How Imago Venues' Harry Kerr-King made his way up the hospitality industry
25 Feb 2019
Harry Kerr-King, conference and events manager at Burleigh Court Conference Centre and Hotel, part of the Imago Venues Portfolio, explains how he’s worked his way up in the hospitality industry. Harry was named on the miaList 2018 – an award which recognises the very best talent within the meetings and events sector.
I didn’t always want to work in the hospitality industry. In fact, when I was younger I wanted to be a police officer.
It was when I started a part-time job in a pub that I began to fall in love with the hospitality industry. I enjoyed it because it gave me the opportunity to meet so many people from different backgrounds. Since then I haven’t looked back.
I was working at Quality Hotel in Loughborough (now The Link Hotel) as a duty manager, when it was bought by Imago Venues in 2010.
I was given the opportunity to join the Imago family and I have been part of the team ever since.
Since then, I have been able to work my way up in the business. From a duty manager, I progressed to the role of bar manager in 2013 and I was then promoted to conference and banqueting manager in 2015, all at The Link Hotel.
In 2018 I had the opportunity to move to Imago’s flagship venue and took on my current role of conference and events manager at Burleigh Court Conference Centre and Hotel.
When I first took on the role, I was set a specific target to significantly increase the net promoter scores.
I was determined to show Imago Venues that they had made the right decision in promoting me and I managed to increase the net promoter score from 46.2% to 88.9% within my first five months in the role. Our score for January rose even further to 100% and I’m determined to keep it there for the rest of the year.
I really enjoy my current role and I think it’s important to like what you do.
I currently oversee the running of 25 conference and meeting rooms and on a day-to-day basis, my team manages the running of each individual event.
We ensure each room is prepared, we greet each guest on arrival and support them throughout the day to ensure their needs are met.
This sounds like a big job, but this would not be possible without my great team.
I have been able to progress in my career because Imago Venues has given me the opportunity to access an enormous amount of training courses and since 2015 I have completed over 30 courses.
For anyone wanting to progress in any industry, I think it’s important to develop yourself, take every opportunity available to you and to genuinely enjoy what you do.
It shows a willingness to progress and learn.
One of my favourite things about working for Imago Venues is the sense of family within the company. I’m very grateful that Imago invests so much in its people, giving us the opportunity to progress and develop in our roles.
My entire team inspires me every day and we all pull together through the good times and the difficult. It’s a very supportive environment.
Without this support, I don’t think I would have been able to achieve one of my biggest achievements – winning a spot on the miaList 2018. The miaList is all about recognising great people within our industry so it was a great honour for me.
To receive a nomination felt really empowering and felt like all my hard work had been recognised by peers and experts within my field.
Being named on the list has enabled me to take even more pride in the work I do, and it is a badge of honour that I am extremely proud of.
My advice to anyone wanting to work their way up in the hospitality industry is simply be kind and be willing.
The bad days will be more educational than the good days, bad experiences just prepare you for amazing ones, so hang in there. If you’re with a great and supportive company like Imago Venues, then the sky is the limit.
Notes for editors
- Imago Venues are Leicestershire's premier venue brand, combining year-round conference venues and hotels with Loughborough University’s campus facilities.
- They provide high-quality meeting spaces, venues and accommodation, along with world-leading sports and leisure facilities.
- Its portfolio includes Burleigh Court Conference Centre and Hotel, Holywell Park Conference Centre, The Link Hotel, the Elite Athlete Centre and Hotel, and Loughborough University campus.
- Multi-award winning venues including M&IT Gold for Best Academic Venue, Best UK Conference Centre, Best F&B Supplier, and Best Training Venue at the Academic Venue Awards.
- Imago Venues are a wholly owned subsidiary of Loughborough University and Gift Aid their profits back to the University, contributing over £1m per year towards research and academic excellence on campus.
- Imago Venues is part of The 5% Club which is a movement of more than 800 employers providing 'earn and learn' opportunities to develop the skills and talents people need to become more employable and create meaningful careers.