Haaga-Helia Projects & Experience
Date: 2013 – 2017
Location: Porvoo, Finland
- Matka Nordic Travel Trade Fair
- Brand Image Research – St. Peterline
- Travel Management 2.0 & Hansel LTD.
- Bachelor’s Thesis
The video above is a short documentary by J. Sierra, it features the creative learning environment I was in during my studies.
I started studying at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in September 2013 in the bachelor’s degree programme of Tourism and Events Management, specialization in corporate travel, on the Porvoo Campus.
Studying in Haaga-Helia is very practise-oriented, enabling students to get experience in working for real companies. I didn’t have much work experience before I started my studies, so I really liked that we were given the chance to do real-life projects, many of which were international. In Haaga-Helia, many of the projects and tasks are done in mixed groups, which has taught me a lot about teamwork and leadership.
What did I learn
- Learning a new way of working (inquiry-based learning philosophy) and from little to no traditional hierarchical classrooms, including teachers and students.
- International and team-based way of working.
- Gained opportunities for professional networking and multicultural encounters.
- Gained new perspectives across different industries.
- Collaboration and creative problem-solving in projects.
- Entrepreneurial thinking.
- Communication, production and sales.
- Gained experience and insight into events management and corporate travel management.
- A holistic understanding of tourism as a way of global business.
- Tourism Business in a Global Context
- Responsible Development of Tourism Destinations
- Production and Sales of Travel and Tourism Services
- Corporate Travel and Meeting Management
- Strategic Event Solutions
- Social Media in Marketing
- Travel Experience Design in the Digital Age
Learning by doing
In my studies, I learned through practice by actively engaging in real company projects as a part of our studies. This prepared me better for work-life and helped me adapt theory into practice also. By this, I have learned to challenge myself, do things faster and more efficiently and evaluate myself.
Self-leadership and team orientation was certainly a highlight as well because group work skills and getting along with different types of people and from different cultures is needed in almost every workplace.
Projects I worked on
The projects I had worked on were about various topics each semester, commissioned by different companies. I have done a project about brand image research for a Russian Cruise line company, a travel management research for a Finnish procurement firm with the studies taken place in both Finland and Germany, company visits to Estonia, and organizing Haaga-Helia’s presence at a major trade show event in Helsinki, as well as many smaller assignments and events projects in multicultural, multidisciplinary teams. I also got the chance to complete my internship at a destination marketing and consulting company in Finland.
In addition, my specialization studies in corporate travel management led me to a job position as a travel management and events assistant at the United Nations World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER), which was a major highlight during my studies!
Matka Nordic Travel Trade Show Event Project
My first project with the degree programme, we were assigned to organize, manage, and set up the fair stand and participation of Haaga-Helia at Matka 2014 Nordic Travel Fair in Helsinki. The Matka Nordic Travel Fair is the largest annual travel trade show fair in Northern Europe, brining industry enterprises, guest speakers, and visitors globally.
We created and worked in 5-6 diverse small teams to be responsible to manage the project, ranging from a logistics team, PR and marketing team, to partnerships team and more. Our end goal was to promote our stand, network, and learn the processes of this event participation. In this project, my role was to serve as the team leader in the Business Travel Forum team. This team was responsible for Haaga-Helia’s representation at the B2B trade show days. I learned not only leadership skills, but also how to network with industry professionals in Haaga-Helia’s interest.
Travel Management 2.0 & Hansel Ltd Project
Travel Management 2.0 Study
Through this project, we tried to understand and glean insight into the Future of Travel Management. In order to find the answer, we needed to collect research material through questionnairs to key stakeholders e.g business travellers, in both Helsinki, Finland and by traveling to Germany at ITB Berlin – the world’s largest tourism trade fair, where companies represented at the fair include hotels, tourist boards, tour operators, system providers, airlines, car rental companies, and other service providers.
In the key findings of our study, we found the Future Business Traveller wants to:
- monitor the impacts of travelling.
- Find the greenest most sustainable travelling and lodging options.
- Have target specific ancillary services.
- Compare service reviews.
- Use public transportation and innovative travelling alternatives.
Hansel Ltd Study
In addition to the Travel Management 2.0 research, our group conducted a study for Hansel Oy in order to know the current status of travel management in Finland. Hansel is owned by the state of Finland and acts as the government’s central purchasing body. Hansel is also responsible for managing the travel for all government officials.
We interviewed Travel Mangers of around 20 government and private companies to get the answer of the research question. It was a good experience to learn about different steps involved in business travel management. Additionally, it helped us to make new connections in the Tourism industry.
Brand Image and Customer Satisfaction Research Project
For this project, we collected research material through two survey questionnaires to conduct our study on brand image and customer satisfaction for St.Peterline, a Russian Cruise company which operates from St.Petersburg, Helsinki, Tallinn, and Stockholm.
The purpose of the study was to provide insight and help St.Peterline to improve their services and marketing campaigns. From this project, I learned about the importance of branding and marketing in the tourism industry, as well as how to conduct survey research. I had the opportunity to travel to Russia and to experience the “product and service” which we were studying. My team and I surveyed participants publically around the city of St.Petersburg, Helsinki, and on-board the ship itself.
My bachelor’s thesis was in the form of a part literature review and a portfolio type thesis. The thesis was rather unconventional as the thesis was primarily based on a business idea I had developed and it’s outcome. A white-labeled digital marketing agency focused on the travel and tourism industry. I had built and designed the website and created all the content, including many article-blog pieces on certain topics, particularly search engine optimization (SEO). Much of the practical sections to the thesis was knowledge shared through that insight. It was beneficial as I was able to bring value to the reader in a very practucal way and learn about the general topic of digital marketing in the travel and tourism industry.
The thesis was also the basis for my aspirations to go further into digital marketing, which then led me to a master’s degree in the field. I have since significantly improved academically and as a practitioner.
Other Cases and Projects
Google Online Marketing Challenge
(GOMC) an experiential ‘DMCC’ student project for a Non-Profit organization.