Spotlight on: Andy Barnett, YHA

Name: Andy Barnett     

Job Title: Head of Sales & Network Development

Company: YHA England & Wales

Member Since: 2016

 

Never give up and stand still, it’s always better to do something rather than nothing. Through sheer determination YHA were able to generate a significant contribution during Covid-19 whilst having a positive impact on society and helping those most in need

Tell us a bit about your role and how it supports the business?

As Head of Sales and Network Development I am fortunate and privileged to lead the YHA Trading and Sales Teams for all our customer types (families, individuals, groups) and more recently the repurposing our services during the Covid-19 crisis.

I also lead on strategic partnerships, National and Key accounts including

  • National Citizen Service (NCS)
  • Carnegie Great Outdoors (CGO)
  • Educational establishments
  • Travel Trade UK and International
What has been your career highlight to date?

Having started as Operations Manager in the wonderful Lake District region, I was able to establish and grow educational and activity groups in YHA and deliver the balance between impact on young people and financial sustainability. Also implementing a “structured selling” culture within the YHA motivated by enabling our 90 year old Charity to be proud of what we do for the young.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Keep it simple and focus on the people and the results will follow.

What are the emerging trends within your sector?
  • Staycations
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Rural retreats
  • Cultural visits
What is coming up for your company in the next 12/18 months?

We’ll complete the journey of navigating YHA through the Covid-19 pandemic and focus on emerging stronger than when we went in.

We’ll also be taking the time to learn lessons from the pandemic and how we can better ourselves on the other side, such as efficiency, remote working, communication, and new revenue streams through diversification.

Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our industry, what is the one thing that you have learnt personally or professionally during this time?

Personally, I have learnt to work from home in a structured and planned way – even with a wife, 6 kids, 1 dog, 1 cat and 2 kittens!

Professionally, not all meetings need to be face to face. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing better than a face to face meeting and networking event, however, I think a blended approach going forward will make organisations more focussed, more efficient in time and cost.

But one major takeaway was to never give up and stand still, it’s always better to do something rather than nothing. Through sheer determination YHA were able to generate a significant contribution during Covid-19 whilst having a positive impact to society and helping those most in need.

As we head towards recovery what do you think the challenges and opportunities are for our sector?

I think the biggest hurdle to overcome will be giving customers the confidence to travel. The biggest opportunity is to be able to pause, reflect and come out of this more dynamic and efficient and able to offer the guests really what they want.

How do you think Covid-19 will change our industry?

Initially I think that there will be shrinkage in the industry and some consolidation. However, I do believe that through innovation and new opportunities we will continue to be able to fully support society by giving access to the great outdoors and cultural cities alike.

Name three positives to come out of lockdown?
  • Better work / life balance
  • Greater focus on the UK domestic market
  • Plus a cracking Viking beard!

Find out more about BETA member YHA England and Wales here