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The last two years have been very difficult for the alpine hotel industry: closing down, opening up, full occupancy and back to square one again—a huge challenge, and not just for HR management. As of December 12, hotels and guesthouses in Austria are now allowed to reopen their doors—hopefully permanently.

If the guests’ markets of origin allow it, the demand for the winter vacation experience appear to remain. The much bigger problem for a functioning business is the lack of employees: seasonal employees have partly migrated or no longer come at all, and many former employees have changed industry.

However, complaining alone does not help. Even if the circumstances are hard, much remains within the entrepreneurial sphere of influence. Top companies have prepared themselves well for this situation with an employer branding strategy and are now able to quickly fill vacancies.

One of the model companies regarding employer branding is EXPLORER Hotels—a group of trendy design-budget hotels in top Alpine regions. The relaxed atmosphere, modern design and accommodation for sporty, active guests in the 9 hotels, each with around 100 rooms, promises a vacation feeling for explorers.

Explorer Hotels
Photo: Explorer Hotels

In view of the upcoming winter season and its high degree of planning uncertainty, the two managing directors Katja Leveringhaus and Jürnjakob Reisigl were highly focused in the fall of 2021 on sharpening the employer brand, defining company-wide standards for the internal culture of values, and strengthening personnel marketing both internally and externally.

An internal employee survey following an intensive summer season brought the first valuable results to light. In several workshops, the central contents of the EXPLORER spirit, the employer promise, and the EXPLORER package were elaborated on with the participation of hotel managers, support functions, and management. Numerous fields of action opened up further potential for expanding the good reputation of EXPLORER Hotels as an attractive employer in the industry beyond the region.

In personnel marketing, more active applications are to be ensured by increasing the presence in digital and analog channels with sharper messages. By optimizing the recruiting and onboarding process, the aim is to achieve a better and faster integration of new employees. Last but not least, the aim is to increase loyalty and reduce the traditionally high turnover rate in tourism by strengthening ongoing internal communications.

Employer branding is declared an absolute top priority for all executives and hotel team managers. Additional human resources and systems will ensure implementation in day-to-day business. EXPLORER hotels are thus well-equipped to find and retain sufficient and, above all, the right employees, even under difficult environmental conditions, and thus look forward to a successful winter season.

IMARK Strategy Advisors wish EXPLORER Hotels and the entire tourism industry every success!




Learn more about Christoph Ettlmayr