Simon Kent, who took on the director’s role at HIC in April is inviting Harrogate’s business community to grill him on Tuesday (May 28) at a business breakfast, where he will be joined by the chief executive of Harrogate Borough Council (HBC), Wallace Sampson
With conference exhibitors and delegates bringing in £50million a year to the town’s hospitality and retail industries, Simon wants input from Harrogate’s businesses as he looks to transform the facility into a force for the future.
“We want to share ideas with local businesses. We want to see how we can work together better and open up more business for Harrogate and, as an existing business, not become complacent. We have been too complacent in the past about winning new customers and taking on the competition.
“There’s no magic formula. The way we are going to succeed is by battling hard to win new business – this must be our primary objective, as well as making sure our existing customers are happy so they come again.”
In February, Simon told Harrogate business leaders that the recession had taken its toll on the conference industry and that a “new strategy was required”. He also warned that the venue faced increasing competition from other major UK conference locations such as Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, but said the way to succeed was “ambitious but achievable goals”.
“The aim for HIC is simple. It is to focus on attracting customers, getting them to buy and making sure they come back for more.
“Our job is to see HIC not as it is, but what it can be. We need to find out what our customers want from us and then develop the product to meet those needs. Our emphasis needs to be on attracting new customers as well as retaining and growing our existing customers.
“Our ambition is to operate a successful and viable conference and exhibition centre, creating sustainable benefits to the economy of the district.
“That’s why we are opening our doors to local businesses to join us for a business breakfast on May 28, where you can find out what’s going on, talk with the team at HIC and help shape its future.”
To reserve a place at the event, contact Lynne Hudson on 01423 537276 or email your details to email@example.com