A Day in the Life: Cheltenham’s Andrew Lowe

Andrew Lowe is senior events manager at Cheltenham Racecourse.

I always wanted to work in a sporting environment – but never thought it would be horse racing.

I grew up in Worcester and in my teens I swam and rowed to a national level, and wanted to work in that world. I have, however, ended up in a truly iconic sporting location in a sport I knew nothing about when I arrived.

For a while I thought my career might actually be participating in sport, but that never quite happened – and it’s probably a bit late now.

I studied sports science after school and worked at Worcester swimming pool where I had trained as a lifeguard. I was there for six years and worked my way through everything.

My move to Gloucester came about six years ago, after working as a deputy manager for Mitchell and Butlers in their Toby Carvery brand, before this opportunity came up.

It takes me about 30 minutes to get to the course. I arrive at 8.30am, and from then on it is straight into the day, and it really is non-stop.

Communication is a massive part of this job, and certainly a large proportion of my day involves liaising with clients ensuring we are producing just what they want.

My day may start with checking set-up, making sure everything is in place. In some instances, because of the variety of events we host, that could mean a 4am start and a 3am finish!

We have conventions, art exhibitions, food events, wedding fairs, clothing, live events and full-on corporate conferences and, because of our setting and space we have, we can handle most things and are able to create bespoke occasions.

At the moment we have everything from a breakfast with Judy Murray to stand-up comedy with Jon Richardson, and from a comic convention to a Wild West fitness event.

One day we might host a major corporate conference and the next we may have a Tough Mudder event in our grounds – and that variety is interesting and requires different skills.

The views we have over the racecourse and the hills beyond are key to us, and often play more of a part when people are booking inside rather than outside events. People like to overlook the course because it provides their VIP clients with a wow factor.

We are a world famous venue and hundreds of thousands of spectators come to race days and can be seen as potential event clients.

We work very closely with our sales team and again communication is key because we have to be able to deliver what they are selling, and vice-versa. Requirements in the event industry are getting more bespoke as every month passes and we have to ensure we can deliver exactly what people want.

We have an operations meeting every week, and that includes our technical team, catering team, chefs and, depending on the event, our security team.

We look ahead about a month but we don’t have a set lead-in time. Most people book at least a few months out, but we can do an event with 24 hours’ notice if required.

I am normally away around 5pm, I have a son and daughter so that keeps me busy and while I don’t take part in sport so much anymore, I am really into my rugby. I didn’t get into it until my late teens but I follow Worcester Warriors and go to quite a few of the home games, which is great… unless we lose to Gloucester!

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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