Two weeks before finishing my first placement in E-commerce, I found out that I would be moving to Product Planning for my second placement. In a nutshell, Product Planning is where we price our holidays, we decide on which hotels are in our programme for the following season and we keep track of the quality of our hotels. The Product Planning team also works very closely with Product Development, who work on TUI’s Product strategy and come up with all the new hotel concepts (these are the guys that have all the insider knowledge!).
The first couple of weeks of a placement are always a bit of a blur, what with meeting the team, getting briefed on the projects you will be working on as well as asking hundreds of questions, and Product Planning was no different – luckily for me, the team managed to put up with my constant pestering (thanks team!).
I was lucky enough to be working on a variety of different projects; the first one I got stuck into was an analysis of one of our competitors’ new products. Being the first thing I did, this was great to get to grips with not only our competitors’ product range, but also our own. By doing the comparison I learnt a lot about our current product offering as well as how it has evolved over the years.
After that came some analysis on our Self Catering range and I had to look into what worked well for us, what didn’t work as well and what strategy we should put in place going forward. I also helped the team prepare hotel business cases, which is basically where we ask the board of directors to approve a multi-million pound investment for a hotel. Not only was this an eye opener into the whole process but I also got to present to the Commercial Director, Andrew Flintham, which you don’t get to do every day.
My manager was keen for me to gain some exposure into the team engagement and how this is quite high up on everyone’s agenda. I helped develop a monthly team ‘healthcheck’ to measure how motivation and engagement was in the team, as well as come up with some improvements. Every year TUI allows us to volunteer for a worthwhile cause in the local community, for one day. These are called ‘Discovery Days’ and I arranged for the team to do a day helping out at Luton’s Hat Factory, which turned out to be a great day, with a team dinner and drinks afterwards.
On top of the projects I was involved in, I was also lucky enough to get the opportunity to go to Crete, on a resort visit. I saw everything from our 5* adults only hotels (which were amazing!) to hotels in the process of being built and even a plot of
land that we could build on (see photos!). The trip really allowed me to put more of the pieces of the puzzle together, to give me a good understanding as to how a meeting with a land owner can turn into one of our hotel concepts (i.e. Sensatori). It was also great to meet the Product Planning teams from other source markets – I even got to practice my German on the German Product Team, albeit being a bit rusty!
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Product Planning, I felt like a part of the team (and quite sad to leave after the three months!), got to grips with the commercial side of the tour operator and also got to see the essence of our business – the Cretan holidays that we work hard to plan for all of our customers.