the organisers is below:

This year the conference is being held in September (1-2 September, New Rectorate building, University of Novi Sad) and the working title of the conference is “New Spaces in Cultural Tourism”. The main aim of the conference is to put emphasis on the importance of cultural and event tourism as important factors for improvement of tourism and general economic image of certain country or region. The Conference is traditionally organized by the Department of Geography, Tourism and Hotel Management, Faculty of Sciences, University of Novi Sad and this year it is being held during The Street Musicians Festival because we want to emphasize how New spaces – the refinement of streets and city public spaces that possess valuable architectural heritage, but also the decentralization of the city’s cultural offer and specific cultural contributions to the local community – are very important for cultural tourism.

We hereby invite you to our International conference which regards research in cultural tourism, event and festival tourism, event management, leisure, hotel management, gastronomy, creative industries and multidisciplinary studies. More about the conference can be found at our official website.

 

Important details about Keynote Speakers can be found here.

 

My contribution to Serbian TV

I recently spoke at the MEKST 2015 conference in Novi Sad, Serbia.  You can read my post about this here.  During the event I was interviewed by Dusan Kristic from Radio Televizija Vojvodine for a programme that they made about the conference and you can view the programme below.  It is 25 minutes long and also features contributions from Angela Benson  and Alan Godsave, who were also speaking at MEKST.

In the video, I suggest ways in which tourism in Serbia could be developed to attract more international tourists and the role of festivals and events in tourism development.

MEKST 2015

Recently, I was a keynote speaker at the MEKST 2015 conference in Novi Sad, in Serbia.  This is an annual conference held in Serbia for students and faculty from around the Balkans, with a focus on the countries of the former Yugoslavia.

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This was the third event I have spoken at in the region over the last two years, after the Belgrade Tourism Conference and Turizimijada in Montenegro.  These events aren’t really like anything I’ve seen in the UK or Western Europe – groups of students travel together from neighbouring countries and spend their time together hearing local and international speakers, share their experiences as students and take part in social activities.

This was an excellent conference, which covered a range of topics, with a different theme for each day: Cultural Tourism, European Projects and Information Technology in Tourism.  In my talk, I used images of diverse cultural expressions in the region to explore how cultural tourism can be developed using non-traditional forms of culture.  My main message was that cultural experiences can be surprising and exciting, and that tourism development in the region can use cultural experiences to attract and satisfy tourists.   You can view my presentation below:

I enjoyed my second visit to Serbia – the city of Novi Sad is beautiful and Serbian hospitality is (always) excellent.  It is hard to imagine a similar working in the UK; we don’t have the culture of student-based academic events like they do in the Balkans.  This is a shame, as events like these showcase the talents and energy of the next generation of tourism and events professionals and give participants amazing opportunities for networking.  The next event is being held from 23-15 November 2016 and I would encourage UK-based tourism students to attend to develop their careers and make new contacts in a region where tourism development is really taking off.

A visit to Belgrade

Last week, Dr Samantha Chaperon and I, from the University of Greenwich, presented at the Belgrade Tourism Conference 2015, which was being held alongside the Belgrade Tourism Fair.  We were invited to speak by Serbia4Youth, an amazing organisation who are working to present Serbia as a destination for young people from across Europe and beyond.

Serbia4Youth brought together a group of academics for an event that was opened by Gordana Plamanec, the Managing Director of the National Tourism Organisation of Serbia.  As well as Samantha and I, delegates heard from Rob Davidson (MICE Knowledge) and Dr Melanie Smith (Budapest Business School), Miha Lesjak (University of Primorska, Slovenia) and Milan Stojkovic (Tourism Management Consultant).

panel discussion
Rob Davidson, Melanie Smith, Samantha Chaperon and I

The conference was one of the most interesting tourism events that I’ve been involved in for a long time – a chance to hear from academics in a region that is often under-represented in academic circles and to listen to the views of young people from the region about how they see the future of tourism and their own careers. I learnt about the extent and significance of spa and health tourism in south-eastern Europe and the innovative marketing of the European Basketball Championships in Solvenia in 2013, as well as the factors affecting tourism entrepreneurship in the region.  You can view our presentations below:

Dr Samantha Chaperon: Tourist Destination Image – Young People’s Perceptions of Serbia

James Kennell: Cultural Tourism and Urban Regeneration in Europe – Lessons for Serbia

As well as a great conference, our hosts showed us some of the traditional culture of Serbia and took us to some of their other events for young people in the city.  Belgrade has so much to offer young people as a destination, not least its nightlife!  We tried to keep up, but eventually gave in and saved our energy for sightseeing…

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