Future of event at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace - Where do we go from here?

April 2021

That’s the big question at the moment, isn’t it? As we gradually get back to some version of normality, what did that even used to look like? And do we actually want to go back to exactly how it used to be?

Our team has developed in all kinds of different ways over the last 12 months, in both personal and professional capacities. As we get back to business, we’re very excited to bring those new skills, passions and proficiencies into events at 10-11 Carlton house Terrace – so maybe we’d rather things didn’t go exactly back to how they were!

But to get you all up to speed with what you can expect from us next, we spoke to Amie, our business development and marketing manager, and Catherine, our head of venue sales and marketing, to get some behind-the-scenes insight into the past, present and future of events at {10-11} what their video here or read the full interview below.

The Past

What are you most proud of from the last 12 months?

Amie: “In a time where the world has essentially been on pause, our team have achieved so much. Hosting successful micro weddings and covid-secure business meetings, ramping up our filming bookings and working hard behind the scenes to streamline our processes and policies – there's so much we’ve achieved and I'm so proud of the team for getting stuck in.”

Catherine: “I am very proud of how quickly and flexibly we have reacted to the ever-changing covid situation. That versatility has allowed our business to continue across all of last year, in a reduced capacity of course. We acted quickly and carefully to ensure we had covid-secure measures in place ahead of the possibility of reopening last summer.”

“We then went on to receive 3 industry safety accreditations which allowed us to open for small hybrid meetings, micro wedding and filming and photography as soon as government guidelines permitted.”

What has the last year shone a light on for you?

Amie: “Our venue has always been a favourite for blockbuster filming, but our busy corporate daytime business has meant we haven’t been able to accommodate it in the past. We’ve seen a marked increase in location filming and photography bookings at our venue, and in response we’re working harder than ever to streamline the booking and planning process for clients, as well as on our end too.”

Catherine: “I think the past 12 months has really shone a light on the strength and community of the events industry. Eventprofs are already known for being problem solvers, but facing the effects of the pandemic brought a whole new meaning to that. It has been incredible to see the industry come together to share knowledge, resources and genuinely care about one another, as well as advocate for our industry and support our clients.”

“From the One Industry One Voice and We Make Events campaigns to the What About Weddings taskforce, I have never felt more a part of the industry community or supported by it. Competition has been left at the door. Friends, colleagues and clients have rallied together to ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry, who has collectively demonstrated creativity and resilience. Shifting whole business models, developing new virtual products, at-home event kits, catering at home, building and supporting the Nightingale Hospitals and vaccine centres; we, as an industry, have stayed cool under pressure, held grace in adversity and shown our undeniable instinct to muck in.”

Socially distance protest for the events industry in 2020 Socially distance protest for the events industry in 2020

What are your highlights from the year?

Amie: “We’ve been able to work on so many projects that would have taken us much, much longer had the venue been open as usual. One of my personal highlights has been refreshing our brand, and particularly the website. It was a collective effort with all of the team helping to write the content – and we love our new virtual tour that our partners at Hirespace helped us with! We’ve also done lots of work behind the scenes to improve traffic to the website – and this is in large part thanks to the wonderful work of our marketing agency Patch!”

Catherine: “Professionally I would say it was our first micro wedding after lockdown (and every one of them since!). Obviously, I am proud of the care and flexibility we employed to make sure the days happened safely but just a special as they would be pre covid. More than that though, I loved having people back in the building. Yes, they were in masks, and hugging was a no-go - but to have a bit of love, laughter and memories being made back in the building after so long and after so much grief was a very special moment. One I won’t soon forget.”

What about the lows?

Amie: “I have found it really hard to keep motivated across the last year. Whilst we all know the and appreciate government guidelines are paramount to follow, the continued changes would throw us off constantly. Each time it felt like we had a solid plan in place, the guidance would change and throw a spanner in the works.”

“It’s also hard to stay motivated when, as a team, we thrive off each other’s energy. In the office if there was a problem, we would all put our heads together and solve it – or, equally if there was an exciting enquiry that needed some collective brainpower, everyone was there to help. That’s definitely been missed.”

Catherine: “For me the most difficult part of the last 12 months has been the loss of human interaction, and its subsequent impact on my mental health. I miss the team terribly. I miss laughing and joking with them as much as I do getting stuck into planning and delivering a large event or project together. We have Zoomed, Teamed, Whatsapped to within an inch of our lives, but it doesn’t quite make up for the magic of being in a room together.”

A group zoom call by the venue team at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace A group zoom call by the venue team at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace

The Present

How has lockdown changed the team’s day to day work? Is it different now than it was at the beginning, or even 6 months ago?

Amie: “Our team are both focused on sales and operational delivery, so with the building closing and events paused, our focus shifted to project-based work including formulating a ‘how to’ bible documenting all of our policies and processes, updating the contacts on our database, copywriting for our new website and so much more! Slowly our work is returning to normal – with our inbox getting busier by the day, and we’re closer to reopening now, with lots of bookings in the diary!”

Catherine: “Over the last year, team working has changed dramatically. We went from being a site-based, customer-facing, fast-paced team of event and customer service professionals, to working at home with no events to deliver. We shifted quickly along with the rest of the world and, riding on the adrenaline and novelty of the situation, set about doing all the projects under the sun for the first few weeks.”

“We got through all those ‘nice to dos’ that we don’t usually have time for when you’re putting out event planning fires or constantly moving on to the next event. They definitely weren’t always glamorous– think, data cleaning, copy writing, competitor analysis – but we also began planning for a safe reopening, ensuring we would be in the strongest possible position when the industry reopened.”

“We managed to get an important brand and web refresh project done and all members of the team were able to take time for professional development. From British Sign Language, Mental Health First Aid, and unconscious bias training to project management, team management and sales and marketing courses the skills developed by the team this year have made them into high effective and socially conscious professionals.”

“Of course, it has not all been highs. We have missed each other and our collective energy together. We used the government furlough scheme as well as internal secondments to ensure security for the team as the pandemic wore on. We have felt the impact of waning productivity, constant external stressors and social isolation.”

“However, I am so proud of the way team members have supported one another as well as taken care of their own wellbeing throughout the past year. They have been incredibly creative, flexible and resilient and are now very much chomping at the bit to get back to the building, and back to events!”

Are there any lessons you think have been learnt?

Amie: “I think what this period has highlighted for everyone is that looking after yourself is more important than most of us might have realised before. The last 12 months have had a huge impact on everyone's mental wellbeing and one thing we have done as a team is support each other.”

“As individuals we have learned to be gentler with ourselves if we are having a bad day, and our organisation has invested in supporting others mental health through education like mental health first aid, mental health training for line managers and extending the employee assistance programme to provide a greater range of services for everyone. This includes traditional talking therapy, mindfulness, yoga and life coaching too.”

Catherine: “I think everyone has learned just how important resilience and flexibility, not just professionally, but in people's personal lives can be. Of course, neither are a given and you do need to take care of your physical and mental well-being to be able to react flexibly and maintain resilience. But ultimately, those things are what got me through the ups and downs and constant shifting sands of the past year.”

“It has been a keen reminder not to get stuck in your ways and that sticking to strict traditional ideas of how office working, event planning or delivery should be does not serve you and doesn’t allow for growth and innovation.”

Behind the scenes at London photo shoot venue 10-11 Carlton House Terrace Behind the scenes at London photo shoot venue 10-11 Carlton House Terrace

What type of event have you missed (and are now looking forward to!) hosting the most?

Amie: “I have to say I have really missed our annual takeover from the Hearst Live Team. For five years we have been the home to Esquire Townhouse and for the last two, this has extended to include the Red Smart Women’s Week too – the team are incredible and every year we get excited for the new vision they have for their event at the venue.”

“We get to see our rooms transformed into pop up barbers, clothes shops, coffee lounges and gorgeous dining spaces. I am really excited to welcome the Hearst team back to our building and to speak to new creative agencies about creating these memorable pop-up events.”

Catherine: “I miss Christmas parties! I love Christmas. I love sparkling lights and London abuzz with a frisson of Christmas spirit and sparkling wine. We were without decoration or celebration in the building in 2020 which was gutting following 2019 - our busiest Christmas season to date. I have everything crossed that after the 18 months we will have all had that we can host some much-deserved festive celebrations this year, in whatever shape or form. And that we can deck our halls again!”

The Future

How do you think the event landscape will change over the next 6/12 months? Will it go back to looking the same, or will parts of it be more permanently altered?

Amie: “We’ve had lots of couples downsize their wedding celebrations in 2020 & 2021, but equally we’ve also had lots of couples eager to enjoy traditional wedding plans with all of their friends and family around them.”

“For corporate events, I think there are many instances where we have seen virtual events do well, but lots have also gone quite wrong, and ultimately I just don’t think you can beat an in-person experience. Event organisers are thinking about the lasting impact of an event, so whilst I am confident in-person events will return - recording, reusing and sharing an event with a wider audience will become the norm.”

“In terms of experiential events, I think zoom fatigue is real and we are all pretty fed up looking at our screen 24/7 – people are excited to get back to socialising in person, and we can’t wait to safely do so too!”

Catherine: “I think there is a built-up pressure in demand for live events. I think we will see a focus on celebrations and that we may see more parties than typical corporate conferences. However, after that initial burst of pent-up demand, things will largely settle back into the usual event patterns, especially once restrictions on travel are relaxed.”

“However, events themselves will see some long-term (if not permanent) changes. I see the idea of hybrid events staying with us now, without question. There is going to be even more pressure to demonstrate return on investment, and as hybrid provides the chance to extend the reach of an event as well as the accessibility of its content, it will be an invaluable tool for helping maximising ROI.”

“There has also been a diversification of platforms and social media - think TikTok, Houseparty, IGTV, Instagram Live, as well as traditional streaming on Youtube, Twitch, Vimeo etc. I think we will see both becoming even more central to an event. Ensuring that both the ‘in the room’ and the ‘at home’ experiences are equally as enjoyable and effective will be paramount in future events; as will capturing video and photography in order to extend the shelf life and reach of any live event.”

A set-up hybrid studio to hire at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace A set-up hybrid studio to hire at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace

How is 10-11 CHT accommodating those changes during the upcoming period (i.e. how are you getting the venue ready for hosting events again)? What is changing? What is staying the same?

Amie: “Back in March 2020 when the first guidelines were announced, we worked incredibly hard to ensure that all of the necessary safety measures were put in place. We achieved three industry accreditations to highlight our commitment to running safe events, and we’ve been continually updating and enhancing our processes ever since.”

“I think the biggest change for us – and one that will gradually return to normal over time - is the number of events we will run at any one time. We are fortunate to have two entrances and so can easily operate multiple bookings safely right now and we will be looking forward to having a full house again soon.”

Catherine: “It goes without saying, but right now the safety of guests, staff, visitors and suppliers is at the forefront of our minds. The biggest change to events in the short - medium term will be that.”

“Like other venues the world over, we have implemented ample signage, sanitation stations, one-way systems and have ramped up cleaning schedules and tweaked catering services to ensure safety. Making sure events can be delivered safely, within government guidelines and with as little compromise as possible is our top priority.”

“Our standards of customer care and service have remained high throughout the past year and this will continue. Communicating clearly and timely to clients; managing their expectations around safety measures; providing assurance and industry knowledge on technology solutions – all of these things will be key.”

“The calibre of the venue and rooms remains the same or, if anything, has improved after a year filled with a schedule of redecoration and maintenance. On top of that, we have developed brand new products and invested in equipment to deliver hybrid and virtual events in our spaces too.”

What booking or event are you most looking forward to at the moment? (If you can say!)

Amie: “I am really looking forward to celebrating with all our wedding couples, those who have had to postpone because of lockdown either originally booked to host in our own venue, or who have had to move from another venue due to availability. It is going to be a bumper year for us with the most weddings we have ever hosted! Confetti at the ready!”

Catherine: “Without a doubt I’m looking forward to the London Marathon. We host the finish line celebration hoses for two amazing charities. I know that once the streets (and our venue!) are filled with jubilant and exhausted runners and equally as emotional family, friends and supporters that we will have the spirit of London back. I cannot wait!”

London events venue to hire

We are so excited to get back to hosting all kinds of events. Celebrations, conferences, fashion shows, film shoots – we love them all! So, if you’re starting to ramp up your event planning efforts, we’d love to see what we can do for you. Whether it’s to arrange a site visit (because it’s been a while!) or talk more seriously about an upcoming brief, you can get in touch with the team on 020 7969 5224 or at info@10-11cht.co.uk.

Behind the scenes at London hybrid venue to hire 10-11 Carlton House Terrace Behind the scenes at London hybrid venue to hire 10-11 Carlton House Terrace