5 MINUTES WITH: Stephanie Betts, Events Sales Manager at Port Lympne

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PA Life chatted to Stephanie Betts, Event Sales Manager at Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve, a wildlife park in Kent.

How excited are you about 2022 now that hospitality and events have opened up fully?

The team here at Port Lympne are very excited to continue to host events on site without restrictions again.  And with two new venues currently being built, we cannot wait to show them off!  Companies are excited to be back in person again and kicking off with a company retreat is the best way to welcome everyone back.

What advice and top tips would you give to PAs and EAs who are planning teambuilding or offsite experiences for their teams and business clients, perhaps for the first time?

Best advice is to keep it fun and memorable.  Think about experiences that create memories that last and continue to be talked about.  For example, our team building assists groups in building items for the animal enclosures on site that get used immediately leaving the guests with a feeling of accomplishment.

Tell us about the variety of spaces available for hire at Port Lympne and the kind of support and facilities your teams can offer to event organisers.

This year we are building two new venues, the Pergola & Orangery which will be available from May 2022 for all corporate and social events with the Orangery offering capacity for over 200 guests standing.  Along with our historic Mansion for smaller meetings and events, we can offer a variety of events space. Our accommodation is like no other – from recently renovated glamping tents to luxury Treehouse apartments, animal viewing lodges and cosy cottages, we have 14 unique ways to stay!

Are there any challenges and opportunities that EAs/PAs should keep in mind post-Covid?

Book Early! The biggest challenge is finding dates that work for companies.  We are seeing a big push for company away days and overnight stays throughout the summer and autumn, so it’s best to have alternative dates when enquiring if your preferred date isn’t available.

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There is such an array of options when it comes to teambuilding venues, outdoor activities and events in the UK and beyond – what are your clients generally looking for when they book with the Port Lympne?

The experience here at Port Lympne is what our clients continue to come back for.  We offer 14 ways to stay with incredible views from every bedroom, locally sourced produce and home grown ingredients in our restaurants and over 900 rare and endangered animals that call Port Lympne their home.  When you host your event with us, you contribute to our mission of getting the animals ‘Back to the Wild’

What are the key trends to look out for in the sector in 2022/23?

We’re seeing an increased demand for sustainable events and outdoor experiences.  With conservation at the heart of what we do, when you book with us, your visit helps feed and care for all the animals.  There are a variety of options available for small and large groups to engage with the animals including a private safari and various animal encounters including feeding.  In addition, all guests can enjoy our 600 acre reserve including our 15 acres of landscaped gardens.

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Find out more about Port Lymphe Hotel & Reserve see: Port Lympne Safari Park, Wild Animal Reserve & Hotel | The Aspinall Foundation

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    Marja Toseland

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