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  • A Friday Chat With Head of Sales and Marketing at {10-11} Carlton House Terrace, Catherine Owen

    6 August 2021

    Having been Head of Venue Sales and Marketing at {10-11} Carlton House Terrace for over four years, Catherine Owen and her team are trained to plan for the unexpected and adapt to the market. While the past 18 months have been more challenging for the events industry than they could ever have imagined, Catherine looks back on the valuable lessons she has learnt.

    Catherine, tell us a little about yourself:

    Ten years ago I moved here from Canada, and got a summer job doing weddings at Sion House. I had a degree and a background in stage management, but there were lots of transferable skills. I worked in various places, culminating in being the event sales and marketing manager at Royal Museum Greenwich, and then I joined the team Head of Venue Sales and Marketing for 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, working with our in-house caterers Searcys.  I’ve been in this role for 4 years. I’m responsible for the sales and marketing of the venue to external clients, and I manage the front of house team, and internal and external events.

    What’s something your colleagues might be quite surprised to know about you? 

    I think they all know I’m Canadian, but what people don’t realise is that I was raised in the really wild countryside in Canada, down a dirt track in the middle of nowhere. I used to ride in rodeos, I worked on a corn farm, and I know how to drive a tractor!

    Tell us your three favourite things about {10-11} Carlton House Terrace?

    First of all it’s the location. We’re bang in the middle of Westminster and the West End. I love London, I wouldn’t live elsewhere. Secondly it’s the people on the team. And finally it’s the incredible history and architecture of building itself.

    What is your favourite dish to cook and to eat?

    My favourite dish to cook is a very simple one actually – it’s a really, really good grilled cheese sandwich. I’m talking gruyere on sourdough with a little mustard, mmm. From our menu right now, my favourite thing to eat is any cake baked by Val our pastry chef. She’s the best!

    What is your favourite part of the day and why?

    The mornings. I’m a morning person – I like greeting clients then, and arrange most of my meetings in the morning. I also love London first thing when it’s cool and bright.

    Did you have to adapt to events and restaurants in post-COVID times. What changes or innovations have you introduced?

    There’s not one particular innovation which stands out, but I think it’s the speed and skill with which the team consistently adapted that helped us get through it. We were bringing out new products and changing how we sold and delivered every few weeks to adapt to new government announcements, launching things like hybrid meeting packages and micro wedding packages to meet demand, reacting to external influences at incredible speed.

    What is the most popular menu at your venue and why?

    Well, I must say the feedback on our bento boxes at the moment is amazing and quite unexpected. I think it’s because the ingredients are super fresh and super seasonal. They look quite tidy and appealing, and everyone really likes the food. Our customers have said they don’t feel like anything has been sacrificed in terms of quality and taste, to be delivered safely, and that is the greatest compliment.

    What has been your most unusual customer request?

    It’s probably something to do with bringing animals into the building. Can we have a live donkey? Can we have a live hawk fly from the third floor with a piece of jewellery? And generally, we say yes!

    What are you working on at the moment?

    I think for everyone it’s about re-establishing ourselves as a team – taking stock after last year. This year has shown us that sales and marketing and events are really important, but what we stand for as a team and a company is also extremely important to our clients. So we’re doing a lot of work on our green accreditation and sustainability policy. We’re focusing on equality, diversity and inclusion, we’re making the building more accessible, and launching anti-racism work.

    OK and finally… Champagne or wine?

    Champagne every time!

    Find out more about {10-11} Carlton House Terrace here.

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