How to Attract and Retain Experienced Team Members to Your Tourism Business

This article forms part of a monthly newsletter series that’s sent directly to travel industry professionals every month.


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A lot has been happening in travel this month, so grab your coffee or tea, wherever you are and take this moment to catch up on the month’s events. 

Something I’ve been hearing from a lot of travel businesses right now is that attracting experienced staff has become an uphill battle. So, I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight articles and ways to address this challenge.

So, let’s jump in…


Where do you want to go to first?

Here's this week's roundup:

Women in Adventure Travel – We Haven’t Broken Through The Glass Ceiling Yet

Source: ATTA

March the 8th marked International Women’s day, a day to celebrate women globally. Of course working in the travel industry, it’s also a time to look inwards and commend the progress women have made in terms of representation, and equality in the workplace.

However, we still have a long way to go in breaking the glass ceiling…⁣⁣

According to The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), tourism has a pivotal role to play in achieving the objectives at the heart of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Did you know…?

  • Women make up the majority of the tourism workforce, in most regions of the world.
  • Women tend to be concentrated in the lowest paid and lowest status jobs in tourism.
  • Women perform a large amount of unpaid work in family tourism businesses.

And yet, a recent survey conducted by ATTA & Switzerland Tourism found that;⁣⁣

  • “The percentage of board members identifying as women (34%), and the percentage of boards that have at least one woman (74%) have both decreased in the past 5 years.⁣⁣”
  • “Only 33% of companies with 2021 revenue of $5-10 million are led by women, and a meagre 11% of companies with 2021 revenue over $10 million have a female CEO/top leader.⁣⁣”
  • “35% of respondents have experienced sexual harassment or assault at work by a coworker. 30% have experienced sexual harassment or assault at work by a client or guest.⁣⁣”
  • Although respondents were pleased overall with the level of equality in their own organisations, many view the adventure tourism industry and the overall tourism industry as only being “somewhat equal” in opportunities for men and women.⁣⁣
  • “23% of respondents have personally experienced or witnessed instances of gender bias in their own organisation and 53% have personally experienced or witnessed instances of gender bias in the adventure industry.⁣⁣”

⁣On average women comprise 57% of respondents’ clients, which shows a clear demand for adventure travel. Therefore, going forward, products and marketing need to reflect this demand by listening to what women want and encouraging equality in all areas.⁣⁣

Alongside this, there are a number of things we can do to empower women and level the playing field within travel;

  • Support female-run social enterprises – especially ones that offer access to training for adult women. Look for cooperatives that sell handicrafts made by women, or women-owned micro and small enterprises— be it local restaurants, stalls or souvenir shops to add value to your tours. 
  • Recruit local women – in many places in the world, women are the first to be excluded from formal education. The tourism industry has an opportunity to address this by hiring and training local women with expertise in their destination, who can provide an authentic experience for travellers.
  • Offer flexibility in the workplace – many women will also be caregivers, and have family commitments outside of work. Be conscious of this and provide choice for women by supporting a flexible work environment.

ITA founder and Intrepid traveller Kelley Louise believes that…

“Empowering women is one of the single easiest things that we can do to improve our world – it has a ripple effect with positive impact across all areas of a community… By supporting women when we travel, we have an opportunity to have a better, more immersive experience, as well as play a small part in helping to have a positive, long-term impact on that destination.” – World footprints

Sustainability: Is it Crunch Time For the Travel Industry?

Source: Phocuswire

Whichever way we look at it, the reality is clear when it comes to the impact the travel industry has on the environment. The idea of carbon offsetting just doesn’t hold for such a globalised industry.

Sustainability expert and author Mike Berners-Lee says the industry is at a “crunch point” in time, whatever way it looks at the climate emergency and the current solutions.

For instance, did you know…?

  • The carbon dioxide emission of an economy class long-haul flight to Hong Kong and back is about 3.5 tonnes.
  • While a first-class return is about 14 tonnes.


“That’s more than the average person’s annual carbon footprint. We don’t yet have the technology for putting long-haul big aeroplanes into the sky without burning through something like 100 tonnes of oxygen,” he says. “It turns into about four times its weight in carbon dioxide and because it happens at altitude the effect is more or less something like double again what it would be if you just burned that fuel on the runway.” – Mike Berners-Lee


Technologies such as hydrogen, ammonia or electric-powered planes are still a long way off, at least for long-haul flights while sustainable aviation fuel is okay, up to a point.

So, what can the travel industry do to address carbon issues?

Mike says the one solution that could work is direct air carbon capture and storage through mechanical means. However, the cost of that is currently very high at about $900 per tonne and the technology is still in need of major funding.

The climate emergency also needs to be seen within a bigger picture of what is happening in the world, according to Berners-Lee. He believes it is “one symptom of what’s going on with humanity” and how our energy use has been increasing.

The world is not only dealing with a climate crisis, but also a biodiversity crisis, as well as having to feed a growing world population. All while under the pressure of increased plastic, pollution, disease and national threats.

However, as bleak as the view looks there is hope for the travel industry to make progress in the fight against climate change. Berners-Lee is a lot more optimistic than he was three years ago.

In need of detailed guidelines on how your tourism business can implement a more sustainable strategy? Read this article here.


“The good news is that if you look at this from a science and technology perspective it’s all doable. So, the real question is what would it take for humans to be solving these technically solvable challenges and that takes us on to a whole load of other domains.” – Mike Berners-Lee


Skiing in Saudi Arabia Anyone?

When you think of ski destinations, where does your mind take you to?

The Swiss Alps? The Dolomites in Italy? Whistler in Canada?

Well, you could be adding après ski in Saudi Arabia to your ski wish list in the near future. The crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman has launched Trojena, a new global destination for mountain tourism. The location is part of Neom, a new futuristic city, and forms part of an unlikely plan to develop the tourism sector in the region.

Noem’s winter temperatures drop below zero, and is located at approximately 2,600 metres above sea level. Outdoor skiing here will be a unique feature of Trojena which is positioning itself as the GCC’s first outdoor skiing destination.


“Trojena will redefine mountain tourism for the world by creating a place based on the principles of ecotourism.” – bin Salman


So, what do we know so far about this grand venture?

Here’s a quick run down…

  • The project is set to be ready by 2026.
  • The new year-round tourist destination will consist of a series of facilities such as the ski village for après ski vibes.
  • Ultra-luxury family and wellness resorts, a wide range of retail stores and restaurants, in addition to sports activities, including a ski slope, watersports and mountain biking, as well as an interactive nature reserve, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
  • It will feature sports, art, music and cultural festivals.
  • Trojena expects to attract 700,000 visitors and 7,000 permanent residents to live within the confines of the project and its adjacent residential districts by 2030.
  • All construction activity will adhere to NEOM’s commitment to minimise disruption to the local ecology and ensure long-term sustainability.


“Trojena will redefine mountain tourism for the world by creating a place based on the principles of ecotourism, highlighting our efforts to preserve nature and enhance the community’s quality of life, which is aligned with the goals of the kingdom’s Vision 2030.”

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The Art & Science of Surveys

Did you know that 90-95% of respondents who begin a reasonably sized survey WILL complete it?

So, where are you going wrong?

Almost all the people who abandon surveys usually do so on the first page, which is why your tourism business needs to catch your audience’s attention from the offset. 

Although this article from MarketingProfs focuses on email survey invitations, I propose that the lessons within the full article still apply to the more effective style of attached on-site intake surveys. I recommend you to use these in order to gain more bookings.


Want to learn more about crafting the ultimate intake survey?

You’ll find the exact blueprint here.

What do you need to consider when creating your next intake survey?

  • Keep the survey below 10 questions – People don’t want to spend too long answering questions.
  • Include questions asking for BANT Budget (how much do they want to spend – this acts as a qualifier to ensure they can afford what you offer, Authority (their contact details), Needs (for example, how many people and where they want to go/what they want to do), and Timeline (when they want to travel).
  • Use multiple choice answers – This is much more convenient for your prospect to get through quickly when answering questions about what type of trip, time frame and budget they have in mind.
  • Put the “admin” at the end – Ask for their contact info at the end of the form, after they’ve answered the exciting questions about their trip.
  • Choose 2 colours to match your brand as a theme – Keep your design minimalist!

Follow these intake survey tips for success and let me know how you get on?

4 Ways to Soothe Travel Anxiety

Source: Travel Pulse

Now the world has opened up a lot more, consider the anxieties you have about travelling?

It’s very likely that your potential clients share the same hesitations.

I commonly share how important it is to soothe travellers anxiety before booking through our TIP community, as well as through our client success stories. This article from Travel Pulse explores, from the customer’s perspective, how to relax before their dream trip begins.

Your tourism business can use this piece to gain insight into exactly how you can calm your potential customers’ nerves.

I recommend…

  • Asking lots of questions to identify their needs, tailoring a solution, and really focus on building a strong relationship with them.
  • Ensuring your travel brand is pumping out as much educational and informative content as possible. These resources act as a visual guide for travellers.
  • Content that works really well for easing booking hesitancy are blog and newsletter content aimed at what your audience needs to know before their trip begins.

This can be in the form of ‘Top X restaurants to visit in X destination’, or ‘The ultimate packing list for X trip-type’.

Think practically about what your audience wants to know most before travelling and tailor your content to finding the solution.

An innovative visual example to use with potential clients is the unique Travelogue video that ALGV brands have created. It’s a digital catalogue that takes travel advisors through the types of travel, brands and destinations that their potential clients want.

Check out the video below!

How to Attract Experienced Staff During ‘the Great Resignation’?

Source: Travel Weekly

“Travel is facing the perfect recruitment storm” – Gail Kenny

It’s no secret (or surprise) that tourism and hospitality have faced unprecedented levels of resignations over the last two years. While politicians, business owners and trade unions continue to debate over why the industry faces such employment challenges, it doesn’t change the uphill battle to attract experienced staff to your tourism business.

I’ve been hearing from many tourism businesses recently that their main challenge has been to recruit skilled team members due to a surge in bookings. Particularly tour guides who are fluent in the languages they need.

What do you find most challenging about recruiting at the moment?

For the UK, Brexit has affected the supply of talent on two levels. The first being staff who returned to their native EU countries, either due to Brexit or the pandemic. The second being the obstacle recruiters face when searching for talent from EU countries who have specialist skills that are in short supply in the UK.

Aside from this there’s also been a change in mindset from workers in customer facing roles within tourism and hospitality;

  • People crave flexibility, and seek a healthier work-life balance.
  • Many talented workers left due to the increasing public stress put on them in customer facing roles during the past few years.
  • Due to closed business, many travel employees left the sector to find work in other industries.
  • Many workers won’t return due to the instability of the industry during these times, preferring a more secure line of work to earn money.

Of course, all is not gloomy…

Another reason tourism businesses are struggling to recruit talented workers is due to the unprecedented level of bookings now flooding in for certain regions of the world.

Are you experiencing this?

Thus far, travel companies have been working on a skeleton crew of staff to cut costs. The much loved boost in bookings means they have no choice but to resource up and increase staff numbers.

Many travel companies are also in the process of re-evaluating what their business will look like beyond 2023 and need to hire people with new skill sets their current team doesn’t have.

So, how can your tourism business win the war on talent?

Here are 3 recommendations;

  • Flexibility – Offer a hybrid working model to potential recruits if possible. if you’re still operating on a 9am-5pm model, you’ll have a lot of vacancies open for a long time.
  • Salary – While few are flushed for cash right now, a competitive salary is still important for potential recruits. The acute shortage of qualified, experienced management is driving salaries up, not down in many sectors. For instance, in the UK talented chefs can pretty much name their price for the time being when looking for a new job. Be transparent about the amount of money your travel company has, and how this directly correlates to staff wages. When people are passionate about their job, they appreciate this transparency when pay is lower.
  • Sustainability and brand ethos“What is your company’s sustainability policy?” is also a regular question that candidates will ask at an interview. Ensure you’re communicating your brand values when recruiting. Build a relationship the same way you would with a potential customer, through inspiration. For example – you can use your job advertisement to communicate your brand ethos through the visuals of it, and how you’ve described the role at hand.

If travel companies want to attract, and indeed retain, talent – they need to have a great employer brand reputation, where employees aspire and love to work.

A question for you:

How would you describe your brand ethos?

Did you enjoy reading the above?

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