Samantha has worked at Donnington Valley Hotel for eight years. She currently heads up the Conference and Events Team, specialising in planning and delivering special events for a whole range of guests.
What does your day-to-day role involve?
I take conference and event enquiries, which can be anything from birthday parties to corporate meetings to weddings. I then oversee that enquiry from booking to planning to making sure everything runs smoothly at the event itself. There’s a lot of planning and organisation involved!
How long have you been in this role?
I have been in events for five years now, but have only led the team for three years.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love planning events. Once the guest has confirmed us as a venue you get to do all the really exciting planning aspects to bring it all to life and make sure their event is perfect.
What are the most important skills for you in your role?
Time management is very important. Every day is different and things can change quickly at short notice so being able to adapt to different situations certainly helps. I’d say in this role you need to expect the unexpected.
What was your professional background?
I actually came here more or less straight from school. I did some admin work for a supermarket for a little while and then got my first full-time role here in the Reservations Team.
What is your proudest career achievement to date?
I think it would have to be getting promoted to Conference and Events Manager because I had only been working in Events for about two years beforehand. I’d also never had any kind of management experience, so it was really big step up for me.
What are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I really love my role and there’s a lot of different elements to it. As well as the event planning aspect, there’s also a more commercial, sales-oriented side which I really enjoy. For me, going forward I’d like to expand the business that we take – there’s so many different kinds of functions and events that we can host and that’s only going to expand when our barn venue is built towards the end of the year.
What’s it like being a woman in hospitality?
I think I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve never felt that being a woman has held me back in my career. I think looking around the hotel you tend to see certain departments that typically have more men or more women, although I think in some areas we’re started to see that change a little more.
What advice would you give to young women entering the industry?
Get started early in the industry. It doesn’t necessarily matter so much where you start off because there are so many progression routes. For example, if you wanted to have a career in hotel events, you could start off in Reservations or Reception which would give you a really strong foundation. The nature of the hotel industry means that whatever you learn in one area can often be invaluable when you move into another department.