Conference News London Supplement | Page 16

16 London


Searcy ’ s discusses launching new event venues post-lockdown and how the industry has changed
he demand for events is returning , but will the landscape be the same as it was ? Conference News talks to Searcy ’ s to assess emerging trends .
“ After an uncertain year for all of us across the hospitality and events industry , hope is growing as we continue to take the tentative steps back to normality . We firmly believe that the events industry and hospitality are pivotal to the economic and social recovery , as nothing can substitute the positive energy , creative sparkle and the sheer enjoyment that socialising at live events brings to both guests and staff ,” says Searcy ’ s managing director Paul Jackson .
“ The year started as a ghost-town with deserted tables and empty kitchens , but the hustle and bustle of the streets is returning , Jackson
HAC Long Room continues . “ City centres really suffered over the lockdowns , and it is great to begin to see these fill once more . Hospitality is a huge driver in this revival , something we have noticed in our city locations , we have seen over 4,000 guests pre-book to visit Searcy ’ s at the Gherkin and St Pancras in the first two weeks of Step 3 , which is hugely encouraging for the industry .”
Searcy ’ s is more ready than ever for the upcoming months . Following the roadmap and the progress of the vaccine drive , there has been a boost in event enquiries , with a 57 % rise in enquiries across central London venues since February .
There have been distinct changes in what event organisers are now looking for . Safety is a high priority , with a move towards touch-free catering ; something Searcy ’ s has adapted , too , with touch-free bento boxes . Also , open spaces and beautiful gardens are real drivers for the Great British summer this year , and venues such as the HAC , with five acres of Artillery gardens , have seen a huge increase in event bookings , with events booked taking place there almost daily throughout summer and early autumn .
Despite working from home being here to stay in some form , there has been a strong increase in enquiries and bookings over the past month , which is a testament to the importance of face-to-face meetings . Without this , it will become impossible to stimulate innovation and teamwork among colleagues . This is where meeting and conference venues can really thrive .
Christmas enquiries are already coming in for the office parties and experiences such as Champagne masterclasses , afternoon teas and tasting menus have proven to be popular additions to events . Sam Gill CEO of Story Events and Venue Search London comments : “ After such a challenging year , our objective is to get back to full-time working in the early Autumn whist preparing for a better 2022 . While we are seeing conference organisers continue to plan events in virtual and hybrid formats , there has been a huge recent interest in late-summer and December live www . conference-news . co . uk