Big travel company layoffs could potentially address some wider industry skills shortage issues

Big travel company layoffs could potentially address some wider industry skills shortage issues

What have American Airlines, Sabre, Amex GBT, Tripadvisor, Expedia and many other big travel companies all got in common this year? Well, based on media reports, they’re all among major travel industry players that have made redundancy rounds of varying sizes this year, following in the footsteps of major tech firms last year.

Meanwhile though the wider travel tech industry has suffered a skills shortage since the pandemic caused a mass exit of workers to other professions. Could the redundancies in the big travel companies be good news for the travel tech industry looking to hire? We asked a range of travel experts whether they thought the tables might now turn, or if we’re still going to face challenges in the longer term.

Looking at this from the perspective of the travel insurance industry Katie Crowe from travel insurer battleface points out that “these mostly aren’t front-line, low-skilled workers and the experience they can bring to other companies is very valuable. Talent from HR, finance, IT teams, sales & marketing, and more, are very welcome at a time when such people are sorely lacking across most of the travel space.”

Meanwhile for travel companies whose whole offering is tech-based and dependent upon constant innovation, much of the talent now suddenly on the market is very appealing. Alice Ferrari, from aviation technology provider Kyte, points out that “we’re on the cusp of NDC for airlines really taking off and more and more airlines are investing in making this a reality. But virtually all of the profiles required to make that happen are currently hard to find. So the aviation tech industry – including ourselves at Kyte – is trying to make sure that the best of that talent recently released comes to work for us! The key is offering them exciting career opportunities where they feel they can drive true innovation and build something that will really develop the way travel is booked, maybe experimenting with newer technology such as blockchain and AI.”

Even looking at the hotel property level, Alex Barros from hotel revenue management provider BEONx, welcomes any influx of talent. He tells us that “recently too many hotels have been delaying investing in and strengthening back-office and marketing function because they are overwhelmed in the front-office dealing with record numbers of guests. That has impacted the revenue management function. So anything that would give the owners breathing space to again invest in technology solutions should be welcome. In the longer term this will pay them significant dividends.”

As a final thought Sami Doyle from Trust My Group, the ensurance provider protecting travel companies, comments that “sub-industries within travel, like travel fintech providers, stand to benefit from these recent layoffs by shifting talent around the industry to the areas where it is most needed. We’ve already seen some applicants from some of the big names that have shed talent recently and are open to more approaching us of course.”


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