To me, all ‘perfect’ vacations have about a 60/40 split of activity and relaxation and involve just one or two other people whether it’s my best friend, my sister, or whomever. The trip setting is always somewhere new to me, ideally a new country, and involves a few days of outdoor activities (usually skiing), followed by a few days in a city to explore, eat, and walk around. For me, the food is key to feeling like I’ve immersed myself in a city. The final leg of my “perfect vacation” is a day or two to relax and unwind so I’m recharged at the end before going home.

As part of my series about “developments in the travel industry over the next five years”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Caroline Berger.

Caroline currently serves as the Head of Brand for the US territory of GetYourGuide, a travel experience marketplace helping modern explorers find unforgettable experiences. Prior to GetYourGuide, she was the Brand Director for Trusted Health, a healthtech platform helping nurses build their careers.

Caroline’s experience spans both B2B and B2C brand work, both from an agency and in-house perspective — largely within the startup space. She has experience in the beauty, healthcare, wellness, and tech industries and has a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve had a pretty varied and non-linear career thus far, so my story is a bit all over the place. But the constant thread throughout my roles has always been my deep love of advertising and branding, ever since I was a kid. When I would have friends over and we’d watch TV, I could barely hold a conversation because I was so enthralled by whatever was on — and that was true of both the show (Saved by the Bell) and the commercials that followed. I loved watching content and I did so avidly.

When looking specifically at my role with GetYourGuide, I caught the travel bug at 18 when I traveled to Dubai with a friend to visit her mother — it was the first time I’d ever left the U.S. I vividly remember the surreal feeling I had stepping into an entirely different culture than my own and witnessing the unique lives of those who lived there. It was an educational and sobering moment to realize how small my world was and how little I knew outside of it. Ever since this trip, I’ve been on the move. Even today, my number one bucket list item requires a serious dedication to travel: skiing all 7 continents in my lifetime.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

A number of years ago, I joined a German organization when I was living in Berlin. It was my first true experience working in a uniform culture that was not my own. I was managing a team, and I very quickly began to realize that there was a breakdown between the working cultures. So much so, that it was affecting the work. It was a steep learning curve to figure out what was going wrong, but in the end, it came down to communication styles. So as a joke, I printed out a little table of “What Americans Say vs. What They Mean” and sent it to my team. It was meant to be a lighthearted jab at my own communication and something the rest of the team could unite on. But I walked around the office a few days later and realized that my team had printed and taped the table to their monitors! They told me they found it super useful and actively used it! Embarrassing and humbling? Yep. But if it works, I’m all for it.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I was first starting out, I wholeheartedly believed that where you worked — the name on the masthead — mattered more than anything else. I would have gladly taken a job in the finance function if it meant I got to put Apple on my resume. This mindset is likely how I ended up with such a non-linear career path. I believed that if I wanted to make it in the brand world, I needed to be working for a top name brand or no one. Which, as I look back on it, is so much less important to me now. Now, it’s the people I work with, the work I get to do daily, and the kind of product we’re putting out into the world that is most important to me. Today, I’m simply lucky enough to be able to do the kind of work I want to do in an industry I feel very passionately about. But it didn’t happen by accident, it took a lot of life lessons about my own skillset to get here.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? Can you share a story about that?

I think my biggest tip is to stop apologizing; Stop apologizing for having a life, for having responsibilities outside of work, for actually taking the holiday you booked etc. I used to keep my headphones in my ears underneath my ski helmet when I was on holiday, just in case I was needed, or someone was trying to get in touch with me when I was hanging off the side of a mountain. Sure enough, I’d come back from holiday already mentally needing another one.

As I progressed further in my career, I was fortunate enough to work for a number of European companies (including GetYourGuide) and maintaining a work-life balance was the biggest lesson I learned. You are no good to anyone or any project if you are so burned out you can’t even function. Obviously, freedom comes with expectations and responsibilities, but I do better, faster and more creative work if I am able to balance that with a healthy personal life.

Lastly, ask yourself at least three times if something is really an emergency before hitting the panic button. In my experience, most of the time it’s not an emergency, it’s just a bad day or bad result. When everything is an emergency, nothing is, and that creates a volatile work environment for the people around you.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

That’s absolutely correct, and I’m fortunate to have had a number of people in my life who helped me get to where I am professionally. But among the managers and mentors I’ve had, it’s actually my father who I am most grateful for when it comes to my professional development. We grew up in very different work cultures and industries but his guidance on strategic thinking, clear communication and the importance of remembering your organization’s priorities, have been the greatest assets to my development. As a born creator, more than anything else, I will be the first to admit that I have a natural tendency towards chaos and gut reaction decision-making. Not always the most fun qualities to have in a manager or employee. But my father’s relentless questioning ‘why’ — ‘Why is this more important? Why should your team care about this? Why did this move off course?’ — as casual family conversation around the dinner table encouraged skills that came to me less naturally, from a very early age.

Thank you for that. Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the travel and hospitality industries?

At GetYourGuide, our mission is to deliver unforgettable travel experiences to travelers around the world. In April, we conducted and released a new survey aimed at uncovering what ‘unforgettable’ experiences actually means to U.S. travelers in today’s world. Maybe unsurprisingly, the survey found that U.S. travelers are in search of authentic experiences — looking to avoid “tourist traps” when planning itineraries and opting for domestic destinations in 2022. We expect these trends to play out widely as travel bookings ramp back up.

Using the survey results, we launched an online quiz for travelers to uncover their travel persona and with it, the perfect, unforgettable experience. No one person wants the exact same travel experience. But we found that you can start to find themes in the types of ‘personas’ when looking at travelers. So quiz takers are categorized into one of four personas (Adventurous Daredevil, Unwinding Wanderer, Trailblazing Explorer, and Cultural Surveyor — I’ll let you figure out which one you are) and are then provided with travel experiences to match their personality. Our hope is that GetYourGuide’s quiz allows travelers to plan the kind of experience that works for them and is tailored to their perfect trip, so like me, you don’t accidentally end up on a nighttime hike across the African bush in white!

Which “pain point” are you trying to address by introducing this innovation?

The term ‘unforgettable’ means different things to different people. In 2022, what we expect from an unforgettable experience has taken on an entirely new definition. Especially as the pressure to plan a perfect trip is higher than ever, after years of postponed travel due to the pandemic. Through the survey, we found that travelers are more careful than ever to avoid anything they perceive to be a stereotypical ‘tourist trap’. I think everyone has realized, life’s too short! As travelers become more discerning, our quiz and booking platform becomes more specific, helping them discover the best things to do in a destination — from food tours by local experts, to cooking and craft classes, to the world’s most iconic attractions; bucket-list experiences and niche offerings you won’t find anywhere else.

How do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?

Our survey found that more than two-thirds of travelers (68%) say they’ve decided against visiting an attraction or excursion because they were concerned it was a tourist trap, while four out of ten travelers (41%) say they’ve avoided a destination altogether due to concerns of it being a tourist trap. That’s a huge percentage of people making decisions around this relatively new idea or fear. And as an industry and company, we need to take it seriously and build bespoke products that work for this new traveler. So when travelers take our quiz and discover their tailored persona and experience, they can visit, or the GetYourGuide app, and not only have access to the things that have become table stakes in the industry (although still rare); transparent pricing, flexible booking policies and real customer reviews etc. — they also get a fully curated experience, one that has been vetted by us.

As you know, COVID19 changed the world as we know it. Can you share 5 examples of how travel and hospitality companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers will prefer to travel?

They certainly have, and I hope they continue to do so! I’m excited to see what this next generation of travelers and industry brings.

Authentic Experiences: As we’ve discussed, the majority of travelers are looking to avoid attractions or destinations they believe to be the stereotypical ‘tourist traps’. Moving forward, travelers will prioritize a sense of freedom and authenticity in their travels. Hence GetYourGuide’s online quiz that helps consumers discover the best experience to book based on their personality.

Flexibility: As more travelers ramp up bookings post-Covid, the freedom to change your mind and get your money back is a big confidence booster. I think we’ve all seen that in the past few years — things can change very quickly. As such, travel and hospitality companies that were inflexible before, will need to reevaluate their policies. For us, we’ve always believed in a flexible cancellation policy (free cancellation and rebooking up to 24 hours before the start of any activity). Life happens!

Transparency: With many having put travel plans on hold during the pandemic, travelers will be conducting thorough research before booking their next trip. They want to get it right the first time. So, it is key for the industry to be transparent. For us, this means access to transparent pricing and real customer reviews that customers can trust.

Travel Boom: In the coming years, travel and hospitality companies must be ready for a big travel boom. Many are experiencing wanderlust, after years of being cooped up in their homes or apartments due to COVID-related travel restrictions — I know I have. And we’re already seeing it happen; GetYourGuide’s bookings have more than doubled compared to pre-pandemic numbers in 2019.

Sustainable Travel: Sustainable travel is also on the rise. I’m personally pleased to see that consumers are becoming more and more aware of the environmental impact of their travel. Whether it’s using an environmentally-friendly means of traveling, booking flights based on the lowest estimated emissions, or researching the local/environmental impact of tourism in a particular destination — today’s travelers are eager to be a part of the solution, not the problem, and are willing to do the research and make the investment to ensure that. With GetYourGuide’s growing collection of eco-certified activities, we are hoping to make it easier for travelers to make a positive impact on the places they visit.

You are a “travel insider”. How would you describe your “perfect vacation experience”?

That’s a tough one and depends on the time of year, but I do have a few constants:

To me, all ‘perfect’ vacations have about a 60/40 split of activity and relaxation and involve just one or two other people whether it’s my best friend, my sister, or whomever. The trip setting is always somewhere new to me, ideally a new country, and involves a few days of outdoor activities (usually skiing), followed by a few days in a city to explore, eat, and walk around. For me, the food is key to feeling like I’ve immersed myself in a city. The final leg of my “perfect vacation” is a day or two to relax and unwind so I’m recharged at the end before going home.

Travel is not always about escaping, but about connecting. Have you made efforts to cultivate a more wellness driven experience? We’d love to hear about it.

I’d like to think I have. When I was in my young twenties, I had no money, but I was still intent on traveling. So, my trips consisted of a lot of couch surfing, living out of small suitcases, and scrimping and saving on meals and activities. I had a wonderful time, don’t get me wrong. But it was never a relaxing experience — always on the go. Now, I try to balance my need for adventure with my body and mind’s need for time off and connection. I’ve tried to shift my mentality so instead of feeling like I’m ‘missing out’ by taking it easy on my last 48 hours of holiday, I see it as a way to reset, reconnect with myself and the culture I’m in, before returning to the chaos of NYC.

Can you share with our readers how you have used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I’m a firm believer that for those fortunate and privileged enough to travel, it is the best education in the world. Nothing has prepared me for life more than my interaction with diverse people and cultures. I think making travel more accessible, more enjoyable, and more authentic, brings people together in a way nothing else can. So, I’m thrilled to work for an organization that does just that. And collectively, the more exposure we have to other cultures, the more empathy and understanding we build. We all have to live on this big rock together, so we may as well get to know one another.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’ve always been a proponent of rebranding the environmental narrative. As someone who spends an above-average amount of time exploring the world, I believe it’s something we need to pay attention to. We talk a lot in the Western world about ‘saving the planet’, but nature is resilient and ever-adapting. The planet will live on long after humanity. It’s simply adapting to become uninhabitable for us — its most egregious and expanding species. I think if we want to make real progress on tamping down our consumption of…well, everything…we need to recognize and message it accordingly. Humans are innately ‘self-centered’ in the most literal sense of the word, so let’s call it what it is: We need to take action to save ourselves, and future generations, by taking care of the planet.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

IG: @carolinecberger


This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.