My Event World - Simon Jones

Simon Jones, national account manager of Center Parcs, on accidents in Ibiza and fishing with Chris Tarrant.

My Event World - Simon Jones
My Event World - Simon Jones

I got into the events industry because although it's been said a thousand times before - no day is ever the same. I enjoy the challenge of promoting an unusual venue such as Center Parcs. There are few venues that have the seemingly endless range of facilities and activities on offer. It means we can be very diverse in our approach in responding to the needs of our clients.

I have worked here since December 2009, although this is my second stint at Center Parcs. My previous role was within strategic corporate and media partnerships, which I did for nearly three years. 

I was attracted to this particular role because I missed a great team and a great brand; I was delighted when Center Parcs invited me to rejoin the business. I knew it would be a great role with many different challenges and opportunities.

Not many people know that I have been fishing in Canada with Chris Tarrant twice and caught a larger fish than him.

My worst experience at an event was while preparing for a dance event in Ibiza. I fell off the set and fractured my back. I was flown home in an air ambulance and spent two months in hospital.

If there's one thing I've learnt it's draw from the experience of those around you.

The best event I've been involved in was the double naming ceremony of two cruise ships while working for P&O Cruises. We entertained 6,000 guests over three days, culminating in the royal naming ceremony with the obligatory bottle of champagne over the bow. I consider myself very lucky to have been given the chance to be part of maritime history.

If I could do it all over again I would not have fallen off the set in Ibiza.

The one thing I can't stand is poor service.

Outside of work I spend my time with my son Jenson and wife Janine. I also like to get a bit of fishing in when I have a spare day.

If money were no object I would love to buy Raffles Canouan Island in the Grenadines. I worked on an event there in 2008; it really was paradise. 

The one event I will never miss is my family holiday. We like to get away at least once a year. I love being able to crash out for a week or two in the sun.

The recession has meant that we have become even more innovative in our approach to business and have founded new relationships in new markets to take forward for the future.

The next 12 months will be better than the last 12. Last year was a tough trading year for the MICE sector. It's still early days, but it would seem that some cautious industry optimism is being talked about and current business levels support this theory. Lets hope that upward trend continues.

If I could switch places with anyone else in the industry it would be one of my clients. Not saying who, but they arrange some truly amazing experiences all over the globe. I would like to do that for a few days.

If I ruled the event industry I would create a globally accepted and recognised benchmarking policy within the sector for sustainable and green events.


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