Mark has been at The QEII Centre, one of London’s largest dedicated event venues, for almost six years and is working as the UK Business Development Manager. We spoke with Mark this month to find out how his role has changed over the past year.
While the last year or so has been extremely challenging particularly for the business meetings and events industry, what do you personally see as the positives to come out of the pandemic? I’d say my skills in engaging with people via video calls as this has been one of the more significant changes to interacting with people. In the early phases it felt so awkward and unnatural to me, with me feeling overly self-conscious too. Now, I’ve learned to relax into it and make the most of the one-on-one direct way of meeting.
What lured you to work within the business meetings and events industry and what do you love about it most?
I’ve always loved doing business with people. Many, many moons ago I worked as a kitchen designer where I’d have meetings with clients to help bring their dream (kitchen) to life. Being a pivotal contributor to something like that and then seeing reactions was amazing, with the additional reward of winning a client for life, so to speak, as well as seeing the tangible results at the end. Being in the events industry shares a lot of parallels, but on a much larger scale and it’s a wonderful feeling to see an event brought to life and have a client delighted to have put their trust into me and my team.
What excites you most about the return to live physical events? I’m truly a people person at heart and I love nothing better than meeting and interacting with people face-to-face, catching up, doing business, sharing stories, everything! I’m so looking forward to meeting new clients, existing clients, other venues and getting back to the pre-lockdown style of doing business.
Do you have a favourite type of event, and if so, why? Good question. I’m a great fan of all types of events, but when The QEII Centre has hosted super high-profile types of events such as the CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting) which we had in 2018, we have royalty in attendance at the centre, ROYALTY – now that’s exciting. These types of events really make you feel part of something special. I’m also a massive fan of technology events. I’m a closet nerd you’ll be surprised to learn and events where new and emerging technologies are launched and presented in detail are really interesting for me.
If you had one message to give to any hesitant event planners, what would it be? Event Planners who are hesitating to confirm events can rest assured that the QEII Centre has invested in the very best hygiene and infection safety protocols and accreditations to ensure that our venue is fully Covid-Compliant and has systems in place to keep delegates, organisers, staff and indeed every person visiting the venue, safe. One of the many measures we are taking, for example, can be seen in our cloakroom facilities. We understand that delegates may need to travel with luggage, coats etc. so when checking those items in at the centre, we carefully and individually seal their items in biodegradable packaging so as to ensure zero contact with anyone or anything until the owner is ready to collect.
Why is Westminster the ultimate destination for events? Westminster is the ultimate destination for events, as with the backdrop of Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament and the London Eye, event attendees are left in no doubt that they are somewhere historically special and that they are right in the heart of London. Even after a client’s event, the images taken with the stunning aforementioned landmarks make it a highly attractive destination for both UK and international event organisers. Keep an eye out for a video I will be releasing soon showing off these landmarks on my way to the QEII Centre.
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