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In The Spotlight With Louisa Watson

Tell us about your background and experience in the events and marketing industry?

I've been working in Hospitality and Events since 2004 and have been fortunate to have worked for a mix of venue types. I've always worked in marketing and could write a book on the changes in marketing, from my first assistant years back in the early 90's. Today the landscape is totally different, with ROI being a precise science, digital communications almost entirely dominates any marketing campaign and predictive marketing is very real.


What is unique about Wyboston Lakes as a corporate and team building venue?

Wyboston Lakes is located on the Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire border and is around 15 minutes from the M1. It sits on a 380 acre site and is the largest single site, independently own resort in Northern Europe. Working for Wyboston Lakes has been a tremendous challenge and I've loved every minute! It's totally unique, and I know that sounds a cliché but really, where do you find 2 residential conference venues, serviced offices, a golf course, gorgeous spa, water sports and teambuilding venue, 4 star hotel, fishing and nature reserve all on one site. We are very fortunate in that we can host larger events with fabulous outdoor space, we have the flexibility to turn what could be complex events into simple solutions that run like clockwork. The added bonus of onsite water sports and team building allows us to create mixed events all on site, when perhaps in traditional venues that wouldn't be possible due to space restrictions or budget.

What trends do you see emerging in the hotel industry?

Events are becoming more and more bespoke with creativity playing a key role. Venues have to be equipped and prepared to think outside the box and have the flair to deliver original ideas. This runs from the spaces offered to layout, food offering and service style.

What is your favourite team building event and why?

I love the 4 x 4 off-roading as it's challenging, mucky and gets the adrenaline flowing. As a team building activity this can be great fun with unexpected results!

Tell us about your role at the HBAA, what are you hoping to achieve in your role there?

Wyboston Lakes has been part of the HBAA for many years and they have become an important vehicle for us in doing great business with our agents and forming special relationships that are built on trust and understanding. I became part of the executive committee for the HBAA in late 2014 when I re-established the marketing committee that had diminished. We have really moved the communications of the HBAA into the digital age and the marketing chair today is doing even more to enhance the profile and elevate the Code of Practice.

Tell us about the Wolf Run charity event and why you decided to take part

One of the events we are running next month is the Wolf Run. This is a unique combination of off road running, mud trails and obstacle runs. This is no ordinary 10k run; this is across raw natural terrain with open ground, woodlands, thick mud and not forgetting an open lake swim! We are raising money for Beyond Food and Brigade once more. Chef Simon Boyle, set up the Charity in 2004 and since has worked tirelessly to better the lives of our young homeless people. Giving them respect, hope, skills, job security, and a future. Through his charity Beyond Food and the Brigade Restaurant, he works with the most vulnerable of individuals many with challenges way beyond being homeless. What I love about the work we do with Simon is the synergy with our industry, he uses food and hospitality as the catalyst to turn people's lives around and it's truly inspiring. We are taking donations, with heaps of gratitude, here.

Who would invite to your dream dinner party?

I would say Tom Hardy but I don't think I would eat much food! So I thought I would go for someone with a real story to tell and settle for Queen Victoria!

Written by Jenna Halford

12th Tuesday September 2017