Travel firms urged to pay better and consider their image

Travel firms urged to pay better and consider their image


Travel’s recruitment crisis means it can no longer offset lower pay rates with the promise of overseas visits and other perks, WTM London was told.


An expert panel heard how hundreds of thousands of vacancies were not being filled because travel brands, post-pandemic, could not afford salaries offered elsewhere, while staff let go during Covid had found better pay and conditions outside the industry.


Sarah Hillman, Global Head of CRM and Data, The Travel Corporation, said salaries this summer had been “crazy”. “There was no way we could compete,” she said. She advised companies to “think about recruitment exactly as you think about sales. It’s more like a sales pitch than it was in the past.”


Chris King, chief executive of Lightning Travel Recruitment, said the days when employee moans could be “brushed under the rug in lieu of a nice fam trip or a champagne lunch” were gone.


“We lost a lot of amazing talent to industries that look after their staff and pay better,” King said.


The Travel and Tourism Council estimates there are 128,000 unfilled vacancies in the travel and hospitality sector in the UK, but Alessandra Alonso, founder of Women in Travel, described this as “a gross underestimation”. “Research we have seen in the UK is 400,000 just in hospitality,” she said.


Despite the salary discrepancies, Justine Paech, associate director, Michael Page Technology, which recruits across several sectors, said there were ways firms could make themselves more attractive. 


She advised: “You need to differentiate yourself; it’s not just about salaries, it’s about core values – what are you doing to move with the times?”


Offering flexible working, parental and study leave were perks to be considered, but King said more could be done to send messages generally. King gave the example of Virgin Atlantic’s gender-neutral cabin crew uniform policy, which had seen applications double compared to competitors because applicants appreciated the airline supporting minorities.


“If your board is all middle-aged white men, they are not going to apply,” King said, adding video was a good way of allowing staff to use story-telling to attract new employees.


The panel heard younger applicants were now often asking about diversity and inclusion ahead of salaries. Alonso said often travel did not look “in the right places”, with pools of eager talents in areas she worked with, including refugees and domestic abuse victims.




Photography from WTM shows is available to download via the following link:


World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises leading travel events, online portals and virtual platforms across four continents. The events are:


WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. The show facilitates business connections for the global (leisure) travel community. Senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating travel industry contracts. 

Next live event: Monday 7 to 9 November 2022 at ExCel London and 6-8 November 2023 at ExCel London.


Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now on its 30th year, is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2022 attracted over 23,000 visitors and hosted over 30,000 participants including 1,500 exhibitors and attendees from 150 countries, across 10 halls at Dubai World Trade Centre. Arabian Travel Market is part of Arabian Travel Week. #ATMDubai

Next in-person event: Monday 1 to Thursday 4 May 2023, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai     


Arabian Travel Week is a festival of events taking place within and alongside Arabian Travel Market 2023. Providing a renewed focus for the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector, it includes ILTM Arabia, ARIVAL Dubai, Influencers’ events and activations, ITIC, GBTA Business Travel Forums, as well as ATM Travel Tech. It also features the ATM Buyer Forums, ATM Speed Networking Events as well as a series of country forums.      


WTM Latin America takes place annually in the city of São Paulo and attracts around 20,000 tourism professionals during the three-day event. The event offers qualified content together with networking and business opportunities. In this its ninth edition – there have been eight face-to-face events along with a 100% virtual one, which was held in 2021 – WTM Latin America continued to focus on effective business generation, and achieved the advance booking of six thousand meetings that were held between buyers, travel agents and exhibitors in 2022.

Next event: Monday April 3rd to Wednesday 5th April 2023 – Expo Center Norte, SP, Brazil


WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa.  In 2022, WTM Africa facilitated more than 7 thousand unique pre-scheduled appointments, an increase of more than 7% compared to 2019 and welcomed more than 6 thousand visitors (unaudited), the same number as in 2019.

Next event: Monday 3 to Wednesday 5 April 2023 – Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town


About ATW Connect:  Africa Travel Week’s digital arm, is a virtual hub packed to the seams with interesting content, industry news and insights, and the opportunity to hear from experts on a variety of topics in our new monthly webinar series. All with the aim to keep all of us in the travel and tourism industry connected. ATW Connect focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology.


WTM Global Hub, is the new WTM Portfolio online portal created to connect and support travel industry professionals around the world. The resource hub offers the latest guidance and knowledge to help exhibitors, buyers and others in the travel industry face the challenges of the global coronavirus pandemic. WTM Portfolio is tapping into its global network of experts to create content for the hub.


About RX (Reed Exhibitions)

RX is in the business of building businesses for individuals, communities and organisations. We elevate the power of face to face events by combining data and digital products to help customers learn about markets, source products and complete transactions at over 400 events in 22 countries across 43 industry sectors. RX is passionate about making a positive impact on society and is fully committed to creating an inclusive work environment for all our people. RX is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.



RELX is a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. The Group serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in about 40 countries. It employs over 33,000 people, of whom almost half are in North America. The shares of RELX PLC, the parent company, are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX. The market capitalisation is approximately £33bn, €39bn, $47bn.*

*Note: Current market capitalisation can be found at


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World Travel Market brings the travel industry together through world-leading events, content and digital tools that make it easier for you to find personal and business opportunities and do more effective business.

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