My Event World - Rachael Cotton

Rachael Cotton joined Center Parcs as its head of corporate events earlier this month. She spoke to Event about the new role, breaking Guinness World Records and desire to own a pig.

Cotton joined Center Parcs earlier this month
Cotton joined Center Parcs earlier this month

I got into the event industry because each day is completely different to the one before and it’s a great achievement when you can help a client deliver their event objectives by offering creative and innovative ideas that help engage delegates.

I have worked here since 9 November 2015.

I was attracted to this particular role because Center Parcs is such a well-known and fantastic brand, which creates memories for families that will last a life time. I love the ethos of this and spending quality time with family and loved ones. The fact that we can apply this to the events industry is really exciting.

When you go away with family and friends you have an extended period of time to escape everyday life and reconnect with people and build deeper bonds. This is precisely what we offer corporate clients and delegates – an escape from the day-to-day stresses and the opportunity to engage in targeted team building activities that help revitalise and motivate staff and strengthen team bonds.

Not many people know that Center Parcs has helped three corporate clients break Guinness World Records – including working with Amplifon to break the record for the largest human image of an ear created out of 323 team members.

The best event I’ve been involved with was when I was at Alton Towers Resort, we broke a world record for the world’s largest practical science lesson. I was responsible for organising school trips to the resort, and as part of National Science Week we encouraged schools to book a trip to the resort and take part in a world record.

We welcomed 927 pupils and it was a good experience for the events team to co-ordinate an attempt to break a world record with that many children. It was great fun and fantastic to see the children engaging in a science lesson outside in the fresh air.

If I could do it all over again I would... I wouldn’t change a thing! I’ve been really fortunate so far in my career and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Life is too short to not enjoy what you do. I am a big believer in the well-known saying, "life is too short…work somewhere awesome" and that sums it up for me.

The one thing I can’t stand is service without a smile. A smile is free and can really make a big difference to the overall experience of a client or delegate.

Outside of work I spend my time with my family - we love going swimming and having days out.

If money were no object I would spend more time with my family and move to Cornwall. I’d also love to have a pig as a pet; I’ve always wanted one. Although when my husband found out about this, he booked me onto a pig-keeping course for a weekend. It was a very good way to get me to change my mind. A piglet did his business on my arm and I decided that perhaps it might be more of a challenge than I’d originally thought. 

More: My Event World - Clive Mishon

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