Each issue we speak to an ABTA employee about their work. This time, it’s Alice Catterall, head of events and partnerships
With 15 years of experience in conferences and events, I was recruited from outside of the travel industry four years ago to develop ABTA’s programme of events.
ABTA is uniquely positioned to offer support and guidance in a number of areas; from complaints handling and crisis management to market trends, marketing techniques and regulatory and financial matters. Over the past four years, we have built up a varied portfolio of events and we now run over 60 conferences, seminars and training courses a year, in addition to the industry flagship event, The Travel Convention. The events range in size from training seminars for up to 30 people, to large one- and two-day conferences for 150 plus people.
We always listen carefully to what our Members tell us and our events programme is designed to ensure that their needs are met. The common aim of these events is to help travel industry professionals deliver better holidays for their customers and improve their working practices, whether that’s in health and safety, customer service or crisis management.
I am also responsible for ABTA’s Partner scheme, which is a business-to-business scheme for companies who supply professional services and products for UK travel companies. ABTA’s 180 Partners are at the heart of the travel industry and help Members with a wide range of operational and business-related issues. Travel companies can access the expertise and support available from ABTA Partners via the ABTA Members Zone, helplines and through our extensive events programme.
I enjoy the changing nature of my job and having the opportunity to meet ABTA Partners on a daily basis, learn about their businesses’ particular challenges, how they can support our Members and the wider travel industry, is a very enjoyable part of that. ABTA’s Partners are very varied, including legal and finance firms, insurers, ground service providers, airports, airlines, marketing agencies, consultancies and more. All of them are leaders in their field.
I lead a great team who work with the other departments across ABTA to deliver our events and partnerships. Each working day is different. As an example of the varied work we do, a lot of attention is currently being given to two new events, which I am very excited about, an Adventure Travel Conference and a Mental Health event both of which take place later this month.
One of the most important aspects of my job is to monitor the feedback from these events, and to ensure that the events are of a high quality and that we continually adapt and improve. Delegate feedback is essential to us, we will act on it, so please fill in the forms at the end of the event! We will soon begin work on our largest 2020 events, the two-day travel law and travel finance seminars as well as Travel Matters, which brings together industry leaders to discuss the most pressing issues facing the industry.
I love working in the travel industry and I am constantly struck by the dedication and professionalism of ABTA Members and Partners and their willingness to share advice and guidance. Our events and our work with Partners help to ensure that standards in the travel industry continually improve and I am very proud to be part of my great team working to achieve this.