So who, exactly, uses a serviced apartment?

Previously, we’ve looked very generally at the ‘average’ serviced apartment user, proffering what we like to think is useful advice to help make their stay more homely and productive, while at the same time constructively pointing out the benefits of using apartments over hotels for an extended-stay visit.

In London, the work assignment and relocation markets are the major users of serviced apartments, where transferring executives demand a quality, private, home-from-home environment while either working away from home and family, or waiting for their London house purchase contracts to complete.

As industry and commerce begins to recover, the London extended-stay apartment sector is ideally placed to meet the demands and requirements of the longer-term transient international staff of companies and corporations based in the capital. And with the current economic climate, extended stays and relocations have to feature more prominently – and much more strategically – within company policy than they may have done previously.

There can be no doubt that serviced apartment accommodation is ideal for:

  • Long-term workers needing temporary, extended-stay accommodation until they find a property to either rent or buy
  • Weekly commuters and other travellers on longer-term business
  • International workers based in London

Executives and their families in the UK who have themselves sold or let their own properties prior to a move abroad.

The UK, according to Cartus, the American relocation agents, continues to be the world’s second-most popular country behind the United States for relocations, and the majority of these, by virtue of international headquartering, are in London.

Although it is not the place of this article to tell companies how to behave towards their employees, it is nevertheless vital to encourage companies to ensure that their employees have suitable accommodation suitable for their needs, as this leads to contentment and functionality, very important for someone away from family and living on their own in London.

The 2012 Olympics certainly did ‘showcase’ London, many saying over and above expectation. While there can be no doubt that city centre retail suffered, the predicted public transport upheaval never actually materialised. And yes, some hotel groups did “soil their brushes” through being seen to profit from an increased rack room rates that just happened to be coincident with the Olympics!

However, the extended-stay apartment sector shone as a beacon of otherwise normalised light, demonstrating its service to an international capital city that had to ensure business and commerce continued, despite the arrival of the biggest sports’ circus in town!

Surprisingly, some observers say that serviced apartments could fall foul of their own success, in particular, through imbuing a perception of being full and needing to be booked far in advance.

Yes, some areas in London are more popular than others, and as a result, will be somewhat busier. However companies such as Clarendon, who operate directly as owner-managers, don’t need agents as intermediaries, and always have the most up to date, real-time information on availability and occupation levels of their own properties.

By the same token, it is very much up to companies to ensure they have a robust and appropriate procurement procedure in place that can capitalise on the service and cost-effectiveness of utilising owner –managers for their extended-stay apartment requirements.

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