HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

This entrepreneur transformed ACI HR Solutions into a hospitality giant

He was able to navigate the rocky first year of the business on profits alone and no external funding.

When boutique human resources consulting agencies began flooding the Hong Kong market back in 2012, Andrew Chan saw an open door to launch a business. His idea was to form a specialist recruitment and training firm owned and operated by homegrown individuals within the travel and hospitality industry. Today, ACI HR Solutions, through Chan as its chief executive officer, has expanded outside of Hong Kong to include offices in Singapore, Sydney, Shanghai, Dubai and, the United Kingdom.

Chan’s business idea was also response to the need for a specialist firm to not only compete against major generalist recruitment firms but at the same time be passionate and dedicated to the advancement of the tourism sector. Having had experience with headhunters throughout his career, Chan said that the nuances and macro talent issues of an industry require people with extensive knowledge of the landscape, more so, people who are already inside the industry.

According to Chan, the inability to truly understand candidate requirements, their experiences and skills usually result in misplaced aspirations. This perspective drove Chan to hire only consultants who have worked in the travel, tourism and/or hospitality sector, and are genuinely passionate not only about their clients’ success but the industry as a whole.

At present, the firm provides top-of-the-line recruitment and executive search as well as value-added services including psychometric profiling and reports on the latest HR and salary trends within the industry. ACI HR Solutions also offers offers functional training that includes sales and marketing, revenue management, online travel, e-commerce and distribution.

“ACI HR Solutions’ team of consultants consistently reaches out to interact with members from the travel and hospitality industry so as to stay relevant and updated with the latest industry trends and best practices. As such, ACI HR Solutions’ team of consultants are respected for their professionalism, adaptability and willingness to go above and beyond to meet the needs of their clients. Moreover, ACI HR Solutions prides itself on having an extensive online and social media reach as compared to other HR firms,” Chan said.

Through Chan’s creativity and resourcefulness, ACI HR Solutions was able to overcome its first and most difficult years as a small and medium enteprise (SME) with no external funding. According to Chan, he relied a lot on organic growth and any profits that were earned were in turn invested back into the business, particularly around technology-related innovations.

“This mind-set has helped grow ACI HR Solutions to be where they are today as they have one of the best front-end platforms, and back of house CRMs within the industry streamlining their workflow. In addition, ACI HR Solutions have been recognised for these achievements, winning awards in the category of Best Recruitment Website and Best Mobile Experience this year,” said Chan.

Also endowed with presenting skills, Chan is a sought after speaker in the region and elsewhere, having addressed audiences in intimate settings to large-scale travel and hospitality conferences, events, and trade shows. Chan also participates in several mentorship programmes where he is a mentor to diverse hospitality and tourism students across Asia Pacific. Recognised for his leadership, Chan is the immediate-past President of the Singapore chapter of Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI).

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