Hotelplan UK boss: ‘Recruits actively seek us because of values’

The boss of Hotelplan UK says the group’s sustainability and ethical principles mean potential recruits are “actively seeking” roles at the firm – and may even take less pay to move.

Joe Ponte, chief executive of the group which includes Inghams and Explore, told a Travel Weekly webcast about how important its eco-credentials and focus on diversity, equity and inclusion are for staff and job-hunters.

“We are getting people actively seeking us out to come and work for our businesses because of our focus, particularly, in the younger demographic of potential employees,” he said.

“We want to be purpose-led and have the environment central to the heart and soul of the business, then they want to come and work with us.

“We’ve had people take less money to come and work for us because they’re aligned to our values. And that for me says that we’re doing something right.”

He said customers are also increasingly expecting travel companies to have sustainability policies.

“We want to make booking the most sustainable, most purpose-led holiday as simple as possible for our customers,” he said.

Since his appointment as chief executive in 2020, the group has seen staff members tasked with sustainability rise from one to seven.

“It is absolutely fundamental to what we do. We measure all of our senior staff not just on profit, but on what we are doing around people and planet,” he said.

“We’ve just released our second ‘people and planet’ report where we’re really openly and honestly talking about what we’ve been really good at, but also the stuff where we haven’t quite hit the mark.”

Ponte pointed to the example of Explore Worldwide which recently become B Corp accredited.

“I’m so proud of them. B Corp is becoming more and more of a thing within our industry,” he told the webcast.

“It is incredibly hard to get and the to the work that those guys did to get there was just incredible.”

He said sustainability will become “an expectation” from customers, adding: “It will almost get to a point where doing it won’t be a competitive advantage. Not having it will be a competitive disadvantage.”

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