Head of Racing Hospitality
Purpose of the Role:
To define and deliver the target guest experience for our prospective and existing brand partners, across every race series we enter. The postholder is expected to create a world-class F1 hospitality programme, encompassing 23 races across 23 countries and to frame the principles for the sister INDYCAR and Extreme E race series (which span 17 races and 5 races respectively).
Each race series has a unique brand identity and fan proposition, attracting different brand partners and as such, the postholder is required to find synergies where appropriate while curating a highly differentiated and distinctive experience for each.
Beyond motorsports, the candidate is accountable for delivering a portfolio of exclusive CEO-hosted events spanning the arts. They are accountable for the end-to-end journey from issuing invitations to welcoming guests and the post-event interaction.
The hosting of our brand partners is an integral part of the McLaren value proposition and as such, the candidate will work closely with the Chief Commercial Officer and Director, Brand Experience in curating the future events programme to ensure the bar is raised every year.
Each event is targeted to educate our guests about McLaren’s USP’s and to underpin our ESG agenda, while in parallel providing a value-creation platform for our partner, enabling them to host their key clients to turbo-charge their own business agenda.
The candidate is responsible for the autonomous management of the Hospitality function, ensuring all team members are industry-leading brand ambassadors who embody the McLaren brand values. They are expected to build a diverse, dynamic and digitally-savvy team, coaching all employees to superior levels of performance.
The postholder is a critical member of the Brand Experience leadership team and is a natural extension of the Commercial Partnerships team. As such they are accountable for inputting to the strategic direction of the wider function; in addition to progressing our digital and commercial agenda. Therefore, their KPI’s are based on direct customer database growth/revenue from at-track hospitality/guest satisfaction/customer retention & upsell.
- As a hands-on leader, you will be expected to lead the team on the ground over the race weekends (taking time off in lieu during the week). Therefore, working unsociable hours, away from home for the Wed-Sunday period is a necessity for the top 12-15 races in the calendar.
- The role at trackside requires the candidate to spend long hours on their feet (in trainers and team kit), exposed to high levels of noise.
- Outside of the events themselves, strategic planning is typically performed within an office environment with standard office equipment.
- We operate a hybrid working policy where the candidate is expected to spend part of each week in the Woking HQ and part working from home.
Strategic Planning (30%)
- Develop the annual and long-term strategy for the Events and Hospitality department; working with the CCO and Director, Brand Experience to frame the target proposition and KPI’s.
- Work with relevant internal departments and external stakeholders on the development and future growth of the Events and Hospitality offering.
- Drive Partner acquisition and retention, through the delivery of our brand experiences and their interaction with McLaren Racing.
- Set departmental KPI’s to ensure all areas of the Events and Hospitality department are working to a defined McLaren standard, ensuring best-in-field experiences and level of guest engagement.
- Oversee the successful translation of the plan into execution all F1 trackside experiences, sports hospitality, guest relations.
- Monitor competitors and industry trends and report on potential future growth opportunities to ensure the continuous development of the guest experience at all events.
Operational delivery (30%)
- Oversee all spend and revenue generated across the department, to ensure budgetary targets are met and additional income streams are delivered.
- Oversee contractual fulfilments and obligations for all F1 trackside experiences, sports hospitality and strategic projects; create upsell opportunities where possible.
- Oversee monthly cash flow for the department; produce monthly, quarterly and end of year financial reports. Liaise with Finance to accurately forecast budgets.
- Provide oversight and sign-off on all creative decisions including, branding and creative, content and Partner communications in line with McLaren’s brand strategy, objectives and tone of voice.
- Provide Director, Brand Experience with regular work updates and accurate forecasts.
- Maintain excellent working relationships with direct reports, wider colleagues, Partners, industry stakeholders and suppliers.
- Lead the on-site teams at F1 trackside, sports hospitality and specialist events throughout the year ensuring every event meets/exceeds the KPI’s.
- Ensure that Health and Safety processes are adhered to by all parties at all events.
Project Leadership (20%)
- Lead the projects and develop the business case for enhancing our hospitality proposition e.g. identifying opportunities to digitise and enhance guest communications pre, during and post-event.
- Work with Finance to build business cases to support the launch of new projects targeted to enhance the physical & digital guest experience.
- Use extensive events and guest experience knowledge to contribute to wider McLaren Commercial Initiatives e.g. spearhead McLaren’s 60th Birthday Marketing and Activation Plan.
Team leadership (20%)
- Encourage collaborative teamwork and communicate regularly and effectively with the department.
- Conduct regular one-on-ones and appraisals with direct reports; set clear, challenging and achievable targets.
- Understand the capabilities of personnel across the department, including their career aspirations, actively encourage continuous growth and development.
- Ensure workload is delegated effectively and fairly across the department.
- Set clear guidelines and ensure that the department understand the McLaren standard and values.
Knowledge, Skills and Experience:
- The preferred candidate will be a commercially minded leader with significant experience of working with C-suite level stakeholders.
- They will be digitally savvy and have significant experience working in a global, blue chip firm with a background in either events or project management.
- Applicant must be an independent thinker and possess strong organisation and leadership skills; adept at working under pressure and under time timescales.
- A keen interest in developing and improving processes is required; coupled with a highly creative, visionary approach for the overarching programme.
- An outstanding approach to guest relations in challenging and changing situations is required.
- Applicant must have experience of running a department with proven budget management.
- Board-level gravitas combining personal warmth and affability with a strong work ethic.
- Intellectually curious and lateral strategic thinker; continually innovating and proactively raising the bar.
- Imaginative flair; the ability to initiate ideas and develop these into practical and commercial reality.
- Highly effective change agent; adept at leading transformational business change and creating the processes to embed the change.
- Effortless networker and influencer; able to galvanise others behind their vision and create positive impact.
- Adept at building and managing successful relationships at all levels of the internal organisation.
- Capacity to manage several on-going projects and able to continuously pivot to re-define priorities.
- Proven decision-making expertise; able to make difficult decisions that will drive performance.
- Fluent in English and other languages an advantage.
All employees must ensure compliance with the Company Health and Safety Policy, and all relevant other statutory Health and Safety legislation.
This job description may not detail some lesser duties allocated to the post holder, nor cover duties of a similar nature corresponding with the role, which may from time to time be reasonably required by the relevant manager.