Shirley Liu a student in the M.S. in Travel and Tourism Management at the Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality. In this post, she tells us more about her internship this fall semester.
Where are you interning and what is your job title?
I am interning with I Like Local, a marketplace with locally curated travel experiences. I Like Local’s mission differentiates itself from other travel marketplaces as the company focuses on empowering local hosts off the main tourist trail. The hosts run their own business, receive 100% of the money they request for experiences, and in turn can build their economic welfare in destinations that do not typically benefit from tourism. My job title falls under the broad category of ‘intern’ as I work with I Like Local’s co-founders on multiple initiatives.
What projects have you been working on so far?
So far, I have been working on two main initiatives. One of my projects is a business development initiative for I Like Local where we are partnering with a Dutch market research company to determine if there is sufficient demand for offering online experiences as a new revenue stream. The rest of my time is spent working on an investment campaign strategy to scale the company. This involves structuring and measuring ROI, which has been especially interesting as some of the incentives are non-monetary to attract the company’s target audience of social impact travelers.
Have there been any challenges in your internship so far? If so, how have you learned to overcome them?
I’m interning at a unique time as tourism is beginning to rebound from the impact of international border shutdowns/COVID-19. It has been an invaluable experience so far, as I learn how travel start-ups have had to adapt to survive and stay relevant during a pandemic. From a tourism development strategy standpoint, my biggest challenge is the capricious nature of the tourism market. It is difficult to feel confident about mid-term market trends for my business development project as tourism demand fluctuates in 2021. We must keep in mind that we can’t predict everything and should do our best with the information we have in the moment.
What do you hope to take away from your internship?
This internship gives me an opportunity to build a network in this industry. It brings me immense joy to connect with professionals who share a similar mission of addressing affordability and local economic impact through tourism.
What are your future plans?
After graduation, I want to combine and apply my experiences in tech (B2B cloud strategy) with my industry knowledge in tourism management to contribute to a company that is geared towards making travel more affordable.