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If it isn’t broken then don’t fix it.
Christine James, vice-president of TL Network Canada, says the organization has continued with a recruitment strategy that has proven successful, even as the pandemic disrupted worldwide travel.
“We haven’t really changed our recruitment strategies significantly as we’ve been very successful with our approach in the past,” she says. “That said, given that TLN offers a broad range of member benefits, we have refined our approach to focus more on the needs of each prospect and following an initial meeting, we schedule a series of in-depth demos on each benefit or solution of interest so that the prospect could gain insight on how TL Network can better support those needs, in addition to improving their efficiencies and profitability moving forward.
“We have been highly successful in recruiting the right members into our network. Before bringing a new member on board, we undergo an in-depth process to ensure we’re the right fit for our mutual goals.”
There’s no question that COVID has proven punishing for the travel industry but James says TL Network Canada has continued to welcome new members during this time, with recruitment numbers having increased significantly over the course of the pandemic.
“We’ve successfully recruited 69 new members over the past two years alone,” she reports. “I believe much of our success has been attributed to the fact that we continued to enhance our existing programs and solutions, and were the first to host successful in-person events as soon as it was safe to do so.
“TLN went above and beyond to support our existing membership throughout the pandemic. As a result many of the new members we recruited were referred to us by our existing membership who witnessed first hand how truly committed we were to the survival of their businesses. We still have many members that have been with us since I joined the company over 22 years ago.”
Lisa Baker, Americas people & culture leader for Flight Centre Travel Group, acknowledges that her association was forced to let some people go because of the pandemic.
“Currently, it’s a very competitive environment largely due to many highly skilled experienced talent leaving the industry over the last two years,” she says. “That being said, travel is an industry driven by passion and those that are in it love it. The travel industry has proved itself resilient over the years regardless of natural disasters and world events and we are finding that we have a mix of talent applying for roles right now that include both those that want a new career as well as those that left out of necessity during the pandemic and are keen to return.
“It was always our intention to bring as many ‘Flighties’ back home as possible. It was important we remained connected to the people who make up our family tree. We launched an alumni site – Flighties Forever – dedicated to former employees and industry professionals showcasing current opportunities across FCTG Americas. As a member of Flighties Forever, subscribers can browse the website for current job listings or register their details to receive alerts as new roles become available. They can also personalize their journey to give us a better understanding of their specific skills and areas of interest to help us best match them to available opportunities, granting them priority access to roles before they are advertised externally.”
Baker says maintaining a strong employer brand and ensuring Flight Centre’s EVP (employee value proposition) is communicated throughout all its messaging has been a key driver in attracting talent. “Understanding what is driving the market and adapting by offering flexible work options, having a focus on mental health and wellness and working with our DEI manger to align our initiatives with our company’s core values, exploring how we can effectively engage with underrepresented talent and minimize unconscious bias throughout the recruitment process. Knowing that companies can expand their talent pool 10 times by recruiting through their employee networks, we have also recently launched a new referral program offering employees a bonus per successful hire after six months of employment,” she continues.
David Harris, CEO of Ensemble Travel Group, says while other companies may have launched efforts to recruit new members during the height of the pandemic, Ensemble focused on its efforts to best serve current members.
“We did this through a variety of tactics, including creating new marketing campaigns and programs that reflected evolving conditions, as well as creating a variety of customizable digital and print resources as well as social media assets to help members stay connected with their clients,” he says. “We also took an active role in advocacy efforts to ensure that our members’ voices were heard and that policymakers understood the devastating impact the pandemic had on their businesses to ensure that they voted for and supported efforts to provide much needed relief.
“We also introduced new technology such as OneConnect — a groundbreaking concept integrating three booking platforms into one to provide advisors with the ability to access their reservations across all sales channels with one login as well as access to GDS and supplier reservations as well as our Data Monetization Center to enable members to see industry trend lines early and enabling them to take full advantage of that information resulting in increased sales and commissions and ultimately, making our members’ businesses more profitable.
“As we continue to work towards a full recovery and a return to pre-pandemic levels of travel, our focus will remain on providing our members with the tools and resources they need while also welcoming new members who are seeking a consortium like ours that is committed to helping them grow and manage their business.”
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