As the travel sector ramps up for recovery, there's a battle for talent
across the globe – not only among the big travel brands but also
startups that offer an alternative path that founders hope will entice
with more meaning and purpose as well as an opportunity to participate
in the upside of growth.
the first episode of The Bridge Series by WiT and Phocuswright, “The
Great Talent Crunch", the industry came together to share the trends
driving change in the workplace and the changes taking place within
organisations in their attempt to turn the Great Resignation into the
Best time to have a front row seat to travel’s rebound and transformation”
Matthew Hulen, regional director of marketing, South-east Asia,
Hilton, sharing his opinion on “What hospitality needs to do to attract
non-traditional and tech talent”, said the hotel industry needed to play
to its strengths – and one of these is the rebound to come and a
mindset change to digitisation forced by Covid, calling it an exciting
time for innovation.
Indeed, this was one of the key reasons that led journalist Xinyi
Liang-Pholsena to rejoin Travel Weekly Asia as senior editor this year,
after taking a break in 2021. Explaining her “boomerang” decision, she
said, “To say the travel industry has been badly hit during the pandemic
is an understatement, but at this juncture I also think it’s terribly
exciting to witness the revival of the industry as we learn to live with
Covid. I think I probably have a case of FOMO too. I’d hate not to be
around, not to be part of the action, as travel comes back. I definitely
want a front row seat to the travel industry’s transformation.”
also drawn to the fact that “it’s a wonderful industry filled with lots
of open-minded, passionate and fun-loving folks bonded by a strong
sense of fraternity and solidarity”.
Indeed, this was a strength singled out by Louise Daley, former
deputy CEO of Accor Asia Pacific, who spent 30 years in hospitality, and
is now CEO of Future Now Capital, a venture capital fund.
“What I miss about the travel industry: The camaraderie of all people
in it. Across airlines, hotels, travel and tour operators and more,
even if we are competitors, everyone works with each other to better the
industry. I have found it is unique to travel.
“What I don’t miss: The frustration that in many instances governments don’t support the industry as much as it should.
“If I knew what I know now: Young tech experts and starters are
looking for more than just money – so I would emphasise the collegiate
nature of the industry, the desire to share even amongst competitors and
also the amount that the industry gives back to community.”
A sentiment echoed by Marissa Trew, formerly content lead at WiT and
now working with TZ APAC, a blockchain and NFT company. “There’s a
warmth and hospitality engrained within the collective culture of the
travel industry that makes it such a great industry to work in. On top
of that, it’s inherently diverse – you get exposure to people of so many
different backgrounds, all bound by a common passion for travel.
Lastly, it’s an industry that is inherently good for the world. Enabling
freer and open travel will always be a positive endeavour and being a
part of that mission is deeply rewarding.”
Other key takeaways from “The Great Talent Crunch"
1. The big rethink of the office
The pandemic has led online travel companies like Klook, Agoda and
Wego to think about key points on talent and the physical workplace,
including remaining flexible to the needs and safety of their staff
while prioritising workplace flexibility and hybrid work arrangement
2. The great remote
The fragmentation of the workplace and the liberalisation of talent
means opportunities for travel companies to hire from anywhere, although
of course it throws up all kinds of legal and taxation challenges for
human resource departments.
3. Search for meaning and value, and focus on mental wellness
The pandemic has really put the search for meaning and value in one’s
life top of mind, and travel companies are responding by helping their
employees find value and meaning working with them. For Agoda, this
means offering 30 days’ work from anywhere and flexible leave options.
4. Diversity and inclusion top of agenda
Every travel brand is making this a priority. Amadeus’ global talent
director, Steven Carroll said working on diversity and inclusion was a
top priority going forward, while Veitch said that an increasingly
hybrid and remote workforce means “managing an increasingly diverse and
remote team” which comes with its attendant challenges.
This story is the shortened version of the article which was first published on WiT.