A Place to Stay: New AHLA Foundation Campaign Aims to Attract New Talent to Hospitality

AHLA Foundation Campaign

In January, the AHLA Foundation premiered a multi-channel national ad campaign to attract new talent into hospitality—a first of its kind for the AHLA Foundation. With tens of thousands of open hotel jobs available and labor shortages continuing to impact the industry, “A Place to Stay” targets job seekers who are looking for a robust career with unique perks and benefits, professional development opportunities, and upward mobility. AHLA Foundation President and CEO Rosanna Maietta discusses why this campaign is so crucial to bolster hospitality’s workforce and invite a diverse crop of talent into the industry.

Why did the AHLA Foundation launch this campaign?

At no other time has retention of employees been more important. Couple that with the fact that more than half of Gen Z and Millennials are unaware of our industry’s broad benefits and unique perks, this ad campaign is incredibly important. As the industry begins to recover, we are committed to helping hoteliers attract and hire diverse candidates for all positions. To build for our future, we crafted a digital-first campaign that celebrates all that hospitality has to offer—including competitive wages, benefits, flexible schedules, and travel opportunities.

How do you tell the story of the hospitality industry?

With more than 200 different career paths, endless possibilities exist for associates to create lifelong careers with transferable skills across the global hotel industry. “A Place to Stay” chronicles the stories of individual employees, providing a very personal, intimate look at how this industry is changing lives. We traveled the country searching for some of the best narratives, from two oyster shuckers in New Orleans to a colleague experience manager in Napa who started her career as a housekeeper. Through testimonials, we hope to demonstrate why hospitality embodies the American Dream and attract the next generation of hoteliers

What does the campaign entail?

Our primary digital, bilingual campaign features a brand-new website; social media presence on Facebook and Instagram; digital displays; radio announcements; press engagement; and more. TheHotelIndustry.com offers job seekers an overview of the perks and benefits of the hotel industry, employee testimonials of upward mobility, and a career matchmaker quiz. Website visitors can access a database of jobs and immediately apply for open positions.

Who is your target audience?

Our initial launch is in five markets—Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, Denver, Miami, and Phoenix—with plans to grow throughout the year. Right now, we’re focused on those who are underemployed and ready to work, as well as those who are unemployed and looking to start their career journey in hospitality. By highlighting real-life examples of upward mobility—about half of hotel general managers started in an entry-level position, and the likelihood of getting a raise and/or promotion in the first year is high—we’re hoping to inspire job seekers that this is more than a job, it’s a career.

Last year, the AHLA Foundation committed $5 million over a five-year period to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) efforts in the industry.

How does the campaign advance that initiative?

Our goal is to attract a diverse pool of talent and invite individuals from all walks of life into the industry. Through this campaign, we can showcase how hospitality allows individuals to grow into management positions. We celebrate the diverse talent already in management positions through the industry and pave the way for future generations of hotel leaders.

What is next for this campaign?

As we continue to develop this campaign, we are searching for more stories that celebrate why the hospitality industry is a place to grow, a place to succeed, and a place to stay. If you have a story that showcased the best that hospitality has to offer, please send it to hotelcareerstory@ahla.com and visit TheHotelIndustry.com to learn more.

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