The travel and tourism sector accounts for 10% of the world’s GDP and 7% of its exports. It is responsible for one in 10 jobs globally and the main source of foreign exchange in one-third of developing countries.
Employer branding (EB) is used by enterprises to help them become an employer of choice for potential employees as it gives an advantage in attracting, developing and retaining people. It’s crucial in attracting potential employees in a targeted and efficient manner. Employer branding needs to be treated as a strategic concept and part of an organization’s management philosophy, closely aligned with corporate and customer brands.
In the same way that organizations monitor their place in the sector, it’s important to measure the employee experience by examining engagement data, pulse surveys, recruitment surveys, and employee focus groups alongside the reputation of their leadership team is in the eye of employees.
For the travel industry, where staff turnover can be high, strategic employer branding is important and addresses internal branding, talent development, commitment, and inspiration, in order to ensure employees are engaged ambassadors for the brand.
We talked to Sibylle Reiss who heads up HR across DACH & Poland for TUI, the world’s largest tourism company, and is also in charge of group-wide employer branding. She says “we are the world’s leading tourism group; highly motivated and qualified employees have made us who we are: number one within the travel industry.” Their EB strategy aims to motivate employees to embrace future challenges, especially in the field of digitization; they also want to target new colleagues from areas, which perhaps did not have them as a potential employer in mind yet.
Uniform employer branding in all markets is a clear signal to TUI’s potential applicants and existing employees that they are pursuing their professional career at the world’s number one tourism group. Sibylle says: “Be brave to get started, be different, be unique, have greater days; but at the same time, listen carefully, and not only to HR experts but to the business and then be determined.”
The corporate culture is based on TUI values. The T stands for Trusted, the U stands for Unique, and I stands for Inspired. The TUI ethos is underscored by the employer brand identity of the group, which is encapsulated in the motto of ‘Putting people first is what makes us number one’.
Act fast, stay simple
Kayla Chance, the Employer Brand Digital Media Specialist at HomeAway, a world leader in the vacation rental industry, concurs. HomeAway is part of the Expedia Group a global organization whose ethos is “we keep our feet on the ground so we can act fast and stay simple.” Their culture is one that thrives on solving difficult problems.
The key is ensuring that prospective candidates view HomeAway as an employer of choice. The culture at HomeAway emphasizes participation, openness, mastery, scientific mindset and teamwork. They believe they represent the future of travel and have the talent, resources, and strategy to change the industry. Kayla says their EB strategy concentrates on attracting top talent via a really strong online presence.
The travel and tourism market has changed dramatically in recent years and technological developments in marketing and booking, ticketing and communications have revolutionized the industry. Throw in potential sustainability/environmental challenges alongside disruption from new entrants with alternative business models and the ability to recruit and retain the best is a high priority.