Juliet Price is the consultant executive director for the HBAA, and she spent time answering some questions in our spotlight interview. Here’s what she had to say:
1. Tell us about your experience and background working within the events industry?
I started in the hospitality industry as an assistant in the accounts department at Reading Post House Hotel – I’d really wanted to be a hotel receptionist, but they turned me down. I then moved on to Worcester, to become a hotel C&B co-ordinator so that was my first official events role. I stayed working in hotels for over 20 years but never managed to become a hotel receptionist! In 1999, one of my agency clients offered me a job as an Account Director in a small event management agency and I loved it, couldn’t believe how lucky I was to have found such a dream job. From there I went to another agency as Operations Director and ultimately ended up working for an online booking agency. This 360-degree experience put me in a great place to take my role with HBAA, where one of my responsibilities is the delivery of the association’s event calendar so my work in this area is utilised every day.
2. Tell us a little about HBAA?
HBAA a trade body in the hospitality and events industry and it’s been around for 21 years. It’s a great community of agencies, venues, hotels and serviced apartments who work with corporate clients, and are passionate about building relationships with others to further their businesses.
Our 300+ members support each other through working with our code of practice and this means that HBAA membership is recognised as a quality standard for those who work in an ethical, transparent and professional way when conducting business in the sector.
3. Describe a day in your shoes as the Consultant Executive Director?
Well no two days are the same, that’s for sure! I am home-based in Dorset which means I get to travel everywhere for meetings so often I’m catching trains or in the car. I’m supported by our Executive Office and spend time liaising with them to make sure we’re on track with looking after our members and our next event. I also work closely with the fantastic volunteers who drive our activities i.e. our Board and our Exec Committee and support them in achieving their objectives. I’m heavily involved in the PR aspect of the association and look after the sponsors too. My responsibilities include furthering the best interests of the association to ensure it has a voice that is recognised in the hospitality and events landscape, so a lot of my time is taken up with external meetings and activities, often in collaboration with other industry associations.
4. Given all your experience in the field, how would you say the industry has evolved over the last couple of years?
I think everyone now recognises, respects and values their business relationships, and furthering the human element in the face of all the technological intervention is great to see, as hospitality and events is all about the people. Technology is an incredible enabler and at its best it supports us to communicate, share and become more professional at being world leaders in our sector.
Consolidation is rife in every aspect of our industry and agencies, hotels and their respective suppliers are constantly going though change. But that’s a good thing; change is exciting, it stops us standing still and creates opportunities for welcoming new talent and entrepreneurship.
5. Are there any trends you see emerging in the industry?
Recently, there’s been greater acceptance from all the players that the smaller meetings can be moved to online booking portals. We’re starting to embrace this as we realised the benefits of using our time and resources to better manage client relationships, provide a higher focus on customer service and give more to the complex and key events that demand multi-discipline expertise and consultancy.
6. What do you love most about working for HBAA?
1. The members
2. The sponsors and suppliers who invest in our strategies
3. The opportunity to work with a brilliant organisation that capitalises on all my areas of experience to support this amazing industry,
7. Do you have a favourite team building event, if so what is it?
I’ve really enjoyed everything that Off Limits has designed for HBAA over the years but one of the highlights that sticks with me is a session we ran at Hinckley Island for 270 delegates and involved making cocktails, canapes and table decorations for our evening event. The best table decorations were used at the dinner, most of the cocktails got sampled straight after they were made, and the resulting canapes weren’t a bad effort, but it was great to see the team work, creativity and downright competitiveness in the room!
8. Tell us some of your favourite interests outside of work?
I live near the New Forest and 25 minutes from the sea and so I make the most of being in this wonderful location. I live for skiing and am going to give paddle-boarding a go next month. One enduring favourite pastime involves my love of real ale, drinking it and working as a volunteer at beer festivals. Happily, my husband bought a micropub this year, so I get to indulge in this one frequently.
9. If you could choose any destination to travel to where would it be, and why?
There’s so much close to home that I want to experience. Next on my list is walking the Welsh Coastal Path and perhaps a driving holiday to the west coast of Ireland.
My lottery dream is at least a month in the Galapagos Islands…