A genuine Berlin native who loves photography, treats his colleagues to cheesecake and discovered his “digital” love early on: Thilo Hertwig is a digital native with heart and soul and, since January 2015, a part of the large Vienna House family. In our interview, he told us more about his career, what he loves and where he likes to spend his holiday.
1. So… a real live Berliner is making a career for himself at Vienna House. I bet our readers would be interested to hear your story. How did that happen?
That may be, especially considering how many people ask me what a “Head of E-Commerce” actually does. But let’s start at the beginning: I began my career in 1993 in the rather conventional way by training at a travel agent’s and then quickly discovered my love for tourism. Somehow, a certain affinity for numbers already began to take shape even then. One day, when a family with 4 children wanted to book a package holiday for 250 marks, I realised: Okay, I won’t be growing old here. [laughs]
2. What then? Did you stay true to tourism all this time?
Then I went to Frankfurt to Worldspan Services working in the sales of intelligent interfaces for e-commerce solutions. It was a really exciting time and we had some very interesting technologies for online flight bookings. So it was quite a surprise when suddenly the CEO of Expedia came knocking at the door with interest.
My next job as Content Manager was also in the travel business, followed by a stint as Business Development Manager at a start-up called yoolia. Yoolia had 3 employees at the beginning of the year, which rose quite quickly to about 100, and then fell back down to 5 one year later. Here you learn something new every day [laughs].
After that I kept my head above water working smaller jobs while also studying business administration on the side. I topped this with a master’s degree in Berlin when I was hired as E-Commerce Manager for the Ritz-Carlon Group. That was a big deal – if I hadn’t got, and accepted, the offer for Director of E-Commerce at the Steigenberger Hotels. Being responsible for 40 million euros in revenue – that was just too tempting [laughs].
3. If I’m not mistaken there are a few years missing between your job at Steigenberger Hotels and your current position at Vienna House.
That’s true, I see you’ve done your math! Let’s just say: If you want to buy a cool pair of glasses, I have a good tip for you. In 2012, I founded the Mercy Would brand: a collection of eyewear comprising 6 different models. By 2014, we sold a total of 400 pairs of glasses. But, in the end, I was looking to get back to full-time employment in the tourist sector – which is why I sold the company.
4. And here you are – Head of E-Commerce for Vienna House! Can you describe your job responsibilities for us?
As the department didn’t even exist before I came along, I spent most of the time at the beginning focusing on the strategic development. The conception and strategic management of performance marketing campaigns and the support of third-party marketing is my daily business, so to speak. An interesting challenge, of course, was the rebranding of the entire group. I can give readers just one tip: check out the new Vienna House Website.
5. Is there still enough room for the magic word “free time”?
Everything is possible [smiles]. Weather permitting, I always try to come to work by bike. I also love photography – you can often see me around Vienna with my camera in hand. And – this is very important – I cook every evening. Have you ever tried my cheesecake? I think I’ve already found a few fans here in the corporate office.
6. That sounds delicious! But we’ve come to the end of our interview: What is your personal travel tip for our readers?
I do have a few good tips for a spontaneous autumn getaway: Ever been to Siena in wonderful Tuscany? A truly fantastic city! But if it’s a Vienna House hotel you’re looking for: The Vienna House Loipersdorf radiates comfort, tranquillity and energy – everything you need to switch off so you can come back to work “freshly refuelled”. Just one last thing: I always look forward to new followers on my Instagram profile – it’s worth a look, I promise!
Thank you for the interview!