A day in the life of Ria Thomas, Director at The Collection
Ria has almost a decade’s worth of experience within the event industry and it’s safe to say that she has some of the best venue knowledge in the capital. If there’s a great venue out there, chances are she’s not only seen it, she’s probably had champagne there and knows the whole venue team. Ria was bought on board to launch The Collection and has been working with the WSH teams to build the project. Her previous experience saw her at Venue Search London and prior to that Venue Reservations. It’s clear she likes the world of venue finding so is the perfect director for the project!
When you’re in the wonderful world of events, people often ask about your job and what it’s really like. The perception is that it involves a lot of glamorous dinner, feasting on canapés and a fair amount of cocktails. That’s not totally wrong as you’ll see but it’s also fast paced, stressful, exciting and high pressured.
We decided to follow Ria for the day to see what an event pro really gets up to.
The day starts with a breakfast event. ‘As part of The Collection we run a VIP programme for clients who book regularly with us. One of the perks is being invited to insider perspective events like this. Today’s breakfast is an exclusive seminar where we are looking at a hot topic – how to achieve increased engagement at your event. We find that many of our client’s book conference spaces with us and ROI and guest engagement are often key objectives for their events. These seminars give an insight into how to approach these areas as well as new venues on the scene that can support these goals.’
Following the seminar talk, guests feast on healthy breakfast items such as yoghurt and granola, juices and of course coffee.
Next stop is a meeting within the office.
‘Our London office is based just by Smithfields. It’s such a buzzy area and is great for lunch.’ The meeting sees a new venue which has just joined The Collection present to the team. ‘New venues join the group all the time as our business partners such as Benugo, BaxterStorey and Clerkenwell Green win new contracts. It’s exciting to hear about the spaces and to think about how we can suggest them to clients. Even with my extensive knowledge of the industry there are hidden gems that I’m discovering all the time.’ The team then set about building the venue profile on the website and send across to clients for a first view.
To find out more about TLC – the loyalty club Ria mentions, click here.
A healthy lunch follows. ‘The events industry isn’t always the healthiest – there’s lots of champagne and canapés so whenever we can be healthy we are!’.
The afternoon consists of site visits with a top client.
‘One of our business partners caters within this clients’ offices and it’s great that we can then offer The Collection as their free venue finding service. They’re a busy team working within a Fortune 500 company – they run lots of events so don’t have time to venue find which is where we come in. We work on finding spaces for all their events across the year’
Following a quick check in with the team about the new enquiries of the day as well as a few catch ups with venues it’s off to see a space within the group. ‘We’re often out and about each evening. We go and see new spaces but also those we know well. Our relationships with the venues are so important, especially when it comes to ensuring we negotiate the best set up and package for our clients. Therefore regular meetings, both business and social, with the in-house teams is key. We also come and see the spaces often as it ensures that we know how best to use the venue for events and gives us ideas of what we can use it for. Of course we also sample the champagne, just to check!’
The day tends to finish mid evening with as early a night as possible, ready for another busy day at The Collection.