My Event World - Carol O'Reilly

Carol O'Reilly, manager of the Liverpool Convention Bureau, on getting to know her new home city and mud slides in Columbia.

My Event World - Carol O'Reilly
My Event World - Carol O'Reilly

I got into the events industry because I started work on a temporary basis at the NEC, Birmingham and discovered the excitement of working in the fast moving, challenging, but ultimately rewarding world of events.

I have worked here since March 2007 when I was brought in on a consultancy basis to help set up the new Liverpool Convention Bureau. I took on the permanent role last November.

I was attracted to this particular role because I very quickly realised that Liverpool is a fantastic, vibrant city with great facilities for events and I wanted to help spread the word.

Not many people know that I worked in Birmingham for over thirty years and was at the NEC for the first Birmingham International Motor Show.

My worst experience at an event was arriving in Colombia for a conference just as massive mud slides occurred in Bogota, killing tens of thousands of people. We were there to promote the next conference taking place in Birmingham, which was totally overshadowed by the tragedy which had just occurred.

If there's one thing I've learnt it's never to be surprised by buyers' requests.

The best event I've been involved in was either the MTV Awards or BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards - two exciting events which both happened during Liverpool's Capital of Culture year in 2008.

If I could do it all over again I would keep a diary and publish a book.

The one thing I can't stand is venues that keep potential clients waiting before showing them around.

Outside of work I spend my time getting to know my new home city, Liverpool, and the amazing surrounding areas which offer coast, country, history and more.

If money were no object I would like to model the Liverpool Convention Bureau on the Vienna CB - consistently the best and with stability in terms of funding.

The one event I will never miss is Confex.

The recession has meant that buyers are looking for even more value for money, and for venues to offer added value.

The next 12 months will be very busy. The Liverpool Convention Bureau will be unveiling new branding and we are launching a new website. In a year's time we'll be getting ready for the Labour Party Conference coming to the city in 2011.

If I could switch places with anyone else in the industry it would be no one. I've just moved to Liverpool and I'm still exploring my fabulous new city and enjoying working with a great team.

If I ruled the event industry I would introduce universal accreditation/grading systems for hotels, conference venues and suppliers so that buyers worldwide would understand exactly what they could expect from any organisation in the industry.

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