Jane Blanco is the Global Operations and Event Director for HotChillee Ltd. HotChillee is constantly going after their mission of a “world without limits.” Hosting Tour de France caliber events for amateurs, HotChillee proudly runs the LONDON-PARIS, Alpine Challenge, Cape Rouleur and many other races. Jane’s passion for creating events of the utmost quality is just one of the qualities that sets her apart as our Event Director of the Month:
How did you become an event director?
After a career break from the city, I met Sven Thiele, the founder of HotChillee. Sven’s concept and vision were very exciting. For the last seven years, working as part of the HotChillee team, has been exhilarating. Being so crucially involved in the changes and growth within the cycling industry and events space has been a unique experience.
What was your motivation for putting on the LONDON-PARIS?
The LONDON-PARIS started 11 years ago with Sven, a group of mates and a “how hard can it be?” attitude. It now has over 400 riders, 6 seeded speed groups, rolling road closures, race sections, a full-service corp support and motorbike outriders. The LONDON-PARIS is the closest an amateur rider can get to the Tour de France experience.
What was the very first event you organised?
My first event with HotChillee was LONDON-PARIS 2008. An incredible introduction to event organising and road cycling.
What has helped you become successful in managing your events?
We have the most amazing community of riders, crew, ride captains, sponsors and partners. The HotChillee Global Event Series has grown to four annual events (Cape Rouleur, Dunkerque-Roubaix, Alpine Challenge and LONDON-PARIS), so our community and riders are now able to challenge themselves with other events, knowing they will still get the high professional standard, camaraderie and fun always put on by HotChillee.
Why did you decide to use ACTIVE Network and how long have you used them?
We’ve been working with ACTIVE Network for nearly five years. We looked at a variety of registration products on the market and ACTIVE ticked all the boxes.
What are some of the things you think set your events apart and help them be successful year after year?
I think that most of our riders would say our events offer a high level of detail and organisation, as well as great camaraderie. It’s more than that, though. Year after year, our endurance events offer challenging routes in amazing locations throughout the world. We
also have closed roads and a level of on-bike support that are second to none. There is nothing closer to the Tour de France experience than entering Paris on a busy Saturday afternoon, with rolling road closures a week before the TdF starts!
What set of marketing tactics have been the most effective for you?
All of our events are televised on Eurosport with over a million viewers. Our social media reach around our events is 15M year to date, with high quality content, resulting in 40,000-60,000 engaged users per month.
Do you have any advice for race directors who are just getting started?
I think it will be tough for new cycling events to break through the market as there has been so much growth over the past 5 to 6 years. However, with the correct marketing and communication tools, a unique concept and a strong organisation, anything is possible!
What’s your strategy for the future?
We plan to continue to grow the Alpine Challenge in France and Cape Rouleur in South Africa. We have some exciting projects working with the Western Cape Government and Development Rider cycling teams in the Western Cape. We are also very excited about the Dunkerque-Roubaix with Geraint Thomas in April. The inaugural event this year was a blast – with a small group of riders, partners and sponsors taking on nine pàve sections. I’ve never seen so many big smiling faces when we all finished at the Roubaix velodrome!
Wishing continued success to Jane and everyone over at HotChillee!