With more businesses going global, increasing numbers of employees are needing to routinely travel. This already comes with a hefty price tag but corporate travel is set to get even more expensive in 2019. Hotel prices are predicted to rise by 3.7% and flight prices by 2.6%.
Without doubt, air travel is the number one drain on a business's finance but finding suitable accommodation comes a close second.
For many companies, hotels are still the go-to accommodation provider. But is this the right choice, especially for longer stays? Room rates vary considerably and facilities may not always deliver the best user experience.
So what are the main issues with hotel living?
Hotels may be fine for a few days but long business trips mean staying in often charmless rooms for long periods.
Apart from work and meals out, there's no escape. It makes being away from home difficult to cope with and can leave the business traveller feeling low and unmotivated.
Steven Kurutz of the New York Times coined the expression "Hotel Gloom" in his 2016 article "How to Stay Sane on a Business Trip". A condition common in business travellers, hotel gloom he explained was "an amorphous melancholy that seems to thrive in the perfectly serviceable hotel rooms of the $200-a-night-and-under variety".
Healthy eating does not go hand in hand with business travel. Workers diets frequently consist of takeaway meals and restaurant food. This monotonous and often high-fat diet can lead to weight gain and low-self esteem.
A study conducted by Extended Stay America (pdf download) discovered 86% of travellers reported a weight gain of 1.5lbs per week.
So it would seem that businesses are paying out large sums of money for accommodation that potentially makes their corporate travellers sad, demotivated and unhealthy. But it doesn't need to be like this - there is another way.
According to the Global Serviced Apartment Industry Report (SAIR) 2019, there are 1,096,547 serviced apartments in more than 160 countries.
In the last couple of years over 73,000 dedicated business properties have been registered in 13,100 locations. Compared to the period 2016/17, this is an increase of 23.7%.
You can't separate supply and demand and clearly, there is a growing need for serviced apartments for corporate travellers.
Of the companies surveyed for this 2019 report:
What are the benefits of choosing a serviced apartment vs an hotel room?
Let's not beat about the bush, cost is a major consideration for any business. The good news is that serviced apartments make excellent economic sense. With prices typically starting from £70-80 per night, serviced apartments represent fantastic value for money.
But better still, the longer the stay the cheaper the rates. Surely the perfect solution for extended-stay business travellers?
Another big advantage is that the traveller can cater for themselves for far less money compared to hotels. Consider how much the average person will save cooking in the apartment rather than racking up huge bar, restaurant, takeaway, room service and laundry bills. Undoubtedly a considerable saving.
Taking clients to fancy restaurants and bars can be expensive, so instead invite them to the apartment. This provides a less formal environment and dramatically cuts costs.
Forget hiring expensive rooms in venues. All meetings can be held at the serviced apartment. There's plenty of room after all!
Laundry, cleaning and Wi-Fi are usually included in the price.
Two or more co-workers can stay comfortably together under one roof. Sharing a living space reduces the lonliness of being away from home and may also be conducive to closer working relationships. It is also much cheaper than paying for individual hotel rooms.
There is also the option for long-stay travellers to bring their family with them.
No more greasy fast food and high-calorie restaurant dinners. Travellers can cook healthy meals in well- equipped kitchens.
If they have a home fitness regime, this can be maintained more easily in a spacious apartment compared with a cramped hotel room.
No more interruptions for daily room cleaning. Most apartments are cleaned once a week unless a more frequent service is requested.
A serviced apartment typically has kitchen facilities and a living space, with separate areas for cooking, sleeping and relaxing. There's usually plenty of storage space, comfortable soft furnishings and other homely touches.
So much better than a bland hotel room.
Serviced apartments help to restore the work-life balance by offering a real home from home experience.
So how do serviced apartments compare to hotels in terms of quality? Serviced apartments offer comparable quality standards (and sometimes even higher). You can expect:
Often serviced apartments are located in prime locations so there's lots to see and do without having to go too far. How better to get to know a new town, city or even country than by living in the heart of the community.