Client Profiles: Nestival
In this sequence of Client Profiles we look at the property journey of Becki Linley, Director of Nestival Ltd – a world leader in providing tailored accommodation services to the industry. It specifically caters for the entertainment industry’s nesting needs and offers year round options to the many touring productions, live entertainment, arts, sports, festivals and theatre worldwide.
Nestival originated from love of Edinburgh’s leading Fringe and International Festival and Edinburgh remains the heart and the location of the Nest Head office.
It subsequently expanded into the international arts festival & entertainment circuit and is regarded as the go to accommodation provider to the industry as a whole.
Established in 2012 Nestival now operates its Nests at some of the largest arts and entertainment events globally. Taking in Adelaide Fringe, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, and London year-round including its Southbank and London’s Christmas Festivals, amongst an array of nationwide theatre and Music touring productions that perform in the UK.
In 2019 Nestival expanded its international portfolio to cover the Far East, North America and Canada and will shortly be offering new nesting options across Europe.
Sometimes when I get asked, ‘You must feel lucky to do what you do?’ or ‘You’re lucky you’ve landed’, it takes me right back to the start and I think ‘If only you knew’, says Becki.
Every journey starts with a choice. Sometimes those choices are not always obvious or the first option, but the right choices always turn out to be the ones we assimilate closely with and make us who we are.
My journey into letting and ultimately as a worldwide entertainment accommodation provider had the usual curves and blind alleys and a lot of speed bumps along the way.
I started as a holiday rep back in the days when reality tv had not turned into a clubbers paradise, and as an impressionable and somewhat naive to the world of customers 19-year-old, I had to grow up quickly and learn how the world operates.
To this day, it was my grounding and I learnt a lot about the tourism sector and sales as that was key to surviving, but most importantly I learnt about me; my strengths and weaknesses and about throwing myself out of my comfort zone. Leap forward to today, this is a trait I try to encourage and develop as you will never get anywhere if you sit in the back seat and let someone else drive and also make decisions for you.
Ultimately being a holiday rep was never a long-term career but it set me off on a tangent and I’m grateful for all the adventures and hard knocks along the way.
Coming back to Edinburgh, I ended up in a couple of buyer’s roles for Haircare and then a European luxury brand. Again this taught me the value of thinking ahead, seeing trends and understanding the customer and how they buy. It also gave me an important lesson in finance and balancing the books which is vital to my role today.
Birth of Nestival
From here I progressed into my own business and letting, refurbishments and latterly when I spotted a gap in the festival letting market, Nestival was born.
Brian Goonan, the co-owner, and I started small intentionally so we could learn the craft, understand the customer and know what we needed to do better to service the industry. From here we streamlined the business and became an industry only provider of accommodation to the arts and entertainment sectors.
Our clients are either touring, performing, managing, writing or techs/staff for the various productions that zig zag the UK and globe and this year we have expanded our operation to include Australia, North America, Canada and Europe.
However, it’s not all glam.
Yes, the highs are incredible and the staff have access to some incredible people and shows, however most days are sat navigating the globe via email, phone and What’s App and long hours looking at spreadsheets.
The pressure at key times of the year is immense. On average through summer, Brian and I work 80-90-hours a week to ensure we are always ahead in each city we operate in and that means we have very understanding friends and family and forgo a lot of social occasions.
Holidays need to be slotted in when the calendar allows (this includes the team) and gone are the days when summer means a summer holiday.
However, I wouldn’t change any of it and, yes, at times I feel lucky but:
there is luck for everyone out there if you want to go and seek it out, commit yourself to a role and really drive it so the engine can keep tuning.
Work life is a daily balance of experiencing the no’s, knock backs, hazards, problems and fears and overcoming them all. The yes, go for it, great email is the minority so you have to learn to turn the negative into positive and no into yes.
What does the future hold for Nestival? There is more growth to come-the world is a big place, but there is also time to give back, to teach, to install that confidence to go chase the dream and if you have passion for something let that fuel you.
We all have a choice. Go with a leap of faith and see where your choice can lead; go find a work passion.