St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London | Cvent Event Diagramming
Romantic, gothic or perhaps a mixture of the two; St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London completed renovations and opened its doors to guests in 2011 after 76 years of an uncertain identity. In 1873 it opened as the Midland Grand Hotel until it’s closure in 1922 when it was purchased by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. Ten years later, it was vacant once more due to high maintenance costs. There were even plans to demolish the building but was saved and received a Grade 1 listed building status. Until 1980 the site was used as an office building and was renamed St. Pancras Chambers.
The hotel, now in full swing, is hailed as one of London’s most iconic and unique landmarks, having featured in films such as Harry Potter, 102 Dalmatians, Batman and Richard III. Pointed arches, paintings of the Virtues, colonettes and carvings of flowers and fruit – to name but a few – are peppered throughout, invoking churches and palaces. The hotel is a hotspot for leisure, events, and business travellers alike – giving each guest a memorable experience steeped in history.
Pandemic Challenges and Fighting Spirit
Considering the uncertainty of London’s leisure, MICE, and corporate travel market, adapting to changing circumstances was a top priority for Cristina Zaragoza, Director of Sales at St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, and her team. “2021 and 2020 were all about resilience, learning, commitment, and flexibility. We had to work closer together and come up with creative, new ideas to continue being there when our guests came back.” With short lead times, reduced workforces and extra COVID-19-related requirements to contend with, Cristina touts team spirit, communication, and kindness as the key things she’ll remember going forward.
Now in 2022, she thinks that the power of meeting in-person will be a driver of recovery. “The feeling of connection that being in-person provides – such as events like Cvent CONNECT Europe – is crucial for our industry. Virtual gives us opportunities to attend events that we wouldn’t be able to otherwise, but this deep connection you can only get in-person is too important to ignore.” However, event planners and guests alike, Cristina says, have changed significantly over the course of the pandemic. To continue receiving MICE business, she used Cvent Event Diagramming to help ensure social distancing and guest safety.
Adapting to New Demand with Increased Collaboration
For Christina and her team, Cvent Event Diagramming has been an invaluable tool. Over the past two years – especially during periods of government restrictions and mandates – she says the tool was a “life-saver.” “Especially during the pandemic, everyone was keen to understand: how many metres will we have between attendees and how is that going to impact my event?”
The hotel knew that pandemic-related challenges were being felt on both sides; planners were short-staffed and travel restrictions meant that site-visits were mostly off-limits. Cvent Event Diagramming gave St. Pancras a way to not only help themselves work better, but also ease some of the stress and load of their planner clients. As the pandemic took hold, the benefits of the tool began to shine even brighter. “Cvent Event Diagramming helped us to adapt. We created new capacity charts, new floor plans, and helped planners visualise their events.”
Prior to using an event diagramming tool, she mentions that it was difficult for their planners to understand the hotels’ capacities and event space layouts. “Even though we tended to have generic floorplans, we wanted to be able to tailor-make them for the client and show them, detail by detail, what they can expect.” That’s what Cvent Event Diagramming brought to the table, allowing planners and St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London to work collaboratively. It helped them ensure event space was set up in the best way possible – aligned exactly to their clients’ vision. “The tool helped bring our clients’ events to life. We could show them exactly what it would look like once they’re with us.”
It also gave the hotel a better chance at winning MICE business. As site visits became more difficult due to travel restrictions and COVID-19 fears, Cristina and her team used the tool to improvise and bring planners to the venue virtually.