Interview with Kirsty Edwards, Hospitality & Events Sales Manager, Notts County FC
In this latest industry interview, SVB’s Katie McIntyre hears from Kirsty Edwards, Hospitality & Events Sales Manager at Notts County Football Club.
The English Football League (EFL), Sky Bet – League Two side, nicknamed ‘The Magpies’, recently completed a refurbishment of two of its conferencing and hospitality suites, the 1862 Suite and the Directors Suite, placing Meadow Lane Stadium in a better position within the competitive local market for both conferencing facilities and hospitality offering, as Kirsty explains in the following interview.
Kirsty, can you please start off by telling our readers a little about yourself, your journey and career highlights to date?
Hospitality runs in the family. My dad works as a Sales Executive at Somerset Cricket Club and, through his contacts, steered me in the direction of a role as Commercial Executive at Nottingham Racecourse, where I stayed for eight years. It was a very varied role, which saw me look after all sales and marketing. After two years, I was promoted to a managerial role, leading a team of three to deliver a first-class experience for our customers. I then spent six months as Marketing Manager at Nottingham Cornerhouse before taking my first step into the fascinating world of football as Notts County’s Hospitality and Events Sales Manager. It’s been a whirlwind six months in the job so far, but I’ve loved every minute, and am very excited to see what the future holds. The highlight of my career so far came in 2015, when I was tasked with organising Nottingham Racecourse’s Ladies Day, the biggest day in the racing calendar. I managed to increase attendance by more than 25%, beat all hospitality targets and budgets, and organised all the entertainment for the day. It’s an event I look back on with immense pride.
As Hospitality & Events Sales Manager at Notts County FC, what level of involvement did you have in regards to the recently completed refurbishment project?
My input was focused on the aesthetic touches; selecting the colour scheme and furniture for the two new rooms. Everyone worked incredibly hard to complete the refurbishment within the two-week timescale and we’re all thrilled with how it turned out.
Can you advise on the key drivers for the project and what the refurbishment entailed? Which contractors were involved?
The key driver was to make us more competitive in the marketplace by creating two spaces better suited for modern conferencing, hospitality and events. Both rooms were completely stripped out and redecorated, with new ceilings, lighting and carpets fitted, as well as built-in AV equipment. Paragon Interiors led the project and did a fantastic job.
How do you foresee the refurbishment delivering on your drivers over the next 12-24 months? And what’s been the initial reaction from clients?
I fully believe this will give us an opportunity to compete as one of the East Midlands’ leading conferencing and events venues. Our immediate challenge is to retain our current clients and develop a stronger base to enhance our reputation in the field. The refurbishment has been met with immense praise from key stakeholders and clients and I’m immensely excited to take our offering to the next level.
What kind of technology has been integrated into the conferencing and hospitality suites?
As previously mentioned, we’ve installed built-in data projectors and screens. We’re also in the process of fitting PA systems, which will gear us up to offer a fully-enhanced conferencing package.
Do you have any further renovations or redevelopments planned?
Not at the minute, but we are always looking to improve the infrastructure and packages we offer. So watch this space!
From your perspective, what has had the biggest impact on the sector over the last 12-24 months and what emerging trends do you foresee?
The biggest impact on the sector has been hotels and similar venues becoming more affordable, which obviously poses a challenge to venues like ours. That’s especially true in Nottingham, where the market’s saturated. One of the emerging trends I’ve noticed is that clients are increasingly keen to find a unique venue for their event, which I certainly feel we can offer. This is a trend we’ll be looking to take advantage of moving forward.