That is the beauty of my job, there is no actual typical day. We are often on the road to meet with partners, or on a call with internal stakeholders. We have a very flexible schedule which varies from day to day.
What have you enjoyed most about working at Expedia Group?
That would be the people I work with, without a doubt. From close colleagues that I now consider friends, to managers and leaders who trust us to do the right thing and encourage everybody to adopt a self-starter attitude. All in all, it’s the best balance one could ask for.
What makes your team unique?
It’s open-mindedness, flexibility and go-getter attitude. Nothing is scary enough…
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
To have been with this company for a while now and still having as much fun amongst the same team, as we are reaching one milestone after another.
Who has influenced you the most?
I’d say family is the obvious answer, however, I’d say that my partner in life has had the most influence on me. She truly is the one pushing me to strive for the better (not only at work).
How and where do you find inspiration?
Mostly from the people surrounding me (in/out of work), during conversations, coaching sessions, over dinner or apéro. Also in readings or talks, however, the best is when we get to share ideas and best practices when that innocent talk turns into a big brainstorming session.
How did you learn to embrace failure?
I had the chance to work with people and get support from my manager who changed my perception of failure. That brought me to consider failure not as a negative outcome but rather as a learning opportunity. Therefore, as a very clever man once said: we never fail; we either succeed or we learn.
What is your favorite piece of career advice?
Be yourself and get out of your comfort zone as much as you can
From recruitment coordinator to business analyst: how to make a career pivot within Expedia Group
Krystyna Waterhouse | Business Analyst, Lodging Partner Services in Geneva
is my current role?
My role – as of the past year – is that of a business analyst, based in Geneva. When I moved into Analytics, my specialism was People Analytics. I created capacity planning models, assessed quality of hire, and provided reporting for recruitment. A few months ago, I moved into another team focused on new inventory; supporting analytics for third-party inventory and vacation rentals.
The core of my role is supporting my stakeholders through data to answer business questions. As an analyst, I report on the “what” by looking at metrics linked to performance. But where an analyst adds value is in moving from the “what” to the “why” and the “how”; helping stakeholders understand why we are seeing certain trends and helping them decide which actions to take next.
This means that some days I spend hours querying on databases using SQL or doing analysis in Excel to understand a problem, but other times I am focused on visualisations in Tableau or Powerpoint. My work is all about enabling insights and solving business problems, and the tools I need to use to get there vary.
However, just a year ago, my day-to-day looked nothing like this. I was working as a recruitment coordinator in London, scheduling interviews for 50-75% of my office hours. So… how and why did I end up in Switzerland doing analytics?
path from recruitment to analytics
During my year in recruitment, I was fortunate to have a manager who supported and engaged with me to understand my career aspirations and interests. My role prior to Expedia Group had involved some work with data so I had a vague feeling that I might be interested in working with data and solving business problems.
With 10% of my time allocated specifically to project work, I expressed an interest to my Senior Director about working more with data. He was incredibly supportive, and involved me in his recruitment reporting; the beginning of my tempestuous relationship with Excel. I found myself excited by the results of early analysis, but also itching to dig deeper and ask “so what” about the trends I saw.
I realised that I wanted to spend my entire day answering those “so what?” questions, and that I needed to upskill myself. Alongside my regular work, I started to take on as many projects as possible whilst attending Expedia’s Code Academy (learning basic Python and Java). I also participated in an online Harvard Computer Science course called CS50. Many of my lunchtimes and weekends became focused on getting exposure to new training; I still didn’t quite know where it would take me, but I knew that I had to follow my curiosity.
Next, I started to reach out to different hiring managers within Expedia Group. One of the great features of life in Expedia is the open talent market – this declares that all positions opened must be posted internally, and that an employee can apply for roles without having to let their manager know. However, cross-functional and cross-brand moves are really encouraged at Expedia Group, and so I kept an open dialogue at all times with my manager about how we could make my role more data-focused.
When reaching out to hiring managers at this point, I wasn’t applying for roles, but looking to build my network and gain some experience. I ended up spending some time shadowing the User Experience Research team in London, and this was a valuable opportunity to assess the kind of work I would enjoy.
In the end, it was actually my manager who pointed out the role in Analytics to me. It would involve my Senior Director becoming my direct stakeholder. I worried I didn’t have all the skills on the job description, but I pushed my doubts aside and sent over my CV.
Within a week I was interviewing and realising just how exciting the position was. I would be answering the same questions that had eaten at me whilst I was creating reports for recruitment, but with the training, infrastructure and tools of the Analytics team in my arsenal. When I was told the role would be in Geneva, Switzerland, I did not hesitate to relocate.
how am I finding it now?
past year since my relocation, I have had a huge learning curve. I discovered
that my Excel skills were quite underwhelming and that my powerpoint decks had room
for growth. I had to learn to write complex queries in SQL to access data, design
models in Excel using R, and create data visualisations in Tableau.
despite the number of technical skills that I had to develop (still a work in
progress!), I felt since day one in the team that this was right for me. I love
solving new problems every day; and without doubt, the support of my analytics
peers and managers has helped immensely. No matter how many slack messages I
send, or how many times I pop up at somebody’s desk, I am never made to feel I
am asking too many questions. My team in London were amazing, so I was relieved
to find when I moved to Geneva that the team here were just as friendly and
Geneva itself has been great. Like every Expedian, I’m big on travel, and living so near an airport has me leaving the country on average once a month. The lake in Geneva is bright turquoise in summer, and I’ve learnt to paddleboard as well as continuing to attend the Crossfit classes I took in London. Last summer I went hiking frequently with coworkers, and we hit up several Christmas markets in December. The analytics team itself has a ton of social activities; from monthly fast food lunches to cupcake decorating, ice-skating and laser tag. I even learnt to ski with a co-worker, although my skills on that front need some work…
next for me?
I’m enjoying the challenges of new business topics and problems in Analytics. I have got a long list of skills I’m looking to develop this year, and I’m determined to make a little progress in my French. As for the future? I’ve found my joy in analytics and learning, but in Expedia Group, as in life, change is the only real guarantee.
would I advise to somebody else looking for a career change?
Reach out to hiring managers or peers in different teams to find out what they do; shadowing is a great way to understand what a day-in-the-life actually looks like
Engage with your manager on personal development goals; set clear objectives and define what steps you will need to succeed
Follow your curiosity: what do you enjoy doing, and what really piques your interest at work?
Upskill yourself using the resources at hand; there are plenty of free courses online on edx, udemyandcoursera