Meet the Team – Neil Georges, Director of Events & Hospitality
“Quite simply it is the rarity of the experience; it is a special place, a home. It is somewhere you can be at total peace with the ones you care most about; surrounded by private gardens, where activities are plentiful. Cowdray House is timeless and a rare form of luxury.”
Can you describe your role at Cowdray and your team who work with you?
My role at Cowdray is to support the events and hospitality team and help them deliver our financial and strategic goals and ensure a ‘best in class’ customer experience. We have a very diverse portfolio of events businesses, which all require different sales and marketing strategies, alongside some challenging operational structures. I am fortunate to have a highly motivated and passionate team of individuals, who in recent times have demonstrated their ability to work creatively, flexibly, and resourcefully.
What attracted you to work at Cowdray?
The role at Cowdray presented an enormous opportunity to develop a business with fabulous foundations, in the most beautiful countryside setting. Working within a family estate is unique and was a key attraction for me. I enjoy the balance of working to achieve a commercial set of targets but at the same time contributing to the Estate’s wider objectives of sustainability, environmental enhancement and custodianship.
The last year has been challenging for events – tell us a couple of things you have learnt along the way.
For the past five months it has felt like we have been in the starter blocks of a sprint race, with many false starts… It has been so important to be optimistic and pragmatic over this time, it gives you the drive to continue planning and time to strategize and question every business decision.
I won’t pretend there hasn’t been many a sleepless night, pondering over government guidance, but one thing I have learned from these changing circumstances is the benefit of not rushing into a quick decision.
Our businesses specialise in times of celebration, luxury along with special memories and as a result, 90% of our bookings have emotion attached, in abundance. Client relations are always of the highest importance, but never more so has a delicate but decisive approach been necessary; particularly when having to postpone weddings and other special events, sometimes with only 24 hours’ notice.
What is your favourite room at Cowdray House and why?
Wow, that’s a difficult one! Every room is so special and unique, from the grandeur of Buck Hall to the splendour and comfort of the Morning Room. Every bedroom is homely and offers the most magnificent views West Sussex has to offer. However, the most special characteristic is that Cowdray House first and foremost feels like a home and not one that is intimidating, but rather, one that is friendly and welcoming. If I were to be pushed however, as a lover of good food, my favourite room would have to be the kitchen; seeing it in full swing with seasonal produce from the farm shop delivered to the back door and watching our in-house chefs cooking up a storm.
What is your most prized possession?
My golf clubs!
Where do you go on holiday?
I have been very fortunate to enjoy many opportunities to travel over the years, but we try to get to Provence once a year. Just before my wife and I married, we travelled to the Luberon, a very special national park area of Provence. There are several wonderful villages, my particular favourites being Bonnieux and Gordes, which offer stunning views of the Provencal countryside. Those of you that have watched ‘A Good Year’, starring Russell Crowe, will know exactly what I mean.
What is top on your bucket list?
Golf has been a big part of my life, I would love to visit The Masters Tournament one day.
What makes Cowdray House so special for events in your opinion?
Quite simply it is the rarity of the experience; it is a special place, a home. It is somewhere you can be at total peace with the ones you care most about; surrounded by private gardens, where activities are plentiful. Cowdray House is timeless and a rare form of luxury.
If you could choose one person as a dinner party guest who would it be?
I have been very privileged over the years to meet many celebrities, company leaders and sports personalities, all of which were interesting for a variety of reasons, however, the one that stood out for me was Sir Tim Peake, who is just a fantastic, inspiring gentleman, so I think I would invite him as my guest.Back to News