Q&A with Josephine Somers, the Global Sales Director for Lore Group
Q&A with Josephine Somers – Global Sales Director at
Tell us about your role at the venue and how long you’ve been there
I have been at Sea Containers London (formerly Mondrian London) for almost four years now, and have held the Global Sales Director role at Lore Group for the past 1.5 years. Within the Lore portfolio is Sea Containers London, Pulitzer Amsterdam, Kimpton de Witt Amsterdam and the upcoming opening of Riggs Washington. I am also the key account manager supporting wefindvenues with any requirements or needs for any of the hotels within the portfolio.
What’s the best thing about working at your venue?
For me, it’s definitely the people! Their passion and kindness is another level, and this makes it such a great place to work. This also creates a warming and positive environment for everyone. And our features are definitely a talking point for every venue that we’ve hosted, so there’s plenty of details to admire wherever you are in Sea Containers London. Another thing I love, is our location – being based on the South Bank is a great selling tool, with it being a cultural destination.
How did you get into the industry?
Hospitality and service has always been a huge passion of mine for as long as I can remember and I just love love love hotels. I have been lucky enough to work with some of the best brands in the industry, such as Mandarin Oriental, Rocco Forte, Langham and now with the launch of Lore group as a brand and portfolio.
What’s the history of the Sea Containers?
Sea Containers House itself was designed and built in the late 1970s as a hotel originally, but with the oil crisis it never officially opened, and instead turned into offices for Sea Containers, one of the world’s largest shipping companies – and that is how the building came to have its name. The hotel is designed by renowned British designer, Tom Dixon with his designs really reflecting the sea faring heritage of the building, and used a lot of his influence from Warren Platner who was the original designer of Sea Containers. To this day there are many original features, including the spa reception desk, ceiling in the restaurant and the beautiful brass work that has a nautical influence.
Tell us something we wouldn’t know about Sea Containers
With the history of the building, there are still many original features with our favourite being the spa reception desk which was the original reception desk when it was an office. And also, the S and C in Sea Containers Restaurant is from the original Sea Containers sign – which actually were removed many years ago, then during construction of the hotel opening in 2014, were found in a local tip and now stand pride of place in our Private Dining Room.
What events work best at the hotel?
Parties and celebrations are always a big thing in Sea Containers London. Especially as we have so many outlets, which work for whatever type of celebration someone wants – from a small intimate dining experience to a huge private party. We also cater for lots of meetings and talks, with our Screening Room and Studios being ideal for many business needs – and with us having rooms for those who travel, this just makes it easier all round for week-long conferences or day to night meetings.
Why do clients choose to host events at Sea Containers?
The service and attention to detail from all our team, is really special and we believe that’s why our clients not only choose to host with us, but also regularly return. Our location is also great, because once they’ve hosted either a meeting or event, they can truly enjoy the cultural neighbours and offerings. And with Sea Containers London being a multi-purpose venue with our bedrooms and food and drink outlets, this really appeals to a lot of our clients.
What are your venues top 3 USPs that separate you from other hotels?
Definitely the fact it’s multi-purpose – this makes it much easier for some businesses to arrange everything in one area rather than sorting out meeting rooms with one place, and accommodation in another. Lyaness is also a huge selling point, with it being under the established brand, Mr Lyan. And we’d probably say our skyline view in 12th Knot. However much you see it, it’ll never get old!
What changes or exciting plans are coming up in 2020 for the hotel?
We have quite a lot of exciting plans happening within Lore from the opening of our new hotel, Riggs – Washington DC in early 2020, to launching the new Kimpton de Witt in Amsterdam’s new meeting space in March. At Sea Containers London we are also working towards some very exciting new sustainability initiatives from mid this year. Watch this space!