Asian DMCs cope with labour shortage by offering higher pay, training, and incentives

DMCs share their experiences with hiring and retaining staff in a tight labour market

DMCs are dishing out fatter pay packets, upskilling and training options, flexible work arrangements, as well as incentives in cash or kind to resolve challenges in hiring and retaining staff in the current climate.

Speaking to TTGmice at the recent IT&CMA 2022 in Bangkok, US Travel-Korea’s CEO, Dooyoun Hwang, shared that he had to hire many new and inexperienced staff, and train them to create tour itineraries and issue quotations, as he could not find experienced ones to fill vacancies.

DMCs share their experiences with hiring and retaining staff in a tight labour market

US Travel-Korea is a DMC based in South Korea with overseas offices in India, Russia, China and the Philippines.

Post-lockdown, Dooyoun is planning to continue the company’s tradition of bringing staff from different locations together in South Korea, where get-togethers would help to build better rapport and create a sense of belonging.

Meanwhile, Nihma Manih Karay, the CEO and president of CTPH Tour based in the Philippines shared that hiring is not easy, as there are few individuals willing to work full-time in an office environment.

A compromise had to be made with new hires, with Karay agreeing to flexible work arrangements on the condition of close performance tracking.

Karay said: “Flexi work arrangements are here to stay; it’s the new norm. People are demanding it in a tight labour market.”

Thailand-based Journey to Asia’s managing director, Suttiporn Fongmool, is urgently looking for staff with at least five years of related work experience. There was little option to hire foreigners as their commanding salary was higher than the industry standard in Thailand.

To attract new hires and retain existing staff to cope with the “tsunami” of post-lockdown enquiries, Suttiporn is incentivising employees with cash rewards and personal holiday trips.

Over at Tour East, staff engagement and training are the solutions for retention and motivation. Lisa-Marie Korth, Tour East’s MICE assistant manager, international market, based in Bangkok, shared that employees are given access to Yammer, an enterprise social networking service to improve engagement with employees, enhance communication within the organisation, and create a deeper sense of belonging.

As a member of the Global DMC network by JTB Group, Tour East employees enjoy access to JTB University, an integrated personal development platform with online courses for employees to upskill and reskill.

According to Korth, having access to such resources motivates employees to stay in the organisation and grow their expertise further.

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