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Hospitality staff shortages: How a hotel uses TikTok to recruit

We speak to Kristoffe Biglete Sales & Marketing Manager, Club La Santa about the challenge of staff shortages in the hospitality industry. He explains how the hotel builds its brand to stand out from the crowd on the small island of Tenerife. From sports instructors to waiters and housekeeping - Kristoffe explains the power of brand marketing and how they turned to TikTok to keep the recruitment drive strong.

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Programme Notes


Ryan Haynes:

Hello and welcome to Travel Market Life. I'm your host, Ryan Haynes, and this episode comes on the back of the International Hotel Technology Forum in March 2023. In this episode, we speak to Kristoffe Biglete, the Sales and Marketing Manager at Club La Santa. We were on the panel combating staff shortages within the hospitality industry. He shares with us how he manages to recruit and fill positions throughout the property on the small island of Tenerife and how he uses social media to really drive that interest.


Ryan Haynes:

Okay, so I'm joined by Kristoffe Biglete Let the sales and marketing manager from Club La Santa. Thanks so much for joining me today. Can you tell me a bit about your hotel brand, please?


Kristoffe Biglete:

Of course. So, Club La Santa is a single-property hotel located in Wick, Spain, the particularity of club centre. It's that it's a sports hotel for active holidays. So, we have on top of the hotel property, we offer 80 types of sports with 500 activities every week. We have around 500 rooms and up to 1600 guest capacity.


Ryan Haynes:

Wow, okay. That's quite a large hotel. And as you said, 500 events must require a lot of staff. You and I were on the panel discussion looking at combating staff shortages. Can you tell us about some of the techniques that you use to identify people who could actually fulfil the roles and how you get the message out there for the EVA vacant vacancies that you currently have?


Kristoffe Biglete:

So, the good thing about the Club de Center is that it has 40 years of history with many, many guests coming back every year. So, we have built quite a big community of guests, of previous staff, of people coming back. So, one of our actual main awareness towards our vacancies and you know the hotel, in general, is our branding. So, we have a lot of community online. We have newsletters. We use our organic channels to raise a little bit of awareness around the brand and also the different listings vacancy that we have. I think it's different if you talk about the hotel, I would say administration logistics and the operations, which is more staffed locally.


Kristoffe Biglete:

So, I would say that cleaning ladies’ reception and all that is more local people from Los Rota. Whereas some specifics like food and beverage, my team sales and marketing, they're all scouted out in different places. So that way we use digital channels. So, we have streamlined all of our vacancies in one place is the talent recruiting software. So, every campaign that we launch around recruitment is going towards the same funnel and then we distribute it towards the different departments. So that's a little bit of what we've been doing. Then we, for specific, I would say the type of vacancies, for example, since we're a sports hotel, we have a lot of instructors that need to be qualified.


Kristoffe Biglete:

That also needs to be service minded. So those are more scouted in a very specific way. So we are, we are creating content specifically on social media that will distribute so they can see how it is to live in a sports hotel, and how to be an instructor. And what is the concept you have at the centre?


Ryan Haynes:

I mean, it's really interesting taking that brand approach to employee recruitment and employee retention. And I guess it also gives you the opportunity to really communicate that value proposition that the hotel offers, that you've got qualified instructions that you offer a wide range of activities, but to be using channels like TikTok is really quite innovative. Where did that particular idea come from? Why did you feel, okay, this is going to be the best channel for social media rather than going to a standard recruiter or job listings?


Kristoffe Biglete:

I think for this one, we actually chose to listen to our guests. So, in our hotel, there's a lot of family coming in and I think one of our objectives was obviously generation renewal, meaning that some of our families are coming with, you know, grandparents, parents, kids, babies. And we found out that we had a gap in terms of communicating with Gen Z, to the younger, younger agents that we have, which are familiar enough, the same rate, and age range that we are trying to recruit our instructors of a sports instructor. So, we listened to our guests, we listened to also our instructors who are on average, or I'm 24 years old or something like that.


Kristoffe Biglete:

And they told us, you need to invest in TikTok. So, I listened to my team, I listened to, you know, people who are more willing to take some risk in there. So, we tried it, and it works pretty well. So, we've had some series about following a day of an instructor. So, we gave a phone away to one of the instructors following their day, talking to face camera about their data experiences. We're trying some of the trends, some funny content. So, it's also a bit entertaining, but at the same time the whole impact is for, you know, people who are maybe 15 today, they might consider us, you know, maybe taking a gap here and the instructor when they're, you know, fit and educated so that we, we are not showing it also like in, in the long term.


Ryan Haynes:

I mean, yeah, I mean it just gets all that excitement really. It's a bit like being a holiday rep or a ski rep, you know, having that time out to be able to explore, learn new skills. Yeah. Understanding what career, you particularly want is a great opportunity. But also taking that TikTok approach, that social media approach. You've got a narrative, you've got a story, but then as you say, you are, you're giving the instructors the chance to tell their own story. So, there's a lot of autonomy. You've got you, sounds like, you know, your employees are really invested Yeah. In your hotel brand. Exactly.


Kristoffe Biglete:

Also, marketing-wise, one of the choices that we made is to move from externalizing most of the concentration part to an in-house agency. So, we have now a social media manager, we have a content creator on premises so that we can document all of these things and feed our channel every time, all day long. Because there are so many things happening in the normal hotel and sports hotel. So, you can build a story in a constructive way.


Ryan Haynes:

Lovely. Kristoffe, thank you so much for that insight. It's fascinating.


Kristoffe Biglete:

Thank, thank you very much.

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