A lengthy career in the hotel industry sparked Mandy Jennings’ passion for driving high standards in hospitality. Today, Jennings is executive director of sales and marketing consortium Venues of Excellence, which awards membership to high-quality conference, meeting and training venues across the UK
How did you come across your current role?
After working my way up the hotel sales career ladder to sales director for the De Vere Group and then latterly the Principal Hayley group I felt ready for the challenge of running my own company Paje Sales Consultancy.
This gave me the opportunity to work with a number of the Venues of Excellence (VOE) member venues and then the VOE board approached me to help run the consortia three years ago.
I was then proud to join the board as executive director about a year ago.
What drove you to embark on a career within the hospitality industry?
My love and fascination of hotels plus loved cooking and great food!
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Career-wise, it has to be when I was voted as the Top Sales Person for Le Meridien Hotels globally and, more recently, when we smashed our targets at Venues of Excellence earlier this year, growing membership by over 70 percent in two years to 45 venues.
What’s next for Venues of Excellence?
Quality, quality, quality… we have strict criteria that all of our members have to meet and maintain. We’ll be focusing even more on this to ensure all our member venues offer the highest level of service.
Equally, we’re on the hunt for even more high-quality venues that match our brand, to continue our expansion.
What did you aspire to be as a child?
Well, I was known to have said at 12 years old, jokingly, that I wanted to be Margaret Thatcher but secretly wanted to be a Spice Girl! I suppose it’s all about girl power!
What are your thoughts on the current industry? Where do you see it heading?
I think the future will bring more and more consolidation of the big hotel groups, possibly resulting in one or two super global brands.
Hopefully, this will spark more entrepreneurs bringing and operating unique venues to the market, like our members at VOE are doing already, so the customer can step away from the norm and be surprised and excited by what they offer.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Gin! Rhubarb and Ginger… yum!
It’s the weekend. What are you binge-watching?
Don’t tell anyone… Love Island!
My husband Bruce and I fell in love with Thai food on our honeymoon so that would be the favourite choice.