A Home Away From Home

Issue 34

As the lines between business and leisure travel blur and business travellers increasingly look for accommodation that makes their trips more comfortable, flexible and convenient, serviced apartments and aparthotels are fast becoming the rising stars of the business travel world.

With demand growing, sector bodies like ASAP* (the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers) are extending their influence internationally to drive a rise in standards. All the major players are upping their game to offer quality accommodation and a wider range of facilities and services, all aimed at offering the traveller a home from home experience.

So, what can you expect from a serviced apartment and who do they benefit?

One size certainly doesn’t fit all:

Serviced apartments – fully serviced with cleaning, food essentials, bath products and Wi-fi as given, they offer the independent-minded traveller a private living space ideal for short or mid-term stays.

Bespoke corporate housing – great for longer stretches or staff relocation, fully furnished residential properties with larger living space, often with entertainment packages and broadband included.

Aparthotels – smaller apartments with a kitchen and bathroom but with shared facilities including laundry/gym and public seating and dining areas, often with hosted evening activities.

Micro apartments – small sleeping spaces with bathroom but with a large communal kitchen/dining area offering light meals, focused on offering a ‘hotel style’ independent lifestyle for business travellers.

Home comforts: A big plus of serviced apartments is that you can personalise and tailor your experience, be it during business hours or socially. Guests can bring their home comforts along with them, even their pets, and many properties have set up object libraries where you can borrow items such as a vase, a rice cooker or even a guitar! Some even supply weights and yoga mats in each apartment or offer use of local gyms for long-stay guests. Many providers see and treat their guests as one of the locals and want to connect them with the community they are living within.

Many aparthotels are focusing more on the modern social traveller who, after a hard day’s work, wants to rub shoulders with fellow guests, joining a community whilst on the road. Evening activities, hosted by the general manager, can include wine tasting and jewellery making or even a Game of Thrones night!

Flexible friends: As the sector continues to develop, the benefits to both individual and corporate travellers grow. Flexibility and personalisation means trips can be refined to suit individual requirements: asking business travellers to share with colleagues in multi-roomed apartments allows them to work and eat together whilst retaining their privacy with en-suite facilities; a wider choice in length of stay options including one night stays in some properties; a separate living space in which to unwind and relax with space to welcome family or friends at the weekends; and access to public/social areas for networking. These all allow businesses to better serve their travelling employees, whilst ensuring a cost-effective way to deliver on a project.

So how does the serviced apartment sector fit within a corporate travel policy?:

With duty of care high on the corporate travel agenda, it is essential the sector provides security and peace of mind. Look for the increasing number of providers with the ASAP marque confirming that they have been ‘quality accredited’, meeting core compliance of legal, health and safety requirements and good practice.

Many providers greet their guests personally, regardless of the time of arrival or provide time-limited key-code access, whilst offering around the clock guest services with a 24/7 mobile phone contact for emergencies. Ultimately, satisfied employees result in increased productivity.

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