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In the spotlight with industry expert Rose McDonald

Rose McDonald is Head of Sales at Robinson College and is passionate about delivering the highest standard of business relationships and ROI with clients. Her skill base is endless from working with large independent venues to venue finding and working with the HBAA. Here's what she had to say to us:

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

I started as a trainee manager in a small hotel in East Sussex and since then I have had roles working in a few London restaurants, hotel groups, large independent venues, a venue finding agency and where I am now, at an academic venue. My career experience has led me across operations, national sales, revenue management, sales and marketing and a stint doing my own thing supporting venues and venue finding agents with proactive sales and marketing strategies.


2. What are your career highlights?

Working at Chelsea Football Club when they won the FA Cup and being at the match – I'd only been there two weeks and it was quite an experience! Also have fond memories of getting asked to be a judge for the MIA-List Awards, as this was a complete honour and a privilege. Ultimately, I love working in a team, nurturing talent, and still do a bit of training work with individuals and teams. I find this immensely rewarding.

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

One of the main developments is technology. When I started out there were no emails, mobile phones etc. The best way of communication were the telex machines, if anyone remembers them? It's a more instant transaction nowadays and there's a massive choice of hotels and venues at your fingertips which is great for the consumer but increases competition. But, good competition always keeps us on our toes! Although we have the luxury of instant communication, we shouldn't shy away from picking up the phone or sending a personal thank you card, as it will add value to your relationships.

4. What's unique about Robinson College?

The team. I know I would say that but I can honestly say it's the passion, creativity and enthusiasm around me every day that's inspiring. It's all about the customer and doing everything we can to create a memorable and happier experience, whether that's for our wonderful students or meetings and events with clients. To complement this we have amazing meeting and events spaces, good quality en-suite study bedrooms (we've just won a booking.com award!) plus an imaginative and ethical cuisine. There's nothing like staying at Cambridge College to truly feel the Cambridge University experience!

5. What's your favourite team building event?

I love doing a mixture of things rather than just one thing. Motorised activities, water-based, getting messy are good ones and also lots of fun! Classroom based activities where you have to use your brain and work as a team is very rewarding when you crack it – you always learn something whether it's about yourself or your colleagues. We've just launched the Graduate Challenge activity alongside Off Limits Event Professionals which is unique to Robinson College. We hope that customers see the benefit of bringing their team to an academic environment to learn in a fun way. Each activity gives a different key learning element and the organiser can choose from a menu of different class subjects such as geography, maths, anthropology and can tailor a programme to their needs. We're excited to be working with Off Limits Event Professionals to deliver this.


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

Definitely Scotland. It's an amazing place! There's something about it from the historic cities, towns and villages to the rugged, breath taking landscapes. I love how the weather can be so changeable and how this effects the scenery at a moment's notice. It's a special place.

7. What do you expect to see in 2017 from the corporate hospitality and events sector?

We've seen more event tech complementing events programmes over the past few years and this looks set to continue. Although it's important these complement face-to-face interaction and do not take over the conversation and networking elements. We run our own award winning, networking and learning events for event organisers, clic+ (Connect, Learn, Innovate and Communicate) and strive to show event organisers choice, ideas and sustainable options they can use for their events. This helps keep abreast of what others might be doing and means we can offer more support to our clients. Even across the last four events the audience are still asking for event tech ideas but in the main it's the networking and sharing of best practice that is most important to attendees.

Rose is certainly passionate about delivering the best to the industry at Robinson College and with a potentially turbulent 2017 we're excited to see what Rose McDonald and her team will deliver.

Watch this space!

Written by Jenna Halford

10th Friday March 2017