It has been nearly a year since I first walked through the doors here at Umi Digital as the new sales & marketing apprentice. Dressed to impress I rocked up to office suited and booted with a full three-piece suit more appropriate for a day in court rather than the overdose of Liverpool memorabilia and crazy shaped mugs of Umi which included enjoying a cold beer with the team on a muddy park floor after work.
The team were all welcoming and supportive of my freshness to adult life and the early mornings that came with it, meaning they all waited at least 2 weeks until softly bullying me on my poor music choices and unfortunate and, of course, highly believable life anecdotes (for a future blog) which did involve me getting a clump of volcanic ash in my right eye during my third week as well as well as fainting on the tube, both traumatic experiences but good character building events that act as fantastic icebreakers on first dates, so… every cloud…
Over the first few weeks, my brain soaked in as much information and Redbull as possible and I soon learnt a multitude of new skills, which included lessons on creating a near perfect cup of coffee and to this day a highly mediocre cup of tea which comes with a risk of infection. Obviously, I am joking about the coffee and I was slung into proceedings with a full run through of daily activities as well as a tragic unplanned first Facebook Live appearance with Steve and Lawrence, which to this day gives me nightmares and my friends the biggest laugh of the day.
The weeks prior to my first day at Umi I was obviously apprehensive at the prospect and felt extremely nervous. The only thing that calmed me down would be my family assuring me that I wouldn’t be expected to do anything serious or important for the first few weeks. This turned out to be the worst and most useless advice as in my first week I was whisked down to The House of Lords with Steve and the lovely Helen (from BETA) to help set up and host a very important event regarding tourism in the UK. This involved me greeting very well-known MP’s and coordinating a variety of different activities. Here below is a picture of me on my first week standing behind a table pretending to be calm and googling MPs names and cleaning my internet history!
The weeks after I carried on working closely with Harry when it came to sales, following him around like a stray dog soaking up as much sales knowledge as possible. This combined with some weekly marketing tasks with Tina, that involved scheduling social media posts for a variety of different hotels and hostels across the country.
The next big event was when Steve and I toddled down to the Amber Hotel to enjoy the Hotel Insight Forum where Steve was appearing on a panel discussing AI in Hotels. This was where I first experienced the joys of filming a Facebook video, which involved me holding up Steve’s phone for 40 minutes in the incorrect screen rotation, making the video nearly impossible to watch and utterly useless for marketing material. The next event worth commenting on was when Steve, Harry, Tina and I made our way down to the Independent Hotel Show in Kensington Olympia, taking me back to a time where I would regularly help out my uncle on a fish stall grabbing peoples attention offering to sell fresh fish & not fresh websites. I was equally smiley both times and had a jaw ache from fake smiling for a few days.
I thoroughly enjoyed the event and most importantly learned a few valuable lessons when it came to networking and ‘professional’ socialising, as well as realising eating a full English breakfast with ketchup with a white shirt on was indeed a terrible idea.
Following on from this, I continued to grow into my role and finally began to grow accustomed to getting up before the sun did. The next big outing was our group Christmas party, where we ventured off over to Clapham junction for a wonderful time taking on a variety of Christmas activities, including the consumption of mulled wine and a vast quantities of beer with some fun and games of indoor mini golf and a literal “trip” over to the roller-disco.
The next few months were filled with even more learning with a more centred approach on marketing and the different responsibilities under the watchful eye of Tina, our head of marketing, helping me to fully understand the role and lending out hours of her time explaining multiple concepts and marketing models.
Overall it has been a crazy year up to this point and I have enjoyed every single part of it (Harry is reading this so I need to say that). From drinking too much Red Bull to accidentally selling a gamified booking engine to a brothel in Kings Cross, either way, I wouldn’t change a thing and am excited for what the future holds!