I run a luxury adventure travel company, but I refuse to hire anyone with a travel background to work there. Here's why.
- Adam Sebba is the CEO of Cookson Adventures, an ultra-luxury experiential travel company.
- In this role, he says that he'd rather work with outsiders - including former military officers and a one-time fashion director - than typical travel industry insiders.
- He also never sends employees to industry conferences; instead, they attend science lectures, film screenings, and art exhibitions.
- Here's why: The travel industry is stagnant and ripe for disruption - and to stand out in the noise of any crowded marketplace today, you have to be unique and eclectic.
- Take calculated risks when you hire people, he says.
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I work in luxury travel - and yet I don't hire anyone with a travel background to work here.
Ok, you caught me. One of our directors, Nick, does come from a travel company. But one travel guy in the entire company isn't bad.We also have ex-documentary makers, a round-the-world sailor, a private jet executive, a submarine pilot, a yacht broker, former military officers, a scattering of polar explorers - including one who lived on Antarctica - not to mention a finance director who worked in fashion and healthcare.
I started my business career at a well-known management consulting firm. "It always helps to bring fresh insight," a partner advised me, "if you have one person from a completely different industry on a case." This mantra stuck with me, and now later in my working life, I've found the tactic working again.
The traditional travel industry, like so many other sectors, is stagnant and ripe for disruption. Even experiential travel companies can suffer from a lack of imagination. Originality is sacrificed for scalability and trips become off the shelf, 'one size fits all' packages. To stand out in the noise of any crowded marketplace today you have to have a differentiated customer offering.
So, not only does our unique and eclectic mix of backgrounds work, it's essential. Because the three things that make our team different all boil down to this mix of people.