Hotel Cateys 2022: Conference and Banqueting Team of the Year – Royal Lancaster London

07 December 2022
Hotel Cateys 2022: Conference and Banqueting Team of the Year – Royal Lancaster London

Sponsored by Quadrant

Royal Lancaster London has been awarded the Hotel Catey due to its creativity, flexibility and willingness to go the extra mile.

The hotel has a wealth of on-site facilities, including 411 bedrooms, two award-winning restaurants, a car park and conferencing spaces that can cater for up to 2,000 covers.

Prior to the pandemic, Royal Lancaster London averaged 1,200 events per year. It made a speedy recovery before the onset of the Omicron variant, holding more than 500 events between July and December 2021, generating impressive numbers for Q4 of that year. This included the UEFA House partnership for Euro 2020, as well as a host of smaller conferences, charity galas, awards and association events.

The team is led by Gareth Bush, director of events since 2017, who has shown exceptional dedication to his staff. Despite the dearth of events during the pandemic, Bush used flexi-furlough and re-deployed workers across catering outlets, maintenance and hotel security to ensure the retention of 95% of the team, who share 250 years' experience between them.

His duty of care extends, of course, to the guests. The team hold multiple pre-event planning meetings in client offices to ensure guests receive the service they are expecting. A ‘buddy system' pairs clients to a dedicated event manager, who handles the planning of subsequent events, which adds a personal touch to the relationship, while clients are also invited to immersive menu tastings in the hotel's Senses Room. The event planning team are also highly efficient with their responses to client queries, always endeavouring to respond within 24 hours.

Royal Lancaster London has adapted its events space to suit the changing demands of guests. For example, during the first lockdown, the hotel collaborated with 4Wall Entertainment to create a virtual reality studio in the Westbourne suite, which enabled the hotel to continue its corporate business. When restrictions eased, it was moved to the 19th floor in the newly created Studio 19, the first studio of its kind in a five-star hotel across Europe.

There are numerous anecdotes illustrating the venue's renowned willingness to go the extra mile. One such example is when a member of staff in the cloakroom, who had been a trained seamstress, sewed together a torn dress for a chief executive who was about to make a speech at an awards dinner. Similarly, when a female guest collapsed during an event and injured her forehead, the hotel's events guest safety supervisor administered first aid and stayed with the guest at the hospital for six hours. Dedicated staff who genuinely care for their guests make for a wonderful team at Royal Lancaster London, who have bounced back from the pandemic with flare and enthusiasm.

What the judges said

"The Royal Lancaster London had an exceptional application that provided solid evidence of demonstrating the highest standard of service, innovation and revenue growth. Pride, passion and positivity was evident throughout."

Jess Burrow

"This application gave so many examples of great teamwork. What a marvellous example Studio 19 is of thinking outside the box."

Sarah Gaskin

The shortlist

Hope Street hotel

Lainston House, part of the Exclusive Collection

The Langham London

Park Plaza Riverbank

Royal Lancaster London

Past winners

2019 The Montague on the Gardens, London

2018 St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London

2017 Principal York

2016 Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London

2015 Whittlebury Hall, Towcester, Northamptonshire

2014 Lancaster London

2013 Hotel du Vin & Bistro, Bristol

2012 The Connaught, London

2011 Sofitel London Heathrow

2010 The Berkeley, London

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