Lightning Travel Recruitment is delighted to welcome Ciarán Smyth as its first full-time employee, a hire that will shake up the travel recruitment industry.

As Lightning Conductor, Smyth will be spearheading the business development of the full-service recruitment consultancy, focusing on establishing new relationships within the industry and onboarding clients with the company’s specific values and ways of working.

He joins the company from International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM), a collection of global and specialist trade events that showcase high-end travel experiences around the world.

“I am delighted to be on board with Chris and Lightning Travel Recruitment, as well as back to working alongside the travel industry again. At the beginning of this year I left ILTM to challenge myself in a new industry but quickly realised that my heart was in travel,” reveals Ciáran Smyth.

“It is the people who make this industry, so when I spoke to Chris and was presented with the opportunity to work with, and alongside, all the amazing individuals in travel I couldn’t turn it down! As the world slowly begins to reopen I am excited about the future of the business, building on the strong foundations that Chris has already set down and putting things right in the recruitment sector.”

With Smyth’s extensive travel background being at the rival agency of Lightning founder Chris King, the hire is set to cause ripples within the travel recruitment industry.

King was formerly the Head of Private Travel Designer Relations at This is Beyond where he oversaw invite-only, travel trade events including PURE Life Experiences, LE Miami, and We are Africa.

He founded Lightning in 2019 after becoming frustrated with the recruitment offerings within both the luxury travel and lifestyle industries at the time.

Explaining the reason behind starting the business, Chris King said: “Having used recruiters in the past I just couldn’t understand why they didn’t bother getting to know their clients or candidates and were instead just focused on targets and a ‘dog eat dog’ way of working.

“Also, barely any of these recruiters have worked a day in the travel industry so they don’t even really know how businesses within the sector operate. Basically, I saw an opportunity to change the traditional recruitment model in a way that would make a real difference to our industry.”

Setting itself apart, Lightning Travel Recruitment focuses on maintaining strong relationships with major key players within the travel sector, using this to both attract and place the best candidates instead of simply relying on job boards.

“We pride ourselves on working exclusively with our clients and establishing long-lasting relationships with them as consultants. We help them to build new roles from scratch and offer advice on a range of practices such as wages, accessibility, and diversity and inclusion,” explains King.

“And as for the candidates? We take the time to get to know all our candidates personally, getting to know the person behind the CV – something that is missing from our competitors’ ‘spray and pray’ scattergun approach of sending out CV’s.”

Now, with rivals joining forces, the recruitment consultancy is ready to take the travel industry by storm, with a strong focus on calling out the lack of diversity in the industry and challenging stigma.

The company has recently partnered with a range of like-minded organisations, including Certified Proud, Checking In and Radical Recruit, to help change industry norms surrounding Diversity and Inclusion.

Furthermore, the team will also be hosting monthly Diversity and Inclusion events to educate new and existing clients as well as their own staff.

They will also be offering a weekly Lightning Lounge video chat to candidates, a service that is completely free and acts as a safe space to chat about any issues that they are facing either personally and professionally.

Smyth’s hire will not only shake up the industry but it is also a positive sign that the travel industry is getting back on its feet again after being one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.