I am Bradley Cottrell. For my internship semester in the Bachelor of Arts in International Hotel Management program at Royal Roads University, I have stayed in Victoria, BC and have been working at the corporate office of Tourism Victoria, which is a non-profit destination marketing organization for the city. My official title during this internship is the Destination Marketing Intern and a large portion of my day is spent engaging the community of members and fans of Tourism Victoria in meetings, events and social media.
Being from Calgary, Alberta, I had moved to Victoria specifically for school at Royal Roads University. I have grown to love this city, and felt that with my previous marketing background that a corporate position was the best to go after. Although the program is called international, staying local where I could build upon the reputation and brand that Royal Roads has established gave me great leverage into finding an internship that matched my personality and interest. This also has also given me a strong possibility of turning an internship and education into a full career with many paths to pursue.
My work at Tourism Victoria is varied and I do not have a set day by any means. The only constants I can count on day-to-day is the three kilometre walk in and the three kilometre walk home along the Songhees West Song Walkway. I love that living in a smaller city I have the ability to walk to work every day even though I do not live in the core.
Also, since Victoria has one of the only functioning inner harbours in the world, I get some pretty cool scenes along the way like this:
I am usually up around 5:30 a.m. and get a breakfast meal in my belly to start the day. I like to do some light exercise, shower and pack some snacks and a lunch before heading off to work to start at 8:30 a.m. When I started, I needed about an hour to walk the 3 km’s into the core from my home. After buying some proper footwear and not stopping to take pictures for a blog, I cut that time down to about 35 minutes. In comparison to living and working in Calgary where I lived outside the downtown core, I would have an hour drive minimum at best most days and after a snowfall, usually much more.
Once at work, I like to check out the analytics and statistics of how various projects are going since the day before. In my two months at Tourism Victoria, a couple large-scale, never before done, experiential marketing campaigns were launched in target market cities such as Vancouver, Seattle and Calgary. Being able to work with and learn from the Director of Destination Marketing, Trina Mousseau, has been an experience so positive that I struggle to adequately describe it.
A large part of gathering tangible data to analyze the next day and making sure key marketing messages are received by the target markets is interacting with both the Tourism Victoria membership companies, as well as the community at large. The Twitter hashtag #Bradtheintern was specifically created by Margaret Doyle with me in order to brand myself within Tourism Victoria as a social contact. This has been picked up by some of the most influential people in Victoria’s hospitality industry and with most things so far in my internship, I feel honored to be part of it.
Social Media is an ongoing project throughout the day and I often times find myself adding comments, answering questions and conversing with the community on Facebook and Twitter. Something that has made this blog post vastly easier to compose is that I have been tasked with reviving the “Going Local” blog for the company. This plan behind this blog was originally for many industry and community experts to impart knowledge that the average visitor would not know and help them get a more rewarding tourist experience. Being that I am not an expert at anything (except maybe procrastinating writing any blogs), the scope of “Going Local” has changed slightly to provide a local tourist point of view from a perspective of someone who lives in the city, but is new to the experience. My fit in the role was obviously an easy choice. The blog has taken me all over the city and I have had a wonderful experience being a local tourist. I get away with asking all the silly questions and have an easy time making light of it because there is no language or culture barrier.
These are about the only regular activities I do each day. Many other tasks fill up my time, as I am sort of a “Johnny on the Spot” jack-of-all-trades type person around the office. Each day absolutely flies by, and I rarely even stop to take a lunch break. Whether I am creating a potential marketing campaign to launch on short notice, writing a press release, going to festivals and events like the Dragon Boat Festival, I am motivated and excited by the prospects of what another day will bring.
While my internship may not have the glamour of being in an exotic land or tropical location, there is a quantifiable take away that I get from being able to attend meetings and shake hands with the owners and executive managers of the hospitality businesses in Victoria. Between the education with Royal Roads University and the hands on experience I have received with Tourism Victoria, I have no doubt that I will be able to join many of my classmates and alumni in going international once again when the right opportunity comes along.