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Reed will be lobbying on behalf of BALPPA’s members, which include Drayton Manor (this pic and left)

WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH DAYLIGHT HOURS? It’s in the process and has been recog- nised by government as an interesting initiative to follow. We still have a few argu- ments to win in Scotland, though I think they’re starting to come round. We’re asking for a three-year pilot, which

would give us the opportunity to validate the benefi ts of a greater scope to expand businesses and opening hours. This would increase profi t and growth for local job markets would follow. Operators would be able to invest more in their businesses, which again aids the economy with regards to creating more jobs. It ensures that a very important element of our country’s econ- omy continues to thrive into the future.

WHAT’S YOUR CAREER HISTORY? I started off in the hospitality industry, then moved to golf, health and fi tness clubs, which involved spending time in the US. At Whitbread I moved into country club hotels, which took me back to the US when it acquired the Marriot brand. I worked in San Francisco and San Diego, which introduced me to the attrac- tions market. I came back to the UK via the business-dining club called Aramark, which involved organising events at the London Arena. Twelve years ago, English Heritage (EH)

was going through a period of signifi cant change and was looking for people with my skills and background – business focus, appreciation of customer service

AM 4 2011 ©cybertrek 2011

and property development – to develop the heritage property portfolio and reduce the operating defi cit of opening them to the public. When I joined, EH properties were costing £8m (9.3m, $12.4m) a year to run. Two years ago we got them to pro- duce a surplus, which went back into the conservation and research work that EH does. That was through a three pronged approach of improved customer service, improved business focus and development of products that customers wanted – cafés, restaurants, shops, holiday cottages and the largest historical re-enactments events programme in the country. For 10 years I was responsible for their

largest property portfolio of attractions in the north – ancient monuments, castles, abbeys and roman villas. We had 1.4 mil- lion paying visitors to those sites. In my last two years with EH I also concentrated on relationship building and lobbying key part- ners and stakeholders, one of which was the government. It was a great job, but this fantastic opportunity arose with BALPPA and I decided to go for it.

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO CHANGE? It’s slightly too early to say. There are a lot of good things that I’m looking to enhance and improve, but it would be wrong of me to come into a highly regarded organisa- tion with such a strong record and say: “Right, we’re going to change this and that.” I need to understand the challenges and what the industry, our key partners, our

stake holders and our members want. Our individual strength as an organisation will be enhanced by working with other sister organisations. When we get one message across from all of us, I believe we’ll start seeing signifi cant improvement. One thing I’ll be looking to change is

the totally unjustifi ed perception that our attractions are overpriced. If you compare the entertainment value (number of hours) we offer for our admission price against other leisure time activities, such as watch- ing a football match or going to the theatre or cinema, we always come out as great value for money and yet get an unfair press. I think, along with many others, that it’s

time we started to fi ght back and robustly promote and defend ourselves when- ever the opportunity arises in the coming months and into the future. ●

Read Attractions Management online 59

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