Jul 20, 2023

Bringing People Together, Celebrating Culture: Summit Week Highlights

Careers Team

A hands-down highlight of the GetYourGuide calendar, Summit Week invites the entire company to work hard and play hard in Berlin. From workshops to focus sessions, the week involves a series of activities and events to help us get the most out of being together. Here, organizers share their top picks. 

An annual event, Summit Week sees all 800+ GetYourGuide colleagues from 17 global offices descend on Berlin to work hard, play hard, and celebrate our culture, values, and wins. From 8 – 12 May, the meeting rooms, courtyard, and corridors of our Berlin HQ were abuzz as teams connected in person to inspiring ends. 

To make the most of the opportunity, a number of events took place with the aim of bringing people together and sparking new ideas. These spanned sessions focused on creativity and wellbeing, team workshops exploring specific business areas, convivial dinners – all followed by one epic summer party! 

We selected seven highlights of Summit Week to give a taste of just how GetYourGuide builds and maintains its culture of teamwork and shared experiences. From another successful Engineering Managers Summit; a day trip to Leipzig with the Product Management UX team; a meditative Sound Bath, plus festival vibes at our legendary May party, here’s a snapshot of what happens when GetYourGuide gets together. 

Science Fair

The Science Fair is all about sharing what everyone’s working on – and hopefully to act as a catalyst for new ways to collaborate moving forward. The two-hour event saw 42 teams from Tech and Marketing display a poster in our fifth floor space outlining their mission and the key bets that they’re working on for the next quarter. It’s one of the few events at Summit Week that’s open to all, and is an opportunity for everyone to come together around a work-related topic, learn what others are doing, exchange ideas, and maybe even spark new projects. So many stakeholder teams came to take a look: Finance, Localization, and of course our CEO. 

The posters were there to kick-start conversations. Some teams went for an interactive approach by including QR codes to a quiz or roadmap document. Although their format was simple, getting them printed wasn’t without a degree of drama: I’d ordered hard back-mounted posters in plenty of time for the event – but they didn’t arrive! Instead, we had to print paper posters that we stuck to the wall. That prompted one team to get really creative by hanging tape from the ceiling, through their poster, and fixed to the floor. I love how it forced creativity – not to mention provided a striking centerpiece for the whole event! We’ve organized a Science Fair for a number of years, but this one was extra special because it was the first we’ve been able to do in person since the pandemic. The past two have been online which was OK – but not the same.

This year was fantastic: the atmosphere was buzzing, and you could feel the energy in the room. Afterwards, a lot of people reached out asking to participate next time so perhaps in the future we’ll involve more teams for an even bigger group.

Franziska Back
Executive Assistant to CPO Ameet Ranadive and Udi Nir

Sales Summit

The Sales Summit consisted of two days of workshops for around 80 colleagues from 15 offices globally. As you’d expect, the organizing committee was also very international, with two people based in Berlin, one in Paris and Bangkok respectively, as well as COO Tao Tao and Julia Randow, Director of Sales, APAC and EMEA. 

Sessions were with key departments that we have touchpoints with – from Supply and Connectivity, to Ticketing and Brand. Some were presentations while others were more interactive in style, and all helped to create clarity around shared objectives and key results. Highlights included an engaging session with Supply, as well as an inspiring presentation by Product during which various initiatives we’ve been waiting for and heard about were announced. It was rewarding to hear these tools are on the roadmap and being developed! We also discussed case studies from the US, Europe, and APAC to inspire similarly successful initiatives in our own regions. 

Sales is always social. Get-togethers included coffee and cake with the Supply team, a really enjoyable wine tasting with Connectivity, and dinner at a Bavarian style beer hall in Alexanderplatz.

Summit Week was intense, and also very energizing. For Sales, it was an opportunity to get together as a team. We had colleagues coming in from as far as Sydney and San Francisco – from purely a time difference perspective, you’d never manage to get us all on a Zoom call together so this was a great chance to share learnings.

For local offices in particular, it was an opportunity to reconnect with HQ and the wider company. Colleagues got to meet face to face with people they normally only work with over Slack or Jira tickets, and really deep dive into different topics – or maybe just say thank you. 

Maren Schullerus
Regional Manager Germany, Sales

Engineering Managers Summit

The Engineering Managers Summit comprised a full day of workshops, presentations, and games – followed by nachos and drinks with the Marketing Team. This time we had around 40 Engineering Managers from Zurich and Berlin in attendance, including lots of new joiners. My co-organizers and I (Javier Laguna, Nikhil Shambu, and Noemi Perez) really wanted the day to focus on what their fellow Engineering Managers would find most valuable, so we reached out before the event. The feedback was overwhelmingly to connect – and have fun! 

To do just that, we included two ice-breaker exercises in the day. The first was a word game, and the second was more manual: Engineering Managers had to create stars using different sets of resources. We enjoyed a fireside chat with our CTO, Udi Nir, plus a really valuable presentation led by Ola Makri from the Care team. There's an important crossover between these teams: when things go wrong, it’s Care who hears about it first – and none of us want customers to ever have reason to complain! In order to reduce customer complaints, the Engineering Managers need to understand where the problems lie, and how the Care team tackles them to know where to improve the product. 

Another highlight was an AI workshop, led by Mathieu Bastian and Jean Carlo Machado.

Participants were invited to use a tool called Replit: groups of three – two Engineering Managers and one AI – were challenged to develop a piece of software in a language most of them didn’t know and share the results of how this went. The Engineering Managers were impressed by the AI – and particularly its ability to quickly produce usable code. 

Franziska Back
Executive Assistant to CPO Ameet Ranadive and Udi Nir

Incredible Women Brunch

The Incredible Women Brunch was aimed at encouraging new connections, developing support networks, and bringing people together. It was also an energizing way for around 80 women – and a fair few men! – to start their day.

This was the second time we’ve organized a get-together during Summit Week. We enjoyed tasty smoothies, croissants, and bagels – the event proved so popular we even ran out of food at one point! The energy of the room was buzzing. A lot of Summit Week events are team or department-specific; what was nice about the brunch was that it was an open mixer for everyone at GetYourGuide.

There was no fixed program, although we did actively encourage people to mix and mingle with colleagues they hadn’t met before. Personally, I spoke with a lot of women who are also based in Berlin but who I’d not yet met in person. Some I’d communicated with over Jira tickets or Slack, and others are in teams that I didn’t even know existed – the company has become so big now! That was the great thing about the brunch: it was an opportunity to learn about new components of GetYourGuide, and to put faces to names. It’s powerfully humanzing, and changes how we later communicate and look after each other. 

The Incredible Women group aims to encourage and inspire women to grow and develop within the company. A large part of that is through peer learning and networking. The brunch facilitated connections to make our other events all the more powerful. So not only was it a great opportunity to all get together, it was also a stepping stone for everything else to come. 

Allira Mayr
Senior Destination Manager Nordics

Product Management / UX Offsite, Leipzig 

Our Product Management and UX team are spread across all of our 40+ mission teams: the former sets the strategy, while the latter realizes it in visuals and words. This was our first time doing something together outside of Berlin, and we chose Leipzig: a beautiful city, around an hour from HQ. We have lots of inventory there – that is, tours and experiences that customers can book through GetYourGuide. For these reasons, it was a great fit for our group of around 35 Product Management and UX colleagues from our Berlin and Zurich offices. 

Around two weeks before, we’d asked groups to book an activity in Leipzig on GetYourGuide. The purpose of this was both to have fun, and also gain insights into being a customer. We call this ‘dogfooding’ and it means having teams use the product as a means to test the user journey. That includes browsing the content, checking for an intuitive click experience and smooth checkout, the activity itself, and invitation to leave a review. 

Teams also took part in a Scavenger Hunt! They had ten destinations across the city to hit up, and had to take a particular photo in each. It was a lot of fun, and a great segue into the highlight of the day: everyone getting together over a group dinner at a traditional German restaurant.

Overall, it was really fun playing tourists together as a group, and to experience how our customers might experience going to Leipzig using GetYourGuide: it created a relaxed environment and gave the day a different energy. 

Franziska Back
Executive Assistant to CPO Ameet Ranadive and Udi Nir

Sound Bath

A sound bath is a form of guided meditation which uses music and instruments such as gongs and bowls to provide the guidance, rather than speaking. My co-organizer, Francesca Harrison (Social Media Care Team Lead), and I are both part of the Mental Health Advocacy Group at GetYourGuide, and we decided on this activity as a great way to introduce meditation for beginners. Moreover, we wanted to seize the opportunity of all employees coming together in Berlin for an in-person event. The three sessions were fully booked within two hours after the invitation was sent out.

The feedback was very positive. Colleagues appreciated having a quiet space to get back to themselves and recharge. When 800 people come together during a week as packed with activities as Summit Week, the energy level, acoustics, and impressions are very intense and sometimes over stimulate our senses.

We wanted to cater to cognitive and sensory wellbeing. When we take breaks to reset and recharge, we are able to connect more authentically, work more productively, and perform at our best.

Patricia Tovar
Senior Workplace Operations Specialist

Summer Party

Our priority was to create a well-rounded event for colleagues to celebrate GetYourGuide. That meant including spaces and activities in which people could to feel comfortable – all in keeping with a festival theme. So for those who wanted something more hands-on and less high-energy than a typical party, we had a flower crown making station, as well as a repurposing booth for guests to heat press custom designs onto tote bags. In keeping with the festival vibe, there was a teepee tent for people to chill in, and market stalls offering different kinds of food. The tattoo station was a real highlight, and the 360 photo booth was lots of fun. 

Around 750 people attended, with some of the activities taking place in our courtyard. Others were indoors, including two dance floors. Five GetYourGuide colleagues – Jenn Azzarello, Jonattan Vivas, Samir Ghobril, Max Held, and Jason Fellows – DJed throughout the night, with each room and set offering a slightly different vibe. 

For those colleagues that don’t often make it to Berlin due to distance, Summit Week is a special opportunity to meet other GetYourGuide-ers, and really strengthen our company culture.

The party is the rounding out of Summit Week: it’s an opportunity to celebrate the huge team effort that’s gone into making all of its activities happen, as well as the year of accomplishments that came before.

McKenzie Utter
Workplace Experience Team Lead

This year's Summit Week was another resounding success, and a great celebration of everything that makes GetYourGuide such a special place to work. A huge thank you to everyone involved in the logistics and running of such a jam-packed week – we can't wait to do it all again next year! 

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