Hiring in Hospitality & Tourism industry

The hospitality and tourism industry is a dynamic and evolving sector, demanding a unique approach to recruitment. Hiring the right talent is crucial for success in an industry where customer experience and service quality are the top priority.

This hub covers the ins and outs of hiring in hospitality and tourism, from understanding industry-specific requirements to adopting the best strategies for finding and retaining top talent, and will provide you with all the resources to start hiring successfully. Let’s dive in!Hospitality Recruitment

Understanding the Industry

Just like any other industry, Hospitality and Tourism have their own sets of challenges and dynamics that dictate the approach to finding and hiring the right people.

Unique Challenges

High Turnover Rates: The hospitality and tourism sector often experiences high employee turnover due to several factors. These include seasonal employment patterns, where staff are hired for peak tourist seasons and then let go, and the prevalence of lower-paying, entry-level positions which can lead to job dissatisfaction. Additionally, the industry attracts a significant number of young workers and students who view their roles as temporary or transitional.

Seasonal Fluctuations: Many hospitality and tourism businesses see significant fluctuations in demand based on the season. For instance, ski resorts peak in winter, while beach destinations are more popular in the summer. This leads to varying staffing needs throughout the year.

Importance of Soft Skills: In the hospitality and tourism industry, the customer experience is, or at least should be, the number one priority. This places a premium on soft skills such as communication, empathy, problem-solving, and adaptability. Employees often face diverse customer needs and unexpected situations, requiring a high level of personal interaction and service.

High-volume Hiring: High-volume hiring presents another unique challenge in the hospitality and tourism industry, particularly relevant to large hotels, resorts, travel companies, and seasonal tourist attractions. Oftentimes, hiring a large number of people in a short period of time presents a challenge in handling administration and organization related to the recruitment process.

Key Roles in Demand

There are various essential positions within the hospitality and tourism industry, each with unique skills and attributes. Here are some of the most sought-after roles:

Hotel and Resort Staff

  • Front Desk Representatives or Receptionists: Often the first point of contact, they must be welcoming, knowledgeable, and capable of handling reservations, inquiries, and any guest issues with professionalism.
  • Concierges: Concierges provide personalized services to guests, from booking tours to recommending restaurants. They should be well-informed, resourceful, and possess excellent customer service skills.
  • Housekeeping Staff: Critical for maintaining the cleanliness and standards of the property. Attention to detail, efficiency, and a discreet manner are key.
  • Hotel Managers: Responsible for overseeing operations, ensuring guest satisfaction, managing staff, and handling administrative tasks. Strong leadership, organizational skills, and a customer-focused approach are essential.

Event PlannersEvent staff are tasked with organizing and managing events, conferences, and meetings. This role demands excellent organizational skills, creativity, budget management abilities, and the capacity to work under pressure.

Culinary Experts

  • Chefs and Kitchen Staff: These roles are central to any hospitality business with a dining element. Skills required include culinary expertise, creativity in menu planning, and the ability to work efficiently under pressure.
  • Food and Beverage Managers: They oversee the dining experience, manage inventory, and ensure compliance with health and safety standards.

Travel and tour staff 

  • Travel Agents: Responsible for leading tours and providing informative, engaging experiences to travelers. They need to be knowledgeable about the tour's subject, personable, and able to manage groups effectively
  • Travel Coordinators: These professionals help plan and book travel arrangements for individuals and groups. They should be detail-oriented, excellent communicators, and knowledgeable about travel regulations, destinations, and accommodation options.
  • Tour Guides
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Effective Strategies for Recruitment in Hospitality

Crafting Detailed and Transparent Job Descriptions

Write your job descriptions to highlight the unique qualifications, requirements and responsibilities that the roles entail. Emphasize the qualities and experiences that are particularly valued in this industry. Also, don’t oversell your jobs, and be transparent with the working conditions and expectations.

Need help writing a compelling job description? We covered it in this guide!

Leveraging the right Online Platforms

Once you create a job posting that is bound to attract the people you need, its necessary to distribute it to the right platforms. Utilize social media platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, and industry-specific job boards to reach a wider pool of potential candidates.

Job boards are a particularly popular channel for advertising jobs and attracting candidates in this industry since companies usually hire for a lot of roles that are in high demand.

Depending on the location where you are hiring, you can choose to post on your local job boards, global ones or more industry-specific ones.

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Social platforms are another great tool for promoting your vacancies. Especially in the tourism sector where a lot of young people are looking for a summer job or a new opportunity and are ready to embrace the dynamics of this industry.

Need help creating a job posting that will stand out and get noticed? We have a guide that will help you do just that!

Focusing on Employer Branding

Develop a strong employer brand that showcases your company culture, values, and employee experiences. This is key in attracting passionate candidates who align with your organization's mission and vision and who are potentially a great fit for you. Not to mention that it will reduce the need to actively search for candidates but rather let them come to you.

How do you build a strong employer brand? Well, there are several steps to it and each one is necessary for the best results in the end:

  • set your goals
  • identify your candidate persona
  • define your EVP
  • decide on the channels you’re going to use – leverage social media platforms and career pages
  • measure your success
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Referral Programs

Encourage current employees to refer potential candidates. This not only simplifies the recruitment process but also brings in candidates who are more likely to fit the company culture.

88% of employers rate employee referral programs as the best source of applicants. Don't leave them out of your recruitment strategy!

Check out our Guide for Setting up and Employee Referral Program

Interviewing and Evaluation

Preparing for the interview

Understand the Role: Before interviewing, thoroughly understand the job requirements and the specific skills and qualities needed.

Develop a Structured Interview Format: Create a consistent structure for your interviews to ensure you fairly assess all candidates. This might include a combination of behavioral questions, situational questions, and skills assessments.

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Questions to ask

Behavioral Questions: These questions help you understand how a candidate has handled situations in the past. For example:

"Can you describe a time when you had to handle a difficult guest or customer?"

"Tell us about a situation where you went above and beyond for a customer."

Situational Questions: These questions assess how a candidate might handle future situations. Examples include:

"How would you manage a situation where you are understaffed on a busy day?"

"If a customer is unhappy with their experience, how would you handle it?"

Skill-Based Questions: For roles requiring specific skills, such as a chef or tour guide, ask questions related to their expertise and experience. For example:

"Describe your experience with creating diverse culinary menus."

"How do you stay informed about new trends and destinations in tourism?"

Culture Fit Questions: It's important to determine if a candidate's values align with your company culture. Ask questions like:

"What does excellent customer service mean to you?"

"How do you approach teamwork, especially in high-pressure situations?"

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Retention Strategies

Career Development Opportunities

Offer regular training sessions, workshops, and courses that enable staff to gain new skills and advance in their careers. This can include cross-training in different departments, leadership training for potential managers, and certifications in specific hospitality skills.

Creating a Supportive Work Environment

Implement programs that regularly recognize and reward employees for their hard work and achievements. This could be through an employee of the month awards, service anniversary acknowledgments, or performance bonuses.

Competitive Compensation and Benefits

Offer a benefits package that goes beyond the basics. This could include health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and even unique perks like travel discounts or free meals during shifts.

It goes without saying that wages should be competitive within the industry.

Flexible Scheduling

Acknowledge the importance of work-life balance, especially in an industry known for irregular hours. Offer flexible scheduling options where possible, such as shift swapping, part-time roles, or seasonal positions.

Final Thoughts

Recruitment in the hospitality and tourism industry is a challenge that requires understanding the industry's specific challenges and implementing different strategies to overcome them. 

By implementing the right strategic approaches outlined in this guide, you can transform these challenges into opportunities, attracting and retaining a workforce that not only meets but exceeds the expectations of your company in this dynamic sector.

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