We recently discussed some of the underlying confusion amongst corporate procurement experts surrounding extended-stay accommodation in a hotel in comparison with using a serviced apartment in London.
However, it is very important to look at this from the end-users point of view. After all, it’s not the procurement department that has to live away from their home and family in often quite unfamiliar surroundings!
Both the productivity and welfare of the employee not just are, but have to be a very important consideration in the process.
This is more so for the first time visitor to London, and is especially significant if there is a major cultural shift between the city or country of origin and London. It’s not for us to explain here the obvious cultural differences between, for example, a small city in India, and the huge, sprawling international metropolis that is London!
To look at a practical example that supports the case for an extended stay in a serviced apartment rather than in a hotel:-
If we take an IT expert from India as our ‘case study’– a family man – visiting his managing company in London for an extended three-month stay. Without wishing to appear anyway flippant or derogatory, his breakfast or dinner, more than likely alone in the hotel restaurant and from a menu he is completely unfamiliar and ill at ease with, could potentially cost the equivalent of a day’s wage or more back home.
Compare this with being able to shop for more familiar ingredients in a local supermarket, return home (to his extended-stay, serviced apartment!), lock the door, and, in the privacy of his own fully-equipped kitchen, not only prepare his meal of choice, but also prepare it at a fraction of the cost.
And not only does this remove being dictated to by the hotel menu and meal times, but also saves the equally expensive alternative of eating out in unfamiliar restaurants!
The other aspect worth mentioning is that of family visits.
Many companies, realising the ethical implications of a family based thousands of miles away while a parent or partner is located abroad, are happy to help them reunite during an extended stay in London. Outside of flights, there are no extra associated costs when using an extended-stay apartment – it becomes a temporary second home, the space and extra rooms being quickly utilised to accommodate the family members. However, this is not feasible or practical in a hotel. The only solution would be the booking of more rooms. This quickly doubles or even trebles the expense, not to mention the extra costs associated with full-family mealtimes!
From another practical angle, if the visitor has to work out of hours, or host business meetings, the extended-stay serviced apartment offers the space and comfort that a single hotel room simply can’t provide. Yes, it might be possible to book a small meeting room in the hotel at extra expense, because otherwise, business would have to be conducting in either a potentially busy hotel reception or bar area lacking in any privacy, or in a single hotel room that is plainly not appropriate for the purpose.
A final point worth mentioning is that of the cost-benefits outside the productivity and welfare considerations. We’ve already mentioned mealtimes, family reunions and the extra quality and private space that is included with a fully serviced, extended-stay apartment.
There are also the benefits of the all-inclusive and ready to go facilities, such as telephone, 24-hour a day broadband, fully-fitted kitchen, laundry facilities, a professional servicing team and round-the-clock contact with the apartment owners. There is also the all-important aspect of not having to meet, socialise, work or relax in the same room that you have to sleep in.