The Hotel Industry's Allure for Young Professionals Leaving Big Tech Companies | Delonix's Insight



In 2023, several top internet companies have intensively announced layoffs.


Data released by QuestMobile shows that in June 2019, China Mobile Internet Monthly Active Users (MAU) reached 1.14 billion. Four years later, the MAU scale has only increased to 1.224 billion, and the internet dividend has 'peaked,' with 'reducing costs and increasing efficiency' becoming the development keywords for many internet giants.

For young professionals in 'big tech' (referring to large internet companies), emotions such as anxiety and frustration have replaced the previous 'glamour.' At the same time, the attractiveness of job offers from these big tech companies is also decreasing.

Where do young professionals leaving big tech companies head to next?


Insights from the latest 'Q1-Q3 2023 Pan-Internet Industry Talent Mobility Report' provide some clues. The data shows that in the first half of 2023, among talents flowing out of the internet industry to other sectors, the new lifestyle service industry ranks second (6.63%). Within this category, the hotel and tourism sector is absorbing the most talent.

According to the recently published 'Q3 2023 Talent Market Hotspot Briefing,' recruitment positions in the tourism industry have grown by 28.3% year-on-year, ranking first among all industries. Additionally, the number of recruitment positions in the hotel/inn industry has also increased by over 12% year-on-year.

Young internet professionals are rapidly returning to 'offline industry,'  such as the hospitality industry.

The hotel industry is becoming the new haven for young professionals leaving big tech.

Choosing a career in the hotel industry is a dual-choice that involves both rational and emotional considerations for young professionals leaving big tech.

Ada, a graduate of a top-tier 985 university in China, fulfilled her dream of joining Sina Inc. after graduation and later moved to Tencent. After  six years experience in big tech, Ada often found herself in a state of powerlessness. In March of this year, Ada bid farewell to the glamour of big tech and joined a rapidly growing hotel group, Delonix.


She is one of the few who took the initiative to leave.

In big tech, job functions are highly specialized. As the cost of trial and error increases in the larger environment, many products can only achieve 'micro-innovations,' resulting in work revolving around 'small fixes and patches,' and almost anyone can do the job.

'When I left Tencent, I was already in a leadership position, and my quarterly ratings were consistently in the top 30%. So, I didn't leave because I couldn't handle it, but because I wanted to find a more interesting job. After revaluation, I ultimately chose to join the hotel industry.'

The development prospects of the hotel industry were the main driving force that attracted Ada.

Recent data released by the National Ministry of Culture and Tourism shows that in the first half of this year, the total number of domestic tourist visits reached 2.384 billion, a year-on-year increase of 63.9%; domestic tourism revenue reached 2.30 trillion yuan, an increase of 95.9% over the previous year, approaching the level of domestic tourism revenue in the first half of 2019.


The hotel industry is also one of the few industries not affected by the declining birthrate and aging population, continuing to experience positive growth.

Compared to industries like real estate, automobiles, and home appliances, tourism and accommodation fulfill a higher-level spiritual need that is not easily replaceable. Material needs face saturation bottlenecks, but it's challenging to saturate spiritual needs.

Ada believes that without the age anxiety prevalent in big tech, the hotel industry seems to be a long-term career choice.

The hotel industry fundamentally belongs to a long-term cycle industry, with robust cyclical resistance due to addressing basic needs such as 'clothing, food, shelter, and transportation.' Furthermore, age is not a weakness for practitioners; instead, the skills and experiences accumulated over time become more valuable, like 'aged wine,' getting better with time.

In addition, the reason why professionals from big tech are diving into the hotel industry lies in the fact that their past skills are not discarded but find new application areas.

A recruiter in the hotel industry mentioned that many hotel groups now explicitly seek individuals coming from big tech. They believe that talents sharpened by big tech in areas such as strategic planning, data analysis, and operational management can significantly benefit the development of the hotel industry.

Returning to 'offline value'.

In the internet market, all work is conducted online. Throughout the entire process, the people producing the product and the people using the product cannot see each other, creating no emotional connection. This has led some individuals to experience professional fatigue, questioning whether their work value has been too 'instrumentalized.'


In contrast, the new lifestyle service industry, especially hotels, naturally involves high-frequency offline interactions between people. From check-in and reception to meal service, from event planning to product design, each aspect involves the user's physical and mental experience and can directly receive user feedback.

Ada, now working in the membership center of Delonix Group, is responsible for building and promoting the membership system 'Better Wood.'

'In the past, in big tech, we were resistant to offline activities because the ROI was low, and it involved coordination from multiple parties, with overall benefits not being high. Now, entering the hotel industry, we are re-evaluating the value of offline. Offline experiences provide tangible and unique sensations.'

Ada talked about a recent membership event. 'We organized a three-day, two-night experiential event for members in a Qing Dynasty historical building hotel with over a century of history. From online to offline, among the masses of registered users, I had the opportunity to meet and interact with dozens of them, creating real interactions and connections. This, in itself, is something I find very meaningful.' Ada mentioned that she records the preferences of each member family and matches them with suitable experiential activities.


Never wanting to return to big tech

Turning from big tech to the hotel industry, Ada chose an employer based on three main points: first, whether the salary is satisfactory; second, whether the company has prospects; third, whether the work is interesting.

According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, the average annual wage in the accommodation and catering industry has ranked second to last among all industries in the past five years. On recruiting platforms, with the same higher education background, the salary in the hotel industry is far lower than in other industries.

However, the low remuneration does not represent the full picture of hotel groups.

The company Ada joined, Delonix Group, has grown rapidly within two years, now owning 10 core brands, over 1,400 hotels, and more than 30,000 employees. It ranks 16th in the global hotel group rankings, earning the title of a dark horse in the hotel industry.


In reality, in traditional industries, there are not many that can match the salaries of the internet industry. Providing competitive compensation is the most direct way for a company to showcase its investment in talent.

The substantial salary comes from the high demand for rapidly growing business. It is reported that Delonix Group's hotel scale grew by 40% in 2022, the membership scale surpassed 30 million, with a growth rate exceeding 65%. This year, Delonix has expanded its business to the Asia-Pacific region, investing in Indonesia's largest hotel management and investment holding platform IHI and has already opened an office in Jakarta.

What makes Ada even more satisfied is the motivating promotion mechanism at Delonix. She learned that traditional hotel groups, due to adopting a functional organizational structure with high centralization and multiple vertical hierarchical levels, have a long and slow promotion path for grassroots employees, 'a radish for each hole.'

But after joining Delonix, she found that the company's team is very young, advocating for flat management and encouraging young people from the post-85s and post-90s generations to enter leadership positions.

It is understood that currently, 70% of middle-level management at Delonix Group is made up of post-85s and post-90s.

Moreover, Ada found it easy to find common ground among colleagues. 'The internet concentration at Delonix is very high.'

Ada revealed that a large number of programmers sit near her workstation. HR also informed her that the Delonix headquarters office has a research and development team of 150 people, all from big tech companies like Tencent, Meituan, Group.

On the other hand, Delonix Group is called a 'Game Changer' by industry insiders, breaking the mold from brands to formats, to user engagement and membership logic.

Reportedly, unlike most hotel tools on the market, Delonix puts forward the concept of 'brand-first,' creating nine hotel brands that cater to the characteristics of different consumer groups.


These include high-end resorts brands like Found Retreat, Grant House, and Wonderland Resorts, Chinese-style business hotel brands like Grand New Century, Maison New Century, MJ Hotel, and lifestyle brands like Ruby Hotels and MORA SPACE. This strategy taps into niche resonances, leveraging popular consumer trends.

In addition, Delonix's membership system 'Better Wood' breaks away from the traditional point calculation based on consumption amount, pioneering the calculation of member points based on 'length of stay'.

'When friends first heard that I am now in the hotel industry, they thought I was going to be a server. But the reality is that there are many interesting aspects to working in hotels.” The level of fun at work far exceeds Ada's expectations, and she admits she is fortunate. 'If I had to choose again, I wouldn't go back to big tech.'

As the specter of internet layoffs looms, a paradigm shift in the career aspirations of a generation is subtly steering away from the virtual realm towards the tangible. In this context, the hotel industry, embodying various advantages, is providing new dream spaces. Ada stands as a fortuitous exemplar, illustrating a triumphant trajectory from big tech to the hotel industry. With Delonix creating over 5,000 new positions annually, it presents a potential haven for those navigating the departure from big tech.