Profile: Julia Record, Savoy Group - The five-star PR treatment/Julia Record, who began her job as group communications director at the Savoy Group this week, has a keen interest in the very different world of voluntary sector PR

In 1993, while working as an account director for travel PR company Paramount Publicity, she handled media relations for a then little-known charity for people with disabilities, MacIntyre Care. One of its patrons, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, had volunteered to part-climb Mount Everest to help raise funds. The event received mass TV coverage and more than 1,000 press cuttings.

In 1993, while working as an account director for travel PR company

Paramount Publicity, she handled media relations for a then little-known

charity for people with disabilities, MacIntyre Care. One of its

patrons, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, had volunteered to

part-climb Mount Everest to help raise funds. The event received mass TV

coverage and more than 1,000 press cuttings.



’I have had thoughts about working in the voluntary sector, but I love

travel and hotels,’ she says. ’I could sit in a hotel lobby watching

people all day - it is like sitting in a mini-theatre.’ It is highly

unlikely that Record will have much time to do that. She will lead a

five strong team at the Savoy Group, which owns five London hotels,

including Claridges, the Berkeley and the Connaught. Bought by US

investment group Blackstone in April for pounds 520 million, the group

also owns restaurant Simpson’s-in-the-Strand, the Savoy Theatre and

Worcestershire hotel the Lygon Arms.



Record came from Thistle Hotels, which owns 60 hotels across the UK.



She set up Thistle’s PR department in March 1994 and stayed for a total

of four-and-half years.



Her role at Thistle expanded rapidly. She started as a press officer,

took on crisis management and moved into international relations and

road shows. She travelled extensively promoting the hotel, and in one US

trip covered Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Toronto.



’I was getting up at four in the morning to catch the flight to the next

city, where I’d be running press events and promotions to travel

agents,’ she says. ’I learned to live with about three hours sleep.’



Record managed Thistle’s flotation on the London Stock Exchange in

1996.



In conjunction with the group’s then City PR agency Shandwick, she was

responsible for the release of financial information.



Although the Savoy Group is not listed in its own right like Thistle,

and it owns fewer properties, Record’s job there will bring its own high

profile challenges. For example, Blackstone announced at the time of the

acquisition that it would be expanding the brand into Europe and Record

will be involved in handling communications for that expansion.



There is also the fact that she has moved from a four-star to a

five-star hotel group. One of the fringe benefits is the chance to mix

with a glamorous array of guests, from the art world, luxury goods firms

and blue chip companies, at the Savoy parties Record will be

hosting.



Prior to Thistle, Record worked for several PR agencies, primarily in

the travel and tourism sector. These included Rosamunde Bern Associates

and Bevan PR,where she directed hotel, airline and tourist board

accounts.



’I love being in-house, it means you are a member of a team and can

reflect the culture of the client,’ she says.



Former colleagues rate her as being professional and thorough, with

exceptional time-management skills. Thistle press officer Caroline

Trout, who worked for Record for 10 months, says: ’She is always very

busy and that is in her character - I don’t know how she manages to fit

in all in.’



On top of her day job she is involved in the Hotel Marketing Association

and is on the committee of the Wednesday Club, which unites PR

professionals working in the fields of hotel and travel.



And, as well as changing jobs, Record has just moved from leafy

Chislehurst in Kent, to Little Venice, in west London’s Maida Vale

district. For the past week she has been lugging potted plants up

flights of stairs to her top floor flat.



Despite the demands of her new role, Record says she still hopes to find

time for the odd bit of voluntary work.



HIGHLIGHTS

1989

Account executive, Bevan PR

1991

Account manager, Rosamunde Bern Associates

1993

Account director, Paramount Publicity

1994

PR director, Thistle Hotels

1998

Group communications director, Savoy Group



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