This week we get to know Kirill Litovchenko, Marketing Manager – Australia and New Zealand, United Airlines.
1. How long have you been in the industry, what and where was your first job?
First time, I joined travel industry back in 2005 when I started working part-time at Avis in Cairns, as a customer service representative. Then after a couple of years in a marketing agency, I have re-joined travel industry when I accepted a marketing position at Avis Budget Group in May 2009.
2. What’s your most amazing travel experience (one of them anyway)!
I’ve been very lucky to visit and experience many different countries, and to-date some of the best travel experiences I had took place in the United States. Once I went on a road trip with a couple of friends along the Mexican border…in an old limo – 1996 Lincoln Town Car. Let’s just say, it was an eventful trip.
However, if I had to pick the most amazing experience (and most important to me), it would have to be a trip to Borneo, where I proposed to my wife. Borneo may be the only place in the world where you can still see orang-utans, proboscis monkeys and elephants in the wild. Also, Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre is a must-do when visiting Borneo.
3. What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever done?
Back in the uni days, I used to earn extra money as a tour guide/interpreter for Russian tourists. So, I got offered a very well-paid three-day job which required travel to Emerald, QLD. Only after I accepted the job, they told me it was a hunting trip and I will accompany a rich Ukranian national and his 11-year old son!
Me and him ended up having a few arguments on that trip, as I’m strictly against hunting, and also didn’t think (and still don’t) that 11-year old should be shooting anything, except for maybe toy water guns.
4. First ever country you travelled to? What was your experience like?
I have been travelling since very early age, however the first international destination I have very fond memories of was a trip with my parents to Nice and Antibes, in the south of France. We stayed at our friend’s apartment in Antibes, visited Cannes and Monte-Carlo. I got lost once, but managed to catch a train home with no money in my pocket, funny story actually. Also, I remember being very impressed by the cleanliness of Monte-Carlo and its spectacular line-up of yachts, casinos and Ferrari’s.
5. Wishlist of places yet to visit?
I left Europe in 2004, so even though I’ve been to more than ten EU countries, I haven’t had a chance to explore it properly. I’d like to spend more time in Spain, Greece and in Scandinavian countries. Also, Africa is on the list of places to visit.
6. Who was your biggest mentor/influence growing up?
I think it’s important to learn from everyone you meet, however you tend to learn the most from your parents while growing up. Since I came to Australia in 2004, I’ve been very lucky to have worked with some very talented people. I had a mentor at a marketing agency, who is also a successful businessman, and we still stay in touch. Also, I’ve been getting Life Lessons™ from Warren Wilson at Avis. Since I’ve joined United, I’ve been learning a lot from Alison Espley, especially when it comes to work ethic and professionalism.
7. How has working in travel changed you?
I don’t think it changed me too much. I always had passion for travel, and I don’t mind rolling up my sleeves and doing whatever it takes to get the job done, which is often required in any industry. Apparently, I’ve become more patient or so I’ve been told.
8. What’s your biggest life achievement to date?
Coming to Australia at the age of 18 and getting to where I am now.
9. What’s one in-flight travel tip?
Flying is already a stressful experience for your body, so don’t make it worse by drinking too much alcohol – you will feel much better when you land!
10. What advice would you give to someone starting out in the travel industry?
Hard work pays off in the long term, but don’t take travel industry benefits for granted.
[colored_box color=”grey”]The Travel Industry Mentor Experience is a not-for-profit company established in 2009 to offer a range of business skills, development guidance and support sessions, within a mentoring and peer collaboration environment, to aspiring mid level management individuals of the travel and tourism industry.
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