April 24, 2024

BTA Generation Board calls for action to raise industry’s profile

Organisations in business travel are being urged to forge partnerships with colleges and universities, engage more with younger people on social media and change the way they recruit in order to attract new talent into the industry.

Speaking on a panel discussion at the BTA Spring Conference this week, members of the BTA’s Generation Advisory Board said the industry needs to do more to raise it profile as a career choice.

 “We don’t come across as very sexy,” said Aron Jameson, Digital Projects Executive ATPI, who is Chair of the Board.

“But since the pandemic I’ve noticed that the industry is really moving forward with topics that Gen Z are finding really important – sustainability, diversity, inclusivity, mental health. These questions are being asked as people are coming into interviews, which we’ve never really seen before.”

He suggested the industry needs to change the way it recruits.

“Should we still be doing CVs, should we be meeting for interviews outside of the office, should we be meeting candidates for coffee?” he said.

He said candidates are now less worried about perks like going on fam trips but are looking for companies with the right culture.

“There’s a lot more people wanting know more about the work culture, asking question about whether a business is proactive in LGBTQIA+ issues, mental health, diversity and inclusion. All these questions are now being asked.”

Neil Wainwright-Farrar, Head of Learning and Development at Clarity Travel, urged companies to forge partnerships with their local colleges and universities.

“Colleges are doing more to raise awareness of business travel but they could go even further. We need to go to the colleges and shout about what we do,” he said.

“We need to raise awareness by offering work experience placements, or by going in and helping with interview techniques and speaking to students about what the industry does and the job opportunities.

“We want them to know about the BTA about the industry and that it isn’t just about cabin crew and the leisure market.”

Bev Fearis, Editor of The Business Travel Magazine, who was moderating the discussion, told the audience about new T-Levels coming into force this year.

“These are new vocational qualifications being encouraged by the Government and colleges are asking for the industry to come and help them develop the syllabus to make sure they’re providing the right training and equipping students with the right skills,” she said.

Businesses were encouraged to make contact with their local colleges even if they don’t offer dedicated travel and tourism courses.

“A lot of your workforce will be operations, but there are so many different department within the industry – marketing, IT, commercial, product teams. If you go along to a college open day, you will have students there from different courses who might not have considered a career in travel but might have the right skills,” said Wainwright-Farrar.

Sonam Popat, Marketing Consultant for Gray Dawes, called on BTA members to be more creative on social media to reach the right audience.

“It’s a marketing strategy. You need to know who is your audience and getting that hook. It might be creating a competition or making a ‘day in the life’ video, or using

gamification or leader boards, or sharing stories about why or how you got into business travel and why you love your job.”

Liam Kelly, Regional Strategic Account Manager Egencia, said the Generation Advisory Board has recently surveyed members and found that not enough new people coming in to the industry were attending BTA events or engaging with the association.

He asked delegates at the one-day conference to encourage their newer recruits to check out the BTA website and get more involved.

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