Why did you join Capita Travel and Events?
I wasn’t actively searching when I saw this role, but when I saw it I knew it was an exciting opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. It’s a newly created executive team role that specifically represents meetings and events on the board - it shows how seriously we take customers’ meetings and events needs and demonstrates our ambition to grow this side of the business. It is a chance to build on our strategic meetings expertise but to also really bring to the fore our event management teams and creative talent.
What have you learned in your first six months?
Big is beautiful. It’s true that we are great at strategy, procurement, cost control and compliance and we have the security brought by having a FTSE 100 parent company. We also have the benefit of our own scale from managing over £560m of customer spend on travel, meetings and events. But people sometimes assume that we’re only successful in managing travel and meetings. In reality, we also have teams of specialist event managers who’ve joined us through acquisitions and grown with us. These are talented people who spend their days bringing ideas to life and creating immersive brand experiences for our customers.
What have been the main challenges and how does it differ from your previous role?
Getting to grips with the world of business travel has been a challenge, as it's a new area for me. Many of our customers buy more than just one specialist service from us, so understanding their challenges and successes in the travel space is important for integration. Managing people spread across our multiple offices is also a challenge – I’m appreciating the convenience of rail travel and the efficiency of virtual meeting technologies. My role here is more about strategy than delivery; it’s to shape a proposition in line with the market and customer needs. I’m responsible for leading the growth of our meetings and events by recognising and expanding the knowledge and creative expertise of our teams, focussing on our technology and service innovation and enhancing customer experiences while we continue to grow. As we all know, it is people that are a company’s biggest asset. I’m working with teams who are passionate about their roles and our customers and their brands and that is the key to making us the agency of choice.
How have your first six months been?
It has gone by in a flash. After getting to grips with how the business works and spending time with our teams and customers, I’ve been able to get a real sense of what everyone needs and how we can best achieve it. I did also find time to squeeze in some judging for the C&IT Excellence Awards. We won an award, too – and I didn’t even judge that category! The future stategy for us is to raise our brand’s profile in the event management space. Also, we want to continue to invest in meetings and event technologies, to reduce customer costs without compromising service delivery.
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