Written by Hilary Gorbould- Marketing Assistant
As March approaches, it marks the halfway point of my 12-month student placement with YHA as a Marketing Assistant. The past 6 months have flown by and I’ve already learnt so much about marketing, YHA and the 9-to-5 life. It’s been a unique experience to say the least – never did I think on a placement year I’d be planning to jump out of a plane.
I am currently studying Communications and Media studies at Loughborough University and signed up to take my third year out to take on an industrial placement. A keen traveller myself and living just ten minutes up the road from Head Office, YHA seemed like the perfect placement. And it has been so much more than what I expected it to be.
My role is to support the Network Marketing manager and my main responsibilities include supporting our hostels within the network. Managing our AV (AV is in-hostel audio and visual media, for example a television screen in the lounge or reception. The screens display short clips which can relate to different things, for example promoting our menu or our other hostels in our network. AV also includes the music that is played in hostels, which varies depending on hostel location.) has been a really insightful project as we decided to recreate all of our current content to give it a cleaner look and feel which would meet our current brand standards. This has taught me a lot about building relationships and working with agencies and creating content for different purposes and audiences.
My typical day starts with answering emails in the marketing inbox which usually consists of queries from hostel staff. I then work on the different projects which I’m involved with, this ranges from interpretation projects to competitor analysis. This placement has not been what I expected at all – I thought I’d be doing administration and making cups of tea! I’m so grateful to have been trusted with interesting projects and responsibilities. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working on interpretation at hostels, a recent project being working with The National Forest Company on installing interpretation at YHA National Forest to create a more forestry feel inside the hostel to match the outside surroundings. We’re also currently working on interpretation projects at our London sites and YHA Truleigh Hill.
Working closely with hostels has meant I’ve had the opportunity to the most northern point of the country (Berwick) to the very opposite end (Brighton). I can confirm that YHA never fails to defy my expectations. YHA hostels are in the most amazing locations and buildings, my favourite being YHA Boggle Hole which is hidden in an old smuggler’s cove on the North East coast. It is so unique, quirky, and the beach is on the doorstep – literally!
I have been fortunate enough to support other projects within the Communications team and the Digital Marketing team. A personal highlight has been organising YHA’s first influencer event to promote our Supper Club menu within hostels which was held at YHA Castleton. I helped source and secure various influencers who fit our brand and once we had all met at the hostel we were taken on a guided walk up to Hollins Cross. Afterwards, I encouraged everyone to get involved with board games with a few drinks and then we sat down for Supper Club, all in all a very sociable evening. It was a really successful event and amazing experience!
Whilst I’ve worked hard, I’ve also enjoyed the social aspects of the placement too. I’ve met lovely people, explored the country, made a best friend and (perhaps, regrettably) signed up for a skydive. Who knows what the next six months will bring!