Marketing director of Airtours
Ø 1) Before reading the text, talk about your working day.
Ø 2) Read the text and among the provided headings choose the most suitable for it:
a)A WORKAHOLIC IN THE HOLIDAY INDUSTRY,
b)WORK AS “DAMN GOOD FUN”,
c)ONE LIFE – ONE JOB,
d)IT’S TRAVEL INDUSTRY’S FRENETIC PACE OF CHANGE THAT CARRIC ENJOYS IN HIS WORK,
e)A MAN WHO IMPROVED AIR-TOURS IMAGE.
Richard Carrick, the sales, marketing and development director of Airtours, abandoned an academic career in tourism planning and consumer behaviour for the holiday industry.
Four years ago he joined Air-tours, the Manchester-based company founded by David Crossland, which has grown rapidly to become the UK’s second-largest package holiday group. The industry is hugely competitive and marked periodically by spectacular failures. Carrick’s marketing style is aggressive.
At 43, he thinks he is “old by marketing standards” and should probably be in a general management role. But Airtours gives him a buzz and is “damn good fun.” He has not been tempted by other offers - apart from one in 1995 from Forte, which he joined as worldwide marketing director of hotels and restaurants. A few months later Granada launched its successful hostile takeover bid, declaring it would sell Forte’s internationals hotels. Carrick rejoined Airtours – “we refer to it as my sabbatical.”
He enjoys the travel industry's frenetic pace of change. “We take 3m people away with us from the UK every year and the public relations issues are enormous - this is a 24-hour job,“ his secretary, agrees. “I don’t think he ever sleeps.”
5.30 am. Carrick wakes at his five-bedroom house on 15 acres of moorland in the Pennines, where he lives with his wife and daughter. He works out for 20 minutes in the gym in his garage and has a stand-up breakfast.
6.30. He drives to his office in an old textile mill at Helmshore in a red BMW 328 sports coupe. He could have had a Jaguar but discovered that the average age of their owners is 52. The black leather interior is spotless. Carrick keeps the car clean “because you don't know who you might have to drive in it.” He is scrupulous about cleanliness and checks to see if my shoes are polished. His own have a military shine. “Appearance is all important and image is all important if you are running a marketing department.”
7.00. A full-length mirror at the entrance to the marketing department allows staff to check if their appearance is up to scratch. Carrick clears his e-mail. His office is small, sparse and tidy with views of sheep grazing on the hillside. He keeps his door open.
7.30. Informal meeting with a “board member about Airtours” 1998-99 holiday plans.
8.00. Drives to Manchester for a board meeting of the group’s airline division.
9.30. Carrick gives a slide presentation on the progress of summer 1998 holidays, which went on sale in May. He talks of profound changes in the way holidays are sold – “it’s now a marketing game.” The recent sales pitch at people on holiday or returning on the group’s airline is reviewed. There are satisfied murmurings about how well the Dominican Republic has been selling. “The only problem is I'm not sure clients know where they are going,” jokes one board member.
10.30. Carrick returns to the office in the BMW. Wearing wraparound black sunglasses, he catches up on messages from his secretary on the car speaker-phone and makes several calls. His dream is to have a country retreat with a recording studio and to learn the electric blues guitar. He has already produced four albums for new artists.
11.00. He monitors the group’s sales figures on his laptop - he checks them every hour or so - does paperwork and reads press reports. Airtours has traditionally suffered from a poor image but Carrick says complaints are now below the industry average after a purge on its hotels. “Customer satisfaction is front of mind but maybe Airtours wasn’t motivated by it five years ago.”
12.00. He drops in on colleagues for a word. The sales and marketing staff are packed tightly into a warren of open-plan spaces and tiny offices. “We’re constantly juggling small spaces,” says Carrick, closing an overflowing cupboard as he passes by.
12.45 pm.Lunch is a sandwich, yoghurt and fruit at his desk while checking e-mail and the sales figures.
1.30. A meeting with the senior marketing manager. They discuss the promotion of new holidays, marketing tie-ups with potential partners and the design of a new brochure aimed at the youth market.
3.00. Tea and a meeting with the marketing manager for cruises. After discussing budgets, Carrick brings out a draft of the cruise brochure with copious red marks cutting out “hyperbole, vacuous, bland and inane comments.”
4.00. Another meeting, this time to discuss the City Breaks programme. Advertisements in specialist opera publications to promote the Verona opera breaks are dismissed as too expensive. “Try “The Lady and People’s Friend” – it’ll work,” says Carrick. “And make sure the sales staff have some idea that Rigoletto is not a sausage but an opera.”
He congratulates the manager on a sales promotion while gently pointing out a missed opportunity. “I’m trying to squeeze the final 5 per cent out of every promotion,” explains Carrick. “There’s always room for improvement,” agrees the young manager soberly.
5.00. Mock-up designs of the new Australia brochure are brought in. Carrick cheerily asks Helen Baines, marketing executive, which she likes best. She is gloomy. “I don’t like any of them - just bits of some of them.” The advertising department has already approved them. Carrick doesn’t like them either. “They are ordinary. The designers need to start again.” Helen is thrilled.
5.30. Discusses plans with his secretary for an imminent all-day marketing meeting, including dress. “They can wear casual clothes so long as they have shiny shoes,” says Carrick. 6.00. A walk through the office in case anyone needs him. A pile of boxes catches his eye. “It’s looking a bit of a mess round here.”
6.30. Goes through messages and paperwork and prepares the marketing presentation.
8.30.Leaves the office. He takes his laptop home at weekends, and when he takes a morning or afternoon off. His idea of a good holiday is “improving product knowledge” and he is full of ideas from his recent Airtours Lake and Mountains holiday.
“You never switch off. I'm constantly looking for new ideas – it can be frustrating for the family but they've learned to live with it,” he says.
Ø 3) Look through the text again and name the sentences which are true:
a)Carric’s dream is to have a country retreat with a recording studio and to learn the electric blues guitar.
b)Carric abandoned an academic career in history for tourism planning.
c)His being busy can be frustrating for the family but they’ve learned to live with it.
d)Carric enjoys a very fast and energetic pace of change in the travel industry.
e)He is scrupulous about cleanliness.
f)He allows his employees to wear casual clothes as long as they have shiny shoes.
g)He goes in for jogging three time a week.