Staging a comeback: Hotels start hiring again on leisure, biz travel revival

The Indian hospitality industry, which walked millions through the first and second waves of the pandemic, is starting to hire again with the return of leisure and work travel amid a downturn in infections and the spread of vaccination.

Leading hotel chains such as ITC-backed Fortune Hotels,

, and Royal, as well as travel platforms like Makemytrip, have brought back hiring like post-Covid travel trends from staycation and work, wedding reservations, the upcoming holiday season – with many planning their vacation around Christmas and the end of the year, and huge pent-up demand that put hotels and the hotel industry on hold, company officials said. Travel is generally on the road to recovery.

Part of the hiring process is focused on opening a new hotel while others are being worked on to fill exits.

Lemon Tree Hotels, which had to lay off many staff by the end of the second wave, hired 500 people last month and plans to hire another 1,000 in the next two months.

“Out of a total of 8,500 employees, ours fell to 5,000 at the end of the second wave,” said Patu Keswani, Lemon Tree’s Chairman and Managing Director. “We hired 500 last month. And with the opening of new hotels, in the next 18 months we will be hiring an additional 2,000.”

Recruit

Fortune Park Hotels, which is looking to open several hotels, will employ about 500 people by March. “Our current hirings relate to the new markets we are entering with new properties within our various sub-brands,” said Samir MC, Fortune Managing Director. Park hotels. “We have just opened our newest resort, Fortune Resort Benaulim, in South Goa. We are actively looking for staff for locations like Tiruppur, Hoshiarpur and Haldwani,” he said.

MD Chander Balji said that Royal Orchid Hotels plans to add approximately 400 new employees to its existing and future hotels. “As the economy and our business begin to show signs of recovery, we have ramped up our recruitment efforts,” he said. “By the end of 2022, we hope to have 100 hotels in our portfolio.”

Travel Industry Revival

Makemytrip is also hiring aggressively in technical and non-tech jobs as the travel industry rebounds after heavy losses during the pandemic.

“Internal travel is rising by leaps and bounds every week,” said Yuvaraj Srivastava, Group Head of Human Resources at Makemytrip. “Premium hotels and five-star hotels are seeing a recovery of more than 100% compared to pre-pandemic times, and budget hotels seeing a recovery of 70-80%.”

The country’s leading travel portal has around 200 vacancies. “We have started recruitment for all locations and across roles,” Srivastava said. “It includes a combination of growth-led replacement and employment.”

Economists and labor market experts ET spoke to believe the worst is over for the travel and hospitality industry as many businesses have closed and thousands have lost their jobs.

Madan Sabnavis, chief economist at

. He said, “Since September, various state governments have been pushing the hospitality industry forward. The increased desire for travel has translated into better hotel occupancy rates – especially in tourist destinations. All this leads to the need for more manpower.”

“Employment is also driven by future growth plans as people expect the worst is behind us,” Sabnavis said.

Manpower shortage

The recovery in travel has led to a shortage of manpower and increased attrition in the industry. Both five-star hotels and smaller counterparts are facing a workforce shortage as they have had to give up a lot of resources, said Rituparna Chakraborty, executive vice president of staffing and human resource solutions company TeamLease Services.

“Most of them are gradual hiring because the upcoming long vacations and increased travel leads to the need for more manpower,” she said. “Across housekeeping, the kitchen, guest relations, etc., there is a demand for people.”

Chakraborty said jobs that rely heavily on migrant workers are also facing shortages.

“The biggest concern the industry is facing is the shortage of skilled workforce,” said Arjun Sharma, Chairman of Select Group which has diversified business interests in tourism and hospitality.

Srivastava of Makemie Trip said the slight increase in attrition shows that the market has opened up. “This is not only for high-demand technical roles but also for non-technical jobs,” he said.

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