Written by Greg Jung
Education, experience and change are the keys to growth
We have traversed the vicissitudes of life while in the midst of a rollercoaster of confusion, anxiety, anger, and fear, all caused by the constant state of the world. In an effort to adapt during these times, you may have discovered new hobbies, discovered your love for a number of reality TV series, moved around the country, and made the decision to go back to school or even become one of the many professionals involved in The Great Resignation.
There is no doubt that this current time in our history is marked by a growing desire and need for personal and professional growth. Many seasons of my life have been marked by a similar desire. This has led me to adopt a mindset focused on distinguishing myself from others in a positive way through the constant pursuit of knowledge. I learned many lessons – I realized that growth is rare, I expanded my capabilities through further education and found my way into the travel insurance industry.
I pursued my first MBA two years after completing my undergraduate studies, and this decision came from a place with limited work experience. My motivation for this choice was rooted in a very academic foundation, as I expected the guidelines to be of great help in applying my skills in the real world. By gaining work experience and pursuing a second MBA in my life later, I was able to get a sense of how education is really complementary to the application as work experiences taught me how, when and where my academic background can make a huge difference.
Gaining real-world work experience, especially in the travel industry, has changed my perspective and motivated me to use a more holistic approach in everything I do, and this type of approach is needed more than ever. When I started my career, taking on a role in marketing meant that you only had a role in marketing. Now, the marketing role can truly function as a blanket title and housing responsibilities in company culture, operations, technology, marketing and even in sales.
Leadership with a holistic approach
Imagine that a company is at the top of its game in terms of visual marketing content; However, they do poorly on business when it comes to very foundational processes, such as customer experience. When negative feedback appears, it not only correlates with the failing division but hinders the growth of the whole company. This is why a holistic approach is so essential in today’s world. It all comes down to how today’s leaders make their decisions and bring about change, aka using a growth mindset, drawing on those acquired skills in design and critical thinking as well as problem-solving.
From my own experience, an excellent example of a holistic approach can be seen when looking at how to address the issue of marketing investments and travel seasonality. For the industry, the second and third quarters are usually assumed to be the best two quarters in terms of sales; Therefore, they affect when and how our money is invested.
However, people are traveling all the time, especially since their previous plans were derailed by the pandemic. In this case, by adopting a holistic approach and looking at the bigger picture, I ask the question “Does the industry dictate seasonality by how we calibrate our marketing spending?” In addition to “What will happen when seasonality is not the driving factor in determining spending?”
By extending the way I evaluated this concept, it enabled me to break down this outdated belief and instead rely on a more calculated approach based on experience and observations.
The future of growth in travel
As I look to the future of the travel and travel insurance industry, there are a number of changes in the business. Like many other types of insurance, travel is largely oriented towards a direct-to-consumer model by relying on technology. Millennials and younger generations are driving this because they want an experience where results are instant, meaning that their insurance is set up within a few clicks and are able to interact digitally in a similar way.
Specifically, in my role as Chief Growth Officer at Seven Corners, I feel optimistic about the increased knowledge of travel insurance among the general public. Before the pandemic, very few people were aware of the need for travel medical insurance; However, it has always been somewhat of a necessity especially when traveling outside the country where your standard health insurance likely won’t cover injury or illness. The pandemic has really highlighted the importance of this type of insurance to consumers who would otherwise overlook it. For Seven Corners as well as other travel insurance companies, the future of travel is really focused on educating the public on how to get there and do it safely.
For the next generation of talent, young professionals will enter an even more vibrant and progressive industry – one that adapts and changes constantly as each new generation of travelers helps shape trends and destinations vary every few years. For these individuals, a growth mindset will be the key to their success. These are three tips young professionals must follow as they pursue a career in the travel industry.
- Looking for career opportunities in consulting: The beauty of consulting or rotational programs is that you are exposed to many industries or multiple aspects of the company. You’ll be better prepared to make critical strategic decisions because this presentation gives you the ability to visualize how potential changes will affect each of the company’s sectors.
- Develop a strong understanding of Analytics and Digital Marketing: A large part of the work we do in this industry is related to the use of data and analytics. In addition, digital marketing is a new field that is constantly evolving. By developing a familiarity with these topics, you will be better equipped than many of your peers.
- Don’t overlook accounting and finance chapters: This is one aspect of my education that I overlooked while working on my undergraduate degree. A background in finance and accounting is greatly appreciated. By having the ability to understand how the financial sector of your organization operates, you are in a better position to come up with effective growth strategies.
As the next generation of professionals looks to join the industry, we know that future success will depend on our ability to educate and connect with the audience. This will always start with educating ourselves, looking inward in the industry to identify and address weaknesses that prevent further adoption. Whether it is addressing ancient beliefs, dealing with a pandemic/global crisis or interpreting and meeting generational differences, travel professionals must rely on a growth mindset as it is a pillar of strategic development and effective communication.
Greg Jung is Chief Growth Officer at Seven Corners Travel InsuranceHeadquartered in Carmel.