A day in the life of…

Anna Costea is Whittlebury Park’s Senior Event Planner and has worked in the Hospitality industry for 12 years. Anna is based within the busy Conference & Events office at Whittlebury, which hosts around 200 events every year. The events that Anna is responsible for range from small meetings and private birthday parties to conferences, exhibitions, networking events, award ceremonies, tribute nights and large-scale annual events.

Coordinating complex and entirely bespoke events means that no day or week are the same for Anna. Planning is the essence of her role as is being present on the day, which is the practical element introduced over the past year in response to client feedback to actually meet their planner. Whittlebury’s Conference & Events clients range from local businesses to regional and national firms and charities across the country and also Europe.

Anna believes that the key to her success is building a good relationship and rapport with clients. Her positive attitude and industry experience has meant that many clients request to work with her again.

From the company point of view, Anna sees internal communication as essential to her role as often event information is incredibly complex and involves multiple departments. Many of the Operations team work in different shift patterns and so any schedules and requirements that are sent to them have to be timely so that everyone is informed in advance.

Can you go through a typical day when you are hosting a large event?

At 8:30am, I will meet with the client and check if the room set-up is to their requirements and that if they had an overnight stay with us the night before, the accommodation and dining met their expectations too.

I will also check in with the Operations team to make sure that everyone understands the schedule for the day.

Once my clients are satisfied and their day is underway, I will go back to the office and check my emails for updates on the future events that I am working on, answering any questions that they may have.

There is always a rolling schedule of new events within the team, and so the Enquiry Specialists will share their event handover following initial communication in person or by email with the client. At confirmation stage, I will raise the contract and then speak to the client in person or liaise by phone, depending on the size of the event.

Next on my list will be an an appointment to meet with the clients who have signed their contract and want to move into the next stage of planning the details of their event. This will usually be in person, with a representative from the company (such as the MD) so they can see their meeting space and talk through the event, sometimes with additional members of their team too. During this meeting, I will go through timings, menus, drinks, AV requirements, entertainment, decorations and accommodation.

Following this information gathering meeting with the future client, I will go back to check on the event happening on that day to ensure that everything, including the small details such as break time catering, is as they requested.

Then, after the client for that day leaves and I say goodbye, the next one will be arriving and ready for a meet and greet, straight afterwards!

Most of our bookings take place across the multiple buildings of Whittlebury’s estate. We have the main hotel, which has our Brooklands Suite, The Atrium, which is home to our 1905 Suite and finally our Orangery and Pavilion. Sometimes clients have an idea in mind as to what location they would like to use, but after I have walked around with them and gained a deeper understanding of their needs, I have suggested another space that I think will work better, and I enjoy offering my insight to help with the client’s vision. Many people may not realise how flexible we are, so if they would like something different for their catering options for instance, such as a summer BBQ at the Pavilion, we can make it happen. As part of our promise to clients, I will always follow-up by email or phone to get comments, feedback and suggestions following their event.

Visit whittlebury.com/business to find out more.