Independently owned corporate housing options are as unique as the people who own and manage them. From the basic offerings to higher end finishes to a more diverse location, with managed corporate housing you’ll find a property that is tailored made for your needs.
So, what should you look for when searching for a corporate rental? That depends on what is important to you in your stay, but here are five elements you should evaluate a property for:
– Does the property offer the lease terms and availability you require? Check the dates that the corporate rental is available to determine if its availability corresponds with your lease start time, length of stay and lease end date. Also, if you need more flexibility, like an open departure date, is the landlord flexible with the availability schedule to allow you to extend and end your stay as necessary?
– Does the asking rent fall within your budget? Whether your company is paying for your stay, or rent is coming out of your own pocket, everybody has a budget to stick to. However, posted prices may be flexible depending on the lease terms, length of stay, etc. So don’t eliminate the property without finding out if the landlord is flexible with the rate.
– Does the property offer the amenities and conveniences you are looking for? If security is important, you’ll want to be sure the property has controlled access. And if you’ll have two vehicles with you, does the community accommodate (or even charge for) that extra parking spot. Make a list of the little things in your life that you must have and cross-reference it with the property’s attributes.
– Does the property’s location match your needs? Location should be at the top of your check list. Making sure that a property is located in close proximity to your work, grocery stores, restaurants and, overall, with a setting that you feel comfortable in.
– Does the property size fit your requirements? If you are bringing the family with you or expecting visitors during your stay, you’ll not only want to be sure the property features enough bedrooms or sleeping space for its occupants, but also you’ll want to make sure that guests are okay with your landlord. The same goes for pets. If you’re bringing your cat or dog along for the stay, you’ll need to discuss whether this is permitted with the landlord and if there are extra fees involved as well.
All Corporate Housing Rentals or Corporate Housing Companies are NOT created equal.
When you are a renter you need to know not all corporate housing companies are the same, it is of the utmost importance to ask as many questions as you can think of each and every time. The experienced and quality property owners and managers will be able to address all your questions and concerns with ease.
Rates. What does the monthly rate include? Are there discounts for longer leases? Are there additional fees?
Location. Is there a local office or on-site contact should I require assistance? If there is not a local contact ask how they handle client requests and property issues.
Services. What additional services are provided? For example, is there 24-hour maintenance service or other amenities that will make the stay pleasant?
Accreditation. Is the company a Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA) member? CHPA is the trade organization for the corporate housing industry and requires specific levels of professionalism, excellence, customer service, and ethical standards. Ask whether the leasing agents are Certified Corporate Housing Professionals (CCHP). The CCHP certification means that the corporate housing professional has met clear industry standards. These accreditations will enable a relocation manager to distinguish a quality corporate housing agent from the pack.
Experience. What percentage of the corporate housing company’s business is involved in corporate relocations? Finding an experienced provider can be a bonus in this changing marketplace.
Protection. How are the company and its vendors insured? This is especially important to find out when working with management companies that manage properties offered by individual homeowners.
Policies. What is the company’s policy when a guest does not like the property? Does it have other options available to accommodate that guest?
When you are a renter you need to know not all corporate housing rentals are the same, it is of the utmost importance to ask as many questions as you can think of each and every time
Read Reviews: Read every review for a rental very carefully. In our experience, prior tenants are the best possible indicators of what you’re going to find when you and your luggage show up. They will generally give you decent indication of how it will be to live in a place.
Check the Area: Use Google Earth to look at your rental before you commit. The kennel next door or the lively pub downstairs might be bearable for a few days, but after a month, daily annoyances can become infuriating.
Study The Photos: Does the sofa look comfortable in addition to looking fashionable. In the kitchen can you see a stove, microwave and other items you expect especially in international rentals. Use the photos to ask more questions to confirm the details in the property will be what you expect.
Understand Parking & Transportation: If the rental listing does not specific exactly how far public transportation is from the rental, ask before you make the deal. Better yet, get an address for the rental, and you can let Google Maps do the investigation for you. You can actually have a look at the neighborhood and the building before you commit.
Research More: Take no prisoners on this issue if you depend on the Internet. When you begin to negotiate with an owner or representative, ask about Internet strength and let them know that this is a potential deal breaker. If you expect a strong, consistent broad band connection which will allow you to use Skype and stream entertainment without a hassle, tell them so right up front! In several cases during our home free life, we have been forced to make major demands once we have landed and discovered that we didn’t have a decent connection.
Corporate housing has come a long way in the past four decades and continues to evolve into a popular lodging solution for travelers of all walks of life. Change tends to breed misconceptions, so it has never been more important for renters to stay apprised and knowledgeable about the corporate housing industry. And even though the corporate housing industry has and likely will continue to change, you can count on one thing staying the same: corporate housing always has and will continue to provide short-term furnished housing to individuals and business executives who need a place to call home, even if only for a short while.
Managed Corporate Housing = AvenueWest
By Owner = CHBO
Corporate Housing Providers Association = CHPA
A major player in the corporate housing space, Bridgestreet, just launched their brand new site which has the potential to offer instant booking – something that has since been obsolete in the corporate housing sector. The corporate housing industry has been avoiding this technology shift for quite some time since it takes away the qualities and values we strive for: outstanding customer service and satisfaction, attention to detail, and quality control. According to Skift Megatrends 2017, corporate travel is shifting with all of the changes in leisure travel, causing business travelers to expect more instant booking tools and intuitive management portals.
Sites like AirBNB, HomeAway, Expedia, Booking.com, etc. all have the capacity to allow instant bookings which ultimately gives the consumer access to more lodging choices on the extended stay spectrum:
- Hotel Room: An open room with generally a king sized bed or 2 double beds, usually with a desk space, dresser, closet and a separate full bathroom. Ideally for short-term stays of 1-2 nights.
- Hotel Suite: A larger hotel room usually with a separate bedroom and bathroom, living area with desk, mini fridge, microwave, and coffee maker. Ideally for short-term stays of 1-5 nights.
- Extended Stay Hotel: An extended stay hotel room has all of the hotel suite but also offers a kitchen and dining area including pots, pans, dishes, silverware, and other very basic kitchen necessities. Typical extended stay rooms are designed for stays of 3-7 days though they can be utilized for longer stays as well.
- Corporate Housing: A fully furnished apartment with a full-size kitchen, all appliances, and a minimum of 60+ household items. Most apartments also offer on site amenities such as fitness centers, business centers, pools, etc. Offered for 30+ day stays.
- By Owner: A privately owned property either managed by the property owner or a property manager. The By Owner segment on the lodging spectrum offers a variety of different types of property options from condos to single family residences. Think AirBNB or Home Away – individual property owners don’t necessarily understand the corporate housing industry and might not offer full kitchens, housewares, or amenities like a traditional corporate housing apartment does or a CHBO Complete or Managed Corporate Housing property offers. Depending on where the property is located, there will be different requirements for the minimum length of stay required.
- CHBO Complete: A privately owned property (condo, loft, town home, house, etc.) either managed directly by the property owner or a property management company listed on CorporateHousingByOwner.com (CHBO) that follows all of the requirements set forth by the Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA). Usually offered for 30+ day stays but shorter term stays might be permitted depending on where the property is located.
- Managed Corporate Housing: A privately owned property (condo, loft, town home, house, etc.) managed by a licensed residential real estate property management brokerage following the minimum standards set forth by the CHPA and rented out fully furnished for 30+ day stays.
Ultimately, creating one platform that will allow consumers to choose the type of lodging they want for their specific needs would be the best solution, especially since there are very different types available. However, getting all online travel agencies, corporate housing providers, and private owners on one booking platform will most likely never be a reality.
The corporate housing industry is a service based industry, priding itself with superior customer service which is not readily available with instant booking. Today’s consumer still needs to be educated about their lodging choice and how one might be a better fit for their needs than another. This can only be done with person to person interaction. Sure, technology can provide today’s consumers with answers right at their fingertips but at what cost? As Millennials age and start taking over the majority of business travel in the next 5-10 years, how is this going to impact the various industries supporting lodging choice? How can we all work together to provide a seamless booking experience for the new generation? These are all questions that keep us up at night in the corporate housing arena and we as an industry are actively working to continuously improve our standards and offerings not only here in the United States, but Globally as well.