Wellington Place is more than just bricks and mortar, it’s a thriving community powered by people. This series of interviews aims to highlight some of the people of Wellington Place, share their inspirational stories and find out why Wellington Place is much more than just a place to work…
Interview with Katie O’Hara, Director of Sales & Marketing at the Crowne Plaza Leeds, Wellington Street
Katie O’Hara has worked with the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) for 20 years and is responsible for managing the sales and marketing activities for all aspects of the hotel, helping them to achieve their sales targets each month.
Tell us a little bit about what you do…
“I work as the Director of Sales & Marketing at Crowne Plaza Leeds, however, during the COVID-19 pandemic, I have also been looking after Holiday Inn Coventry, Leicester, and Hull’s sales efforts, which has been extremely interesting and varied.
“Within my role, the main responsibility is managing the sales and marketing activity for all aspects of the hotels in order to achieve their monthly targets.
“My day-to-day tasks have changed considerably since the start of the pandemic as all client liaison has needed to happen virtually. In a normal world, I would spend my day meeting new clients and entertaining existing clients, calling prospective clients and coordinating HQ initiatives.
“I am also responsible for updating the website with any new messaging, managing all social media output and promoting LS1 Bar and Kitchen on social media.
“It’s a hugely fun job and each day is different – you also never know what you’re going to find in a hotel room! We once found a blow-up doll from a hen-do (say no more!), and another time we found that someone had put the TV in the bath (not good at all.)”
What’s your greatest achievement to date?
“My greatest achievement in life is that I have worked with IHG for 20 years, I celebrated my anniversary on 19th June 2020! I have such a sense of pride having been with a company for so long. There is a real sense of family and commitment – and it’s also a bonus that I know who to influence to get things done. I absolutely love working in hospitality and it’s such an amazing feeling to make people happy with my service.
“From the age of 12 I knew I wanted to work in the travel industry, my family and I travelled a lot when I was a young child and it became a huge passion of mine!
“I started my travel journey at The University of Wolverhampton where I studied Tourism and Travel Service Management. I knew I wanted to start my career at Heathrow and I was lucky enough to get a job at the Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel – I loved it. I started off as a C&B Coordinator before switching to a Senior Events Manager role.
“I then made the move to Crowne Plaza London Heathrow, IHG (then Bass Hotels & Resorts) as a Conference and Events Manager. I managed the entire office which coordinated 30 meeting rooms.
“I have worked in many roles whilst working with IHG, gaining more experience and responsibility with each, and I still love it to this day.
“The hospitality industry is currently facing its biggest challenge ever, with lots of business being cancelled or postponed until 2021 – we are remaining positive and looking towards the future and a ‘new normal’ in tourism.”
Tell us something interesting about yourself that others at Wellington Place may not know?
Something that many people don’t know about me is that I am extremely interested in crime literature and its history. I find mystery and true crime novels extremely gripping and spend a lot of time reading and researching different stories – you can often find me lost in a book or the internet for hours.”
What do you do in your spare time?
“I spend a lot of time socialising – I love going out for food and drinks with friends. I lived down south for seven years, so have a lot of friends in Oxford and London, it’s always so lovely to visit.
“Since lockdown, I have been more than happy living in my little village with my partner, Angel (my cat) and my dog (Stanley). Both my parents and my parent’s in-law also live in the same village, so it is perfect! We have a lovely little country life and get to see family all the time.”
What is your favourite thing about working at Wellington Place and why?
“The best thing about working at Wellington Place is definitely the community feel it has – we are like a business family! Having worked on-site for many years, it is amazing to have watched Wellington Place grow from an empty space to a thriving business community.
“I feel like I’m in London when I nip out for a coffee or a cheeky glass of prosecco, the complex has all the facilities you could need – it’s even more wonderful when it is sunny.
“It is also great how the staff at Wellington Place like to socialise after work, it isn’t just a 9-5 working space as people are friends and like to spend their leisure time together.”
Which community events do you take part in at Wellington Place and why?
“The community events are great! I’ve been to the BBQ for a networking event and the retail meetings for information sharing. I also love it when they host the market stalls with flowers on display.”
What three words sum up Wellington Place to you?
Community – The complex is extremely tight-knit and it’s so lovely that employees like to socialise together, it really has a wider family feel.
Pride – Wellington Place is a great ambassador for Pride Month. It’s Pride of Place schedule is phenomenal, celebrating and raising awareness, and donating funds to the LGBTQ+ community and charity partners.
Professional – The business park is extremely smart and professional throughout, from the events on offer to the look and feel of the complex.
You can find out more about the Crowne Plaza Leeds here.
Thanks to Katie O’Hara for taking part in the interview. If you would like to tell your story or wish to nominate someone to take part in the People of Wellington Place series please email firstname.lastname@example.org.