Jenner Carter is Head of Marketing at Lime Venue Portfolio and has 14 years’ experience working in the events industry. On top of this, Jenner is also Marketing Chair for the Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA), one of the UK event industry’s most respected associations.
She is part of the senior team responsible for LVP’s brand awareness, supporting event enquiry generation for our 80+ venues and enhancing and enriching customer data. Jenner works closely LVP group sales, central sales and the wider Compass Group family to ensure that LVP are meeting customer and client requirements.
How did you get into the event industry?
I did a Fine Art degree at university and was interested in curating art exhibitions and events, but it was completely by accident that I fell into the MICE industry. After I had been travelling I took a temp. job at the NEC Group in their IT department. I was then offered a permanent position in the operations team at the NEC, supporting some of the biggest exhibitions. I’ve been lucky to be part of this industry ever since going from Ops to Marketing. There are so many sectors, roles and opportunities within our industry and I’ve been so fortunate to work across ticketing, concerts, food, conference, exhibitions, events and meetings.
Tell us about your role & what do you enjoy the most about marketing?
My role at LVP is to lead the marketing function; supporting lead generation for our venues, building the LVP brand in the marketplace, enhancing our data and providing thought leadership to support the whole portfolio.
LVP and its parent company, Compass Group, really value and embraces the importance of Marketing – which is great! On a daily basis I get to put myself in our customer’s shoes and use the full marketing mix to anticipate event booker’s wants and needs.
There are so many things I enjoy about marketing; developing campaigns that drive results, creating and hosting thought leadership reports and events, embracing new digital ideas but probably the chance to be creative is what I real value.
How important is it to be marketing to your target audience?
It’s the be all and end all! We have all received a non –personalised piece of marketing, and I’m not just talking about it not having your name on it. I’m talking about the timing and content not been relevant to you, so you instantly delete it or put it in the bin, instantly disengage with that brand. So, knowing your customer and their communication preferences is vital.
We spend a lot of time at LVP Towers understanding our audience segments, their, wants, need, motivations and communicate with them accordingly. There are over a 100 different ways to communicate but it’s about finding the right way your customers want to engage with you and be engaged by you that will deliver the best results.
What motivates and inspires you?
Apart from doing a good job and seeing results, I take inspiration and motivation from loads of places – from walking down the road and seeing a billboard to scrolling through social media (I love the gram). Colleagues are an important motivator too – I love working with the LVP team to bounce ideas around.
Biggest challenge of working in the events industry?
The obvious answer at the moment might be about leaving the EU! But, Event Profs seem to be taking it in their stride and carrying on with business as usual! In fact, we have used Brexit as an opportunity to create a marketing campaign, reacting to what’s happening (or isn’t happening!) and empowering event planners to power through, as they always do. The other challenge remains the same as it always has – in such a saturated marketplace ensuring your proposition stands out remains fundamental.
Why is food so important when it comes to the delegate experience?
Now more than ever, event planners are requesting healthier food and drink options, driven by what their delegates want. According to an IACC report on nutrition and wellness trends, more planners and attendees are asking hotels and convention centres for healthier food.
They want the option of a healthy event experience. Our sister company Levy UK, who caterers at our sports venues, have taken this on board and have produced Mindful Meeting Packages with menus built around health, wellbeing and the environment.
Attendees are becoming increasingly health conscious with dietary requirements and choices requested on the increase. Vegetarian, vegan, paleo, gluten free, raw... the list of diets goes on. Eating healthy when at an event like parties, receptions, and conferences can be a challenging experience when you are trying to balance healthy foods with foods high in fat, salt, and sugar.
I’m a massive foodie myself and I know when I go events I am always looking to try something new but that gives me the option of being ‘good’ or having a ‘treat’. Venues that can cater for both, as standard, will always win me over!
What’s your favourite Film?
It has to be Dirty Dancing – I must have seen it over a 100 times!
Having gained accreditation in Mental Health First Aid, why would you recommend businesses to consider this training for their employees?
In one word: Yes!
This year the HBAA are actively committed to supporting event professionals with ill mental health prevention, breaking down the stigma and giving individuals tangible ways of managing mental health issues. I was one of the first HBAA ambassadors to complete this accreditation which now allows me to spot the signs of poor mental health and guide people towards support. The more people that complete this course the better, as it will help their understanding of mental health and potentially stop a crisis from happening. Companies that better manage mental health not only support the individual involved, but also can reduce costly, high rates of absenteeism caused by stress, anxiety or depression.
Where do you go to get away from it all and unwind?
I love an active holiday – sightseeing and exploring, but equally sometimes you can’t beat a relaxing beach holiday. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel all over the world from Fiji to the USA and closer to home I love Cornwall as a place to unwind. Turning off the emails and spending quality time with my family and friends is unbeatable and a great way to re-charge my batteries.
What has been your favourite venue experience and why?
Don’t make me pick! I’m a bit of a history geek, so love our properties that have lots of heritage and stories to tell but, all of our venues are amazing for different reasons. The diversity of venues is one of the main reasons I took the job at Lime Venue Portfolio. I love getting out and about experiencing the venues as a delegate would, as it really helps me to be able to tailor our marketing to meet customer’s needs.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
I’ve been lucky enough to have some great managers who have always supported me and acted as mentors, often pushing me out of my comfort zone! That’s the biggest piece of advice I have taken on board and would give someone, as it’s only when you step out of your comfort zone you can see what you are made of and often doors to other opportunities open. I love tech brand Samsung, campaign hashtag #dowhatyoucan’t and you can quite often hear me reciting this around LVP HQ.
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