We spend five minutes with our very own Ben Paris, Head of Exclusive Venue Sales who talks events, lockdown and sunscreen!
Tell us about yourself and your role at Moving Venue...
Having worked in events for over ten years, I began my journey at Moving Venue three years ago. The thing that I gain most job satisfaction from, and I believe is also one of my greatest strengths, is my ability to build client relationships. Therefore, my role as Head of Exclusive Venue Sales is extremely rewarding. I am responsible for all venues where Moving Venue are the in-house catering partner. These include Landing Forty Two, the highest dedicated event space in London with stunning views from three sides overlooking London from the 42nd floor and is situated in the iconic Leadenhall Building – the cheese grater. Illuminate, the first dedicated event space in the Science Museum which is a diverse and modern venue split across two floors. Finally, and most recently, Magazine London, a brand-new venue which launched in September 2019, a vast blank canvas with excellent outdoor space on the banks of the river Thames in North Greenwich. I also support the team who sell and operate Evolution London, Smart Group’s flagship venue which we own and operate.
It is an absolute privilege to work with all these venues as they all host some spectacular events which it is a complete honour to cater. Each venue, of course, have their own idiosyncrasies however the joys of our partnerships with these venues is that it is always a team effort to overcome any challenges and this makes the end result of a successful event all the more gratifying. I am proud to say that the relationships I have with the teams at these venues have developed into true friendships.
How has lockdown been for you and what have you learnt?
First and foremost, lockdown has taught me how much of a variance there is in what people think is acceptable to do or wear on a zoom call. It will always baffle me why anyone would eat their lunch during, what would be a formal meeting, in real life. Or, why we all wave at the end of a zoom, you do not leave a meeting room waving goodbye to a client!
Generally, though, lockdown has made me realise how important those closest to me both in and out of work are. I thrive on the buzz of a busy office and love bouncing ideas around, though, if you were to ask my colleagues, they would probably say I am quite needy (!) Similarly, being apart from many of my friends and family has meant that we actually talk far more often and make more of a concerted effort. Though, I am happy if I never do an online quiz again, I hope I don’t lose sight of how important it is to keep in touch with those people around you.
What was your favourite event pre-lockdown?
One of my favourite events prior to lockdown was the Unicef Soccer Aid Gala Dinner at Illuminate. I suppose one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much was because I was lucky enough to be a guest and host clients so experienced it first-hand. However, it was fantastic to see a venue I had first seen whilst wearing a hard hat and high vis now in it’s prime. The event was extremely high profile and guests included Sir Mo Farah, Niall Horan, Usain Bolt and Jamie Redknapp and with an intimate performance by none other than Robbie Williams.
Another event which is a firm favourite year on year is Hospitality Rocks, an event’s industry Christmas party hosted at Evolution London. January 2020’s Hospitality Rocks saw over 1,300 guests all who work in the industry, ranging from venues, caterers, production companies to food, beverage, staffing and equipment suppliers and many more. At a time when the event’s industry is on its knees it’s great to look back at a time of celebration as well as helpful to remain hopeful that we will be able to host the event again soon. Maybe not in January 2021 but keep your eyes peeled, we certainly know how to throw a good party and would love nothing more than to host the first for the industry when we can return to normality!
What are you most looking forward to at a live event?
Canapés, canapés and canapés! I could live on canapés alone, there are more times than I’d like to admit that I’ve been told off by a chef for munching on too many canapés during service! We held a canapé tasting for the new Spring/Summer menu the week before lockdown and I cannot wait for all our clients to try them for 2021 events, they are delicious!
Other than that, I am looking forward to the general atmosphere of an event. The energy of all parties – catering, florists, production, entertainment and the venue – working in complete synergy to deliver an event is exhilarating and I cannot wait to get back to that.
If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs—such as food and water—were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?
Firstly, sun cream would be a must – SPF is key!!!! Secondly, I do not do particularly well on lack of sleep – try and hold a conversation with me at the end of a Christmas season and you’ll agree! So a good bed with a supportive mattress would be a necessity!