Careers: What's it really like inside - Virgin Experience Days

What are the most popular experience days being given as gifts this Christmas?

Anything from flying lessons to big-cat encounters to personal shopping at House of Fraser. Our new experiences for Christmas include Kids Spy Academy and 4x4 Extreme.

Does the marketing team get to test out the experiences?

Yes. We've been Ferrari driving, sailing, quad-biking, rally driving and have handled birds of prey.

What are the other perks of the job?

Getting letters from customers who have had the time of their life on an experience makes it worthwhile.

How do you compete with other gift-experience companies?

The strength of the Virgin brand is phenomenal and its reputation is a huge advantage. Customers trust us.

How do you come up with ideas?

The whole company gets involved in brainstorming sessions. Someone in the office was worried about their 'clueless' friend going travelling, for example, so we created the essential backpacker's survival experience to prepare novice travellers.

Describe the marketing team in three words.

Attractive, busy and fun.

Is there a dress code?

Smart/casual.

Does the marketing team socialise outside of office hours?

It is difficult because everyone tends to drive to work here. We have some excellent parties and familiarisation trips, though.

What are the hours like?

9am-5.30pm, but longer when we are up against a deadline.

What are the salary and benefits package like?

Reasonably competitive salary for outside London. And the Virgin Partners card offers employees some brilliant discounts and benefits across the group, including cheap flights and holidays.

Are there any downsides?

Lane End, the village where we work, is lovely, but it's a bit out in the sticks. But much fun can be had at lunchtime trying to avoid the aggressive ducks on the village pond en route to the sandwich shop.

Is there anything particularly unusual about working there?

A member of staff won an expenses-paid trip to Necker - Sir Richard Branson's private Caribbean island - in a raffle and spent the week partying with Richard and his wife.

FACT FILE

- Virgin Experience Days has 25 employees, four of whom are marketers. Its key brands are Virgin Experience Days and The Virgin Voucher. The company's annual turnover is about £7m.

- Paul O'Brien is managing director; Nicola Racey is marketing communications manager.

- It is based at Acorne House, 9 Lane End Industrial Park, Lane End, High Wycombe HP14 3BY.

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