Friday, 11 April 2014

UCLan Tourism graduate focuses on the 'Little Touches'

UCLan BA (Hons) International Tourism Management 2011 graduate Tom Metcalf has recently started his own hospitality consultancy – with a twist.

In fact, Tom bills his firm Little Touches as hospitality with a twist on normality. Not a 'one stop shop', but a details specialist with original and classic concepts to surprise, delight and unite, but never frighten hospitality guests across the board.

Tom particularly enjoyed the second year Managing Service Operations module of his degree delivered by Carley Sutton, which got him thinking about attention to detail as a phenomenon in its own right.

For his third year, Tom opted to spend it at Walt Disney World in Florida on placement.

He spent seven months at the world's busiest theme park Magic Kingdom as part of Main Street Operations, splitting his time between regulating guest flow as part of 'Parade Audience Control' and welcoming guests to the theme park in what Disney terms 'Park Greeter', their version of turnstile operatives.

The Bolton-born entrepreneur was regularly nominated as 'chute captain' to act in a leadership role to train, motivate and manage teams of up to ten people controlling guest movement in the main gateway to the Magic Kingdom lands. The remaining five months were spent at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge hotel as a 'Front Desk Cashier', the equivalent of a five-star hotel in European classifications.

Returning for his final year, Tom's observations on his time at Disney proved invaluable in completing his dissertation on 'The Little Touches: an insight into a unique phenomenon in the service sector'. Having Edwin Thwaites assigned as his supervisor was the icing on the cake, and a strong dissertation grade secured him the First Class degree he could only dream about when embarking on the course in September 2007.

Following a seasonal position at one of the largest holiday parks in Western Europe, Bourne Leisure's Butlins Minehead, more insight into the 'touches' emotional connection was garnered. The recipient of the university's Gilbertson Excellence Scholarship, Tom graduated for the second time from UCLan in December 2013, this time with a Master of Arts in Scriptwriting, something which complements his new enterprise perfectly, as a sense of theatre is never too far away in the hospitality industry.

Tom has recently started a blog under the banner of 'ATD Superstars' which will profile outstanding hospitality organisations who know their A to Z of attention to detail inside and out.

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