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End-of-year review: Hospitality & Leisure

Steve Browne, Head of our Hospitality & Leisure team, answers questions on the year in his sector


What have people in your industry been talking about this year?

As in many industries, AI is a huge – if not the biggest – topic. Early indicators suggest that while luxury hospitality establishments may see minimal operational impact (people still want the human touch/artistic flair when they pay top dollar), there's potential for considerable influence in commercial and back-office roles.


Which roles would you say have seen the most hiring activity this year?

It is hard to speak more generally across the whole industry, but for us, we have recruited more marketing professionals than in any other discipline. These have been across loyalty, brand, digital, and partnerships as well as performance marketing. It remains to be seen if this will continue in 2024; perhaps marketing budgets are coming back to life following COVID, when they were non-existent.


Where have you seen the most activity globally?

Europe and the US. Saudi Arabia has seen an influx of interesting C-suite moves take place, driven by the PIF projects. APAC continues to be quiet, relatively speaking.


What advice would you give to candidates looking to change roles in hospitality and leisure next year?

The key word is ‘engagement.’ With the job market having slowed down a little in recent months, you need to be doing all you can to put yourself out there. My advice would be to try and get noticed on platforms like LinkedIn; reacting to and commenting on content, not to mention posting yourself, which will make you much more visible to people who are looking to hire. With fewer approaches from recruiters, you need to make LinkedIn’s algorithm work for you and ensure you are coming up in searches. The other and arguably more important form of engagement is with your own personal network. Make sure you are staying connected with past colleagues, bosses, and any relevant stakeholders, as they are your best source to find a new job. Finally, do not forget to speak to head-hunters.


And for clients – what would you tell them?

There is less movement in the market, so searches are taking a little longer than usual. To avoid being caught out, I would advise companies looking to engage search firms to do so earlier than they think necessary. When it comes to attracting and retaining talent, organisations need to remember that salary is an important factor – but increasingly, it’s not the main driver. We have seen that hybrid or home working setups are top of the wish list.


What are your key predictions for 2024?

Businesses will deep dive into AI and start planning their workforce requirements thereafter. I think 2024 will not see mass job losses due to AI. However, as companies wise up to its potential, they will have to start implementing it and cutting jobs. Otherwise, they will simply not be able to keep up with competitors who will be.


Operation roles in the luxury sector will mostly be fine, though that might not be the case for commercial and back-office positions. For anyone worried about this, I’d advise getting an understanding of how to utilise services like ChatGPT to make you even more efficient. Use AI to your advantage and get ahead of the curve. People who do not like change will get left behind – the technology is not going anywhere, so we need to embrace it.


Do you need executive talent solutions within the hospitality and leisure industry? Please get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.


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