Our events team has gone from strength to strength increasing in size and being listed in the top 10 UK events company ranking with C&IT. Jo Lake is a Senior Events Consultant, based in Manchester. She joined Clarity in June 2016 and was a Rising Star Finalist at the 2019 Business Travel Awards.
I'm not one of those people who jumps up when their alarm goes off – it's more of a slow struggle! I drag myself out of bed, get ready and then prepare myself for the horrendous Northern Rail commute. Once I'm on the train, I feel more relaxed. I like listening to Capital on the radio and just generally staring at other commuters!
My main responsibilities are booking meetings, events and conferences for our clients. We have a broad range of clients with specific needs, so it's always exciting when you pick up an enquiry and get to be creative with it.
I also train our new starters on the MICE team. I really enjoy being able to support people and feel proud when I get to see them grow and develop. Alongside that, I support my Team Managers, Mike and Andrea with updating client policies, training manuals as well as any general enquiries.
No two days are the same in this role! One minute you could be booking a boardroom for 4 people in Manchester, the next you could be looking at event venues for 300 in Dubai. I am currently trying to source a castle in the Highlands for 600 people!
I recently went to Amsterdam to support one of our larger client's event. It's great when you see an event taking place and the client is happy. It makes you feel proud knowing you've contributed to its success.
My team hands down. When I first started, there were only 5 of us. Since then, our team has grown to 20. You'd think we wouldn't be as close but if anything, we're closer. Everyone is so supportive, and we genuinely care about one another.
My most memorable moment was when I received my GTMC Diploma. I had to write 15 essays, do 15 tests and complete 15 modules whilst attempting to have a social life. I came into work at 7am every day and was on my laptop until 11pm – my boyfriend did start to wonder if I had gone missing. It was all worth it when I collected my certificate at the conference, in London. Clarity is the first TMC to offer the Diploma so, to represent the business felt amazing. What I didn't realise was that I'd have to speak in front of 500 people. The room was full of influential CEOs from different companies, so it was quite overwhelming, but everyone was up clapping! Definitely a moment I won’t forget anytime soon.
These days, event organisers are expecting much more from their suppliers. They are no longer looking for orders-takers but are seeking partners who aim to achieve the same objectives or work towards a shared goal.
Suppliers play a major role when organising any event. Here at Clarity, our in-house team have the skills and experience to deliver all areas of event management. An important part of that event management process is ensuring the right suppliers are chosen and that we utilise their expertise when procuring equipment or organising modes of transportation for our groups.
When a large part of the event involves working alongside suppliers, how do we ensure that they continually represent our core values and are fully engaged to deliver the standard of service or product we offer our clients?
At Clarity, we expect our suppliers to become an extension of our team. Here are our top three tips on ensuring a successful partnership:
Communication is the most important element of any event. How can a supplier deliver above the expectations if they do not have the full picture? How are we, as an event agency, exceed expectations, if we are not informed of all requirements and objectives of the event?
Our latest manifesto Hearts & Minds looks at creating a more balanced approach to business travel, focusing on traveller centricity and experience and how it can positively affect productivity, efficiency and also profit. Knowing the principles and wider objectives for our requirements can empower the supplier to make small changes and improvements to their services, which can have a significant impact on the event outcome.
It is important to know what the client is currently spending, where they are holding their events and whether there are any peak periods.
Clarity’s Management Information reports show us these details. We are able to advise our clients on a strategic approach to booking meetings and events, which can improve their overall bottom line. These details are also very useful in discussions with venues and hotels, as they enable us to secure availability in the required locations and help in negotiating rates to maximise return on investment for the client, and expected revenue for our suppliers.
The events industry is very much based on people and the ‘human factor.’
Our annual client conference creates a platform for our clients to meet with the suppliers we work with. We want our relationships to be stronger, and we are not afraid of introducing the organiser to the hotel manager. We are working together on the same project with the same goal and we believe the most important part of any event is to build trust with each other - the true essence of a partnership.
Here at Clarity, we pride ourselves by working collaboratively with our clients, to help them maximise their investment in events and achieve the best results. We also have a preferred venue programme based on our clients’ demand and we work closely with them to offer the best value.
Partnerships are not there to limit us, stronger relationships make the event planning and delivery process smoother, cost-effective and help us to achieve the best possible results.