Online training for quality improvement and promotion of SMEs in the agri-food and tourism sectors
The objective of the INTERREG POCTEP project CRECEER was to promote business cooperation in rural cross-border areas between companies and entities from the agri-food (gourmet) and tourism sectors
When the pandemic hit us in 2020 the project was, at that moment, implementing the program of training and awareness of SMEs for the quality and commercialization of products and services in a face-to-face framework
Considering that the confinement had forced the closure of some SMEs, especially from the tourism sector, the objective of this good practice was to support the SMEs involved in the project, by actions aimed at mitigating the effects of the pandemic in rural areas
The action consisted on the designing of specific and practical webinars for the agri-food (gourmet) and especially for tourism sector. In doing so, the protocol, actions or guidelines that SMEs had to follow, were reasonable and easy to introduce in their routine. The aim was training in security protocols and guidelines, dealing with clients and cleaning, that companies had to comply with, in order to consider it as a quality characteristic when marketing their products and services and a security guarantee in order to attract customers
Infographics, bite-sized videos of customer service, common spaces, or room ventilation were produced and the SMEs registered in the webinars could receive, if they wished, personalized advice on the topics covered and how to implement them in their establishment
To carry out the trainings, 3 technicians, an administrative officer and a budget of about 12,000 euros were needed
Evidence of success
56 participants attended the training from both sides of the border between Spain and Portugal. In total 31 SMEs received this service, 12 from North and Centre regions (Portugal) and 19 from Castilla y León region (Spain). Of all of them, 17 SMEs corresponded to the tourism sector
To contact with SMSs from the tourism sector was complicated due to some of the establishments were closed.
Although some of the guidelines were regulated and disseminated, there was great ignorance of the procedures and how to perform them.
The training were more appreciated by the tourism sector
Potential for learning or transfer
The key was the adaptation to the circumstances. Although this training was not foreseen in the CRECEER project, the need to improve the quality of the services of these sectors was detected, through the fulfilment of a series of protocols that would result in a safer service, and therefore, this would influence the increase of demand, given the uncertainty and mistrust that existed in the population.
The organization of these training responded to a need arising from exceptional health circumstances. Although the agri-food sector was also the target of these training, the fundamental objective was to get closer to the problems of the tourism sector, so that the application of the protocols learned in the trainings would serve to generate confidence and security in its customers to reactivate these businesses after the confinement and the sanitary regulations allowed it.
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