“When faced with the choice of accepting an apprenticeship, I decided to study”
IUBH alumnus Julian Grutkamp talks about his work at the online travel agency Expedia, his experience in the hotel industry and trends in the online travel business.
What made you decide to do your BA in hospitality management at IUBH?
It was clear to me that I wanted to start out in the working world with practical, well-founded knowledge. I have a strong sense of connection to the service culture and like interacting with people. When faced with the choice of accepting an apprenticeship, I decided to study. The prospect of having a wider range of job entry opportunities after graduation and learning in small classes were other decisive factors. The chance to get to know people from other cultural backgrounds, both in my later work and in everyday university life, was an additional criterion in my decision to study.
After graduation, you started your career working in a hotel. How did you make the transition to one of the largest US American online travel agencies?
It was clear to me that I would start my career in the hotel industry in order to apply what I had learned during my studies in a manner that could be as practical as possible. When I was at the ITB in Berlin as an exhibitor with my former employer, I met the recruiters of the Expedia Group for the first time and was immediately enthusiastic about their open corporate culture. The versatility and constant change of products still motivates me every day. The mixture of technology and service makes the job exciting and, above all, very diversified. So I never really left the hotel business, because I still have to deal with a variety of hotels every day.
What are your responsibilities?
Currently, I am jointly responsible for the acquisition of new customers in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) and thus contribute to the growth of the Expedia Group. We want to be locally relevant worldwide. Our goal is to attract hotels as customers for listing on the Expedia Group’s many travel brands. After a launch, I act as an account manager and give the hotels the best possible start in sales on up to 15,000 partner sites. I have intensive contact with all hotel partners from contract negotiations to strategy discussions, and represent a broad portfolio of brands.
Did your studies prepare you well for these tasks?
Studying at IUBH gives you the necessary basic knowledge in many areas and at the same time helps you to understand complex structures more easily. Project work and time spent abroad are great opportunities to learn what is important in every day working life. Internships helped me to combine theory and practice, which was useful when I started my career. The study programme also shaped my open-minded, communicative and friendly outlook. It is up to each student to decide which university resources he or she actually wants to use, but there is a lot on offer.
Would you like to know how Julian Grutkamp used his studies at IUBH for his career? And inform yourself about career opportunities in the hospitality industry? Click here for our brochure “Career opportunities in the hospitality industry”. You can find the entire interview with Julian Grutkamp on pages 14/15.