As one half of the Rosie double act on the Island of Majorca, I thought I’d share 3 of my highlights so far …
1. Back in week 2, I picked up my rental car (a zippy red Corsa) and we went on a road trip to the East, destination HV Majorca. A flagship brand for First Choice, the Holiday Village concept is based on fantastic family entertainment, amazing in-resort activities and 4T+ all-inclusive service.
We’d heard good things about the HV but were truly blown away by the quality of the hotel – from the brand new furnishing and modern décor inside, swim-up rooms bathed in sunshine and a buffet to beat all buffet lunches! Not to mention archery, free coffee and cake bar, basketball court, arts and crafts cabin, beach volleyball area…
But the best part of the day was climbing the high ropes. A slightly nervy experience, I thought it was great fun, testing bravery and physical ability. Watching a 10 year old fly across with a massive smile on his face proved what a valuable addition the High Ropes are for our youngest customers.
2. From the youngest to the oldest, another highlight of mine has been spending time in one of our Thomson Gold Hotels, Picafort Park in Can Picafort. The Holiday Advisors (shout out to Lucy and Louise!) provide our elderly customers with an exceptional level of service, on the spot resolution of complaints and a personal touch. Though Holiday Experience is modernising apace, we must still remember those who appreciate the handwritten notes under the door asking if they enjoyed their excursion or inviting them to the departure meetings.
I spoke to a lot of customers at this hotel and their advocacy of our company is overwhelming. One couple, a Mr and Mrs Healy, have been travelling with us for 14 years – 4 times a year!! They thoroughly enjoyed their holidays but emphasised the lack of recognition they receive from Thomson as return customers. This has been a recurring theme throughout my overseas placement, but hopefully next year with the ‘single view’ of the customer across all customer touch points, Mr and Mrs Healy will finally feel rewarded for their loyalty.
3. Last week Rosie and I met with Dan Goldspink, Purchasing Manager. He explained the different types of hotel contracts and commitment levels we have in 150 (!) hotels in Majorca. Having worked in Product during my second assignment on the scheme, his explanation of how he uses their bed briefs as a shopping list with hoteliers, helped to join the dots in my head to understand the whole process.
It’s Dan’s job to negotiate with these hoteliers out in Majorca, before and during season to optimise our margins. We sat in on a trading call with Product to discuss the low occupancies of some hotels as we enter the shoulder period of October when bookings dwindle.
Dan also gave us a great insight into the frustrations of pursuing an 80% exclusivity target, as when occupancy runs low (one hotel at 18% for last week) hoteliers would naturally want to look for as many partners as possible to fill the rooms, rather than solely relying on TUI UK.
I’ve had a fantastic time overseas and am very grateful to UK HR and Holiday Experience for including this in the graduate scheme. I’ve gained valuable knowledge and developed recommendations about the overseas operation that I can take back to Head Office and share with my colleagues. Now I can see the ‘method in the madness’ in sending us away for 5 weeks in the Majorcan sun as we return as well-rounded candidates for managerial roles at TUI – UK and beyond.