Employer Branding in Tourism: How to Recruit, Retain and Motivate Staff





value, employer branding, employee, SME, labour


A fierce "war for talent" has emerged, particularly in the tourism industry, with labour shortages and high turnover rates. This situation challenges employers to secure strategic competitive advantage through their most vital asset, people. Simultaneously, firms must invest in their human capital to increase their value, heightening the significance of employer branding. This paper hence investigates employer branding and does so in the unique context of family businesses, the dominant form of tourism firms, where employer branding takes on a distinct dimension as the family's influence fuses corporate and familial identities. Extending prior research findings that indicate that labour issues often stem from leadership inadequacies and human resource management shortcomings, this paper aims to comprehensively examine these multifaceted challenges and their relevance in the tourism industry. This study employs a qualitative approach utilizing 28 semi-structured interviews with managers, successors, and HR managers in Tyrol, an established tourism region in Austria and Europe. The results reveal that the integration of family values and qualities, as well as the identity and value-based self-image and brand strategies of a business, are important factors in recruiting and retaining employees. This study contributes to deeper insight into the importance, opportunities, and challenges of employer branding in family-run tourism businesses.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Alexander Plaikner, Department of Strategic Management, Marketing and Tourism, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria

Mag. Mag. Alexander Plaikner is an International Business Administrator and Psychologist with long-standing senior leadership experience within key international organizations. He is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Institute for Strategic Management, Marketing, and Tourism at the University of Innsbruck (AT), the University of New Orleans (USA), and the Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences (AT). He also serves as a Senior Scientist at the Division for Management in Health and Sports Tourism at the University UMIT Tirol (AT). He conducts research on behalf of the EFRE, the Federal Ministry, the state of Tyrol, and the City of Innsbruck with a focus on sustainable destination management and branding.

Marco Haid, Division for Management in Health and Sport Tourism, UMIT Tirol - Private University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology, Hall in Tirol, Austria

Assoc.-Prof. PD Dr. Marco Haid is an Associate Professor at the Division for Management in Health and Sports Tourism at the University UMIT Tirol (AT). His research interests are destination management, nature-based tourism, and sustainable product development in tourism. His work has been published in the Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Tourism Management Perspectives, and other high-ranked tourism journals. He is a reviewer for various tourism journals and a lecturer in educational initiatives for tourism practitioners.

Andreas Kallmuenzer, Department of Strategy, Excelia Business School, La Rochelle, France

Prof. Dr. Andreas Kallmuenzer is a Full Professor of Entrepreneurship and Management at Excelia Business School (FRA) and holds a PhD in Management from the University of Innsbruck (AT). Before his academic career, Andreas worked for several years as an entrepreneur in the tourism industry. His research interests are the entrepreneurial attitudes, sustainability, and heterogeneity of SMEs and family firms, with a particular current focus on the role of employees.

Sascha Kraus, Faculty of Economics and Management, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Bolzano, Italy and Department of Business Management, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Prof. Dr. Sascha Kraus is a Full Professor of Management at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano (ITA) and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg (SA). He holds a doctorate in Social and Economic Sciences from Klagenfurt University (AT), a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering and Management from Helsinki University of Technology and a Habilitation from Lappeenranta University of Technology (both FIN). Before, he held Full Professor positions at Utrecht University (NL), University of Liechtenstein (FL), École Supérieure du Commerce Extérieur Paris (FRA), and Durham University (UK).




How to Cite

Plaikner, A., Haid, M., Kallmuenzer, A., & Kraus, S. (2023). Employer Branding in Tourism: How to Recruit, Retain and Motivate Staff. Journal of Tourism and Services, 14(27), 1–21. https://doi.org/10.29036/jots.v14i27.666