Starting out in travel marketing

What’s it like starting a career in the travel industry? Melissa Coates, a marketing executive from Jules Verne shares her experience.

With recent travel updates revealing that we can head abroad to selected destinations and more countries being added to the green list in recent weeks, it looks like many of us will be heading out of the country this summer after all. However, while many are ready to hop on a plane, there’re plenty of us who are happy to indulge in a staycation

Among the many travel industry workers who will be readying themselves for the influx of bookings is Melissa Coates. But the marketing executive for Jules Verne is used to the busy summer season, having worked on the tour operator’s marketing team for the last seven years. 

Getting started in travel

The Southampton Solent University graduate tried her hand at a few different marketing roles before realising that her heart lies in the world of travel: “I worked as a marketing assistant for a public sector management consultancy firm and then at a mailing house – both of which I knew weren’t quite the right industries for me. 

“My next move was to a specialist educational tour operator as product and marketing executive – my love for travel grew!”

Travel was a natural fit for Melissa. She’d already established a passion for the industry during her A-level in leisure and tourism. After three years of working as product and marketing executive, she made the move to London and took a role as marketing coordinator for Jules Verne. Seven years on, she’s worked her way up to assistant level and spends her days providing a full service for the company. 

Marketing duties

There are aspects of travel marketing that work just like any other marketing role. This is apparent when Melissa runs through a typical day for her: “I’ll check our social media accounts, read and respond to emails and run analysis on national press activity. I’ll also work with designers to create, edit, and proof national press adverts.”

However, there are some specifics that can only refer to the travel world. For instance, Melissa explains that handling any brochure requests is part and parcel of the day job.

This combination of travel and marketing is clearly something she loves: “I remember my interviews for marketing coordinator at Jules Verne like they were yesterday. All these years later and my marketing and travel passions continue to grow in a rewarding and dynamic role.”

Words of advice

So, what tips can Melissa offer those hoping to join travel marketing? “I always knew that as a marketing professional, it was important to work in an industry or for a brand of interest, so the passion for what you are marketing would show and come naturally.”

Melissa speaks from experience. Having settled into her role at Jules Verne, she’s been able to achieve so much, from working on the tour operator’s 2016 rebrand including launch collateral and website rebuild to reaching the target of increasing the e-mail marketing database by 10,000. 

For those who are hoping to follow in her footsteps, it’s worth taking the plunge and combining their love of travel with marketing skill.