Travelodge launched a new careers site fully integrated with their ATS, using fresh and dynamic content to attract and engage talent and encourage the development of a career with them.

Travelodge is the largest independent hotel brand with over 37,000 bedrooms with a vision to become the UK’s favourite hotel for value. As part of their strategy to expand and develop the hotel group, recruitment growth also needed to be managed. Over 12,000 colleagues currently work across Travelodge to look after their 18 million customers every year and they are constantly adding to the team to strive to continually improve their off ering.

The Recruitment Challenge

Travelodge’s ambitious growth requires continuous recruitment of new team members whilst dealing with candidate attraction challenges and labour shortages in the hotel and hospitality sector. The hospitality industry has grown faster than any industry since 2008 and contributes over 17% of the UK workforce. It has traditionally been heavily reliant on European workers and Travelodge is no exception with around 40% of their London workforce in 2017 being from the EU.

It is unclear the impact Brexit will have on the status of low skilled migrant workers and Travelodge was keen to prepare for a potential change in market conditions. The outcome of the Brexit referendum prompted Travelodge to look at their workforce segmentation to understand and target specifi c audiences to allow them to gradually rely less on the influx of EU candidates. The research identified the key target candidate audiences as working parents, those wanting to develop a career in hospitality, mature workers and students.

Travelodge needed to revisit their attraction strategy; if they could not attract EU workers they needed to work harder to appeal to a wider audience and other candidate segments showcasing the company culture and highlighting the important aspects to the target candidate audience, such as for working parents, the ability to work school hours.

Travelodge reviewed their recruitment channels to fill the 7000 new hires each year. The insight gained from the review indicated that the Travelodge careers site was key to their direct sourcing model and also offered opportunity for greater engagement at every stage of the recruitment journey.

As one of the UK’s fastest growing companies that had undergone a successful brand and values refresh, it had not filtered through to the candidate experience in the drive to recruit a wider audience and develop the careers of existing talent.

Developing the candidate journey

Travelodge had implemented Eploy’s e-Recruitment platform to automate and simplify their recruitment process. However, the Travelodge careers site was complex and no longer represented their brand and culture. It also failed to give candidates an honest view of some of the tougher jobs, like housekeeping, in order to make an informed decision about a career with Travelodge. The navigation was overly complex and wasn’t fully responsive on all mobile devices which impacted bounce rates (80% of visitors to the site immediately left after landing on the homepage). It was also difficult to find a job through the search facility and apply - all contributing to a less than ideal candidate experience.

Understanding Target Candidate Audiences

Knowing the candidate segments they wanted to target meant they would be able to personalise and package the content and profiles on the careers website to foster engagement from the very start of the journey, highlighting individual needs of these segments.

Travelodge’s Resourcing Team brief was to deliver an easy to use careers site, fully integrated with their Eploy e-Recruitment platform that would provide a great online candidate experience aligned with the target audience and roles. The careers site needed to clearly show people what it is like to work at Travelodge through the use of dynamic content to create a great user-defined experience along with videos and stories of current employees. Core to this was the need to consistently communicate the employer brand, values and culture, delivering an improved approach for both internal and external candidates, with a high degree of measurability.

Stakeholder Engagement

The team identified key stakeholders, bringing together many departments to ensure the project was supported and embedded throughout the business. Stakeholder discovery sessions were undertaken to fully communicate the strategic and tactical business challenges and how these would be addressed. These sessions achieved:

• A common understanding of the employer brand – the recruitment DNA, tone of voice etc.
• Understanding of competitors and market conditions.
• Understanding of candidates as a reference point for site development.
• How to create a great user experience aligned to the four workforce segments.
• Development of creative content that matches jobs to people and demonstrates career paths.
• Being fair, transparent and acting without discrimination or bias throughout the process.

Throughout the project, the team remained conscious that Travelodge is a value brand which needed to evolve, so it was vital that this initiative also remained cost-efficient and true to the company’s values.

“The revised careers site now addresses candidate attraction through engaging content in a range of formats, providing a great user experience relevant to the audience. Content such as ‘what it’s like to work here’ and the wider benefits on offer - such as flexibility, anniversary vouchers, discounts and employee assistance programme are reinforced throughout the candidate journey. Advertised roles are now far more than just a salary and highlight the pathways available to bring longevity to employees’ careers.”
Sophie White, People Project Manager, Travelodge

Results & Success

Rebecca Baker, Director of Talent and People Proposition commented
“The project went over and above developing a careers site as a standalone element of the recruitment and talent management programme but encompassed the whole journey to identify, assess, recruit and onboard diverse talent – all with Travelodge values and behaviours at the core. Innovative methods such as workforce segmentation, dynamic content, intuitive job alerts, clever search capability and map search for jobs near me, which is important for lower paid jobs, were used to engage with candidates from the initial contact.”

In the first 4 months since launching the careers site, there has been a 145% increase in completed web applications. Careers site engagement has increased from an average 3,400 visitors per week to over 73,500. At the same time the new site is proving more ‘sticky’ with an average of 328,00 page views per week a 2005% increase on the previous 15,600 page views per week.

“Travelodge understood the importance of integrating their careers site with their ATS/CRM to deliver so much more from a user experience. Through a defined site structure, improved job search and user journeys, all with flexible navigation and latest responsive design techniques to work across any device, they have achieved a slick application process and a careers site that brings to life Travelodge as a flexible place to work and develop a career. It has been a pleasure working with them to achieve their goals." Chris Bogh, Chief Technology Officer, Eploy

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