Q&A with Ruby Chagger, Conference & Sales Manager at Congress Centre
Q&A with Ruby Chagger, Conference & Sales Manager at Congress Centrein London.
Tell us about your role at the venue and how long you’ve been there
I have been here for 20 years this July! My role started off as a coordinator working with the then director for congress centre. However, it developed very quickly and as there was not even the role of Manager I developed it into my own. I am in charge of all the proactive sales at Congress Centre and also manage the sales team, look after the marketing/development of website etc.
What’s the best thing about working at Congress Centre?
No day is the same. We have a great team who have been here for many years and it is great to work with people that are passionate about their job. As the industry is changing I love learning new things and different ways of doing things. It's great to get client feedback on how well the team have performed on lead up and on the day of the event.
How did you get into the industry?
I have always wanted to work in hospitality since I was 15. No idea why or who influenced me, however I loved to cook and love food and generally helping people. So started off working as a waitress part time while I was at school then went to catering college and then finally university. I worked for an outside catering firm during the holidays going all over the country so that was exciting.
What’s the history of Congress Centre?
Congress Centre is owned by the TUC (Trade Union Congress) we are all TUC staff. It is there headquarters and Unions are affiliated to them The building was built in the 1950’s and won an architectural award and is grade 2 listed. They have always had conference facilities here but it was only for the TUC and affiliated Unions that used the space. My then director arrived a couple of months before me and we turned the venue around, with refurbishments and external clients using the space.
Tell us something we wouldn’t know about the venue
The river Fleet that runs underneath us
What’s the coolest/best/most interesting event you’ve worked on, and how did the venue cope with it?
Ok, there have been so many. The largest event, revenue wise, was for Enel some years ago. The agency was based in Italy so it was interesting with the language barrier. They had 3 days set up 1 hour of conference and 1 day break down and they changed the congress hall around and bought in their own AV. It was great to see what you could do with the venue and we coped very well in accommodating their needs. I have also worked on other great events including Yahoo, Bare Minerals, Loreal and Fashion Shows Like Vin & Omi, its always exciting when we have different things happening and not just conferences
What events work best at Congress Centre?
The venue is so much of a blank canvas that allot of events work here, we have had fashion shows dinners, AGM’s 2 day international conferences with interpretation booths. Large events work very well as we have lots of break out space even though they are on different floors.
Why do clients choose to host events at your venue?
They love it here because of the natural daylight and it’s a one stop shop so they can just plug and play. If the client is on a lower budget or does not want to have a production company come in most of the AV is built in and ready to go. Clients also like our account management as they are only speaking to 1 person who will deal with everything for them, and so we try and pre-empt what the clients are going to ask for.
What are your venues top 3 USPs that separate you from other venues?
What changes or exciting plans are coming up in 2019 for Congress Centre?
We are having the toilets refurbished in the Invision suite. In August 2019 we are upgrading the wiring, sound and back up equipment in Congress hall to give capabilities in the future to enable up to 8K in visuals, a Bose digital sound system will be installed at this time and investment is £110K. A high resolution LED panel main screen will follow in the future.