We continue our SITE GB Young Leaders spotlight series with an interview with Ellie Frowd, who was recently promoted to Event Manager at incentive agency Ulterior Events. Ellie, who studied Events Management in Manchester, gives the lowdown on her first experience of leading an incentive in Mykonos this year, shares the destinations that are most popular with clients right now, and gives advice to young people considering a career in events and incentives.
As one of the newest members of the SITE Young Leaders programme, what have you enjoyed so far about being involved?
The highlights so far have included meeting other young leaders and learning about their journeys in the events industry, making new contacts, developing relevant knowledge within the industry and hearing about the latest trends and how my peers manage the constant change. It’s been inspiring and rewarding to get involved with industry events outside of my role at Ulterior.
You recently lead your first overseas incentive. How was the experience?
The experience was out of this world – it was a long time coming due to the two-year delay with COVID, so I was raring to go. I was a little nervous naturally, but just focused on ensuring there was a smile on the client’s face at the end of the trip.
There were aspects of the programme that changed, but I was confident with my decision making and ensured the best outcome. The weather changed throughout the trip, so I had to readjust the programme to benefit the group. I also had a tricky restaurant manager to deal with onsite ahead of the group’s arrival, but I remained professional and strong with my dealings and getting across what I know is expected for groups.
How does it feel to be travelling lots again for site inspections and incentive trips after the enforced break during the pandemic?
The feeling is immeasurable.I love to travel, meet new people and learn about different destinations. The virtual venue and destination showcases were useful whilst we were all working from home but being onsite and physically in the destination is so much more beneficial in leading conversations with the clients.
I have been on several group incentives and FAM trips in the last year, and it feels liberating to be back onsite creating experiences for our client base. It makes me realise how grateful I am to be in this role.
The thing I most love about working in events and incentives is…
The fact that every day is different. From putting together incentive proposals for a range of destinations, to meeting groups at the airport for their early check in, to being onsite managing a full set up and event or attending site visits around the UK and overseas. I love being here, there and everywhere! Since joining Ulterior, I have visited 16 new destinations – I love that this role has broadened my horizons and enabled me to travel.
What destinations are popular with your incentive clients right now?
We’re finding that short haul destinations are popular right now, partly because it is the first time many companies have travelled in a while. With the entry restrictions for most destinations now eliminated, the confidence to travel is back and the need for reward and recognition is at the top of our client’s agendas which is brilliant to see.
This year we have taken several groups to Marrakech, which has always been a popular incentive destination, a small group on a high-end safari in Africa, as well as groups to Dubrovnik, Mykonos, and Dubai and Abu Dhabi combined. We have also worked on several proposals for Milan and Lake Como which is becoming very popular, confirmed two trips to Reykjavik and are hoping to confirm Prague and Madrid imminently.
Describe your dream incentive…
Can I only say one? That’s hard because I have lots of dream experiences I would like to deliver. But the top of my list would have to be a programme which oozes luxury whilst also including lots of adrenaline filled activities to showcase the destination. It is all about the balance.
If I had to choose one destination right now, it would be Mauritius. With crystal clear waters, luxurious properties, fine dining, and an abundance of activities to enjoy – it has so much to offer. A safari is also at the top of my list.
There’s a talent shortage in the industry now. What would you say to young people considering a career in events and incentives?
Go for it! You will be very surprised where it will take you as there are so many paths and avenues to choose in this industry. You will never be bored and the experience you gain from events provides you with so many transferrable skills to work your way up the ladder.
When I completed my Events Management Degree and was on the hunt for an events role, I was puzzled as to which event direction I wanted to take. Whether that was conferences and meetings, exhibitions or working within a venue. I came across Ulterior Events that specialises in Incentive Travel, which I didn’t know a huge amount about at the time. I am so pleased I investigated what incentives entailed and I haven’t looked back since. I started as Event Administrator to learn the basics and I am now an Event Manager with the confidence that is required to be a successful leader.
At first, I didn’t even like picking up the phone in the office to contact people, and now I am running events for up to 1000 people. You will be surprised how easy it is to put yourself out of your comfort zone and flourish when it is something you are passionate about.
When I’m not working, I’m most likely to be…
On the hunt for restaurant hotspots with my friends – I love good food and good company. My partner and I also love to walk, so we often travel around the UK to picturesque locations for a trek – I recently completed Snowdonia, which was fantastic.