Hi Jennifer! Can you tell us about your professional background?
I’m the head of Visit Leeds, and I’ve been in Leeds since April 2014 so a few years now; I actually relocated for the job. I moved just outside the city centre to Guiseley and I’m really enjoying it, I love living in Leeds.
What does being the Head of Visit Leeds entail?
On the Visitor Economy side, it’s leading the team and working with stakeholders across the city, across the country and internationally to drive in leisure and business visitors to Leeds. With the focus of getting people to stay, and maximise their spend in the city.
Would you be able to describe how you do that?
A number of channels! We run Conference Leeds, which is our programme for attracting business visitors in. We have a reactive service and we run the conference desk for the city so we’re taking enquiries all day long, from agents, from buyers or from associations.
We also proactively look for people. We go on sales missions, we do campaign work and what we’ve also been doing is seeking out local ambassadors who will work with us in pitching for conferences. A key example of that is working with a consultant who is an expert in their field at Leeds Teaching Hospital and equipping with them with the tools they need for them to go to their association and pitch that their next meeting is based in Leeds.
Why do you think the work that Visit Leeds do is so important for our city?
We do very targeted and focussed interventions that really drive in high spend visitors and we’re independent so we can work across multiple stakeholders and because of where we sit, we can also leverage national and international funding pots for the city so we make sure Leeds benefits from that.
The economic impact for the city is really important for the people who work and live here.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps in the world of business?
In our team, we’re a set of destination professionals. Our degree backgrounds are in tourism, business studies, events management, marketing and I think specialising after A Levels in a degree that’s relevant really helps.
I’d definitely get involved with some of the events in the city too, so you can understand them more. The key ones we’ve got coming up are the World Triathlon Series and the Leeds 2023 campaign!
Coming from someone that knows the city better than most people, what do you love the most about Leeds?
What I love, and this is from a personal point of view as well, is that we’ve got a really interesting city centre with some amazing architecture, a really great waterfront, it’s really compact, very vibrant and it has a strong independent scene.
There’s a lot to see and do, and it changes all the time. But then very quickly, you can be outside the city centre in the amazing countryside with stunning views. I think that’s the uniqueness of Leeds.
Want to find out more information about organising or attending business conferences and events in Leeds? Head to: www.conference-leeds.com