Career in focus: Emma Prineas
EMMA Prineas, Head of Marketing, AAT Kings & Inspiring Journeys
1. What does your role involve and how long have you been in your current position?
As Head of Marketing for AAT Kings & Inspiring Journeys, my role is to shape and develop all brands within the suite, globally. This comprises digital, retail and consumer marketing strategy and execution to global markets including Australia, US, Europe & Asia. I’ve been in the role for 10 months.
2. How did you start out in your career? Were you always destined to work in the travel industry?
I started out working in the finance industry, but quickly realised I didn’t have a passion for it! Within the first two years of my career, I moved to tourism, starting out in aviation, and moving into resorts and later cruising.
3. Did you complete formal qualifications, and do you think they are important?
Yes, I completed a Bachelor of Business with Distinction at UTS, with majors in Marketing & Finance. Certainly, I feel that this gave me the necessary soft skills and theoretical framework to put in place in the workplace. University taught me how to seek answers and be self-motivated.
4. What do you love about your job?
I love travelling, if it was an option I’d travel endlessly! Working in travel has allowed me infinite opportunities to see places I’d only dreamed: private islands in the Bahamas, private jets over Mitchell Falls, even working in a Sri Lankan seaside village.
On the marketing side, I love the creativity, the constant drive to disrupt the status quo, and thrive on digital transformation and new marketing techniques. It could never be boring, and always keeps your mind ticking over!
5. What were some of the greatest challenges you’ve had in your career?
The move for travel companies to transform digitally, this is typically being driven by marketing teams, along with the change that marketing is more and more becoming the strategic driver for business, has probably been my greatest challenge. Marketing now touches the entire business, and is responsible for the entire customer journey, which means our brand equity is challenged at all touch-points, and we need to be sure that our core brand purpose is felt through the entire business. It’s not easy to make this happen when you’re taking over 250,000 passengers a year.
6. What factors were central to your success?
A growth mindset has, I think, been essential; the drive to continue to learn and develop — and not be afraid to ask questions. Hard work, simple language, taking opportunities, and constantly driving to make every single piece the best it can be.
7. Did you have a mentor, and if so, how did you find them?
I accidentally stumbled onto a mentor when I got a new boss in a role in London. He was the first business MD I’d known to come from a marketing background and steered the business to be commercially focussed. He turned a business in decline, in the middle of the GFC, into one that grew at almost 30% YOY. More than that, I saw him turn around a business where the staff were flat, and unmotivated, into one where everyone was passionate, believed in the ethos of the organisation, and were truly a family, supporting each other in excellence. We are still in touch today, over 10 years later.
8. What are the keys to good business?
A happy team will always go over and above for a supportive manager. I think it’s important to walk the walk, be present, show the team that you are there to support them, and do whatever is necessary in that moment to make the business grow. Keeping all staff feeling like they are in an environment of equality and respect breeds empowerment, gives space for great ideas to develop, and builds strong bonds. A team won’t be empowered by talk of profit or revenue growth, but they will go over and above if the business and the management team truly stand for something.
9. What advice would you give to others in the industry who would like to follow in your footsteps?
Keep learning, don’t be afraid to ask questions, be flexible with your mind, keep a growth mindset. Above all, value the relationships you make — some of my closest friendships have been formed in the industry.