The knock-on effect from Brexit, travel issues with airlines and trains and the cost of living will have a knock on effect with the international student market. On the flip side, the strength of the dollar will help increase visits making the UK a more attractive destination for US students. There will be a demand for new and unique experiences that are both educational and fun, so an excellent opportunity to experiment with new ideas
Tell us a bit about your role and how it supports the business?
My role as Travel Trade Sales Manager at the National Gallery is to develop and launch new products geared predominately towards the international and group market. We will be losing our daytime spaces next year due to the redevelopment of the Sainsbury Wing as we head towards the NG200 where we celebrate our Bicentenary. We require a new revenue stream to fill the gap and that’s where trade and groups come in!
What has been your career highlight to date?
Launching paid for guided tours inside the National Gallery was most certainly a highlight! A lot of thought had to go into setting these tours up to ensure that we were delivering a top class product for our guests.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
The three P’s! Planning prevents problems.
If you were not working in this sector what other industry would you have pursued a career in?
Before I fell into the wonderful world of tourism my biggest love was theatre! I think if things had gone another way that’s where I would have ended up. I used to live and breathe it. I still enjoy going to the theatre but feel like I am on the right side of the stage!
What is coming up for your company in the next 12/18 months?
The next 12 months are very exciting for us as we have now got our products up and running which include talks, tours and out of hours experiences! The Travel Trade team will now start to be proactive, attending trade shows, missions and pushing visibility of the products we have launched. We have some exciting exhibitions lined up including Lucian Freud, Turner on Tour, After Impressionism and Frans House.
Tell us one thing about your business that others might not already know
The Gallery has always had a Keeper – they would be in charge of looking after the building and the paintings. In the past, Keepers would live in apartments inside the Gallery. One keeper, Ralph Nicholson Wornum, lived here for over 20 years, along with his 14 children! His huge white beard led locals to affectionately call him “Old Snowball”.
As an association what one thing do you think we have done that has made a real difference to you as a business?
Connected us to some key buyers through the workshops which have converted to sales
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges, threats and opportunities for youth, student and educational travel in the next few years?
The knock-on effect from Brexit, travel issues with airlines and trains and the cost of living will have a knock on effect with the international student market. On the flip side, the strength of the dollar will help increase visits making the UK a more attractive destination for US students. There will be a demand for new and unique experiences that are both educational and fun, so an excellent opportunity to experiment with new ideas. The National Gallery is a treasure and although free of charge to enter we want to push our paid for products such as the tours to enhance their visits, hear wonderful stories and leave the building having had a great experience rather than just walking through.
Find out more about BETA member The National Gallery here
Published 01 January 2023