Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at the hotel CEO ready to move on from remote work, Etihad Airways’ first female pilot, and what the new generation of hospitality workers are looking from from employers.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Friday, December 16, and we are headed back from a successful Skift Forum in Dubai. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Travel companies are still struggling to fill labor shortages that have plagued the industry since the start of the pandemic. But executives speaking at the inaugural Skift Global Forum East in Dubai on Thursday believe those companies can attract qualified employees by emphasizing their sustainability efforts, reports Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia.

Margaux Constantin, partner at consulting firm McKinsey and Company, said, in discussion with Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill, hotels highlighting their green practices may appeal more to job seekers than travelers largely unwilling to pay extra for sustainability. Constantin noted that 60 percent of workers look at sustainability practices when selecting an employer.

Meanwhile, Jeff Strachan, director of the Dubai College of Tourism, said travel brands need to develop strategies to attract and train the right talent. He stated that workers may struggle to provide effective customer service in locations they’re unfamiliar with, a problem that Constantin highlighted. She noted less than 1 percent of Emiratis work in the travel and hospitality industry.

We now take a look at Aisha Al Mansoori, Etihad Airways’ first-ever female pilot. She was promoted to captain earlier this year, another significant milestone for one of the few high-ranking female executives at Etihad and in the airline industry, reports Edward Russell, editor at Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.

Al Mansoori said, in discussion with Asia Editor Bhutia at Skift Global Forum East in Dubai on Thursday, that she’s faced the same challenges as male pilots, including long work hours and night flights. While Russell writes her rise to captain is remarkable considering, among other factors, she’s working in a male-dominated aviation field, Al Mansoori said she’s received enormous support from both colleagues and her family. Her brother is a helicopter pilot and her sister became the United Arab Emirates’ first female fighter pilot.

Etihad’s executive team included only one woman as of June this year. The Dubai-based carrier has committed to ensuring that 25 percent of its leadership is female as part of an initiative by the International Air Transport Association.

Finally, hotels have generally sought to attract remote workers ever since the start of the pandemic. But Alastair Thomann, CEO of boutique brands Freehand Hotels and Generator, is not looking to lure members of the growing segment – so called digital nomads, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons in this week’s Future of Work briefing.

Thomann admitted, during a discussion with Senior Hospitality Editor O’Neill at Skift Global Forum East, that his brands don’t really want remote workers anymore. Thomann said that he believes remote workers expect discounted rates because they’re staying longer in hotels.

Thomann acknowledged he doesn’t want guests to spend hours using their laptops in lobbies, adding he’s converting those areas into nightclubs. He said using public spaces as nightclubs would produce more revenue for his companies.

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Tags: etihad, freehand hotels, generator hostels, labor, skift podcast

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