In the five years since the recession began people have had to become smarter when it comes to travel. If consumers have shifted their travel habits how have businesses responded in the downturn?
Austerity has been the word of the past five years. Since the recession began the focus has been on cutting budget, reducing the amount of money being spent and putting more of a focus on cost savings. This does not just apply to household budgets, business budgets have been affected in the same way. It affects what they decide to buy to how much they invest and how much they spend when travelling. Much like the average man on the street the majority of businesses have found they have to cut their business cloth accordingly.
This is not necessarily a negative thing for companies. It encourages them to think more creatively. It remains important for them to travel, especially with the explosion of technology making it easier to work remotely. Ten years ago an extended business trip for a conference or working in a foreign office or moving jobs to a new city would probably result in a lengthy hotel stay.
The fact that business travellers are reconsidering this behaviour is naturally going to have a residual impact along the service line. Bjorn Hanson, associate professor at the Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management at NYU says, “cancellations of reservations made at full-service hotels have increased as much as 50% in recent months.”
The appeal of business travel has not diminished, yet the need to reduce costs is all apparent. Research in the luxury service industry, including hotels, shows that by 2009, 35% of business travellers were changing or cutting the costs of a business trip.
One of the most popular solutions is the serviced apartment, offering a cost-effective alternative to a hotel that is cheaper and suits a reduced budget. What are serviced apartments? They offer an alternative for both short term and long terms stays. A fully-furnished, central apartment allows travellers to stay in a city centre location. A decade ago it would have been a hotel room, now it’s an apartment. The business traveller can be close to the office, live in comfortable and stylish surroundings while reducing costs by having a smaller bill and also cooking their own meals rather than eating out.
Clarendon UK offers serviced apartments across London. With a website making it easy to select an apartment best suiting requirements and budget, travellers can search based on location, the cost of the serviced apartment of their planned length of stay. There are deals for extended stays; perhaps they have a fixed term contract with a company in London or they are relocating to a new city and are staying at a serviced apartment before they find a family home. It is the flexibility of the offer which makes it more attractive.
The term “austerity” might not be a popular one in business. The impact on the majority of companies during the course of the recession has not been poverty but instead to actively look for more cost-effective solutions. Travel, in particular luxury hotels, has been one of the outlets hit most significantly by this shift in mindset. Flexibility, streamlining of costs without having to compromise on location and the comfort of the stay means business travellers can still live and work in London but without the high costs traditionally associated with a stay.