Suzanne Watson our Business Development Manager has celebrated three decades in tourism this month, here she tells us about her journey to where she is today…
It was 30 years ago this month that my career in tourism began…
Having finished Southport College with a Distinction in BTEC Travel and Tourism and after work placements at The Beatles Story and the then Merseyside Tourism and Convention Bureau I started at the Tourist Information Centre which was then in Clayton Square and called The Welcome Centre.
It was 1992 and the Tall Ships were over in Birkenhead so straight in at the deep end with 5am starts and 10pm finishes. I loved it, I got to show off Liverpool to anyone who would listen. I am a people person so sitting behind a desk 9-5pm would not be the role for me. All I ever wanted to do was be a hairdresser and worked on a Saturday for many years which is where I developed my communication skills, chatting with the ladies that became like family over the years. The travel bug kicked in and the rest is history!
There have been so many great memories over the years and some memorable career moments one proud moment it that I started the advanced booking service for visitors to call in advance of visiting and book their accommodation. We used to have queues every Saturday morning of football fans mainly Irish that came in straight off their flight to book a room we got to know them and I started to say call us in the week once you know you have your ticket and we can ensure you have a room then just call in to collect your booking form – this is in the time before email, we only had a fax machine! This service really took off and there was a team of six looking after this as I left nine years later.
My next move was to the Express Holiday Inn at Albert Dock. After filling it on their first weekend of opening with Grand National bookings they enticed me over as Sales Manager/Deputy Manager. This hotel was a unique express as it was in the converted Albert Dock red brick building and not a purpose-built bed factory, so it was a pleasure to sell and most guests checked in on a Sunday and departed on Friday mornings, so it all felt like one big family and I had three and a half happy years there.
Then Bars and Restaurants came calling… The Panamerican Club, Blue Bar and Grill and Baby Blue at the time the first style bars in the city and the place to have your event and be seen needed a sales and marketing office setting up so I took on the challenge and looked after many of the best events the city has held: The 2008 Capital of Culture Opening after party, Question of Sport Live after show party, The MOBOS after show party and MTV European Music Awards… such great events and nights I will never forget.
After 13 years as probably the longest a Sales and Marketing person or BDM as its now know to ever stay in a position it was time for a change from Albert Dock. Many venues came and went, new names new owners never a dull moment but times were changing and Friday nights where not what they were, Friday working from home was starting to become a thing so a new venue in the Business District and breakfast meetings, working lunches at What’s at 62 on Castle Street was the focus, with the security blanket of one Albert Dock venue What’s Cooking just so I had my fix! I will have a bench in Albert Dock when I die for service to those cobbles!
Now I am eight years into my role at Marketing Liverpool in Liverpool Convention Bureau as Business Development Manager. I am dealing once again with clients that I looked after in previous roles booking their conference events as part of their social programmes in one of the many venues I had in my portfolio.
I joke I used to welcome them to the city, then I tucked them up into bed, then I fed and watered them and arranged their functions and now I have come full circle and am showing off the whole city again.
Its my perfect job I get paid to travel the world and promote in my opinion the best city in the world. I thank John, Paul, George, and Ringo every pay day for this fabulous opportunity!
I work hard and play hard ‘eight days a week’ and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
If you do a job, you love you don’t work a day in your life…
People say you could write a book with all your experiences… I think I need a few more chapters yet!