Jae Hopkins, Sales and Marketing Director with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle knows a thing or two about delivering a first-class service; expertise we’re delighted she’ll be sharing with delegates at Kent B2B Ashford on 7 June.
Six months into her job with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, Ashford International Hotel – the venue of Kent’s longest running business expo – will be a great place to catch up on how our headline sponsor is keeping on track for a successful 2018.
It’ll also be a great opportunity to hear how Jae went from leaving school at 16 to teacher training at one of the UK’s top universities and on to becoming one of the country’s top marketeers working in the leisure and travel industries today. We’ve shared some of that story below.
“I completed a teaching qualification at Brunel but ended up doing a lot of speaking at student fairs,” recalls Jae.
“They wanted a ‘tech-y’ female who could speak to kids. It struck me this was a lot easier than being a teacher!”
From handling a tough crowd to harnessing her natural inquisitiveness, the experience provided the skills and drive to succeed; success that is now helping to get Eurotunnel Le Shuttle noticed on both sides of the Channel.
That time at Brunel University led eventually to Butlins where Jae succeeded in repositioning the brand as a family holiday destination, with endorsement by TV’s The Hotel Inspector in a Telegraph review among the highlights.
“Butlins preferred to St Lucia it read,” recalls Jae. “I was very proud of that one.”
A stint as managing director for a chain of nightclubs known as Chicago’s was a short-lived appointment with the company going into administration a week later. However, Jae stayed on long enough – as administrators sought to turnaround the business – to immerse herself in how a business operates, gaining invaluable insight.
Climbing Kilimanjaro; walking the Great Wall of China and beautiful sunsets in some of the world’s most wonderful locations; all experiences to remember for a lifetime. Sounds like a great holiday, but this wasn’t just for fun. It was all part of Jae’s next role as marketing direcrtor for Exodus Travels.
Headhunted into the role, Jae arrived with a tough brief to somehow raise the profile of the company without the budget enjoyed by bigger rivals in the travel sector. Her tactics were ahead of their time.
“We looked at doing things linked to the lifestyle of customers rather than where people were actively looking for travel options,” recalls Jae.
“We did things like publishing a world recipe cookery book with Penguin and linking up with JazzFM presenters to raise awareness of the Amalfi Coast.
“My task was to reach customers in novel ways and for that understanding the customer was key in being able to compete with companies with much bigger budgets.”
It worked. By the time Jae left Exodus Travels, profits were up 20% year on year, a significant improvement.
The theme that has run throughout Jae’s career is to think customer – always. It’s a mission that has helped to deliver great results. Businesses ignore this at their peril.
At Kent B2B Jae will share examples from her career, imploring businesses to remember just one thing before getting the app or the next shiny thing.
“Those things may be great to have, but first you need to know who your customers are. If you don’t know your market, you’re scuppered.”
We couldn’t agree more.
To hear more come to KentB2B on 7 June. Jae will be speaking from 9:30am to 10am. Register for free today.