Posts Tagged With: Brighton

Good times (in an office…)

With Christmas almost upon us and the rest of the Grads having a great time abroad, Ben reflects on the good times he’s had recently in the Brighton and Surbiton offices.

I’ve never been a fan of working in an office. Sitting all day, staring at a computer screen, occasionally making a cup of coffee is a little… er… dull. Fortunately, there are times when working in an office can be a lot of fun. Aside from the fascinating projects I’ve been working on recently (more info to come in the new year), the social side can also be great. Furthermore, I think a good social environment can create a happy workforce, which is essential for a business to prosper.

For example, whilst in Brighton with the Sector’s eCommerce and iExplore team, we had “International Food Fridays”. Brave volunteers would sign up and promise to make the national dish of whichever country came out of the hat. I was given Portugal. Unfortunately I’ve never been to Portugal and had no idea what to make. Fortunately, there was a resident Portuguese guy (Fred Cardoso) who was there to advise/encourage/pressure me to make sure it was a success!

The result can be seen in the picture below and (to my relief) it went down really well:

For someone that never cooked a Portuguese dish, Ben got really near a Portuguese Chef” – Fred, resident Portuguese food expert.

There was also Movember, Halloween bake sales and an amazing place to have lunch (see pics below).

I have recently moved to the Crystal Ski office in Surbiton, where there is also a great social atmosphere. We’ve had a huge Christmas party, numerous cakes, several gingerbread houses and even wrapped the Product Director’s desk up in Christmas wrapping paper! ‘Tis the Season!

I hope you enjoy the pictures below and have a great Christmas wherever you are.

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Categories: Ben Gill | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Want to win a trip of a lifetime?

Kelly promotes the ‘Trip of a Lifetime’ competition at iExplore.

Have you heard of iExplore? It’s the brand new portal for the Specialist & Activity Sector brands and whose team I am currently working with here in Brighton. The site went live in October and our official PR launch followed in November.

Check out the site and what it has to offer at iexplore.com/uk

Now that you’ve had a look, how about winning £5,100 to spend an iExplore trip? (Sorry fellow grads, TUI employees aren’t allowed to enter… I’m posting this for any other people reading the blog who might want to give it a go!)

Lazy sailing in the Caribbean? Trekking Kilimanjaro? Helping orphan orangutans in Borneo? Well if you enter our Trip of a Lifetime competition on Facebook your idle holiday dreams might just come true.

How to enter? Just upload a ‘thrillaxing’ photo or video, share it with your friends and ask them to vote for you. Easy! What’s all this about ‘thrillaxing’? Find out here.

And that’s not all. There are heaps of runners up prizes too, including iExplore gear and T-shirts.

Time’s ticking so don’t miss out – upload your entry and check out the gallery on our Facebook page.

Good luck!

Categories: Kelly | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

One Night in Brighton…

TUI Grads in Brighton

TUI Grads in Brighton

Laura talks about her first trip to Brighton…

Yesterday, I left the Real Gap office and made the hour long journey down to Brighton to visit the TUI PPC team and also meet up with the other grads to discuss our project.

Throughout my placement so far, I’ve really tried to take as many opportunities as possible to learn more about the business as a whole, so visiting Brighton was a key goal of mine. With the TUI SEO and PPC teams based down there, and with those teams running the online campaigns for Real Gap and i to i, I really wanted to understand how this process worked and how the teams aligned themselves and communicated to work in the most efficient way.

I had a really useful meeting with Jo Bradbury who told me about the PPC strategy and also introduced me to AdInsight, which I’ll blog about more in the future (it’s incredible!), and will be keeping in touch with her to further my knowledge. PPC is such an important part of many budgets so understanding how it works, along with how the team works, is key.

I particularly like that Jo and her team are understood as an agency who are also a part of TUI – what a fantastic opportunity for brands to have expert guidance and the high level of service whilst being confident that the team working for them understands their brand completely.

I spent the rest of the afternoon with Kelly, Jen and Ben (with Ben and Deborah dialled in from the States) listening to a presentation from Janet on their graduate project, which was incredibly useful and, in fact, essential to the success of our graduate project, which we’ll be completing over the next 18 months.

Finally, we went out for dinner at Comos, Brighton, where we enjoyed a lovely meal and enjoyed the ever-developing entertainment form that is Ben’s ‘mo’. We even developed an idea to keep the mo for future months… keep watching for more details!

It was a really useful day and, aside from anything else, really interesting to see the office Kelly works in and meet more of the team from around the Sector.

Categories: Janet, Jennifer, Kelly, Laura | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Kelly enters into the mysterious world of eCommerce…

The Brighton Wheel

The Brighton Wheel

Kelly shares her knowledge of eCommerce…

Test your knowledge of eCommerce acronyms! Of the 8 below, how many do you know?!

URL, PPC, ISP, CMS, SEO, XML, RSS, CRM…

[answers at the bottom]

None? Some? All of them?

Let’s just say that in my first week with the eCommerce team, my language level in techie speak has rapidly gone from absolute beginner, to pre-intermediate. There’s no way I could actually do what the PPC team do, nor manage the XML feeds, or go into the details of SEO. However, the important thing is that I can now understand what is being said around me and how it is all relevant.  In fact, perhaps I could add it as a ‘conversational’ language on my TUI profile…

I’ve sat down with 9 different people and learnt about their 9 different specialities. Despite their somewhat dull sounding names (the specialities, that is, not the people), the different functions of eCommerce really can be fascinating. What has struck me the most is how, if you run an online business, today’s technology gives you access to enormous amounts of useful data and tools (and very often without paying a penny). That data can be hugely informative in decisions you make about your marketing, your site layout and design, and your business strategy: and those well-informed decisions ultimately increase your revenue…

A few examples: with ‘analytics’ packages, you can measure how people are arriving at your website, where they’re from, what pages they are looking at and for how long, and at what stage they leave. With tools like ‘Google Insights’ you can see how many customers are searching for particular terms, and patterns over the year. With user-testing you can see how people navigate your site, and gain valuable insights into what works well and what simply doesn’t work. Then you can try out changes (using an ‘A/B test’) and see the exact figures of how your ‘conversion’ rate improves – be it in terms of bookings, enquiries, or simply e-mail sign-ups.

I hope this doesn’t sound too technical. It did sound complicated to me at first. But it actually doesn’t have to be. And even if you have technophobic tendencies, you’d be foolish to ignore the gems of information that are just a click away…

Answers: Uniform Resource Locator/ Universal Resource Locator… , Pay-per-click, Internet Service Provider, Content Management System, Search Engine Optimisation, eXtensible Markup Language, Rich Site Summary/ Really Simple Syndication, Customer Relationship Management.

Categories: Kelly | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

This underground lair must grow

Guy reporting from really quite rainy Brighton

Let me invite you into the basement of the TUI e-commerce team. Search Engine Optimisation, copy writing (a lot of people ignore the importance of quality writing, but how can a product be seen as quality if what’s written on the page is not both accurate and enticing) conversion optimisation, new product development, usability – an awful lot goes on down here. This is why I am very happy to be on a placement here at the moment. I think from my stints at TUI Marine and Adventure Tours Australia I’ve really realised the opportunity – indeed imperative – to reduce our spend on selling through third parties and shift further towards selling direct online. Consumers need our companies’ websites to be the easiest and best way of booking a holiday, and that lowers our costs, the benefits of which are passed back in turn. That’s got to be even more important in an environment where our most important source market, the UK, continues to experience falling real incomes, and it’s for our long term survival that we have to catch up with low-cost airlines and others in delivering our more complex travel product effectively online.

Clearly travel agents are doing something that at a product level we don’t do quite well enough yet; offer a personalised, local and total booking process. Getting not only our soon-to-launch and brand new adventure portal to fulfil some of those characteristics but also helping other TUI Specialist and Activity companies to meet those sort of criteria is our raison d’etre, and why I believe the function here will continue to grow.

On the Brighton front – I’m enjoying living here, especially the opportunity for windsurfing (am doing my RYA levels at the moment, got to love a good certificate), going out and luring friends down from London for a day out at the sea side. I also have bought Groupon yoga classes – bargain – in order to enhance my physical and spiritual alignment, but am yet to get there early enough to get a place in the class… obviously everyone else had the same idea!So quick and easy to the continent

The other day I went with some new Brighton friends for a Eurotunnel day trip to France and Belgium – taking advantage of a proximity to the continent I have never enjoyed before (as this is my first time living in South East England). That said, being back in Europe means that I’m finding myself going away most weekends and during the week too to London. Back to Scotland again last weekend for a wedding in St. Andrews. It’s Essen in Nordrhein-Westfalen this weekend to visit a uni mate from Edinburgh, Compass (left-wing think tank) conference the following weekend, and I’m going to try and get on a TUI flight to Florida over a weekend to visit friends from my first placement. Problem is, they’ve been so conservative with capacity this year for the UK that staff perks are barely useable – there are never any seats anywhere! Anyway – back to link checking, we need to make sure the adventure portal works well from its live birth.

Categories: Guy | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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