In the world of temporary accommodation, the Corporate Housing industry is now tackling one of their biggest competitors – Airbnb. The decision of where to stay whilst travelling for business or leisure is always key to the enjoyment and success of any trip. No matter how long you are travelling for the most important things to consider regarding accommodation will include pricing, location and service offering.
Airbnb is priced on a nightly basis and is commonly utilised by both business and leisure travellers for short term stays; popularity with holidaymakers is rapidly increasing as Airbnb becomes a household name. Initially, the price of a stay may look competitive in comparison to hotels and apartments, however it is crucial to look out for hidden costs such as cleaning fees and other bills. You may be lucky enough to come across the occasional Airbnb discount; however this is usually reserved for stays of a month or longer – which may peak the interest of the extended-stay business traveller.
Corporate Housing on the other hand, is more frequented by expatriate assignees and business travellers alike. Corporate Housing usually comes with a longer term stay options at competitive prices and will also involve fewer hidden or add on charges. Corporate Housing nearly always guarantees a fitted kitchen to allow savings on eating out, whereas some Airbnb properties will involve sharing the space with the property owner or renting just one bedroom or part of the property. Some savvy tourists have started to explore Corporate Housing as a viable alternative for hotels or Airbnb.
Airbnb provides accommodation in over 190 countries and Corporate Housing providers also have a presence globally, so the options for travellers seeking accommodation are almost endless. Both Corporate Housing and Airbnb offer residential settings, meaning that you can stay in your chosen neighbourhood (subject to availability) and avoid busy hotels with lack of household conveniences.
Corporate housing’s major revenue earner comes from offering fully furnished apartments for short term rentals in convenient commercial locations such as city centres that are close to amenities and transport – this arrangement is often ideal for business travel. However, Corporate Housing companies can be limited on options outside of city centres and main business hubs, this is where Airbnb steps in… Airbnb properties are listed by private owners, which means suburban and more remote or unusual locations are more likely to be available.
Both Corporate Housing providers and Airbnb provide local destination guides. These provide useful information on the local area including; food and drink, entertainment and things to see and do. Most Corporate Housing and serviced apartment organisations also have a concierge service that can make personal recommendations and even reservations at local restaurants, which can give Corporate Housing the edge over Airbnb for those seeking ultimate convenience.
Corporate Housing aims to offer visitors a home away from home (which can be very desirable for the extended stay business traveller craving a break from the transient hotel lifestyle). Corporate Housing typically provides a lot more space than a standard hotel room, and is fully equipped in terms of furniture, kitchen equipment and home comforts allowing the expatriate assignee to cook and host guests when desired, with the added bonus of a housekeeping service!
Airbnb offers a variety of accommodation types including; villas, castles, bed and breakfasts, single room and entire home rentals whereas Corporate Housing is more limited in type (no castles)! However, how the guest can utilise the Airbnb accommodation space is entirely down to the house rules of the host which some guests may find limiting. With Airbnb there is arguably less clarity on what guests can expect upon arrival, because unlike Corporate Housing there is no set list of services – therefore Airbnb guests should expect DIY facilities.
Which is best?
In my opinion, assignees and business travellers are likely to find Corporate Accommodation more appropriate due to the formalised service agreement on offer for the review of employers. Certainly on a long-term, sustainable basis, Corporate Housing is more likely to meet a corporate price point and location requirements. Business travellers can enjoy the feeling of personal space without the worry of living in somebody else’s property, plus the added conveniences of Corporate Housing make focusing on work significantly easier.
However, some people may enjoy the friendly greeting of an Airbnb host – particularly if travelling alone, but, Corporate Housing concierge services and local guides can also supply friendly recommendations… I would therefore encourage tourists to also explore Corporate Housing (there are so many great options available)! Overall, I personally feel that the most appropriate choice of accommodation depends entirely on the wants and needs of the individual traveller.
If you have experienced stays in both Corporate Housing and Airbnb (or similar concepts) do you have a preferred arrangement for your business and leisure stays?
Written by Joe Carey – Global Recruitment Resourcer – Corporate Housing at Alchemy Global Talent Solutions