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The UNESCO Chair organises the webinar ‘New emotional and communicative competences in tourism’

Like all sectors, tourism and travel have been impacted and changed by the COVID-19 crisis. In this session, which is part of the UNESCO UNITWIN MILID School, four speakers will reflect on new emotional and communicative competences in tourism; Almudena Barrientos-Báez, Escuela Universitaria de Turismo Iriarte, ULL, Spain; Ubaldo Cuesta, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain; Cristina Pulido, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, UAB, Spain; and Felipe Chibás Ortiz, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil. The meeting will take place next Friday 12 March at 15.30 hours Spain.

Profiles of guest speakers:

  • Almudena Barrientos-Báez

In the tourism industry it has always been said that, just as no two people are alike, no two customers have identical tastes, needs or demands. This means that the more we know about our clients, the more professionals know how to position themselves in their place (tending towards the desirable situation of the future or empathy) without losing the perspective of the consumer, the better they will be able to satisfy their desires and the more lasting the relationship with them will be: This is a fundamental element in achieving customer loyalty.

We are living a unique moment in the history of tourism: COVID-19, the devastating effect for tour operators, hotel chains, private and public companies is presented this afternoon, not as a threat or weakness, but as an opportunity to generate a change in the habits of consumers and in the experiences that can be offered to them through travel. Emotional competencies are tools that, if properly managed, will help to improve the current situation.

Almudena Barrientos holds a PhD with international mention in Education and teaches at the Iriarte University School of Tourism, attached to the ULL (Tenerife-Spain) and at the European University. Master’s Degree in Protocol Management, Production, Organisation and Design of Events – Communication area – (UCJC) and Master’s Degree in Tourism Accommodation Management (Univ. Girona). Degree in Tourism (EUTI-ULL) and Teaching (Univ. Valencia). She is part of the DEBATv project, Televised Electoral Debates in Spain: Models, Process, Diagnosis and Proposal (CSO2017-83159-R), R&D&I project (Retos) and of the project New values, governance, financing and public audiovisual services for the Internet society: European and Spanish contrasts (RTI2018-096065-B-I00) of research of the State R&D&I Programme.

  • Ubaldo Cuesta

Neuroleadership and tourism: the importance of controlling emotions. In the beginning it was emotion… Then came the verb, but first it was emotion. It still is, in a sense. Man is not as rational as Descartes thought; Descartes’ mistake was to think: “cogito ergo sum”. Rather, man is a rationaliser (of his emotions) which are prior and more real. Attitudes, psychologists say, are consolidated psychosocial tendencies towards action. And so they are. But the true definition of attitude is: an evaluation (emotion) that determines action. Our brain is an extraordinarily efficient machine. It is capable of handling huge amounts of information in seconds and acting, efficiently, accordingly. How does it manage to do this? Fundamentally, thanks to its own special trick: it does without our input, it acts on its own. To a large extent, driven by emotions, evaluations. Without us being aware of it, most of the time, fortunately, I would say. Understanding this is already a big step: know thyself, the Greeks said, is the most difficult thing. And also the most important. If you know your emotions, at least to some degree, you will take a big step in controlling your goals. Even more, in control of what you want to be.

If you are also able to control them, to a certain extent (never completely, that is not possible) you will have made a quantum leap. You will be, so to speak, your own driver, your own leader. And then you will be on the way to better understand the emotions of others, to “live through them”. You will be on the way to being a leader, someone capable of better understanding others and, therefore, with a greater capacity for persuasion. This is what neuroleadership is all about: helping people to be leaders. First of themselves, then (at the same time, actually) of others. This leadership is useful, very useful for everyday life, for living together. But also, of course, in the professional world. In this sense, being a leader, with the ability to communicate and communicate better, with yourself and with “the other” is applicable to any profession: doctor, teacher, car salesman or tourist service manager.

Ubaldo Cuesta holds a PhD in psychology and is professor of communication psychology at the Complutense University of Madrid. Director of the Department of Communication Theories and Analysis and of the Neurocommunication Laboratory at UCM. He is Director of the UCM-Abbvie Chair of Communication and Health and of the journals Comunicación y Salud and Pensar la Publicidad. He is also the Director of the UCM/Wunderman-Thompson Master’s Degree in Advertising Management and of the consolidated UCM research group “Creation and psychosocial and cultural effects of audiovisual discourse”. PI of the Research Project subsidised by the Ministry (MINECO): Antivaccine discourse in the networks. Director of the course “Neuroleadership and sales”.

  • Cristina Pulido

The global pandemic of COVID-19 has impacted on many aspects and scenarios of new professional and everyday life. The travel sector has undoubtedly been one of them. In this phase of progressive openness and the so-called “new normality”, the main challenge is to redefine travel, travelling and, especially, the skills that must accompany the new traveller. It is a challenge that affects all players in the tourism sector: guides, agencies, operators and professionals in the leisure, hotel, hospitality and service sectors. Moreover, the importance of travel is becoming one of the major milestones in a context marked by mistrust, insecurity and fear.

Cristina Pulido is Serra Húnter lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Communication Sciences at the UAB. She coordinates the Master in Communication and Education and is part of the research group Gabinete de Comunicación y Educación. Her main lines of research are social uses of new media, risks on the Internet and childhood/adolescence, gender and media.

  • Felipe Chibás Ortiz

Cultural barriers, emotions and digital sensitivity: cases of multinational hotel companies (Brazilian, Spanish, French and Mexican). It will address how the national values of the parent organisation influence the organisational culture and organisational values in the hotels that host these international networks.  This is reflected in cultural barriers in communication, which have a different profile according to the country of origin of the parent organisation and the host country. It will be discussed how, based on this diagnosis of cultural barriers, cultural conflicts can be managed. Hotel networks of French (Accor), North American (Atlántica Hotels), Mexican (Posadas) and Brazilian (Estanplaza) origin will be studied. It will also reflect on and show the emotional side of these profiles in the web and physical communication of the aforementioned chains.

Felipe Chibás is the representative in Latin America and the Caribbean of UNESCO’s GAPMIL (Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy). He is a researcher, doctoral professor and free lecturer at the University of São Paulo in Brazil. Author of 24 books published in English, Spanish and Portuguese.