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60 seconds with… BI WORLDWIDE’s Katrina Rannard

As Design Director at BI WORLDWIDE EMEA, Katrina Rannard leads a team of event professionals, designing inspirational and creative event solutions for clients. BI WORLDWIDE is a full-service agency, specialising in employee engagement programmes, sales and channel incentive solutions, and event management.

“I’ve been at BI WORLDWIDE for over 15 years, although it doesn’t feel like it! (I can’t be that old surely?!) Every day is different and there is always something new and exciting to explore and learn, which is why I love my job. Before my life in events, I worked within our Performance Improvement department and within a translating agency putting my French and Spanish language skills to the test.

I’ve always had the travel bug; every school exchange or holiday that arose I’d jump at the chance, I studied languages at university and have lived abroad for studies. I even used maternity leave as an opportunity to travel around the world…twice!”

Katrina Rannard and Teresa Allen in Rwanda 2017

Brand promise…
BI WORLDWIDE is a great place to work (otherwise I wouldn’t have been here for nearly 16 years!). We are a team of passionate individuals who feel empowered and believe in the company and its values. We all have one goal; to drive desired behaviour and create awe-inspiring experiences, providing return on objectives to our clients. We work extremely hard and know how to have some fun along the way, as well as celebrating our achievements

What’s trending in 2018?
Although the destination itself will always be a key component, it’s the little personal touches and surprises within a programme that really cement the memories; giving guests the opportunity to experience the unexpected or personally unachievable.  Selecting my favourite destinations for high end events during 2018, we’ve had the fortune to operate some unforgettable events to Puglia (exclusive use of property), Nashville, Boston, Vietnam and Cambodia.

And for 2019?
The industry is forever changing, and we’ve seen some huge developments over the last few years with the mega-merger of hotel groups. I still think there is more to come in this direction, but it also provides the more unique properties, ones with individuality and a story to tell, the chance to shine – I love Design Hotels. I’m particularly excited about some of the new developments such as Mandarin Oriental at Lake Como, Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection, Rosewood Bangkok, Andaz Vienna and Savoy Palace in Madeira.

Luxury is…
Although the environment sets the scene, whether that is a five-star hotel, a unique venue, or a bucket list experience; it is the service, the personal touch, that truly gives the pure sense of luxury. Outstanding service assesses the individual and adjusts accordingly, anticipating the requirements before requested and exceeding expectations at all times. I love to propose solutions with exclusive use of a property; the focus then is entirely on your guests and there is so much more flexibility to be creative and enhance those unique touch points.

Townhouse or treehouse?
To be honest I love to soak up and experience the real culture of a destination so whether that is in a rural or urban environment I don’t mind. I enjoy getting under the skin of a destination, interacting with locals and understanding their history and culture. I would always prefer to be where the locals are as opposed to tourists.

The bucket list
I am yet to experience a safari.  To see the Big Five in their own environment would absolutely blow me away. I have proposed some of the most amazing safari programmes over the years, staying at the best lodges in Sabi Sands, Kruger, Phinda, Chobe etc. A Kenyan Safari staying at the Angama Mara was described to me recently as ‘Safari on speed in a truly sensational property’ – that is high up on the bucket list!

Last meal
True to my roots, I had a roast dinner with huge Yorkshire puddings! We tried out a local restaurant we’ve been meaning to for ages which I fear will likely become a regular haunt.

Old fave
I adore the Belmond Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janiero – it has the cache, a stunning location and fabulous service. I felt like a million dollars staying there whilst at the same time really comfortable (as unfortunately I don’t have a million dollars!).

Proud moment
A colleague and I took an opportunity to research and assess a new destination for the MICE industry back in 2017, through our in:sight programme. We took a journalistic approach to the challenge. Starting with a blank piece of paper, we really made the project our own, even now thinking about what we learned and experienced makes me feel really inspired. After completing in:sight on Rwanda we were asked to speak at an industry event to share our knowledge with fellow event buyers, corporates and industry professionals, which was the icing on the cake.

Bragging rights
We are so lucky in this industry to have ‘pinch yourself moments’ – flying over the Great Barrier Reef and landing at Whitehaven Beach, meeting the awe-inspiring Desmond Tutu and discussing the modern world, trekking in Rwanda to see the mountain gorillas playing just metres away from me…

It’s all in the detail…
For my team it’s really important to understand the intricacies of the brief; the client’s objectives, delegate demographics, brand values and culture, history of events and learnings from previous years. Through this detailed ‘interrogation’ of the brief we are able to provide bespoke solutions that tick every box.

What inspires you?
People inspire me. I love nothing more than hearing about new ideas or developments from passionate people, those who truly believe in their product and ooze enthusiasm.

Aperol or agua?
I’m afraid to say that I’ve jumped on the craft beer wagon and seem to have become a bit of a beer snob!

Final word…
It is so exciting to be part of this industry. Access to travel for individuals is becoming easier and the desire for unique experiences is greater; it makes it even more fun to uncover the latest offering in the market place. The world is our oyster!

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