The purpose of my role was to create personalised and engaging content across various devices to increase sales conversion on Thomson Cruise.
I have truly enjoyed my placement year. I have been given real responsibility from day one and I have never felt like I was doing the tasks that nobody else wanted to do just because I was on a different contract. As digital is a very fast paced environment with lots of interesting innovations, there were always projects to get involved in which challenged me to be more creative and gain more skills quicker. I also felt that there was a real investment in my development, as I was lucky enough to have extra training sessions with external partners in London, a lot of courses delivered by different key employees from different departments and skills workshops. There is always support if you need it, whether it is from the placement team or line management.
As I had real responsibility looking after merchandising the cruise website which is a huge part of the business, I felt very valued by my team. I was always listened to and my opinions were considered and often implemented. I have also been involved in training new starters and provide inductions for other teams, which reassured me that I have gained the trust.
I was given a lot of support and guidance from my line manager and the placement team. When I started I had a 2 weeks handover period from the previous placement student which really helped me with the transition from university into work. I then had a number of inductions with various stakeholders to understand different parts of the business. I also worked on a Personal Development Plan; with the support of my manager , I had the opportunity to state areas I wanted to improve and develop upon. I had weekly 1-2-1 meetings with my manager and the placement team. I also had fortnightly catch ups with a colleague outside of my team who was allocated as my ‘buddy’ as part of the Buddy Scheme and it was a great opportunity for me to express my concerns and thoughts as this was a confidential relationship. I also spent a few half days in other departments such as Aviation Planning, Sustainability and Retail to broaden my understanding of the business.
Although there are a couple of tasks that need to be performed on a weekly/ daily basis, in my team there really is a feeling that every day was different due to the numerous projects going on all the time. There are a few peak times throughout the year when it gets a little bit busier than usual, but there is always the possibility of sharing the workload if needed. On quieter periods I was never bored as there were always projects that I could get involved in.
I was given a lot of responsibility as I was merchandising the cruise website. I led my own campaigns, attended meetings on behalf of my entire team and I presented campaign results to other stakeholders around the business. I also had a great opportunity to take on more responsibility when my colleague merchandising the Thomson Packages website left the business, which really helped me improve my time management and gained a lot of new skills.
As I study Aviation Management, my travel knowledge improved significantly this year. I also got further insights in digital industry and aviation which are the two areas I am very passionate about. By seeing projects delivered from 0 level to the final results, I got a better understanding of the implementation process in a company as big as TUI. In terms of soft skills, I definitely developed a lot which will be very beneficial for my final year at uni and my future career. To name a few, communication, time management, teamwork and presentation skills.
Everybody here is very friendly, approachable and supportive. The company is a great place to work for as the principle of ‘work hard play hard’ is applied. The desks are situated in an open area which allows for friendly chats. Apart from meeting rooms which are all covered in holiday pictures and named after exotic destinations to give a holiday feeling, there are also lounges where you can have catch ups while enjoying a Costa coffee or a 1-2-1 in comfy airline seats!
The placement scheme is brilliant, led by very determined and role models individuals, with passion for the company and the travel industry and a genuine interest in helping you develop at a personal and professional level. We had monthly meetings where we discussed our group projects and had presentations from different departments around the business. Each of us had regular individual meetings with the placement leaders. As all 7 of us were placed in different teams, the placement projects were a great way of keeping us a unit.
I had various training sessions in London to understand better the software that we use from our 3rd party suppliers. I also attended a few marketing festivals and events in London and it was a great opportunity to network with other professionals. I spent half days in other departments to understand how they operate towards the same company goals. I also attended courses called ‘Tour Operated Development Program’ which were very interactive sessions with lots of insights in other areas of the business.
There is the possibility of applying for the graduate scheme whist you are still here, which is great to go back to uni knowing that you have already secured a job after graduation. For the international graduate scheme it is a little bit different as this is run by the German team, but we have been given a lot of support and guidance to make the process much easier. There are also permanent job opportunities if you know which area of the business you want to work in. The network you make is a fantastic way to remain posted with the future vacancies.
Most of the placement students live together, which results in a closer and long lasting relationship. There are always social events and nights out organised by various individuals or teams. There are also team away days in places such as Centre Parcs or Bedford, but the majority of the social evenings are in London, St Albans or Harpenden.
Considering how close to London it is, Luton is relatively affordable! I lived just opposite the train station which was very convenient when travelling to London but the area itself was not the best. You can get a really nice apartment/ house for a very reasonable rent, however the area might not be as nice, hence why majority of people will live in the surrounding towns such as St Albans, Harpenden or Hitchin which are much nicer, but also a little more expensive.
I wouldn’t recommend going out in Luton apart from maybe 1 or 2 pubs, but St Albans and London have lots of great options and it won’t be difficult to travel to.
Yes, majority of which are sport related, but there is also a choir you can join and fundraising events of any type. As mentioned previously, due to the nature of my role, there were also opportunities to attend marketing festivals, summits and events in London.