A Day in the Life: Center Parc's Dan Elliott
The national sales manager at Center Parcs jogs through a typical day deep in the forest
My alarm goes off at 6.45am, although it can be earlier if I’m heading over to Longleat Forest in Wiltshire to give our clients a tour.
A cup of coffee to get me ready for the day, then a quick skim through my emails, then making a few mental notes of what I need to talk about, and with whom, the minute I get in the car.
My job includes managing the outbound sales team for all locations at Center Parcs, where we facilitate conferences and events. Our priority is to ensure that as a team we are available for our agency partners and direct clients when they would like to take a look at our facilities.
My working day officially starts by checking in with the team. When you are out working on the road it is so important to chat regularly with them.
In the forest something stirs…
While on location at the villages, I make sure to take a walk around to see what is new. The company is continually investing in the business and its locations, with something new being built on a daily basis.
Most days we have clients coming in to take a look around the forest; with the venue being just one acre among 400 there is a lot of space to get out and see. We always take clients around the village to explore – it’s also great for the step count and a good way to get ready for lunch.
I recently took my wife to one of our Aqua Sana Spas for the day and she said how peaceful the forest was, and how lucky I was to be able to come here every day for work. I also love witnessing delegates at the end of their event saying it was the best event and that they are going to bring their family back for a short break.
The biggest challenge that comes with the job is ensuring that every client looking to hold an event in the forest is able to set time aside to come and have a site visit. It is so important to see how their event could look in the forest and what the benefits are of coming to us.
We have had large bookings come to us in the past with event programmes that didn’t build in any free time for delegates to explore or experience our teambuilding activities. We actively encourage our clients to factor this in to really take their event experience to the next level.
My proudest moment since joining Center Parcs was retaining a huge customer booking that has now turned into multiple bookings throughout the year. One customer came to us with a large booking in 2012 and we remained in contact. They now hold six events a year at Woburn Forest.
It is so important to get the balance right when it comes to working hard and playing hard, and weekends are non-stop for me. My wife and I love taking the children to the seaside in the summer and into the forest for walks, and swimming in the winter. I am a huge sports fan and my son and I get to as many football games as we can and we are also season ticket holders of the London NFL games and I would strongly recommend it to any sports fan – and that’s just for the food, let alone the game itself!
In another life, I would be a court jester in medieval times. I was so lucky in my time working overseas as a customer service representative for Airtours; I did two summers as an entertainer and loved it.
The most important lesson I’ve learned is wellness and wellbeing is so important, not only to you as a person but the people around you. Day-to-day life can be stressful, but working in the forest (an environment which has been proven to boost self-esteem and reduce stress) has not only helped my personal wellness, but that of my team, my clients and their delegates.
My wife and I take the kids away on holiday as many times as we can. Despite all the exotic holidays we have been on and the tours of all the theme parks, every time I ask my three-year-old daughter where she would like to go on holiday next, her answer is always the same… Center Parcs!