In Conversation With...

Issue 96

Rob Warren - Venue Director, Durham Cricket Events.

What were your career ambitions growing up?

I wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps and become an electrician however I started working in hospitality 35 years ago whilst at school and once you start in this industry it’s hard to leave.

Tell us about your current role?

My Current role is venue director of Durham Cricket Events which is a business operating within Durham Cricket. With the team we look after all cricket events which includes player catering, hospitality, and fan catering. We also carry out events all year round from 1-1 meetings to concerts and events up to 15,000 people. We are currently in the planning stage to build and then operate a 155-bedroom hotel on the site which will have a huge impact on my role moving forward as well as having a huge impact on the local area.

What is your proudest business achievement?

The setup and start of the Durham Cricket event business.

How has your industry changed in the last decade?

Year on year it’s become so much more challenging, financially with staffing, food and general costs it’s become a real balancing act, if we passed on all our cost increases nobody could afford to do anything, so we must come up with new ways and ideas to keep the offering and pricing similar whilst trying to make some margin. Recruitment in the industry has changed massively as the industry does struggle to entice talent due to the tasks and hours people can be expected to work.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on the large events we hope to bring in 2024 from sporting events, food festivals and concerts.

Tell us about the team you work with?

I am so lucky to have the team I have around me. They are a hard working & caring team who during the season go above and beyond and often put the business before everything in their life’s and I could not be prouder of them.

What is the best piece of business advice you been given?

In hospitality you must keep looking at ways of improving the customer journey, if you become complacent your customer will notice and can look at different options.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Keeping a new business, afloat during covid and then the rebuild of team and clients.

Who are your heroes inside and outside of business?

Outside of the business it must be all sport grassroot coaches who give up their evening and weekends to support young players journeys. Inside business must be the managers and area managers that I have worked with as I would like to say I have adapted my managerial style by working with these guys.

What does 2024 hold for you?

From a club point of view, it’s a massive year with it being our first year back in the 1st Division. Should the planning go ahead for the hotel, next year will be a huge year as we hope to break ground on the project which will take a lot of our time whilst we still try and build the current business.

How do you unwind outside of work?

I try to unwind with football. I am a season ticket holder at Harrogate Town. This is often more stressful than anything, but I have learnt over the years to have low expectations. I also coach under 12s football which is a great way to switch off from the day and try to develop the boys in their life and football journey.

Favourite Book and Boxset?

I am not a great reader of books; favourite boxset is Peaky Blinders.


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