She was an ambitious tourism student at Tio when she started her internship at Sunweb Group. Now, around ten years later, she runs various departments as a Marketing Manager Youth Brands. Gerdien Elkink, an enthusiastic marketer with a passion for travel, feels right at home here. “I never thought I would end up here. This job is very fun and diverse. I love making people happy with great holidays!”
Sunweb, Eliza was Here, GOGO and Beachmasters
Don’t be surprised if the name Sunweb Group does not immediately ring a bell. It is an overarching organisation that consists of several travel brands that you undoubtedly have heard of. Gerdien explains excitedly: “Sunweb, Eliza was Here, GOGO and Beachmasters are Sunweb Group’s best-known brands on the Dutch market. In total, the organisation consists of thirteen brands that are sold from seven different countries, including the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. The travel destinations are mostly located in the south of Europe and in popular winter sports regions.”
Positioning, planning and promoting
As Marketing Manager Youth Brands, Gerdien runs the department of Sunweb Group’s four youth brands: GOGO, Beachmasters, Surfblend and HUSK winter sports. “We are constantly working on the positioning of the brands. Who do we want to be, who do we want to reach and how can we do that? That means drawing up a strategy, planning campaigns and purchasing media. We also differentiate between the sales season and the booking season.”
Sales season versus holiday season
During the sales season, it is paramount that the website performs well and looks great in order to reach the target audience. During the holiday season, Sunweb Group must live up to its promises. “We inspect the locations, organise Totally Summer events and make sure that the tour guides give the guests an awesome and care-free experience. We also want to inspire the young people and artists during the events to be as active as possible on social media and use our name in their posts. The summer ends with a large reunion in the Netherlands, which also marks the start of the next sales season.”
Everyone loves a holiday
Gerdien’s job is very diverse. “In the past, we mostly had to rely on radio and TV. Today, there are many more channels to use, e.g. YouTube, Spotify, Snapchat, Instagram, etcetera. Trends come and go very fast. You have to be flexible and switch quickly, which keeps things challenging. It is awesome to work for a young audience and make great videos, blogs and vlogs. On top of that, selling holidays is simply fantastic. Everyone loves a holiday and it is our job to exceed our guests’ expectations!”
From intern to Marketing Manager
The marketing and business administration aspects of tourism were exactly what drew Gerdien to Tio’s International Tourism Management bachelor. “I also loved the small classes and the extensive practical focus.” It should not come as a surprise that she acquired some of her practical experience ten years ago during an internship at Sunweb Group. She never left the company after that.
“Back then, I never thought I would end up here one day,” she explains excitedly. “I kept finding new challenges within the organisation. I will definitely still be working in the tourism sector in ten years’ time. I want to keep meeting people’s constantly changing needs and continue developing innovative products. Most of all, I want to offer people a fantastic holiday that they will never forget!”
Follow Gerdien on LinkedIn.