Tomorrow's Travel Leaders: 30 Under 30: Simon Applebaum
In collaboration with TTG Digital, the ITT and Guoman Hotels, C&M Travel Recruitment set out to discover the 30 most inspiring and dynamic people in the travel industry aged 30 years and younger - the 30 Under 30.
Here we profile Simon Applebaum, online manager at Affinion International Travel:
Q: Were you surprised to be nominated for the 30 Under 30?
A: "It was a lovely surprise. My former boss actually nominated me and I had no idea until I got the email. You can never take recognition for granted and I very much appreciate being put forward and selected for it."
Q: Have you learnt much from the advice that the 30 Under 30 speakers have given?
A: "Yes. Steve Endacott in particular gave a really good keynote speech and, with the speakers that we have had so far, it is interesting to see the variety of roles that they have held. These guys have come from finance, product or overseas roles and that is one of the key things to take away from this; you can't really add enough context to what you are doing - especially in the early parts of your career."
Q: Has the recognition had any impact on your career so far?
A: "At this point it has mainly been internal - it is a great internal PR story. It is not like I get accosted when I walk down the street or that I'm suddenly walking six feet high!
"It is just nice to know that you are on the right track and that your efforts are being rewarded. If you can channel that into motivation, then that is of really great use. The job is not done; it is just recognition that the early part of my career is going the way I want it to."
Q: Why did you want to get involved in the travel industry?
A: "To be honest, it was through chance that Thomas Cook was advertising. I had done events previously and I was looking for a change. I wasn't really looking in the finance sector or in highly-commoditised areas; for me it is all about differentiating product and I guess that was the appeal about travel."
Q: What advice do you have for other young people looking to make their mark in the travel industry?
A: "It is about the breadth of understanding. Try to understand the whole industry because it is all so interlinked. While you might be working in a very niche travel agency, what is going on in the major tour operators can actually filter down and have a massive impact.
"The broader your experiences, knowledge and the questions that you ask, the better you will get on. All of these things come together to paint the picture and the more informed your decisions are, the better they will be."