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Interview with Ksenia Lyapkova, marketing manager at Travelpayouts

27 September 2017 1 comment

ksu

We continue to introduce you to our affiliate network team. Our guest today is Ksenia
Lyapkova, marketing manager at Travelpayouts.

Ksenia, can you tell us where you come from?

I was born in Germany and my family moved to Penza when I was just 4 years old. I finished high school and university in Penza. By the way, during my studies, I went to the United States for a year under the Work&Travel program. So I know English well and have been speaking German from childhood.

Tell us about your trip to US

Having landed in New York and without thinking twice, I headed to Miami to catch some
rest before plunging into work. My only disappointment was that I was a minor and so I
wasn’t allowed into nightclubs.

After that, I left for Rehoboth Beach (like many students do) and climbed the career
ladder: from an ice cream vendor to a team manager. In monetary terms: from $7 to $47
per hour.

One of the interesting events I remember is the wedding of gays, where I took an active
part in organizing it. The bouquet was thrown two times.

Did you have any problem with your studies?

Of course, no one expelled me, although I decided to stay in the States without warning
anyone. The fact that I was an active and excellent student, constantly participated in
student spring festivals and was engaged in charity, played into my hands. So I
graduated from the university and moved to St. Petersburg.

In St. Petersburg, you worked in Sletat.ru. It was just before you came toTravelpayouts?

I always thought that Sletat.ru was a Moscow-based company. I used this travel search
engine and recommended it for friends and acquaintances. So when I found out that
Sletat.ru is actually in St. Petersburg, I immediately sent my CV and subsequently joined
their marketing team. By the way, before then, I worked on TV and I was also engaged in
PR in Beeline (Russian mobile operator). In the search engine, I ran affiliate projects and
promos to attract people to our offices. The hottest promo was a cross-promo we had
with AliExpress: during the Black Friday, we gave out coupons worth 5000 rubles each
to all Aliexpress.com users to buy a tour; we also gave out five trips to anywhere through lottery. As a result, we were able to increase the flow of customers to our
offices by 18%.

So it means you were familiar with metasearch?

Yes, Sletat.ru is a search engine, almost like Aviasales, but it deals only on tours. In
addition, I really love traveling, so it’s just a pleasure working in the travel industry.

How did you end up in Travelpayouts?

I’ve known Aviasales for a long time and was subscribed to Konstantin Kalinov on
Facebook. At some point, I wrote him that I was a cool marketing specialist and sent him
my CV. Next, I met Ivan Baidin, was interviewed, and performed test tasks.

What were the tasks you performed?

There were 2 tasks. The first was to come up with a marketing strategy, just then I came
up with the bonus section and all sorts of rallies with useful services for webmasters.
The second task was to come up with a joint promo for SEMRush or a similar service.

So, when did you fly to Phuket?

I received an offer in December, and flew to the island in January 2016. It's funny that
Ivan didn’t tell the team anything about me. So everyone was surprised when I came to
the office.

ksu-as-office-2

Was it difficult at first?

Actually, no — although I didn’t know anyone then. Ivan immediately helped me find a
place to live. After that, I mastered how to ride the bike. The only thing that was difficult
was to get used to the heat.

But now, judging by your numerous photos on Instagram, you are already used to the heat?

Honestly, I'm more comfortable with the weather in St. Petersburg than here. I love cold
and I can’t stand the heat. But what else can one do in Phuket if not to go to beach?

ksu-beach

How did your parents react to the move? Moving to St. Petersburg and moving to Thailand are entirely different things.

We agreed with my mum that I will stay in Phuket for just 3 months and return back to
Russia. But, as you can see, I'm still here, although I miss my relatives. Last year, I went
to Russia for a month. I also went home this summer to Kiev.

Tell us what you do in Travelpayouts

CPA marketing is aimed at a very narrow professional audience. You need to
understand the specifics of their work very well in order to find attractive proposals
and to come up with really useful promos. It is important to receive feedback and
constantly communicate with affiliates.

I search for interesting sites where I can place our tools. The sites must not necessarily
be in the travel segment. In our recent projects, together with Alfa Bank, we launched
the travel.alfabank.ru project. I also chat a lot with bloggers, I run advertising
campaigns, organize joint promos and newsletters.

How do you spend your free time on the island?

For some time, I was fond of drawing. I bought acrylic and watercolor paints and after
work every evening, I ran home to rather paint. This I did for about 2 months before the
high season began. I started spending time on the beach in the morning. In the evening, I
arranged sit-round gatherings with my friends.

I go to the gym regularly. I have a Russian coach who prescribes an exercise program for
me, and I exercise remotely. I send him my photos and give him my parameters. In the
past, I was for seriously involved in bodybuilding for some time, preparing for
competitions in the bikini category. Then I gained weight from slightly above 40 kg to
70 kg. It was very difficult gaining weight, although my coach allowed me to eat
everything: chocolates, ice cream and burgers. I had to force food into myself. At the
same time, I didn’t take protein, but only B vitamins. However, I didn’t reach the
competition because I didn’t want to consume anabolic steroids like everyone who
achieves success in this competition. My coach started to lead me to this, but I refused.
I also like reading, so I usually ask friends coming to Phuket to bring me some printed
books. I can’t read e-books.

In Russia, I often cooked — I studied the dishes of different cuisines, invented my own
and treated my friends with my dishes. When I came to the office and told the guys that
I love cooking, of course, I was made to bake something. I decided to make a charlotte.
But I don’t know why it ended up being an apple omelet instead of a charlotte. The
products here are completely different. I was able to make a pie after so many attempts.
With time, I lost my passion for cooking. So, I like going to restaurants, cafes and street
food spots.

ksu-as-office-1

Do you have a secret diet?

No, actually I don’t have such. I always eat whatever I want. In my entire life, I’ve been
on a diet only twice — when I gained weight and when I lost weight. I was on separate
food: I ate rice water, chicken breast, bananas, apples, cucumbers and water. No spices, compotes and so on. This is an excellent diet for girls who want to lose weight faster, for
example, within 5 days.

ksu-phuket-diet

You are active in Instagram. How did you manage to get almost eight thousand subscribers?

When I was in Thailand for the first time, I posted a beautiful photo in Instagram, and a
popular blogger re-posted it on his page and tagged me. Subscriptions then weren’t
high.

Then I participated in the Colgate’s Snow White Smile competition and reached the
finals. The competition was also held in Instagram, and I won a shopping in Central
Universal Department Store in Moscow. And now with the second wave, I got more
subscriptions.

Do you have time to travel?

I’ve travelled to Singapore and Dubai on a business trip. I’ve also been to Hong Kong,
Macau, Bali, Jakarta, Cambodia, Bangkok, and various Thai islands. My next dream is
Japan.

Do you travel alone?

It depends — I can travel alone, sometimes with friends, or sometimes I meet people on
the spot. Almost all my trips are spontaneous in nature. I wake up in the morning and
think, why not go on a weekend in Cambodia.

Aviasales always advises buying tickets in advance, do you follow this rule?

I installed abnormal price bot in our slack and sometimes get tempting offers. But
almost all of them are for those who plan their trips six months in advance. Therefore, I
hand over such tickets to my friends, of course, with my referral link. In Asia, I search
for tickets in Jetradar and can’t say that the prices are incredibly expensive closer to the
departure date.

Yulia Domracheva

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  • Great interview. You seem like a great person.