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Leveraging first-hand experience in hospitality recruitment

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With more hotels set to open in 2017, and low-cost airlines making travel ever more accessible, a shortage of skilled talent is increasingly becoming one of the toughest challenges for Hong Kong’s hospitality and tourism sector. In a competitive market, dedicated recruitment agencies with real industry expertise can make a difference by providing businesses with the human capital they need to succeed.

With that in mind, ACI HR Solutions was born. The boutique agency entered the Hong Kong market in 2012 under the expert guidance of founder and CEO Andrew Chan. After a near 10-year stint as CEO at a different specialist firm, Chan felt it was the right time to establish a new venture with a stronger focus on the growing travel, tourism and hospitality industries in Asia Pacific.

“Human capital challenges faced by employers across the Asian region have been brewing for some time,” Chan said. And he believes the struggle is not over yet. “The pressure will only intensify as businesses fundamentally change the way they organise themselves to deliver success through human capital at a whole new level.”

ACI believes the best way to help businesses achieve this success is to pair them with consultants who understand and appreciate the nuances and macro talent issues that are at play in the industry. That is why every ACI consultant has years of first-hand experience working in the travel, hospitality and/or lifestyle industry before they join the agency.

The method guarantees a high level of service, since ACI consultants are genuinely passionate not only about their clients’ and candidates’ success, but about the industry as a whole. This industry passion is not only displayed by consultants, but starts at the very top with Chan himself.

“I personally participate in several mentoring programmes for hospitality and tourism students across Asia Pacific, and sit on numerous tourism industry boards where I can contribute my expertise, and at the same time, give back to the industry I’m most passionate about,” the CEO said about his vision.

An additional benefit to having consultants with first-hand industry experience is the large network they give access to. ACI’s diverse network across the travel, tourism and hospitality landscape provides clients with a vast pool of talent who are not otherwise easily accessible.

By constantly interacting with talented industry professionals across multiple platforms, the agency keeps its talent pipeline filled.

Furthermore, forward-thinking and a focus on long-term success helps the company identify those talent who have the potential to outperform all their peers in the industry for many years to come.

Similar to the company’s long-term vision for client and candidate success, Chan has a clear focus for the future of ACI.

“ACI has a future growth plan that can be broken into five key areas. Continued growth and revenue profitability; continued focus on new technology; franchising and acquisition to expand the brand; employee motivation and training; and finally, customer satisfaction and loyalty.”

The overall goal, he said, was simple. “We will continue to strive towards being the market leaders in the travel and hospitality recruitment space.”

An additional way in which the company works towards market leadership is by being at the edge of adaptation, which allows for increased efficiency and satisfaction for all end users of ACI’s services. The company boasts an impressive web and social media reach, even when compared with major generalist recruitment firms.

To achieve this, ACI takes a straightforward approach. All website content and marketing materials must provide knowledge, and must be interactive.

“We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of candidate interaction both on and offline,” Chan said.

Examples include the Get Da Job mobile game, whiteboard animation videos, and a highly successful monthly networking event called Wine Down Wednesdays.

Leveraging its expert consultants as one of its strongest assets, ACI realises better than most the value of a good company culture that helps people develop and thrive. To achieve this, ACI’s culture is based on five core values around integrity, being the best, loyalty, trust, and a balanced life.

“Think travel, tourism and hospitality recruitment – think ACI HR Solutions.” Above all, that has been ACI’s number one objective during the past four years in Hong Kong.

This year, its approach of employing expert consultants, maintaining a large network and continuous adaptation paid off, as ACI HR Solutions was crowned gold winner of the Best Recruitment Firm – Hospitality category at the Vendors of the Year 2016 awards in Hong Kong.

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