I got into the events industry because my brother, Mark Benson, played professional cricket for Kent. I ran his benefit year, which involved creating fund raising events such as lunches, dinners, golf days etc. It was doing this that I realised where I was happiest.
I have worked here since I set up Team Tactics in November 1996.
I was attracted to this particular role because I set the business up. However, I don’t consider myself MD material in many ways.
Not many people know that I am trained as a professional tennis coach.
My worst experience at an event was in Portugal, running a big two-day event. The group were all men; some of whom I don’t think managed to get to bed until breakfast time. There was one particular guy who we couldn’t locate. The hotel staff had to go to his room to check if he was there. Just as well really as he was flat out semi-unconscious after a beer too many.
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s don’t think you know everything. The industry is so big with new venues and new team building activities based on the ever-changing market.
The best event I’ve been involved in was a golf day for 300 golfers at Stoke Park. This was the largest charity golf day in Europe. Team Tactics was responsible for every detail, ranging from marquee arrangements to collecting 1,034 white baps at 3.30am on the morning of the event.
If I could do it all over again I would love to be able to charge for all the time we have taken on creating bespoke events for all those enquiries we have had which then get dismissed as there wasn’t a budget there in the first place.
The one thing I can’t stand is competing on price when the offerings on the table are not like for like. I do understand that price is important but often quality can be lost. The constant pressure on price reduction will eventually reduce the overall quality of the event.
Outside of work I spend my time body boarding on Polzeath Beach, cycling around the orchards at lunchtime with the two mat mutts, and weather permitting hitting the road with Flo, our adorable 1972 VW Campervan with my two daughters.
If money were no object I would do more fundraising for the Dogs Trust and Labrador Rescue.
The one event I will never miss is an overseas golf day. With our regular clients, even though we may be working, I know the group really well and its just great fun.
The recession has meant that we have to cut costs and this reduces the ability for us to be creative. I work because I enjoy what I do, but when budgets are really low, it’s difficult to come up with exceptional ideas.
The next 12 months will be interesting. In response to the market conditions improving, we have recently increased our staff and spend a great deal of effort making sure we are highly ranked on Google. Lets hope the coalition Government can pull something out of the hat.
If I could switch places with anyone else in the industry it would definitely not be anybody in the hotel industry. Those people work so hard and such long hours. I don’t think I want to swap places with anybody else, I am quietly comfortable here thank you.
If I ruled the event industry I would have a website that named and shamed event companies that bring the whole industry in disrepute. They are allowed to go under then pop up again under a different name, which is disgraceful and should never happen.