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Greater levels of flexibility are helping travel buyers incorporate apartments into their programmes CITADINES ISLINGTON


ith uncertainty the byword, it is difficult for buyers to negotiate rates because they do not know who or how many will be travelling, or where to. For the same reason, suppliers cannot assess demand and therefore availability and rates. As a result, most corporate companies have pushed forward their RFPs and re-tenders until mid-2021. “It’s not easy to create a suitable programme while the world is on pause,” says Director of CAP Worldwide Jo Layton. “For those that do not have an extended stay programme but have found their travellers are now staying longer, having the support of an agent who is an expert in the space may be critical to ensure they are using safe and secure, Covid-19 compliant, legal units, and they have a full overview of the commercial terms and conditions of booking into suitable accommodation.” Managing such negotiations may prove difficult in uncertain times. “At CAP, we use a blend of highly-experienced people and the latest technology to create programmes that adapt effectively to the current climate and the changing needs of buyers,” explains Layton. “And we have no minimum spend requirement.”


New thresholds

National Corporate Housing helps source accommodation for projects and group moves for the corporate traveller with dedicated teams providing 24/7 support. “Levels of spend vary from £100,000 to £50,000,000 because those who use serviced apartments include corporate travellers staying five nights, families relocating for a few years, company project groups, internships and training groups,” says the group's Global Head of Enterprise Sales, Juliet Howie. Cheval also shows the necessary flexibility: “Standard corporate discounted rates are available for any new clients looking to incorporate serviced apartments into travel plans," says CEO George Westwell. "Pre-Covid-19, a 50-room night minimum would have been the typical threshold necessary to qualify for a negotiated rate but with such a tough trading environment in 2020 everything is up for discussion." And at Frasers' properties any length of stay can be booked via GDS to allow travel managers to track travellers and maintain compliance to due diligence. Lamington Group negotiates on Lamington and room2 accommodation case by case for less than 100 nights, with no minimum required. “This is a relatively

new introduction since Covid-19 and looks set to continue at this stage,” says Managing Director Robert Godwin. “When setting up a corporate account with bespoke long-term corporate rates, we sit at 100 nights; this was true before and will endure.” Offering something different to mitigate the financial effects of the pandemic, City Apartments pays 50% of charges during quarantine for overseas or returning staff/ visitors. "We have also allowed some UK-based guests to leave their stuff in an apartment over the weekend, while only paying for the three or four days they stay," says Director David Smith.

Break free

SilverDoor’s Head of Operations Wes Shelling has some good advice: “It may be worth looking to consolidate trips, where possible. Clients can expect to save 15% on average stays of seven nights compared to staying up to three,” he says. “In addition, do not always assume that having a contracted rate will deliver greater savings. It’s a bit like deciding whether to fix your mortgage rate or go for a tracker; if you can handle a little bit of flexibility in your programme, then you may want to go with the latter. Having the freedom to find and negotiate the best rate for each enquiry


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Profile for BMI Publishing Ltd

The 2021 Guide to Serviced Apartments  

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