Alex Catton, head of sports at Spectate, talks to Abra Dunsby about his career successes and passion for sports travel
From meeting the Red Bull drivers at the Monaco Grand Prix to watching the Rugby World Cup in Japan last year alongside 70,000 spectators, Alex Catton, head of sports at ITC Travel Group’s sister brand Spectate, has had some incredible sporting experiences during his time there.
And while sports travel has been “decimated” by the pandemic, with the company unable to run any sporting event departures since January, Catton remains upbeat, explaining that his team have been busy supporting and engaging with clients while preparing for a post-Covid future.
“One saving grace for the sports travel industry is that we were able to make our clients’ decisions much sooner, and were proactive with calling them to let them know about events being cancelled,” he says.
The vast majority of clients were able to claim refunds, while by being upfront with clients, Catton says Spectate was able to secure many rebookings for next year. “We’ve been honest with clients and even turned down bookings as there’s so much uncertainty. They’ve really respected that and rolled business over. We hope 2021 is going to be a busy year.”
While selling product is on hold, Catton’s team has focused on marketing, producing a digital magazine at the start of lockdown that’s been nominated for an award.
“It provided a recap of what we’ve been doing and included sporting insider knowledge such as our top 10 sporting books, movies and destinations. It also had Q&As with celebrity hosts we’ve worked with. It did so well we republished it four months later,” he says.