Gemma Budd, retail marketing manager at Trek America, began her journey studying English at the University of Chichester, and although she initially didn’t know the career path she wanted to take, travel was always something that fascinated her.
Following a post-university job with a Sussex newspaper, in which a marketing-focused position was created specifically for her, Budd decided to set off on her travels.
“The job at the paper was a great way for me to get into content generation and learn a little bit about advertising and marketing; however, I always wanted to go travelling so I saved up for around a year and then went off for about 11 months. I travelled to south-east Asia and Australia, and came back via Nepal and India.”
Fresh from her adventures and raring to get back into the workplace, Budd moved to London where she accepted a graduate marketing scheme with the Arcadia Group.
Realising the fashion industry “wasn’t for her”, Budd then made the move to Flight Centre and into the position of brochure and marketing executive before progressing to become brochure and marketing manager.
A move into consumer marketing led to a marketing executive position at Round the World Experts, a role which Budd attributes as being her career highlight.
“I joined Round the World Experts at a very interesting time because we were positioning the brand towards targeting the baby-boomer generation.
We had to create a new website from scratch and I was involved in its design and content generation. We took the brand from something that was pretty dated and made it modern and smartphone-optimised.”
Budd stayed with Flight Centre for six years until recently accepting a new job as Trek America’s retail marketing manager.
“I wanted to work for a smaller company to see how a smaller brand operates and also to experience a complete shift in demographic. I’ve been targeting the baby-boomer generation for some time now, so I’m keen to learn about the youth market.”
Sharing the best piece of career advice she has received, Budd professes that self-education should never take a back seat.
“I’ve had a variety of roles and I think it’s important to always keep a grasp on any knowledge that you’ve gleaned. Learn from your peers and colleagues and look for opportunities – if there are any seminars or educational events take time to attend them.”
On the subject of TTG’s 30 Under 30 Programme, Budd urges young people to consider getting involved.
“It gives you the opportunity to learn from people that have been in the industry before you. I think it’s great for knowledge sharing, communication and understanding how the sector works.”
She has the following advice for individuals beginning their careers in the travel industry: “Work hard and take every opportunity you can get. Constantly look out for any opportunities, whether that’s in or outside your current role.
It’s always good to have an all-round understanding of your business and the travel industry in general.”
Paul Nelson, World Travel Market portfolio press & PR manager – sponsors of Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders – says:
“Budd’s hard-working attitude, focus on looking for opportunities and making sure she has gleaned a general understanding of both the business she works for and the wider industry will see her become one of tomorrow’s travel leaders.
“This approach has clearly worked throughout Budd’s career, with a newspaper creating a marketing position for her when she had just left university.
“Budd has led a varied career, working across a range of roles and businesses – both big and small and in a variety of industries that target a spectrum of customers, from the youth market to baby boomers. She is a great addition to TTG’s 30 Under 30 programme.”