Haythorn Sports & Events Partner with Positive Planet

23rd June 2021

“Haythorn Sports & Events (HS&E) are delighted to announce a new partnership with Positive Planet – an organisation set up with the aim of making sustainability simple, affordable and accessible for everyone.

This partnership will deliver in 2 main areas for HS&E:

Announcing the partnership, HS&E Founder and Managing Director Jody Hayes said “We’re grateful to Kate Suddards and the team at Positive Planet for their approach and helping us understand how small changes can help something that we’re all responsible for – namely saving the planet. This link up will not only help us ‘do our bit’ for the environment but sees HS&E offer our clients something that our competitors don’t – the ability to offset their carbon footprint from their team stays. We look forward to not only working with Kate and the team at Positive Planet going forward but also helping the wider sporting community achieve their sustainability goals as well”

Positive Planet commented, “The team at Positive Planet is really pleased to be working with Haythorn Sports & Events. While climate change has a long-term risk to our future on the planet, in the short term it presents a challenge to the future of elite sports. Rising temperatures and freak weather events are already causing disruption to elite sports events. Most professional athletes have carbon footprints, which are 3 to 6 times that of the average UK adult. Professional sports clubs have a significant leadership role to play in helping to both raise awareness of the impact of climate change and demonstrating how to achieve more sustainable practices in their operations. Haythorn Sports & Events are setting a great example in committing to reduce their carbon emissions and raising awareness of the need to take action with their clients”.

The Excitement of ‘Getting it Right’ For Your Client, Is a Feeling That Never Leaves You

It was bound to happen at some point…a couple of months in the making…a month of proving my worth to the club with great options and great rates…a site visit to make sure the hotel was suitable and BANG…my first confirmed team stay for one of my new clubs had arrived.

Over the years in my previous role, I had visited hundreds of hotels in the UK and abroad. Meeting clients in said hotels was nothing new…I had done this and from what I’ve been told, I’m good at it. So why was I a little nervous about this situation? Meet the hotel sales contact, check out the bedrooms, look at the meeting space and then welcome your client. Easy.

Well, it is. However, there is a lot more riding on this one. Not that the thousands of aforementioned meetings I had with clients in hotels didn’t mean anything. They did…and they helped me cut my teeth sufficiently to ensure I do what I do, well. Nevertheless, this is all about my business now…not that of a multinational hospitality company. Maybe one day though…

So as I set off from home on the South Coast, I knew that today was going to be a great day. Not only was it great to be going into a hotel on business, it was a day that I was going to start proving my worth to the first of my clubs who have trusted me to look after their team stay business. Booking hotels is only half of the job though…ensuring that it goes right from an operational point of view by looking at every little detail, is the other half and something that not every agent does. Having worked in this field for a number of years now, I’ve seen how agents get it right and how some only really look after the booking part. Not all, just some.

I wasn’t expected to be there for this team stay…I had already site visited the hotel and assisted with the rates, contracting and invoicing process. The club were happy. I sure as hell wanted to prove my worth though. I’m a firm believer in good things happen to good people. If I do well by this club, word of mouth, karma and a slice of good luck will hopefully help with my business developmental efforts in expanding my little empire further. More importantly though, it will get my blossoming relationship with this club off to a great start. That’s the key.

After a couple of hours driving, I arrived at the hotel. Sure, I was feeling some nerves as I wanted everything to go without a hitch. To ensure that it did, I met again with the hotel sales director. We went straight to the private dining room where I confirmed that all requirements asked by the club had been met. I was introduced the duty manager who would be looking after the teams dining requirements. We discussed food labelling, dietary requirements, dinner service taking into account Covid-19 requirements and timing. All was going well.

Prior to the team coach arriving, we had looked at the entry points for the team…not because the team is precious about being seen…but what worked well for this teams requirements. Would the front entrance be suitable or would the side entrance be better because it has direct access to the meeting/dining space? What entry point would also work best for the team coach navigating the corners in the car park?

Small details. But these small details matter. If one little thing goes wrong with a team arrival, it’s hard to get it back. I’ve seen on numerous occasions teams lose their match and the smallest little issue with their hotel stay is cited as a major issue with match preparation. This therefore MUST go well. I cannot have my first clubs team stay with Haythorn Sports & Events going badly for any reason.

The team coach arrives in the car park…right now, the heart’s pumping…my first team stay is here and I’m responsible for ensuring the club are happy with how things go and that the hotel is happy with how things are. The players and staff are off the coach and in the hotel (front entrance to answer that one…), I meet my day-to-day contact at the club, individual key cards dished out, players shown where the lifts are, an offer to show the team manager the dining room and I think we’re just about there. Phew…part one, complete and a success. I think.

I park myself in the breakout area outside the private dine room and make it known that I’ll be there for the next couple of hours until dinner, in case there’s any issues. Bar showing a couple of players where the Physio room is, so far so good. 20 minutes prior to dinner, the manager makes his way down and I get the opportunity to introduce myself. I explain who I am and how Haythorn Sports & Events has come about and that I’m looking forward to working with them over the course of the season – so long as he’s happy with this stay. Of course.

Dinner is served and without a hitch. The hotel team did a great job and I can leave knowing that they’ll provide and equally great service for breakfast and the pre-match meal. I leave my number and ask them to contact me the following morning confirming that everything has gone ok. They do and it did. Perfect.

A few days later, I’m with the team again, this time for a ‘simple’ pre-match meal for a cup game. Same level of preparation, same level of ensuring all little details are looked at, same happy football club at the end of it.

After those two team stays, I get confirmation that we’re going to work together for the whole season. An absolute joyous moment when I get that confirmation.

The work I do isn’t only about getting the best rates at the best hotels…it’s about making sure my clubs are happy. Sure, counting the pennies is important to these clubs, especially in this day in age. However, so is service. Haythorn Sports & Events is built on the premise of understanding how hotels work and therefore ensuring that teams are comfortable at every turn during their hotel stays. Good pricing is not all we’re about. It’s the full package of working together and that’s what will help Haythorn Sports & Events grow further and stronger, with a sound ethos.

Until next time 😉


As One Door Closes, Another Opens. But You Need to Have Confidence and Find That Door

12th July 2019, I was hurtling round Silverstone Motor Circuit in an Aston Martin at 150mph. 12th July 2020 and I was in more sedate environment and 12 days into a scary, yet exciting new venture. What a difference 12 months make, eh?! I was just over 3 months into a maternity cover promotional role at Hilton and working at the British F1 GP in 2019 and hadn’t even considered how my life might change in the next 12 months. Taking that role was a risk…I knew that…but I had seen plenty of great people before me take on 12-month secondments or 12-month maternity covers and then have something great at the end of it. Not for one moment though did I assume that I would be guaranteed a role come May 2020 when the maternity cover ended. But I was confident in my own ability and had a good presence amongst senior leadership. I thought that would count for something. And it did. Over the next few months, I settled into the role more, continued to develop great ongoing relationships in the world of F1 and Golf and sailed into 2020 with excitement and vigour about potential new sporting opportunities that could present themselves in the forthcoming months.

Then along came something called Coronavirus.

I remember taking part in a sales activity with a couple of colleagues in one of the Heathrow Hotels. It was around late January/early February this year and one of them mentioned this virus that was going to come over to Europe in a big way. I totally downplayed it as over the top melodrama. How wrong I was.

The plight of Covid-19 and its effects continue to shake up the world of hospitality to this day. Not a day goes by on LinkedIn where I don’t see the unfortunate status update of an ex-colleague or someone else in the industry, losing their job because of how the pandemic has re-shaped the world we live in. It’s truly heart-breaking to know that great people are potentially have to make life shaping decisions about what they do next, forced upon them through no fault of their own. And no fault of the companies making those tough decisions it must be said. I certainly have no ill feelings towards my old employers who gave me over 10 years of wonderful experiences, great learning and amazing colleagues.

The furlough period between early April and the end of June afforded me some great thinking time. Pragmatically, I was happy to spend 3 months with my young son and watch him grow and develop. What a once in a lifetime (hopefully, no second spikes and all that) opportunity that was to spend with family. It also gave me the opportunity to pre-empt my next career move should the worst happen and I was to leave a company I loved. Tough decisions have had to be made to ensure the long term viability of the business.

When I got the dreaded call on the 15th June this year, I then had to commit to my next move which I had thought about for a while. I’ve always dreamed of running my own business. I could go and work for another hotel chain or hotel management company, sure, but they could be making redundancies as well right? So, I made the decision to go it alone and set up Haythorn Sports & Events. Name, logo, branding, launch, social media, investment, operations, clients, contacts, accountancy, lack of company car (a real bitter pill this one) and website design were all now top of my to do list as well as ‘continue to watch little man grow and develop’.

My god is it scary though. Whilst I’m confident I’ve navigated the first couple of months in a good manner and the business has started well, I think it’s only done that because I’ve sought a positive outcome from a bad situation.

I cannot really give any words of advice to anyone on how to run a business…heck, Haythorn Sports & Events is only 58 days old. But what I can do is tell those that are faced with an uncertain future to be bold, be brave and don’t wait for your next opportunity to come and find you. Whether it’s a job in the same industry, a job in a different industry, setting up on your own or volunteering…grab this massive Covid-infected bull by the horns and take control. There’s tooooo many great people I see on LinkedIn who are now out of a job. I don’t consider myself lucky because I’ve now got a job of my own and funding to keep me going for a few months until the real pennies start to come in. I consider myself fortunate that I’ve been able to do something I’ve wanted to always do…be my own boss doing something I love.

Think about what you love and what you do best. However the world recovers from this massive shake-down, I truly believe there’s roles for all of us to do something great. Words are easy to say, I get that. But this could be the beginning of a great surge of entrepreneurial talents starting to blossom. 12 months on from speeding round Silverstone on that July day in 2019, I couldn’t have imagined I now be doing this.

I cannot tell you how great it feels to be doing this though. Sure, there’ll be knockbacks on the way….people have turned down my approaches to work with them etc. But in true British grit, we get up, dust ourselves down and march on with even greater purpose.

Good luck to anyone in this situation. I know things will work out well for you if you’re bold, brave and grab the bull by the horns.

And I’m always available for a chat if needs be.

Until next time,



Get in Touch