Haven’t we all wondered what is must be like to work in luxury travel, putting in the hard graft to review secret hideaways across the world?

Is it all white beaches and daiquiris for travel marketing teams? Clair O’Neill, marketing manager at i-escape, tells us about a typical day in her working life.

As usual, if you’ve itchy feet yourself, head on over to the Econsultancy jobs board to browse lots of marketing and digital vacancies.

Econsultancy: Please describe your job.

Clair O’Neill: When I’m not staring vicariously at the images on our website, I’m responsible for driving traffic to i-escape.com. This involves managing our search marketing strategy, developing exciting brand partnerships, working with agencies to run display retargeting campaigns and analysing the digital data we gather from our acquisition channels. 

As a team we’re working on various remarketing techniques; from cart abandonment to price comparison widget trials. We also spend time building relationships with liked-minded brands and influencers to help spread awareness of i-escape.

E: Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?

CO: I sit in a marketing team of three with two experienced marketing executives. I report into one of the founders of i-escape.

Our team sits alongside the talented editorial team, which writes and edits all of our detailed reviews; and keeps the website looking beautiful.  

clair o'neill 

E: What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?

CO: In any marketing role you need to be able to clearly demonstrate how your strategies and campaigns add value. The belt-tightening of the recent recession has become the norm for many organisations so it’s vital for marketers to create budgets on a shoestring and make decisions based on the data you have available. In other words you need to be analytical and have a firm grip on tools like Google Analytics or Supermetrics. 

In the fast-paced digital marketing industry it’s also important to be agile and adaptable when necessary. This role is focused on digital so understanding SEO, PPC, social media, analytics, various CMS, CRMs and email platforms is essential.

E: Tell us about a typical working day…

CO: Each morning we get our stats report through, which tells us our revenue figures for the previous day. I’ll usually open Google Analytics to see daily traffic performance and check how all of our campaigns are performing. 

Today I finished writing a blog on a recent visit to Sri Lanka (I know, super lucky). I rarely get time to write in this role so it’s a real treat for me now. I then checked our web project management tool to see if there were any technical tickets that needed a response from me. We’ve recently had a technical search audit done by a third-party so we’re working through sitemaps, canonicals, internal linking and structured data – you know, all of the really exciting stuff.

This afternoon I’ll be getting my head into an email campaign and creating dashboards for Google and Bing paid ads as we’re going to manage these in-house soon. I’ve recently found out about the Google Analytics add-on for Google Sheets so am interested to find out how that works and I’m also looking into the Google AdWords reporting API. 

E: What do you love about your job? What sucks?

CO: I love that each day is different, especially when you work in modern organisations that let you carve out your own role based on your strengths.

The obvious perk at i-escape is being able to review incredible places across the world. I’ve been lucky enough to review a bohemian beach villa on the south coast of Sri Lanka and most recently a cosy cabin in Charlestown, Cornwall.

Downsides? More than ever marketers need to demonstrate how our strategies add value, which is totally fair enough, but not all marketing strategies bring in measureable income, and it’s sometimes a struggle to bring boards around to less tangible aspects of marketing like brand awareness.  


E: What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?

CO: At i-escape, our main objective is to get people to our website and make a booking. This isn’t always easy as the competition is strong. Another one of our aims is to build on our mailing list and social media numbers. 

Our analytics tools allow us to see revenue from all of our marketing campaigns, but as purchasing a holiday isn’t usually an impulsive decision, we use lots of other metrics to measure performance.

Some of these include mobile and desktop conversion rates, time on site, bounce rates and abandonment rates. For PPC we keep a close eye on cost per acquisition and cost per click – but we also look closely at different types of conversion in Google Analytics and AdWords. Some conversions are first-click and others are assisted or last-click – we’re very aware of attribution modelling but still learning how to put this into practice. 

E: What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?

CO: Free ones!

There are so many free tools out there that are invaluable to any digital marketer. The usual suspects like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools and social media platforms like Tweetdeck and HootSuite. 

I use Moz for its SEO tools including its crawler and rank tracker. Not only that but it has a community of very helpful search experts that have saved me on many occasions. 

The free Supermetrics add-on for Chrome is great for feeding your Google Analytics reports into Google Sheets. I’ve only just learnt about this, but it looks great. The paid version allows you to integrate AdWords and Bing Ads, among others.

I really love the Genius Scan app too, always comes in handy for scanning documents on mobile and emails them to you as a PDF.

E: How did you get started in the digital industry, and where might you go from here?

CO: I’ve been a marketer for seven years now, working both agency and client-side. I’m lucky enough to have worked in marketing teams at organisations that I am hugely fond of like Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Good Energy and Send a Cow. 

I joined a digital marketing agency while I was at university and worked as an unpaid intern a day or so a week. That really put me in good stead to find a job in digital. I’d recommend doing an internship, but a paid one if you can find it! 

I am also studying towards a CIM Professional Diploma in Marketing. I’d really recommend doing some sort of Continued Professional Development (CPD) as it does help get you noticed. 

As I’m only on a maternity cover here I don’t know what the future holds for me yet; I’m really pleased to be working in the travel sector though as it is very exciting and has its obvious perks! 

E: Which brands do you think are doing digital well?

CO: Personally I love Bloom & Wild’s digital presence; their app is amazing and so easy-to-use. I really like the Natural Cycles app, too – what a great idea. 

E: Do you have any advice for people who want to work in digital?

CO: Make sure you set up your desk properly and take regular breaks away from the screen. Try to stay active and get the odd massage each month if you can. You’re probably going to be at your desk a lot.