DAY IN THE LIFEMay 2012 . www.conference-news.co.uk . 53 n a crisp, sunny spring morning, Simon Mills contemplates his 7.30am run. But this is not a jog round the park; as Head of Sales and Marketing at the Twickenham Experience, Mills runs laps around the hallowed [pitch] ground that sits at the heart of English rugby. "I like an early start and a good run helps give me energy for the day ahead," he says. Emails are cleared and proposals prepared before 8am, allowing Mills to face the day ahead in good order.With responsibility for the entire Marketing and Sales function of the conferencing offer at the stadium, Mills looks after everything from developing marketing strategy through to managing his fi ve-strong sales team on a day-to-day basis, handling show-rounds, managing creative agencies and representing Twickenham at key industry events. "There is no such thing as a typical day here at Twickenham," he says. "Today, I have been on a show round with a live production company looking to host an event for an automotive client this summer, followed by a meeting with our partner Marriott, while also helping Chris Morris, our MD, prepare reports for an upcoming board meeting. Tomorrow I will be developing a proposal with my sales guys for a major communications company and responding to an enquiry for a large Asian wedding, but who knows what might crop up?"As a passionate sportsman and rugby fan himself, Mills is truly fi red-up about the magic of his venue "There is nowhere like Twickenham," he states with fi nality. "Of course there are other sporting venues, but the history of this stadium and those that have passed through here is legendary," he said. The sporting prowess of the stadium is known the world over, but the purpose built conference facility and wide range of unique event spaces regularly comes as a surprise to Running the lineConference News follows a day in the life of Simon Mills, Head of Sales and Marketing at the Twickenham Experience, which involves a run around the hallowed pitchO
DAY IN THE LIFE54 . www.conference-news.co.uk . May 2012May Will Carling regularly hosts A list guests, most recently Daniel Craig, Richard Branson and Willie Walsh were in attendance for the Six Nations game against Ireland. The Royal Princes are also regular visitors on match days. "Prince Harry and Prince William are big fans of the game," Mills adds. "They love to wear their England rugby shirts to show their support, which actually means that they are not allowed in the Royal box as they are without a shirt and tie!"When asked what challenges lie ahead for the Twickenham Experience, Mills spoke of the lack of awareness of the range of facilities available at the venue. "Getting planners to think outside the box (or outside central London) is sometimes a challenge. Our free parking, free delegate Wi-fi and on-site Marriott hotel adds to the attraction," he says.As Mills fi nalises his board papers for a meeting the next day, he contemplates what 2012 has in store: "As a sporting venue in London during our Olympic year, we are truly excited about business coming our way in 2012. We have some excellent events lined up for May and June, and in July we are looking to host a pitch-side barbecue for non-accredited media at the Olympics in conjunction with London and Partners. There is a lot to look forward to, roll on tomorrow!" Simon Mills: in charge of the Twickenham conference plan DAY AT A GLANCE:6.30 Leave home for the offi ce7.30 At my desk ready for the day, unless I have been running, in which case 8am is my start time. I clear my emails and sort out any admin before the bustle of the day begins9.00 Prepare for site visits and make any calls. Today I have been helping my MD prepare for a board meeting11.0 Host a site visit, which will take me until lunch time as the venue is so large1.00 Quick break for lunch, looking over draft proposals from my team over a good cup of tea in the RFU canteen15.00 Performance review with one of my sales team16.30 Daily check of conversions with the sales team, just keeping an eye on how we are doing18.00 Leave the offi ce for the drive home so that I can spend time with my familyQUICK QUESTIONS:Blackberry, iPhone or Filofax?I use iPhone, but reluctantly as I think Blackberry is better for businessHow would your colleagues describe you?Driven, enthusiastic, passionateFootball, rugby or horseracing?Cricket would come fi rst, but I love rugby and football Any publications you like to read to inspire you?Apart from Conference News, The Economist and the Guardian or ObserverWorking goal for the next year?To fi rmly establish Twickenham as one of the top event venues in the UK. I want to ensure that the Twickenham name is known as a great conference venue, not just as a world famous stadium.planners. "Showrounds here take a minimum of an hour as there is so much to see," Mills continues. "People are genuinely amazed at how versatile and large the event space is here and usually get pretty excited when we show them some of our hidden treasures such as our wine cellar, the player's changing rooms (yes you can dine in there and many do) and the idea of a pitch side barbecue in the summer months creates a wow factor."Mills joined the Twickenham Experience in summer 2011, bringing a wealth of business tourism industry expertise from both home and abroad. With an international record to rival any international sports player, he spent 10 years working overseas for the British Tourist Authority in places like Chicago, Amsterdam and Milan, where he managed Visit Britain operations and activities across Italy and Greece. He then joined the Hong Kong Tourist Board in London as Director for Northern Europe before returning to Visit Britain to head up its Business Visits and Events Partner Marketing.Mills regularly encounters famous faces from the sporting world, as you might expect, and many of England's fi nest players make excellent after dinner speakers for Twickenham events.