by Robin Nierynck
Travelling for work: postcards from the international marketing team
The international marketing team supports our global brands in achieving marketing excellence. In practice, this means helping our marketing teams worldwide to maximise acquisition and retention of customers in an efficient way. In order to do so, the international marketing team often visits our brands in different countries around the world.
The team talks about the highs and lows of travelling for work, memorable anecdotes, and what’s in the pipeline for the coming year.
Vice President of International Marketing
Countries visited in 2018: Colombia, Turkey, Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, USA, UK
In the pipeline for 2019: Uruguay, Argentina, USA, Turkey, UAE, Saudi Arabia
We travel for work as needed. Usually this means once or twice per quarter, but we generally try and have a face to face with local CMOs on a quarterly basis with at least 2 visits to the local market annually.
Reasons for travelling can be anything from a new competitor entering the market, brand positioning workshops, strategy reviews or partner presentations (typically key accounts/ restaurant summits), to simple check-ins with markets and understanding how local markets are developing.
I’d travelled fairly extensively before joining Delivery Hero, but not so much to Asia, so Hong Kong was definitely a great experience. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were also very interesting because they are not places that you would typically travel to outside business.
The best thing about travelling for work is definitely getting to meet with the local teams and experience local cultures. The hospitality wherever you go is second to none, everyone is genuinely proud of the business they’ve created and the country they live in and eager to show it off. We have an amazingly talented and diverse set of local teams, it always surprises me that despite so many cultural differences the challenges and opportunities are the same around the globe. Of course, being a food delivery company, food always ranks highly on the agenda and I’ve been lucky to experience some great cuisines on my travels.
One of the worst things is that living in Berlin means there are no direct flights to anywhere further than Turkey, which means a lot of layovers. Sometimes having an overnight flight and going straight to the office for a meeting can be tough but you learn to deal with it. The most difficult journey I did was to Bogota for a meeting around competition I spent as long travelling to and from as I did in the country! One thing I’m lucky with is I don’t tend to suffer too much from Jet Lag, but when I do get it it can actually be pretty productive for getting work done.
We have an amazingly talented and diverse set of local teams, it always surprises me that despite so many cultural differences the challenges and opportunities are the same around the globe.
People may ask, “Is the travel truly necessary?” It’s a fair comment, there is rightly a lot of press at the moment about climate change and the negative impact of air travel on the environment. We try to limit travel wherever possible and already use video and web conferencing for day to day business. However, local relationships and understanding the nuances of the market are so important to our success that travel really is an essential part of the job.
Best travel anecdote
There are too many to count, but here are my favorite three:
- In Uruguay I was lucky enough to have a free weekend and the local team hired a car for me. I drove up the coast to a place called Cabo Polonia, which is 10 km from the main road across sand dunes, it’s only reachable in a big truck and has no electricity. That was a very cool place. Unfortunately there were also no ATMs or card payments so I quickly ran out of money and had nothing for breakfast the next day.
- My son is five and always wants to see out the window whenever we talk and I’m abroad. He now gets disappointed if it’s not night where I am when it’s day at home.
- Whilst in Kuwait and not understanding a word in Arabic, I ordered and ended up with a bowl of sour yoghurt and a sour yoghurt drink for my evening meal.
Senior Director International Marketing
Countries travelled to in 2018: Austria, Sweden, Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, Greece
2019: Sweden, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Turkey, Austria (to be visited throughout the year)
In 2018, I was responsible for the Europe segment, and as I myself am German I didn’t see countries I hadn’t been to before. Still, it was an interesting experience to see these countries with the eyes of a local going out for dinner and nightlife with the local team.
My favorite place out of the countries I have visited so far is still Greece due to the super friendly local team and them having their own barista in the office – making one of the best coffees I have ever had!
Seeing as I’m now taking over the Americas segment as well in 2019 I am very much looking forward to traveling to South America where I have never been before.
Running into the only Hungarian person you have ever known in a 1.8M population city which you are visiting for the first time for 5 days – what are the odds?
The worst thing about travelling I would say is feeling unproductive, jet-lag, uncomfortable flights being squeezed into an economy seat as a rather tall person.
Best travel anecdote
- While visiting Budapest last year I coincidentally ran into an old Hungarian friend of mine who I worked with a couple of years ago in Berlin. Running into the only Hungarian person you have ever known in a 1.8M population city which you are visiting for the first time for 5 days – what are the odds?
[Dan: I actually also bumped into my Greek neighbor from university who I hadn’t seen in 20 years in a restaurant in Athens when out with the local team.]
Head International Marketing
Countries travelled to in 2018: UAE, Turkey, Hungary
2019: UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kuwait
I travel for work as is required. Sometimes there will be nothing for several months, then multiple trips at once – it really depends on the current situation.
Usually travel involves positioning workshops, providing support to new brands in the Delivery Hero network, shared projects and collaboration with local teams.
I’d never been to the Gulf area before working for Delivery Hero, so that was very interesting as something new and different. My favourite visits though were to Bogotá and Montevideo.
One of the best things is the great food and, during the winter months, the sun and warmth! Meeting the local team and getting cultural insights is always great too, and helps a lot with building better working relationships. Also as Marketeers it’s really important for us to understand the context of the local market in order to do our jobs more effectively.
As Marketeers it’s really important for us to understand the context of the local market in order to do our jobs more effectively.
The downsides are losing days (often on weekends) for travelling, not being able to keep up with regular work easily, being away from my family for more than a couple of days.
Best travel anecdote
- Several fun evenings with the local teams which I don’t think I can write about here!
- On my first trip to Kuwait there was a mistake with the hotel booking and we ended up staying in some guarded hotel compound, about 45 minutes outside of the city in the desert. I woke up on the first day to a sandstorm and the taxi ride to the office took as past herds of camels. A bit different to my morning bike ride in Berlin!