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|University of Western Sydney, Australia
In order for tourism to be sustainable in the long term, there must be continued viability of tourism related entities (Tesone 2004), that is business operations must be sustainable. Hotels are major tourism entities and play an important role in the tourism business. They provide facilities for the transaction of business, meetings and conferences, as well as recreation and entertainment. In addition, hotels are employers of labour; attract visitors to spend money; and provide amenities for both visitors and residents (Medlik and Ingram 2000). All of which have a potential to add to the long-term sustainability of the tourism destination.
For hotels to be sustainable, efficient performance in a number of key areas is of vital importance, including: high occupancies, revenues and profits; suitable returns to owners and investors; happy and contented staff; and satisfied customers (Eddystone & Nebel 1991; Gee 1994; Jones & Pizam 1998; Kandampully, Mok & Sparks 2001; Rutherford 2002). The key to this success is to retain and satisfy customers, as this will generate ongoing revenue and keep occupancies high through repeat business, positive word of mouth endorsements and referrals that bring in new customers. Therefore the most important concern is the provision of quality service to meet and exceed customer expectations, and, in turn, minimise occassions when customers are disappointed. It is the employees, when appropriately acquired, developed, rewarded, and motivated, who will provide the standard of service quality that is required to sustain a hotel entity. So it is the 'human capital' of the organisation that is of greatest importance to the sustainability of the hotel and this rests significantly with human resource management.
The specific focus of this paper is to report on a number of ineffective human resource practices that were found to be a threat to the long-term sustainability of hotels, as reported by hotel managers in Sydney, Australia. Findings indicated that there is an absence of long-term commitment to people; that the potential for enhanced achievement of employees is limited; that the way hotels recruit, and develop staff is deficient; and that there is an overall lack of faith in current employees. Practices, which are in stark, contrast to sustainable human resource management, and have serious implications for the delivery of service quality, which is essential for long-term sustainabiliy of hotel entities.