Wokefield Park fire: Managing meetings in a crisis


One evening in November, a fire broke out at Wokefield Park, a DeVere luxury hotel and conference centre near Reading.

The situation

One evening in November, a fire broke out at Wokefield Park, a DeVere luxury hotel and conference centre near Reading.






Crisis management




Effective communication

Within minutes of receiving a travel alert, real-time traveller and meetings tracking technology was used to identify meeting or accommodation guests who had been due to arrive at, or depart from the venue on that day and in the days following the incident.


Potentially affected guests were immediately contacted.


In one case, the lead delegate for a venue booking was contacted regarding a meeting that had taken place at Wokefield on the same day. The individual was able to confirm that all delegates had left the venue prior to the fire breaking out.

In another scenario, a meeting of 35 delegates was due to be held at the venue from 9am the following morning. The lead contact was called and the options were explored. Working with DeVere for a speedy resolution, the booking was transferred to a nearby alternative venue of a
similar standard. Delegates were contacted with the new details and follow-up calls on the morning of the meeting confirmed that everything was taken care of.


While confirming that delegates and forthcoming meetings were fully supported, alternative accommodation for travellers staying overnight on the night of the fire was arranged and agreed with DeVere.


“The property was able to quickly confirm that all guests had been evacuated. However, our team continued to contact travellers to ensure they were safe, well and being taken care of while alternative accommodation was arranged for them.

It is all too easy to complain when people do a bad job and we often forget to praise when they do a good one. To that effect I’d like to formally thank you for all your help with our Wokefield event.
When I found out that our venue had burnt down, you were there to do all you could in a calm and good humoured way. I never once felt like you wouldn’t find a solution.
Thank you for all you did. Our replacement was fantastic, the staff could not have been more accommodating!

Director UK South, Openreach


Planning ahead where possible, the team proactively arranged a series of alternative options for delegates and travellers.

In one example, 62 delegates were due to arrive at the venue for a two-day residential meeting, three days after the fire. The meeting was re-homed in a space of a similar specification that met all of the customer’s needs.

As the situation progressed, the full impact on the Wokefield site was established. The team stayed in regular contact with the supplier and customers, ensuring they supported to source alternative venues where needed.

What the supplier said

In a letter to our team, Ian Condor, Group Sales Director, De Vere Venues said:

“I’m writing to thank you on behalf of our business for all the support you’ve given us during a challenging time.

You’ve shown the real value of a partnership: great communication between your team and our sales office and an understanding of the pressures that our team was under, assisting us with regular, clear, and accurate communication with our shared customers, assisting us in finding great solutions for those that could no longer be hosted at the venue. And after the initial incident you’ve continued to support us and customers.

The speed at which your support process was activated was outstanding, both from our perspective and customers.

A call from your team on that fateful night asking if there was anything you could do to support us was invaluable. A true supply chain partnership is one that pulls together as one team at times like this, to ensure that customers are safe, looked after and communicated to; and this is how you have acted.”