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The new normal: flexible working

Louisa Daley talks to Alan Corlett, chief commercial officer at De Vere, about how its new meeting products and how flexible working has become the new normal.

Louisa Daley: Tell me about Smart Booker and Smart Base. How do they aim to support flexible working?

Alan Corlett: We launched Smart Base and Smart Booker in response to the way business priorities and ways of working have changed over the last couple of years.

Smart Base offers a smarter way to meet the needs of flexible work patterns, suitable for individual workers as well as small groups. Customers can book a working space in their preferred property in their preferred location, this could be a meeting room, a lounge or even within one of our on-site restaurants.

Every Smart Base booking already includes unlimited refreshments, including sustainably sourced fresh coffee and superfast Wi-Fi. Guests have the option to add options to their booking, including snacks, a grab & go lunch, or a working lunch, with De Vere’s restaurants. Our flexible booking, cancellation and refund policies also means we can allow greater flexibility for our bookers in case their plans change.

Smart Booker is a 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 with sight of real-time availability and by allowing meeting and event spaces to be secured online. Bookers simply choose their destination, select their preferred date, time and number of delegates and they can book a meeting room, event space, or arrange their Smart Base booking from a desktop computer or mobile device.

Louisa Daley: Why have you introduced these meeting products? How has our work routine changed over the last 18-months?

Alan Corlett: The pandemic has meant that for many of us, our working life has changed drastically; remote working has become the new reality with many people spending less time in the office. Although working from home is convenient, we saw an increase in the number of people coming to our properties to work from for a few days a week or to meet up with colleagues as they missed face-to-face communication once restrictions lifted.

This gave us the idea for Smart Base, we wanted to create the ideal package for those working from home who would like a change of scenery, for employers who are looking for an inspiring location to use as a co-working space with their teams, and even for those who may want to work remotely while on a leisure break.

With Smart Booker, we wanted to offer greater flexibility for our bookers with sight of real-time availability and by allowing our spaces to be secured online, as well as opening another channel for bookers to communicate directly with individual hotel teams.

Louisa Daley: What has the feedback been from customers/clients?

Alan Corlett: We have been very pleased with the feedback on both of our new Smart products. Our clients like being able to have a different space to work from and find that Smart Base offers flexibility, convenience, and value. 

We have received great feedback on Smart Booker too, as it has provided our clients with an efficient online booking system which they can manage while on the go. 

Louisa Daley: Where are the Smart services available?

Adam Corlett: The new Smart services are now 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. Smart Booker is also available for De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms, located in London’s West End.