Q&A with Helen Giles, Venue Manager at Amber Lakes
In our latest Q&A feature we talk to Helen Giles, the meetings and events sales manager at Amber Lakes, a 450-acre reserve just a few miles from Central London.
Tell us about your role at the venue and how long you’ve been there?
I’ve been working at Amber Lakes in the role of Venue Manager for 1 year now. As the first full-time employee I report directly to our owners and am ultimately responsible for everything that happens here from sales & marketing to event delivery.
What’s the best thing about working at your venue?
The best thing has to be working in such a beautiful setting and seeing the seasons change. Taking clients out on our boat - we include one with every hire here - is something I’ll never grow tired of.
How did you get into the industry?
Like most people, by accident! After University I worked as a PA and coordinated the company’s sponsorship of global exhibitions. I then moved onto a full-time role as Conference Coordinator at one of the Cambridge University Colleges before a stint of travelling and ultimately moving to London.
What’s the history of the venue?
Amber Lakes is situated in Wraysbury, which is thought to be where the Magna Carta was signed. More recently the site has become well known as the UK’s premier destination for anglers.
Give us an interesting fact about Amber Lakes
Amber Lakes is considered a SSSI (site of special scientific interest) with rare birds and animals making their home here.
What’s the best event you’ve worked on, and how did the venue cope with it?
Our largest event to date was Badoo’s Summer Fiesta in 2017 organised by the fantastic Yellow Entertainment in only a fortnight, due to cancelling their previous choice of venue. Being a privately owned venue we could offer Yellow Entertainment carte blanche to create the event their client wanted, without so many restrictions.
What events work best at Amber Lakes?
Most people see our grounds and think summer party or team building, which do work really well for up to 500 guests. Senior management conferences and product launches are a great fit for us. Guests forget about the outside world enabling them to focus on the matter in hand. Christmas parties are so cosy in our Lodge which is decorated for December and available on a package basis.
Why do clients choose to host events at Amber Lakes?
Amber Lakes boasts a 5* luxury setting that is comfortable and calming. We’re 45 minutes from Central London by car or train but you feel a million miles away.
What are your venues top 3 USPs that separate you from other venues?
I think Amber Lakes offers an experience quite unlike any other. As soon as you drive through the gates into what is essentially private nature reserve with lakes, there is a real sense of tranquillity. It offers complete privacy. And lastly being privately owned we are in a fortunate position of being able to say ‘yes’ to many of our client’s requests – the more weird & wonderful the better.
What changes or exciting plans are coming up in 2018?
There are many things in store for us… but my lips are sealed!
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