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In The Spotlight With Amanda Baker

in the spotlight with amanda baker
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With twenty years' experience in the Hospitality sector, Amanda launched Endeavour Consulting three years ago, an Oxfordshire-based consultancy offering freelance sales and marketing assistance and guidance to small and medium enterprises within the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry. Amanda is currently supporting the sales and marketing efforts for an independent family owned hotel, Tewkesbury Park. Here's what she had to say to Off Limits Event Professionals about her experience:

1. Tell us about your background in the events industry?

My first experience in the hospitality and events industry was as a part time receptionist in a fantastic boutique hotel in Buckinghamshire. I was at university and had to juggle my new job with a demanding course which instilled great discipline in me and ensured I learned how to multi-task, quickly! Due to the size of the hotel, we all had to get involved in all aspects of the guest experience, from check in to serving in the restaurant, carrying bags and even stripping beds. It was hard work but provided me with a superb foundation for my career thereafter. Once I graduated, I was really fortunate to go and work in the United States for four months. I worked as a general assistant for an independently run family hotel based in Ocean City, New Jersey. This further added to my skillset and I also managed to travel extensively both within the USA and Canada. As this was a short placement, I was always planning to return home and my stateside experience really cemented my enthusiasm to work in the hospitality sector here in England. I have since worked as Assistant Manager in another boutique hotel, followed by three years as a Deputy General Manager. However, the sales side of the business had always interested me so I decided to change direction and look at sales and marketing roles which I enjoyed at some of the country's finest independent properties including Eynsham Hall, The de Savary hotel, The Old Swan & Minster Mill and, currently, Tewkesbury Park.

2. Given all your experience in the field, how has the industry evolved?

It goes without saying that technology has radically improved the guest experience. I remember checking availability and taking reservations using the old fashioned Whitney boards...thank goodness we've moved on since then! The entire booking experience significantly more efficient and stress-free, although, call me old fashioned, I do still value the art of conversation and taking telephone reservations.

3. What trends do you see emerging in the corporate hospitality sector?

I see more and more corporate clients looking for venues that have a WOW factor. Hotels have to offer something different from their competitors and just offering free WIFI will no longer float everyone's boat! State of the art technology is expected as standard so hotels have to think more innovatively and outside of the box to ensure they win business. The family I work for at Tewkesbury Park are certainly innovative which is great for me and helps me to win business, which is why I'm here. The soon to be unveiled Cotswold Suite is an architecturally stunning glass fronted event suite with 260 degree panoramic views of the Cotswolds...a HUGE WOW factor!

4.What is unique about Tewkesbury Park as a venue for Corporate Events?

Aside from the previously mentioned Cotswold Suite, the position of Tewkesbury Park is unique. The venue is perched on a vista with outstanding views of the Cotswolds Hills, The Malvern Hill and County of Gloucestershire.... there certainly aren't any other properties that can boast that! Every bedroom has a stunning view. Almost without fail, I love seeing clients gravitate towards the windows on show arounds, invariably sighing 'Wow! Now that's a view.' The War of the Roses took place at the bottom of the drive, this is where our team building activities take place a unique hallmark!

5. What is your favourite Team Building Event?

Whilst I was working at Eynsham Hall I hosted an Agent Fam Trip and asked Martin Stephens if Off Limits Event Professionals would like to join and provide the activities. Within the acres of parkland, Off Limits Events provided the It's a Knockout team building event, involving inflatables, water and lots of soap suds. A memorable day was had by all and I still, to this day, have agents commenting about the fun they had.

6.What is your most favourite place in the world to visit and why?

Being half Irish and sent to Ireland every summer holiday to stay with my grandparents, it would have to be the west coast of Ireland, here I discovered my love of fresh fish. Granny Maguire cooked it very simply with flour, seasoning and butter on the range, served with Granddad's freshly dug floury potatoes and scallions (spring onions) Divine!

A good second option, if I am allowed?... the South coast of Italy, specifically the Amalfi coast. Absolutely stunning, not to mention the wine and Limoncello.

Amanda is certainly passionate about delivering the best to the industry and with her experience we're excited to see what she'll accomplish for this year.

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Written by Jenna Halford

10th Monday July 2017

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