Gareth Warnock, Group Sales Director at De Vere, a collection of historic mansion house estates and distinctive contemporary hotels and event destinations, has shared the key factors he believes will shape the meetings and events industry in 2022.

Go on a Workcation

The pandemic has created a new holiday trend – the ‘workcation’. I believe that this trend for combined travel and remote working will only continue to grow in 2022 as people look to make the most of working from wherever they are. A UK workcation trip allows people to avoid quarantining on return and instead they can combine work and pleasure which as a result, allows them to use less annual leave and also provides a better work life balance.

As a result of this growing trend, De Vere recently introduced Smart Base, a smarter way to meet the needs of today’s flexible work patterns. Located from the Cotswolds to central London, there are a variety of properties to choose to work from or to arrange a face-to-face meeting, event, or training session while exploring a new place and fitting in tourist activities around your day.

The service is ideal for those looking for an inspiring location for team co-working, or for those who are just looking to get away from working from home, and is available across De Vere’s* estates and mansion house properties including De Vere Latimer Estate in Buckinghamshire, De Vere Cotswold Water Park, De Vere Wokefield Estate near Reading, De Vere Tortworth Court near Bristol, De Vere Beaumont Estate in Windsor, and De Vere Horsley Estate in Surrey.

Whether you’re looking for a quiet corner or want to take advantage of the great outdoors with our outdoor Wi-Fi, Smart Base offers flexibility and inspiring settings in equal measure. Plus, you can enjoy sustainably sourced fresh coffee on the house, and a pastry or nutritious snack from The Pantry coffee shop as well as superfast Wi-Fi.

Guests can feel safe working at a De Vere property with our Your Wellbeing at Heart programme which ensures a healthy and safe stay for guests and a safe working environment for our team members. With the support of ChemEco, De Vere has carefully crafted a range of new measures including enhancing the already meticulous deep cleaning of bedrooms and public areas. This includes regularly sanitising public areas using jet action ‘misting’ technology which uses hard acting yet environmentally friendly solutions from ChemEco. 

Re-connecting with our colleagues

With more people now working remotely, I believe there’ll be a renewed focus on the importance of meeting with your team in order to build relationships.  The American Express 2022 Global Meetings and Events Forecast revealed a strong awareness of the value of internal interactions to build the cohesion, collaboration, innovation, and trust needed for success.

We expect that many teams we will want to continue to reconnect with each in the new year and continue to do so regularly, especially if many were unable to do so due to the cancellations of Christmas parties or to isolation rules in December.

The current environment means that it isn’t always possible for everyone to attend meetings in person, but our series of Smart Connections meetings packages means teams will be able to connect together – in person and virtually. Smart Connections meetings packages offer video calling to multi-room virtual meetings, to provide a slick and seamless service no matter what our guests need. The packages are powered by video-first unified communications platform, Zoom Video Communications, Inc. The packages allow event bookers to efficiently arrange engaging and accessible events that can take place enabling teams to meet in person and interact virtually for those who can’t physically attend.

Those visiting our properties will also be able to take advantage of De Vere’s market leading Smart Space meetings concept, which comprises nine service features designed to offer a highly responsive, personalised meetings and events offering. Smart Space includes everything from a live availability booking service to truly tech-savvy support, with up to 1GB super-fast Wi-Fi, interactive displays, and an on-site team of friendly experts to help overcome any tech issues a client may face.

New tech

The pandemic accelerated the need for new tech. In 2020 and 2021, we saw a huge increase in new hybrid event options due to travel and isolation restrictions, and we will see this continue in 2022. With restrictions changing so quickly, event organisers want to book a venue that isn’t only flexible with space, but a venue that is also flexible with its booking service to make it easier and quicker for them.

In response, we’ve recently launched Smart Booker, our new integrated cloud-based meetings and events booking platform on the De Vere website, powered by MeetingPackage. Smart Booker allows greater flexibility for our bookers by showing them real-time room availability across a number of properties and search, filter, and book event spaces in one simple process from a desktop computer or mobile device. We’ve received great feedback on Smart Booker as it has provided our clients with an efficient online booking system which they can manage while on the go.

Four-legged friends

The BBC reported that 3.2 million households in the UK have gained a pet since the start of the pandemic, and due to lockdowns and working from home, our four-legged friends have been used to having us around more. As a result, we expect to see more corporates needing to find a suitable service to care for delegate’s pets when heading to work, training sessions, conferences, meetings, or events.

Therefore, we recently launched a convenient solution for doggy day-care for our guests with our dog sitting service at De Vere Wokefield Estate**.  The service allows owners to leave their dogs in safe hands with a dog walker and sitter on site at the hotel. Owners can rest assured that their pooch will be given their own bowl, bed, towel, and delicious treats to enjoy.  Our properties are set within 20 acres or more of natural parkland offering plenty of outdoor space, ideal for your most trusted companion to stretch their legs. Our properties have also installed brand new dog washing stations to ensure there will be no mucky pups.

Our properties offer plenty of outdoor space for guests to explore and help clear the mind with onsite jogging trails and walking routes, including De Vere’s exclusive Strava routes, to enjoy with or without their canine companion. Our outdoor space also provides endless opportunities for outdoor breakout sessions; team building activities; dining al fresco; and working in the sunshine – thanks to the super-fast Wi-Fi that stretches up to 100m around our properties.

Whilst De Vere properties are surrounded by acres of green space, parkland, and beautiful countryside, they’re also impeccably connected. Whether you are travelling by road, rail or air, our properties provide easy access to major motorways, railway stations and airports. They also benefit from plenty of on-site parking, and plenty of electric charging points..

For further information on De Vere, please visit the website: devere.co.uk

*Smart Base is currently not available at De Vere Cranage Estate, De Vere East Midlands Conference Centre, or De Vere Orchard Hotel.

**The service is currently only available at De Vere Wokefield Estate and will be rolled out across the portfolio in a phased approach.