In the second of a new series of blog posts for Women in Tourism, we’re going to be finding out more about our colleagues across the industry. In this post we interview Helen Adams, Marketing Manager for Lothian Buses, Edinburgh Trams and Edinburgh Bus Tours.
Tell us about yourself and what you do
I am the Marketing Manager for Lothian Buses, Edinburgh Trams and Edinburgh Bus Tours with a special focus on trams and tours. Edinburgh Bus Tours is Scotland’s third most popular paid for visitor attraction after Edinburgh Castle and Edinburgh Zoo and Edinburgh Trams welcomed some 5.1 million passengers on board its first full year of operation.
Part of a busy department of eight, we’re charged with letting visitors and local residents know about our services as well as delivering commercial campaigns. I’ve been in this role for three years and before that I worked for a PR agency, and before that, I worked for the Edinburgh Dungeon.
My other role is as Elected Chair of Tourism Society Scotland. In this capacity I lead a committee of twelve in delivering industry events to foster knowledge sharing and networking opportunities for Tourism Society members based in Scotland. More information is available at tourismsociety.org.
What areas of the industry (and any other projects) are you involved in?
Certainly Tourism Society Scotland keeps me busy alongside my day job; currently we’re working with Women In Tourism (WIT) on an upcoming event on 17 March as part of Scottish Tourism Week. In the session we’ll be the first to hear the results of WIT’s industry survey, which will be discussed by panelists including Tourism Society member Juliana Delaney, CEO of the Continuum Group alongside other senior women in tourism.
Between 2013/14 I was one of the first to complete Edinburgh Napier University’s Destination Leaders Programme and I’m involved in various other groups including ASVA; and for marketing, organisations including the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Marketing Society Scotland.
What were your motivations for getting involved with Women in Tourism?
Gender equality is an important topic and my interest was first sparked when I read Cheryl Sandberg’s book LeanIn, which I’d recommend to anyone – man or woman. It is proven that more diverse work forces are generally happier and more productive so it makes sense that a range of industries are exploring this topic. Currently I have a mentor thanks to a Women in Marketing scheme coordinated by Marketing Society Scotland.
I’m looking forward to hearing what the outcomes are of Women In Tourism’s industry survey at our event on 17 March. I’m sure they will make for an interesting discussion between our panel and audience.
What areas of the tourism industry are you particularly interested in?
I’d say tourism as an industry is well supported by various groups – membership groups, networking groups and otherwise so there are plenty of opportunities to pursue particular areas of interest.
Personally I get a lot out of my Tourism Society membership as I find it’s a good way to keep up with UK-wide industry updates and to hear from professionals working in all areas of the industry – hospitality, attractions, transport operators, academics… the list goes on!
I also really enjoy being part of groups including the Edinburgh Capital Group that brings together attractions and other organisations for informal networking at a local level.
What aspirations do you have for Women in Tourism and its development?
I hope the event on 17 March will kick start an important discussion and identify key drivers that WIT can focus on to support gender equality in an industry that certainly enjoys a large female workforce.
Any advice for women just starting out in the industry?
Go to as many events as you can, meet lots of people and start to create your professional network. Look after your professional relationships and learn from those around you. While I applied for my very first job after my studies I’ve not been through a traditional application process since – it’s a cliche but it really is who you know, not what you know.