Sarah’s career has gone from strength to strength and she has recently become Director of Marketing & Ecommerce at Best Western Hotels. She has worked for the company since 2012, initially as Head of Marketing. We’re looking forward to welcoming Sarah back to campus in the near future to speak to current students about her experience.
We recently caught up with Sarah to ask her why she got more than a degree at Leeds Trinity.
Why did you get more than a degree at Leeds Trinity?
For me it was the practical experience I gained from my year in France – it was real life and enabled me to broaden my horizons. It also gave me the confidence to travel and work in different countries.
What made you choose to attend Leeds Trinity University?
I wanted to combine an academic degree with practical media and marketing experience. The six - week attachments and year in France made the course stand out.
What are your best memories from your time here?My best memories were meeting people who have become lifelong friends and the quality of the lecturers - who all had professional and academic stature. I loved the campus – it was like a big family.
What three words would you use to describe Leeds Trinity?Inspiring, innovative and caring.
How do you feel your time at Leeds Trinity has supported you in your career and life more generally?I believe that the practical skills and work placements that I undertook gave me an immediate head start when compared to peers who did not get the same opportunity at their universities. The course, people that I met and lecturers that I encountered really broadened my horizons and have certainly contributed to my career success.
How did study abroad benefit you?Thanks to my study abroad experience I developed a real love of travel and adventure and that inspired my decision to work within the travel industry.
What have you done since graduating?I joined Best Western Hotels as Head of Marketing in May 2012 and I'm having great fun working with the 285 independent hotels that make up the 'Hotels with Personality' brand. My focus in this role is to challenge conventional hotel marketing and focus firmly on delivering the leading customer experience and inspiring data-led integrated marketing campaigns. Before joining Best Western, I spent six years as Head of Marketing at YHA (Youth Hostel Association) where I was responsible for development of products for the school groups market, delivery of summer camps for more than 10,000 young people as part of a government funded scheme and a brand re-launch. My love of all things travel and tourism developed when I spent time in Sydney, working in the heart of the backpacking industry with bus-tour operators, mainly Oz Experience, Virgin Hostels and a developing Kayak tour company.
Can you tell us more about your current role?I joined Best Western GB in 2012, having worked in the leisure and tourism industry since graduation. I lead a team of people based in GB who deliver multi-channel marketing campaigns aimed at raising the profile of the brand, increasing loyalty and enticing people to become Best Western guests.
I work with international colleagues to develop our global brand strategy for more than 4000 hotels around the world. I am truly passionate about continually improving our customer experience and I am truly fortunate to work within a very talented team.
What advice would you give current students and recent graduates embarking on a similar career path?The most important skill you need to develop is your ability to listen and to grab every meaningful opportunity with a focus on where you want to be. I always recruit for attitude and then train people so that they have the skills to do the job – that is an emerging and important trend. Always take time out to learn new things from the people, places and things that you experience and share the stories.