“As soon as I drove up to The Hayes I knew I wanted to be here.” Meet our Sales Manager Gemma

June 2022

 

Hey Gemma! Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hey, yes I’m Gemma. My background is hospitality. I've worked in the hotel industry since I was 17-years-old! Since then I've worked across many different fields in hospitality. I’ve worked on the operations side, and spent ten years in the events management side. I’ve worked for a few organisations including Radisson Blu, Jury’s Inn and Holiday Inn. 

When did you join Christian Conference Trust and what was that like? 

I joined the Trust just over a year ago. As soon as I drove up to The Hayes (one of our centres) for the first time I knew I wanted to be here. Then, learning about what we do and what our cause is as a Christian not-for-profit, I fell in love. 

When I started we were fully closed due to the pandemic, and no one was coming in. Soon after we opened our doors again and seeing it change from then to today has just been the proudest moment. We filled up quickly after reopening with a lot of long-term clients returning alongside many new faces, which is brilliant. Seeing the centres full of people just loving being back is a delight.

So what do you do? 

My title is Sales Manager. My role predominantly is about overseeing the sales team and our inbound enquiries. I also go looking for new business, which means meeting new groups and churches, people who might like to stay with us – spreading the word about what we’re about!

Who’s on your team?

There’s five of us on the team. Laura, Josh and Mandy are our Sales Executives, who bring a wealth of experience and insight in the world of hospitality, not least of all pulling the Trust through the pandemic. Yolandi is our Sales and Marketing Administrator, an expert in putting our contracts together. We can’t live without her, though we sadly don’t see her so much in person as she’s in Northern Ireland.

How do you meet new groups? 

Thankfully a lot of our groups, having enjoyed their experience, introduce new people to us. We also attend events like the Christian Resources Exhibition (CRE) networking event, which is a real highlight. I do my best to get out there, approaching churches who haven’t used us before but might be interested. 

Can people get in touch with you if they’re curious? What’s the process?

Absolutely! We strongly encourage anyone to drop us a message or give us a call. You can also arrange to meet me at one of our sites and check out our venues in person. Now everything’s opened up it’s a really good time to visit and check out our newly refurbished spaces.

Booking can be a pain. How are you making it easier for guests to book?

We totally get that and we’ve worked hard to make the process as easy and enjoyable as possible. We have a 24-hour response time on all enquiries. After that conversation they get a personalised proposal straight to their inbox. If they’re interested, then it goes to contract stage. We also know it can be hard booking a venue if you can’t guarantee numbers. So we offer a 10% leeway on your booking numbers up to two weeks before your event, so if numbers are anything up to 10% lower than expected, you’ll only pay for who you bring.

Money is an issue for a lot of people. How do you keep costs down?

We work hard to offer an experience that’s both excellent and affordable. If you tell us what your budget is, we’ll work around that and make a proposal that fits it. We’re a not-for-profit organisation, and our prices are 54% lower than our competitors. We also offer a Bursary fund which subsidises those in your group who can’t afford to come. We work that out on a case-by-case basis and you can apply for it online once you’ve set up a contract. 

Do you do anything for people who can’t be there in person?

While in-person gatherings are what we love most of all, we also offer hybrid events where people can attend in-person or online. Our best AV/streaming facilities are the new ones at our High Leigh venue, where we also have technicians who can support you to make it all run properly. We also offer simpler streaming facilities at The Hayes. All AV options are included within our package costs – again, always happy to discuss these options on a call. 

What would you say to someone thinking about running an event but is on the fence?

Come and have a chat with us. Whether it’s cost or facilities or something else you’re unsure about we can talk about it. There’s a wealth of events experience in our department, and we promise we will make it as easy as possible for you. The benefit of booking with us is that Christian guests in particular will find they’re among like-minded people who get what they need, like venues specifically set up so you can worship as loud as you want! 

What is the best part of your job?

It’s all the brilliant people I get to meet. Being a part of all the events, and while there learning about the people behind them, their groups and their history. Getting to work in-person at our centres, with a fantastic team, is a real privilege. I don’t think I could ask to work somewhere nicer or better. 

Thanks Gemma! 


You can get in touch with Gemma to explore event options via email at gemma.ward@cct.org.uk or giver her a call on 07444 514 620.

 
 
 
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The Hayes

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Swanwick, Alfreton
Derbyshire, DE55 1AU

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Lord Street, Hoddesdon
Hertfordshire, EN11 8SG

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Ditchingham, Bungay
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