2nd Address for Corporate Travel Managers and Mobility/Relocation Managers
What Exactly is "Corporate Housing"?
Corporate Housing is usually defined as a fully furnished apartment, condo or whole home, rented by the month. It's part of a larger category typically referred to as "furnished rentals". The major difference is that as the name suggests, corporate housing is tailored to the needs of a business traveler. That means a higher standard of quality of building amenities, unit amenities, furnishings, art/decor, etc. It also means Wi-Fi comes standard and you'll most likely have a desk to work comfortably from.
Many legacy corporate apartment brands, and even some new ones, lease real estate themselves and then essentially sub-lease it to corporations. Over the past few years, an emerging model has been companies like 2nd Address connecting real estate owners directly to corporations or their employees. This leaner business model can often result in cost savings to the client company as well as a greater selection of properties from which to choose.
How is Corporate Housing Typically Booked?
Medium to large enterprises tend to have an official travel portal provided by a vendor like American Express Business Travel, Concur, or Carlson Wagonlit*. Small businesses usually don't have these portals and either encourage employees to book for themselves or have someone from the HR or Finance teams book for them. Self-booking is on the rise across industries and company sizes. That's when an employee searches for and books their own accomodations, outside of a company's official travel booking portal.
Modern corporate apartment brands have made the booking process 100% digital. No walk-throughs, no phone calls, no offline documents to sign. Units can be booked online in a matter of minutes, right from your couch or desk.
According to the Corporate Housing Provider's Association, the U.S. average nightly rate in 2016 was $150. See chart below.
The average length of stay in 2016 was 86 days. That industry average closely mirrors 2nd Address's own average.
What is 2nd Address?
2nd Address is a leading provider of monthly furnished rentals and corporate housing for business travel. 2nd Address homes combine the comfort of home with the professionalism of a hotel. Our customers include Google, Facebook, Microsoft and thousands of smaller businesses. In addition to our business offering, we also serve individuals traveling for work and personal reasons. Founded in 2014, we operate across the United States with specific focus in large urban markets.
The San Francisco Chronicle profiled some of our Guests back when we were called Homesuite. It gives a good sense of who our typical Guests are and what they use 2nd Address for.
2nd Address benefits for you and your company's travelers:
- Ability to place employees in groups: easily place a whole team in one apartment building, one standalone home, or in separate apartments in the same neighborhood.
- 2nd Address has an excellent selection of properties, especially in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, and Washington D.C. metro areas.
- We also have a Business Stay Approved Program which makes it easy to find homes or apartments that meet the higher needs of a corporate traveler.
- Our lease process is fully digitized and streamlined, meaning you can often get a mutually signed lease completed of within 48 hours of application.
- Our payment process is also fully digitized, allowing your company to pay for your colleagues' corporate housing with a company credit card or e-check.
“2nd Address delivered properties that were where we wanted, when we wanted, and at a price that was better than
what we would have paid if we had put those workers up in a hotel.”
- Joe Hajost, Khe Advisors, Inc.
Important Considerations for Today's Corporate Travel Managers:
- The Best Corporate Housing Websites
- 5 Differences Between Corporate Housing and Airbnb
- Quick Tips for Selecting a Relocation Company
- Networking and Career Development for Corporate Travel Managers
- HR-Approved Corporate Housing Versus Home-Sharing
Duty of Care
Duty of Care is a common concept in tort law. It is defined as "The responsibility or the legal obligation of a person or organization to avoid acts or omissions (which can be reasonably foreseen) to be likely to cause harm to others.". It can apply to many professions, including business travel. The Global Business Travel Association has identified 10 key process areas that corporatations need to utilize as part of a robust travel risk management program. Those are:
- Policies and procedures
- Education and training
- Risk assessment
- Risk disclosure
- Risk mitigation
- Risk monitoring
- Response and recovery
- Data management
- Program communication
The Duty of Care would apply to corporate housing the same way it would apply to hotels. That is, the employer needs to know where the traveling employee is staying and how to get in touch with them in the case of an emergency. For that reason, while we often accept bookings from employees of companies with which we do not yet have a corporate account, we always try to develop a long-term working relationship with the HR and/or Mobility Department.
Employees are booking their own travel more than ever and are increasingly booking with providers that are out of policy. A study by GBTA projected that 20% of U.S. and Canadian business travelers were using home-sharing and private rental sites as of June 2017, up from 13% in June 2016. More striking is that 41% of UK business travelers aged 18 - 34 responded that they use home-sharing sites for business "often or all the time". Yet only 17% of travel managers surveyed said that such lodging options were allowed in the corporate travel policy.
Even with that dramatic growth, use of home-sharing and private rentals still lags far behind the 50% of U.S. and Canadian business travelers using ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.
"20% of U.S. and Canadian business travelers were using home-sharing and private rental sites as of June 2017, up from 13% in June 2016."
*click to tweet*:
As a provider of extended stay and corporate housing service, 2nd Address works with innovative companies large and small to get premium corporate housing formally allowed in the company travel policy. We are very pleased with the rapid progress we're seeing in this regard.
As team collaboration increases in importance, corporate travel managers are more frequently having to place groups of employees. A common example is a team coming in from another country to visit headquarters for a major event or training. Historically, it has been very challenging for a travel manager to book a group of people in the same vicinity for an extended period of time without spending a fortune on hotels. 2nd Address opens up the possibility of renting an entire house for a team. A team of four could rent a four-bedroom home with amenities like a private parking garage or a private pool for less than what it would cost to put those four employees up in a hotel. If you have a group booking request, let us know here.
Location, Location Location
As companies increasingly add office space in urban areas, like Facebook and Google are currently doing in the San Francisco Bay Area and Amazon is doing in Seattle, it becomes more challenging for travel managers to find nearby temporary housing. Traditional corporate housing companies tend to focus their inventory in suburban areas because they've taken on leases themselves and need to keep their costs down. Using a service like 2nd Address, with inventory focused in urban areas, can be an excellent solution.
Cost vs. Traveler Satisfaction
Travel managers are always trying to maximize employee satisfaction while minimizing cost to the company. The opportunity to do both simultaneouly is rare, but grouping employees together in shared housing with private bedrooms is one such opportunity. Just make sure it's an opt-in process. No employee wants to get told who they're going to share an apartment with during a major event. However, if they can raise their hand and opt-in to a shared apartment with a friend, they may well want to. Especially if the company shares the savings with those employees. For example, we looked at hotel pricing in San Francisco around major events like Salesforce's Dreamforce and found that one week in a hotel at peak dates costs about the same as an entire month in a private furnished apartment of comparable quality!
Employees sometimes want to pay for business travel on their personal credit cards versus going through the company's travel portal. Many small and medium businesses don't have a company travel portal to begin with. Even for companies that do have one, the employee may want to collect the rewards points or may want to make a quick purchase at a personally preferred travel vendor without the limitations of the company travel portal. We allow for flexibility: an employee may pay on their own for easy reimbursement later by their employer, or the employer can pay on behalf of the employee.
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