Emma Mead, Interim Head of International Media and PR
Putting Britain centre stage
From the royal wedding to the Commonwealth Games, Emma’s 12 years working for us have been filled with unforgettable chances to show the country at its best.
“My time across the Quality Schemes and PR teams has certainly kept me on my toes. No two days have ever been the same. One minute I could be devising a global influencer trip, the next I could be researching Scottish myths and legends for the New York Times.
The media landscape is always evolving. I’m here to help us stay in the know about new platforms; who people are listening to and who we should be talking to. Developing our new media centre was a big part of this. It enabled broadcasters to download footage directly from the website.
Why have I been here so long? It’s a cliché, but it really is the people. Whether we’re putting blood, sweat and tears into getting Britain ready for the lime light, or we’re standing back and watching our hard work unfold; we’re all in it together. Time flies when you’re having fun.”
Sharon Orrell, Head of VisitEngland Research
Leading the way with insight
Sharon’s market research career tuned in to tourism in 2008 when she joined the team. Ever since, she’s been conducting industry-leading research that keeps us ahead of the curve.
“Tourism is a fascinating research subject. There are so many varied motivations and influences that can make someone take one trip and not another. Every year has brought something different, in terms of new projects and new challenges. I’ve never stopped learning.
The research projects I manage range from large-scale continuous surveys, measuring the volume and value of domestic tourism, to qualitative research like focus groups. The data we collect informs every element of how we develop and market our product. I work closely with all of our internal teams to help them interpret what the results mean for them. I really value working for such an insight-led organisation, and am supported by a fantastic team.
The breadth of our research makes us a go-to resource for the wider tourism industry. We get thousands of visits to the England Insights section of the website each month – so it’s great to know that the work we do is used by so many people.”
Kevin Jones, Head of B2B
From packing brochures in our Sydney office whilst travelling to giving our B2B a record-breaking boost in ROI, Kevin Jones is proud of every part of his 12 years’ service here.
“From Mumbai, Delhi and Qatar to Sweden, Norway and Russia, I’ve travelled a lot during my time here. Thanks to varying roles, I’ve been privileged to really get to know the world, with my wonderful overseas colleagues on hand to give me a local’s eye view.
I spent an amazing 11 months in Stockholm in 2005. It was one of the best experiences of my life (apart from meeting my wife and having children, of course!). But even so, I still believe Britain is something special and I love representing it, along with my fun, hardworking and committed team.
I’m currently working to help make public transport a more attractive option for overseas travellers – a project that takes me back to my family roots, running a coach holiday company in Wales. You could say UK tourism has been part of my life since day one.”
Alison Lewis-Jones, Digital Marketing Manager
Keeping our campaigns on course
From revolutionising our digital communication strategies to managing the output of all our marketing campaigns, over her four years with us Alison has continually boosted our brand.
“I joined just before the 2012 Olympics, which was a real baptism of fire. I was responsible for managing the development of the website – working with all our stakeholders across the industry. The challenge set by government was to take 20.12% off everything. Do you see what they did there? The campaign was a huge success. Stephen Fry was even tweeting for us.
A typical day can include anything from meeting the creative agency to going through shoot locations, production of TV ads and other deliverables, speaking with the SEO agency about the website and keeping track of content, or sitting down with stakeholders to make sure they’ve got all the assets they need for a campaign.
Over my time I’ve helped optimise our communications. By experimenting and adapting to our findings, we’ve converted our bounce rates from around 70% to just 3%. It’s an incredible achievement and has made a huge difference to conversion rates too. This wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing team. I love nothing more than taking a challenge, rallying the whole team and getting results together.”
Florence Valette, PR & Content Manager, Paris
Representing Britain overseas
Florence Valette is a self-confessed Anglophile who fell in love with Britain when she worked here as an au pair at the age of 18. She joined Us in 2001 and has been liaising with the media in France for us ever since. Florence works out of the British Embassy in Paris.
“France is a big market so it is very busy and we are the connection between the market and our office in London. It’s very interesting because there is a lot of communication between the different teams – it’s not just working on our own.
The people make our organisation. We’re all big fans of Britain so we share the same objectives, the same passion and the same enthusiasm for the destination.”
Ross Calladine, Head of Business Support
Helping businesses thrive
From helping businesses boost their accessibility to managing our highly regarded resources, over his eight years with us Ross has ensured our business support services always deliver.
“I joined the team as Quality Development Executive and went on to be Skills, Welcome and Accessibility Manager. Both roles included making tourism venues and products more accessible for disabled and older people. It’s a responsibility I still carry as Head of SME Engagement.
The business support resources I manage are wide ranging, from the production of our biannual magazine, Quality Edge, to delivering case studies and toolkits that make up the Business Advice Hub. I love being able to work with our stakeholders to make a real difference, for businesses and travellers alike.
Within my role I’ve presented nationally at destination tourism events and accessibility conferences, as well as internationally, including a European Summit in San Marino and a World Summit in Montreal. I’ve also been interviewed live on BBC Breakfast.
But my biggest achievement was piloting a new initiative to develop accessible tourism itineraries, which resulted in the European Commission (EC) establishing a new grant programme. I secured our first ever funding from the EC via this programme and managed the 18 month long project – generating £32 million incremental spend for the visitor economy.”