Our latest digital leader spotlight features Deyana Petrova!
Deyana Petrova is digital leader with over 10 years of experience working leading international teams. Deyana is currently the VP, Digital Marketing at Trafalgar Travel. Her past experience includes names such as eBay Enterprise and Hilton Worldwide.
She has great knowledge within the travel industry, gaining experience for the last 11 years.
Deyana sat down with the Digital Leaders Club to discuss her motivation for joining the Digital Leaders Club, what it's like to work under pressure, why contactless will be a key trend, the importance of resilience and her passion for travelling.
Why did you join the Digital Leaders Club?
I am always excited to meet likeminded people, and with COVID it has been really challenging to establish new connections and what is left for maintaining them. I was really excited when the Digital Leaders Club popped on my LinkedIn feed and Jack got in touch offering a community I could join.
What's it been like interacting with the other members?
It has been a very short time since I joined but just on Friday we had a good chat supporting one of the members on the WhatsApp group. I love the fact that I have access to 100+ digital leaders and we can support each other with issue resolution or discuss industry news.
What are you doing now?
I am currently the Global VP of Digital for Trafalgar and Costsaver, part of the TTC group of companies. I work in an industry I am truly passionate about – travel. Although the last 2 years have been slightly more challenging than usual, I still absolutely love it. I have been in the travel industry for the last 11 years and COVID or not, I still think it is one of the best.
Tell us about any interesting moments/learnings on your journey so far?
Probably not a surprising answer but being in travel during the COVID-19 pandemic and crisis, has definitely been a huge learning curve for me. Having to navigate a completely unchartered territory, as within my career I have never been in a position where a global event has taken precedence so quickly. Having to write the rules on the go, learn on the go, lead a large team across 24h time zones and still be able to remain human and compassionate was a true test for working under pressure. I learned how important it was to remain human in times of crisis, not to panic (as much as possible) and just know that at some point things are going to be OK and me and team will get through it.
What is your best success story?
To be honest, if you asked me before March 2020, I probably would have gone down the path of the awards I have won in some of my past roles, or creating @immovingtolondon. But given we have now gone through the last 18 months, I think it is managing to navigate this truly unprecedented time successfully. Working closely with my team, delivering the projects we were committed to and still getting a few scores on the board, although the travel industry was majorly challenged for some time.
Have you had any career challenges? How did you overcome them?
I will mix it up a little, away from COVID related answers, as I think the last 18 months have presented challenges for everyone. I believe every career has challenges and I have had my fair share across my roles. Many times I have found myself working with people whose management style or just working style is really different to mine, and being super passionate about what I do, that could lead to challenges. Learning how to actively listen and not to react on the spot helps me overcome a lot of the day to day issues I stumble upon. Listen, take the time to think, if you still want to say what you wanted to say on the spot 24h later – then go for it. I have learned that the latter is rarely the case though!
Do you have any plans for the future?
Right now I am taking it slower, not 1 day at a time but not too many grand plans. Just trying to see a successful end of 2021 and a good start to 2022, I can then focus on the longer term plans and visions.
What’s one thing - either industry-related or not - you learned in the past year?
That we are more resilient as human beings, than what we give ourselves credit for. There is great strength in us all and we should never forget that.
What's the coolest/interesting trend you're excited about?
To be honest I am excited to see some of the developments that happened during COVID continue to gain momentum. I actually really like the contactless options that have become a trend at airports and hotels – it is quick and efficient. The fact that a whole new generation (65+) has truly gotten online and has tried out digital for the first time during the pandemic is inspirational, and has opened up numerous new communication opportunities brands. The cleanliness that COVID has brought to travel within the public spaces like airports and train stations, although not a digital trend is something we should also keep for the future. I am also excited to see the tail end of the endless zoom calls to be honest, one trend I will happily be done with.
What would you be doing (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
There is no doubt in my mind it would still be related to travel. I would be working in hospitality or maybe a restaurant on some island somewhere. I love the human aspect of travel and I also love hotels as a product, so I think I will be somewhere on property doing a more human facing job.
Connect with Deyana on LinkedIn