TUI Travel executives admitted to me last week that their biggest challenge – leaving aside the amalgamation of shops, aircraft and hotels to create the UK’s largest high-street multiple – will be managing company culture.

Travel Weekly editor Sarah LongbottomStaff are any company’s biggest asset. You can invest in all the latest technology and office paraphernalia, but without well-trained, motivated and loyal people to run it all, you may find it difficult to succeed.

This is why the new travel and tourism diploma for teenagers is such good news. How often have your clients returned from a holiday to say the flight was great, the accommodation was lovely, the food was excellent – but they were let down by the poor service?

Providing the right environment for learning and awareness from the age of 14 could potentially have a huge impact on hospitality standards and level of service down the line, when the students leave school and take up full-time jobs in the sector.

Not only will the diploma focus on fundamental subjects such as customer service skills, it will also include issues affecting travel – and it will be interesting to see what the key issues are by 2010, when the diploma is due to launch.


Travelodge couple are a marketer’s dream

How wonderful to live in a hotel! The luxury of having a daily laundry and cleaning service could almost persuade me that living in one room for 20 years is a good idea. Almost.

For David and Jean Davidson, this is a reality. The national papers revealed this week they have been living in a Travelodge for more than 20 years. During a visit to a sick aunt in 1985, the couple enjoyed their stay in the Newark Travelodge so much they moved in. Travelodge couldn’t buy marketing this good!