When I was told back in August that I would be interning for a food tour company in Italy, I thought I was dreaming. Sure, it’s nothing like a corporate internship, but it still gives me meaningful experience and an opportunity to learn and apply some skills I know already. While in Florence, I am working as a marketing intern for Taste Florence, a local food and wine tour company. The company is run by one woman, with the help of a few other tour guides, so naturally it is small, but Taste Florence has been around since 2007 and the owner, my boss, knows exactly what she’s doing. I can tell that it requires a lot of work to keep the company in business which makes me glad that I can be here to help. In this position I have been working on developing the company’s social media platforms and website, researching the target market as well as competitors in the industry, working on local public relations, and creating a digital ad campaign. I have learned a lot so far and am excited to keep at it.
Working in the tourism industry, food and wine tourism in particular, is definitely unlike any other industry. I truly believe that two of the biggest skills required to succeed in it are ambition and creativity. It obviously takes more than just ambition and creativity, but such a highly competitive and niche industry requires a certain type of navigation. You have to be ambitious against the competition and go after the partnerships and clients you want. And you have to be creative in doing so and in selling your product. It is the kind of situation where everyone is after the same customers and offering fairly similar products. In this industry, it is how you differentiate yourself and your product in order to get ahead of competitors that matters.
With the discussion of skills and strengths comes the topic of Clifton Strengths. Back in freshman year, I learned that some of my top strengths from the Clifton assessment are empathy, responsibility, and futurism. And I’ve realized that these strengths of mine can really come into play in this internship. As for empathy, I have the ability to put myself in the shoes of the potential customer to see what they want or how they are going to find this company, and I can use that information to market more effectively towards these customers. Responsibility comes into play in my role because I have a lot of room to come up with my own ideas for the company, so I need to hold myself responsible for doing so in order to help make a difference in the business. Additionally, I do not have a set schedule, so it takes some responsibility on my behalf in order to make sure that I am getting all my work done. Lastly, having a futuristic mindset helps me when marketing this company because I have to think in advance of when there will be new customers and when the effective time to market to them is.
Industry requirements and personal skills aside, the internship is going well so far and I can’t wait to see all that I can do for Taste Florence by the end of my time here. Besides, I can’t complain when I get to think about food (and even try some) while I work!