Name: Colin Lewis
Company: Aer Arann
Job title: Head of Sales and Marketing
What keeps you busy all day?
Meetings, phone calls, emails, answering customers and keeping the boss happy – the usual!
What keeps you awake at night?
Describe your working day:
I wake at 7am and by 8am am at my desk. The first thing I do is check sales results from the previous day, and examine forecasts for the next three months. Depending on those, I either panic (thankfully not very often), or make a cup of coffee.
When I started work it was pre-email days so I tend to be a bit ‘old skool’ and prefer to meet and talk to people instead of emailing. I like to think it’s better for my health as I am yet to meet anyone who’s developed RSI from discussions and face-to-face meetings.
A 15 minute break around 2pm constitutes my lunch break. The afternoon is spent chasing people down, working out new campaigns, assessing load factors, yields per seat and all sorts of airline related stuff. 92% of our business is online, so a lot of time is spent pouring over online marketing analytics, and developing our database of 250,000. Most days, I leave the office around 7pm. It actually doesn’t sound that exciting when I write it down but it’s the best marketing job in Ireland.
What’s your busiest time of day?
Between 9am and 10am. Working for an airline, something happens once a week that you could not have predicted the day before, and all tasks planned for the day are jettisoned. I therefore try and fit all my day’s tasks into the hour in the morning; it never works but it certainly means I’m busy then.
What brands/accounts have you worked on?
I have worked in Australia, Asia, the UK and Ireland for Thomas Cook, Universal Music and NASDAQ quoted technology companies. My first love has always been travel.
Best day at work:
Nothing beats flying to Toulouse to pick-up the first of our new fleet in May 2007. I had commissioned a brand new livery for the airline, and this was the first opportunity I had to see it in the flesh.
ATR, the aircraft manufacturer, rolled out the red carpet and gave us a true VIP experience. On arrival, I was greeted with a champagne reception in the hangar followed by a big slap up lunch with members of the Toulouse Rugby Club. I then flew home to Dublin in the cockpit with perfect visibility the whole way over France, the UK and Ireland. It was hard to really call it work!
Worst day at work:
A few years ago, following a busy morning, I answered the phone to a barrage of questions from a journalist. The first thing he asked was ‘how many injuries occurred in the crash’? I was not aware of any incident but, from speaking with him more, it became apparent that there was an incident involving a small private hire that flew from one of the same airports that Aer Arann used. Everyone in the aviation industry knows how safe flying is, so we all have an empathy with other airlines when something goes wrong.
Name one thing you’ve achieved that has made your bosses sit up and take notice:
In May this year, I was awarded Marketing Leader of the Year at the Marketing Institute of Ireland’s Annual Awards. It’s an all Ireland award, and is the biggest recognition that one could have in career. Considering we operate in one of the most competitive industries in the world, to be recognised for my hard work is a great reward.
Apart from building Aer Arann into a household name in the UK, I would love to work in Asia again – there are so many amazing countries and people in Asia that I can’t imagine ever running out of new experiences. I’m a bit of a car fanatic and racing at Le Mans is right up there on the list of ‘to do’s’. I’d also like to design a house with a garage for my car collection.
Advice to other rising stars:
Persevere come what may and you will eventually get what you want. Knockbacks are a part of life but only make you appreciate the successes more. There’s been many times where I’ve thought things wouldn’t work out but they always do.
Quote from the boss:
‘Did you organise that car rental upgrade for me?’