Hotel companies in the Gulf are hiring more sales staff to keep occupancies up and combat the drop in revenue, executives said.
"The international financial crisis has affected all the industries, including the hospitality business. Hotels are still recruiting for their key positions in sales and in some cases, finance also. This is top priority for most of the companies," said Vandana Bhatt, Director, Hozpitality.com, the hospitality recruitment website.
Hotels in the region have been facing a drop in occupancy, from about 83 per in the first half of last year to about 73 per cent in the past few months.
Hotel industry sources said the main reasons for the drop in occupancy is the global financial crisis, the cut in corporate travel and fluctuating exchange rates.
Daniel Hajjar, Chief Executive Officer, Layia Hospitality, told Emirates Business: "There are two issues in a situation like this. One is to have more customers in your hotels – that is why we are hiring more sales people. The second thing is to ensure that the customers spend more money in the hotel."
The need is there to have more feet on the street to meet people and offer new packages and schemes.
Bhatt said: "Almost all the hotels in Dubai and the Gulf Co-operation Council countries want sales staff to promote their company with newer ideas whether it is a four star or five star hotel.
"In Dubai and the GCC there are more than 200 sales positions available on our website, most of them for sales executives and managers. Only a few positions are there for director level appointees. The vacancies are there in all the top brands as well as the smaller properties," she added.
The hiring is mainly by hotel companies, which have large inventory of rooms and a centralised sales office.
Thierry Bertin, Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, Hyatt International Hotels and Resorts, said: "Hyatt International is currently hiring for two new properties opening in the first half of this year – Grand Hyatt Doha and Park Hyatt Jeddah."
Bhatt said: "We are receiving employment enquiries almost everyday. We have 30 sales jobs on our website at the moment. These are for different levels in sales and for companies based in Saudi Arabia, Doha and the UAE. The requirement for sales staff has come in not just from the UAE, but from Doha and Saudi Arabia also.
She said: "Hotels are adopting newer revenue management and marketing strategies while targeting markets such as Australasia and Asia to fight the current economic situation."
She said the hotels companies are offering the packages through travel agents and tour operators.
"Hotel companies continue to look for candidates with similar industry experience who have a knowledge of the local market and the ability to sell aggressively," Bhatt added.
Though there is a lot of buzz in the market about salaries coming down and people taking pay cuts, Bhatt said, "salaries in hotels were already low and they have not come down. People are still demanding the same for the key positions, as the cost of living is quite high in the UAE. Suitable candidates would prefer to stay back in their home country for a certain period and come back rather than take a pay cut".