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Published on Thursday, August 26, 2021

The return of travel is coming but is the industry ready?



Chris King CEO of Lightning Travel Recruitment delves into the current state of the travel & hospitality industry and highlights some key points to keep in mind when it comes to HR & recruitment in the coming months. 


Here at Lightning we have spent the entire pandemic making ourselves accessible to candidates needing someone to talk to amongst the madness. We set up weekly 1:1 drop in sessions from week 1 of the pandemic and to this day continue to listen on a weekly basis to what's on people's minds and provide support both personally and professionally. 


We've had everyone from jobseekers, students and people on furlough, through to CEO's and full time employees join us...most likely some of your staff. As such we have some incredible insights into the current state of the industry from talent and you might be shocked to hear what they have to say. We've listed our key actionable takeaways from candidates feedback below:


Staff are leaving in their droves thanks to having had enough and the furlough scheme is due to end. Your top talent could be on our books as we speak. By keeping your top performers on full time and having them work 3 jobs it's likely done more harm than good. If you are now recruiting for new talent but haven't given them a pay rise for their hard work then you can expect them to mic drop soon. Even if you're not recruiting talent, the damage has likely been done to these staff and they'll be biding their time ready to leave. Check in with your top talent and if you've ever uttered the words 'you're lucky to have a job' then it may already be too late for some. We'd advise preparing for the worst.


Top talent has left the industry and found money & hours are better outside of itTravel needs to be normalised not glamourised. You can no longer rely on 'perks' to justify bad management. It's time to reconsider your offerings when launching new roles. Unfortunately a 25K base, 100% office based and promised OTE is not going to cut it anymore. You need to focus on staff wellbeing and what the post covid candidate is after...hint: start with a liveable wage in terms of base salary, flexible working, mental health support and stop glamourising working in travel to justify awful wages and long hours.


Candidates are no longer falling over themselves to apply to your job ad. If you had dreams of placing an ad on LinkedIn or a job board and getting the best talent out there, you'd be sadly mistaken. Candidates are tired from applying to 1000's of jobs during the pandemic and will only apply via a recruiter or someone they trust. 


There is a huge shortage of staff in the hospitality industry. Yet our sector again struggles to think outside the box when it comes to utilising the huge variety of talent out there. Have you considered taking on people from underprivileged backgrounds? ex cons? ex rough sleepers? talent local to your office? You should.


Our industry needs to open its eyes to change. There is a huge problem with a lack of diversity in all forms across the world in travel. Is your business set up to support your LGBTQ staff? People of colour? If it's not then you should be prioritising this. It's not just about ticking a box either, you need to be proactive in looking at internal HR & culture to provide a safe and supportive environment for these employees.


Have you thought about the planet and your WHY? The market has changed post covid and candidates want to join values led organisations to make a real difference. With things like Regenerative travel at the forefront of positive change in the industry, is this something you have considered? If so check out the conscious travel foundation to make a real change.


Your recruitment practices affect your brand more than you know or will have realised. Ex employees are angry at their treatment during Covid and not afraid to bad mouth you on glassdoor or to their friends. The same goes for people who have had bad experiences in interview processes. Make sure your interview processes reflect your company values and that you respect candidates' time, or it could be doing more damage than you realise.


It's not all doom and gloom though. We're pleased to report that some companies have used the pandemic to address issues we've highlighted above, have kept an open line of communication with their staff and are seriously well placed to take the market by storm and incite real change.


It's not too late to be a part of pushing our beloved travel industry up to where it should be to stand amongst other forward thinking sectors. It's time to make a change and it starts with looking at your people, your culture, your senior leadership teams and your values. Lets normalise and not glamourise the travel industry, our people deserve better. 


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