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4 Ways to Secure Corporate Housing in Sold-Out Cities

Don’t compromise on quality. Here’s how to find corporate housing options for your staff when availability is tight.

“I need you here this week.” Six words from hiring managers that will send chills up the spines of relocation managers countrywide. Especially if the relocating employee needs a base in a destination like New York City where temporary corporate housing is maxed out. Cue a sharp intake of breath and frantic googling of accommodation websites.

It doesn’t have to be that way. When travel demand is sky-high and housing availability is low, corporate accommodation specialists like AltoVita are here to step up and help you exhale. So, don’t panic if you’re moving employees to in-demand destinations. Here’s how we use our expertise to find you quality space where it doesn’t seem to exist.

Why Is Corporate Housing in Demand?

The corporate housing market is buzzing. And in some cities, that’s making it a tough ask for relocation managers faced with multiple staff to accommodate at relatively short notice.

As we move into a post-pandemic period of loosened restrictions, employees who were granted deferrals on their relocation assignments are now facing pressure to start their new position. Companies that have waited patiently for the right people are pushing back and asking that positions are filled ASAP. Often, without an understanding of how difficult it can be to secure suitable corporate accommodations at short notice.

The squeeze is coming from the outside too. With energy bills soaring, property rental prices are increasing. Relocation managers looking for affordable long-term options are facing dwindling choices. Add the effect of mass migrations from the Russia-Ukraine war in reducing accommodation availability in Europe, and you have the perfect storm of demand exceeding supply. Creativity and an in-depth understanding of the corporate housing market are needed to overcome the problems and provide seamless solutions for relocating employees.

Corporate housing in Dublin was at near sell-out capacity in July 2022. Image Gabriel Ramos via Unsplash

Which Destinations Are (Nearly) Sold-Out?

If you searched for corporate apartments in Dublin this summer, you will have come up short. In early July the city boasted a 96% occupancy rate, creating a headache for relocation managers worldwide. Other top destinations for corporate travel include the global business hubs of Berlin, New York City, Tokyo, and Singapore. While in the USA, Denver and San Diego have also been operating at near sell-out levels.

As we move into Autumn the situation in these destinations is unlikely to change dramatically – even with a looming recession in the US. Business travel is projected to continue its increase through the final quarter of 2022. And while it may not yet be back to 2019 levels, the uptick in companies implementing delayed return-to-office plans means corporate temporary housing availability remains under pressure in popular destinations.

Four Tips for How to Find Housing  in Sell-Out Cities

1.   Use Short-Term Staff Housing Alternatives

If your preferred accommodation isn’t available for your relocating employee immediately, being creative and flexible in your approach is key. AltoVita’s knowledgeable and nimble customer success team are experts at tweaking itineraries and booking short-term stop-gap alternatives while space opens up in chosen corporate rentals.

For example, look at hotel rooms, serviced apartments, or co-living units to cover the first 14 or 30 days of the move to a new location. Then when the desired accommodation is available, you can move the employee to the preferred long-term option for the reminder of their assignment period.

The key here is in-depth understanding of the options available within a specific destination. In sold-out cities, that know-how becomes invaluable. AltoVita’s reps tap into a proprietary cloud-based platform of more than 1 million verified accommodations worldwide and networks of contacts to piece together accommodation plans in places where availability is seemingly non-existent.

2.   Block Book

One of our favourite creative tactics for relocation management companies is to block book accommodation. If you manage corporate housing for multiple clients, block booking means you can guarantee a pre-reserved apartment or professionally managed home for employees on a rolling basis. First, one new employee for one company, and the next month, a new employee for another.

Sure, it might cost more initially, but it is easier than worrying about renting for employees at the individual level – especially when the destination is high in demand and supply is low. And accommodation providers are often receptive to this approach, as income for two to three months at a time for a block of five, ten, or more accommodation units is signed and sealed.

Private houses, like this one in New York City, can be a creative corporate housing alternative when accommodation is in short supply. Image Christian Koch via Unsplash.

3.   Find New Accommodation Partners

We’re always looking for new corporate housing partners that fit our meticulous 4-Tier Quality Control standards.

Access to robust and well-tested onboarding processes is one of the benefits of using a corporate accommodation service like AltoVita. If we need to establish new partnerships in sold-out cities to increase the range of accommodations available to our clients, we can. And we can do it quickly, efficiently, and without any drop in our expected service levels.

Our global footprint – a network of over 1 million accommodations across 1,533 cities in 165 countries – gives us access to an enormous pool of potential accommodation options. Including more unusual solutions to corporate housing problems like private homes or co-living spaces.

Our advice here? Be creative in how you source accommodation, but never compromise on your core requirements.

4.   Get Talking

The key to all great relationships is communication. And the relocation manager-hiring manager relationship is no different. Open communication and forward thinking is often the difference between securing corporate apartments and losing out to your better-prepared competitors.

So, relocation managers: Flag potentially tricky locations early in the relocation process so hiring managers can prepare to be flexible. Help your businesses understand they need to be open to alternative accommodation options off the bat, and even suggest they increase budget allowances in line with the trending accommodation price rises and local demand.

For hiring managers, look ahead and let your team know how many staff you have moving and when. Booking in bulk rather than on an individual basis can generate preferential rates and is often more appealing to accommodation service providers wanting to sell out their units. Also check to see if your assignees have any requirements for their accommodation (number of bedrooms, pet-friendliness, etc) or preferred locations.

Someone who knows the value of communication is our star Global Account Manager and lead of the customer success team, Tara Scrivener. Talk to her about your requirements and expectations so she can help open the door in cities where you’re locked out.

Solving Corporate Housing Problems in Sold-Out Cities: A Summary

If you need to rent corporate housing in in-demand cities, it doesn’t have to be a headache. If you don’t have the networks or know-how to get creative with your sourcing, we can help.

Our team can work magic with alternative accommodation options, block book key units for you, or find creative new partners for your clients that still reflect your (and our) uncompromising quality standards for guest safety, security, and comfort. 

So, don’t panic if your next relocating employee needs accommodation in Dublin, Singapore, or New York City. There’s always space available if you know where to look.  

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