Anna Jones, Co-Owner of Ormina Tours

1. What does your role involve and how long have you been in your current position?

We are a small company so my role covers a lot. My background is in marketing and customer experience so outside of the day to day quoting, I manage all of our marketing channels including social, digital and content marketing. Lately I’ve also been leading a project to implement a CRM system across Ormina Tours which I’m very excited about.

2. How did you start out in your career? Why the travel industry?

I actually started my career in TV working at NBC and HBO in NY before moving into advertising and then retail marketing. I stumbled into travel a couple years ago and can’t imagine a better industry. I’ve always been passionate about customer experience and in travel, the experience is your product. It holds us to a high standard but the reward of hearing the travel stories from our clients makes it all worth it.

3. Did you complete formal qualifications and how have they helped you in your career?

Funnily enough, I have a degree in TV production and drama. They TV degree definitely helped me when I was working at the networks and on TV shoots for advertising. In my marketing roles, I’ve had a do a lot of public speaking and I think my background in drama really helps. It taught me how to tell a story and it’s amazing how much marketing is just that, storytelling.

4. What do you love about your job?

There is so much! I love working with clients and agents to plan the perfect trip. I truly believe that travel makes us more tolerant and understanding of cultural differences. I’m American and seeing what’s happening in the US right now is scary. I like to think that the more people travel the more educated and less afraid of other cultures they become. I love opening people’s eyes to that.

5. What were some of the greatest challenges you’ve had in your career?

I think change is always hard. I’ve lead some transformational projects across some large brands and I find those projects incredibly challenging but also rewarding. To make them stick, you need to get everyone in the organisation on board, you can just force it down from the top. It’s that engagement process that makes them so challenging.

6. What factors are central to a successful career?

Perseverance and resilience. In other words don’t give up and don’t be afraid to fail. I know people say it all the time but it’s true. Your career doesn’t happen to you, you have to make it happen and you can’t be afraid to put yourself out there even if you might fail. Also never stop learning, things are changing so fast you can’t be complacent!

7. Is having a mentor an essential part of getting ahead in a career? Do you have one?

I don’t have formal mentor but I try to have a group of peers who I can talk to about challenges and trends in the industry. I have had a lot of people who have influenced me in my career. I’ve had lots of bosses that taught me great things and I’ve probably had more who taught me how not to act.

8. What are your principals for doing good business?

Be honest and transparent. I think trust is the most important trait. Agents need to trust that we will provide a high level of service and we are being transparent and open with them. At the end of the day, you want to work with people who are friendly, professional and trustworthy and that’s what we strive to be at Ormina.

9. How do you achieve a work/life balance?

It’s hard! When you love your job, you don’t mind working long hours but everyone needs a break. I know that I do better work when I have time to clear my head and so I make sure I prioritise downtime. Of course, it doesn’t always happen like I plan.

10. What advice would you give to others in the industry who would like to follow in your footsteps?

Be curious, never stop learning and ask questions. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in meetings where people have no idea what’s going on but are afraid to ask the obvious question. Just ask the dumb questions, that’s how you learn!

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