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Nisha Tandon

Nisha Tandon Director

Be Inspired Series

Shane Hourican

Operations Manager
Holiday World Show

The Holiday World Show takes place this weekend (January 18-20) at the new pavilion buildings in the King's Hall Complex

What does your job entail?

I suppose I’m the one who ‘gets the show on the road’!  It’s my job to liaise with the contractors who do all the behind the scenes work such as laying carpets, building stands, bringing in power, lighting and signage … and generally providing everything that the exhibitors need to make the show a success.  

This year Holiday World will be in the new Pavilion venue at the King’s Hall which is an exciting move for us, as it allows us for the first time to bring everything together into one mega-sized hall, with maximum impact. We’ve been burning the midnight oil for some time, working out all the logistics.

Is it 9-5?

For a large part of the year I work fairly normal office hours but as a show gets closer, the hours get longer and the working week expands dramatically.  For Holiday World Belfast my most intense period will start about three days before the show with set up and the frenetic pace will last right through until we’re clearing the hall after what we hope will be another great show. It sounds exhausting, but Holiday World has its own great atmosphere and there’s fantastic camaraderie amongst the exhibitors so you don’t notice the long hours.

How did you get into this line of work?

I was born into it! Ours is a family business and I always knew that my mother and father would be delighted if I chose to follow in their footsteps, although they never pressurised me to take that career path. If anything they highlighted the negatives of their business world and, when I worked for them as a student in my vacations, they made very sure that I kept my nose to the grindstone and had no illusions about the prospect of an easy life ahead.

Outline your career to date?

After college I worked on cruise ships and saw the world over a five year period. It was great fun and gave me some amazing experiences and insights.  It also proved great grounding for working on Holiday World.

Tell us about your qualifications/training.

After university I went on to gain specialist expertise in health and safety compliance. Clearly it is absolutely vital to have a safe environment for contractors, exhibitors and visitors.

What do you like most about your job?

Ridiculous as it may seem, I actually enjoy the pressure of setting up a show.  I know that about three days before Holiday World Belfast I’ll find myself standing in a huge empty hall… and that, despite the general feeling of panic, it will all come together.

This year we’re hosting Holiday World Belfast in the brand new, purpose built Pavilion venue in the heart of the King’s Hall complex – it will be there until the RUAS builds its new ‘home’ at The Maze.  

The Pavilion is a fantastic location for the show and new surroundings will give Holiday World great freshness and vitality, but we’ll be working in an unfamiliar setting which inevitably brings its own challenges. 

We’ve also been inspired by that ‘Pavilion’ theme and, inside the hall, we’ll be creating three special interest pavilions of our own to focus on cruising (that one comes with a mini lecture theatre); on holidays in the USA and, brand new this year, weddings and honeymoons. No point making things easy on yourself, is there?

Where is the most interesting place your job has taken you?

When I was working on board cruise ships I was able to check out exhibition venues in New York, Singapore Australia and Russia. It was a bit of a ‘busman’s holiday’ but it is always useful to see how other people and places work.

What is the best advice you ever received?

Measure twice and cut once.

What qualities are required for your job - personal and professional?

From a personal point of view – stamina. From a professional perspective – understand and use all the New Media.

What are the biggest challenges and rewards of your work?

The dates of our major events over the next three years are already ‘cut in stone’ so the build dates and times are already in my diary and cannot change. That level of advance planning is both scary and reassuring – depending on my mood at the time.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m passionate about football and golf, whether it’s playing, watching or just talking about them.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

I have just got engaged so I’ll be checking out Holiday World this year for honeymoon ideas.

Who has inspired you most in your life?

My mother, through her amazing work ethic. She just gets on with it and manages to give the impression that nothing is ever any trouble to her.

Part of the Independent News and Media group