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Business Travel & Accommodation: Types and Decision Factors

Travel is a strategic component of global business. The seemingly simple act of getting from one place to another plays a crucial role in building relationships, nurturing growth, and defining a company’s culture. 

Hence, all business travel trends highlight travel is back, with current business travel volume either “more frequent” or “about the same” in 2024 compared to 2019, according to the business travellers surveyed in an August 2023 report from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and Uber for Business.

Business travel and global mobility managers are at the heart of employee movement, professionals tasked with weaving a complex tapestry of schedules, preferences, costs, and objectives into a seamless journey. Their role in navigating contemporary corporate travel’s labyrinth ensures individual trips’ success and serves as a linchpin in broader organisational triumph.

This article will explore the different types of business travel arrangements, which accommodation is best suited to each circumstance and travel, and how it’s all part of one streamlined travel and relocation policy.

Key Factors Influencing Travel Decisions

From the hustle of sales meetings to the spark of business lunches to in-person interpersonal and working relationships to the innovative spaces of trade shows, each type of travel serves a distinct purpose, reflecting the multifaceted nature of modern national and multinational companies.

The latest market trends reveal that live events are the most significant driver of business travel spend in 2024. More than half of travel managers in the United States and Europe cited meetings and conferences as the trigger for increased travel, according to the Deloitte Corporate Travel Study 2023.

As we delve into the various types of business travel, we’ll explore the objectives and considerations that guide these journeys. Just remember, for numerous reasons, these face-to-face interactions stimulate interpersonal relationships, cultivate more presence, and boost business image far more than virtual communication or video conferencing ever could. Let's now explore why a business traveler might book train tickets, business class flight, or serviced apartment today:

Relocation Travel

Relocation travel goes beyond a temporary assignment; it’s a significant life transition, often marking the commencement of a new role, business process, or project. Relocation can be a complex process. It requires careful planning and support to ensure a smooth transition for the individual and the organisation.

In the agile landscape of modern business, the potential for relocation is an ever-present possibility, underscoring the need for a corporate housing platform, global mobility software, or business travel solution.

Sales Calls and Client Visits

Sales calls and client visits form the bedrock of business relationships, providing essential opportunities for a face to face meetings and front-to-face interaction. Personal connections are important to strengthen relationships and move beyond what digital communication can offer.

Meetings, Conferences, and Trade Fairs

From intimate boardroom discussions to sprawling exhibitions, the intellectual exchange and networking opportunities present during conference travel can shape the future of business sectors.

Training and Development Workshops

Investing in professional growth, training, and development workshops offers targeted skill enhancement and personal enrichment. These gatherings can act as incubators for new ideas and foster a culture of continuous learning within an organisation’s company retreats.

Site Visits and Inspections

Companies send experts on site visits and inspections to provide critical insights into operations, facilitating a tangible connection between planning and implementation. Whether a construction project or a manufacturing facility, these on-the-ground assessments are crucial for quality control.

Team Offsite

Team offsites are curated opportunities for collaboration, professional learning, and creativity, often leading to breakthrough thinking. By removing the daily routine, teams can focus on strategic alignment and build company culture through outdoor activities in a fresh environment.

Incentive Travel

More than mere rewards, an incentive trip is a powerful motivator. These are often tailored experiences to exotic travel destinations or a different city where the organisation can celebrate top performers in a special way outside of the everyday occurrence.

Strategic Planning Sessions & Project Work

These internal meetings, working sessions attend conferences are the engine rooms of a company car and strategy, where lead stakeholders discuss long-term goals and complex projects. Through careful planning and cross-functional collaboration, these gatherings help align resources and direction, driving an organisation’s success.

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Accommodation Options for Business Travel

Corporate travel is on similar trajectories in the United States and Europe, with travel managers reporting that spend will surpass 2019 levels in 2023. As business travel rebounds, selecting suitable accommodation is ever more critical. 

In a world where travel demands are diversifying, understanding the nuanced offerings of each accommodation type helps travel managers make informed decisions, ensuring not just comfort but success in every part of the business travel journey.

1. Serviced Apartments

Serviced apartments have emerged as a popular choice among business and leisure travellers seeking the comfort and convenience of a home-like environment, especially during extended stays. These apartments come fully furnished with an equipped kitchen for healthy living and entertaining and separate living and sleeping areas for space and privacy.

Many serviced apartments also include additional facilities like in-house gyms, laundry services, and sometimes even a concierge to assist with local needs. Serviced apartments combine the best of both worlds: The luxury of hotel living with the practicality and comfort of home. 

They’re an ideal accommodation option for business travellers, those on short and long-term assignments, and individuals who value the perks of being home, whether cooking fresh meals, working out, relaxing break or hosting friends. Whether it’s a one-week workshop, a corporate trip, or a several-month project, the adaptability and comfort of serviced apartments are hard to overlook.

Business Travel & Accommodation

Pros

  • Space and Privacy: Serviced apartments typically offer separate living, dining, and sleeping areas, giving travellers space to work, relax, and entertain, all within the same premises.
  • Fully-Equipped Kitchens: Travellers can enjoy the flexibility of preparing meals and snacks or hosting small business gatherings.
  • Cost-Effective for Long Stays: With tiered pricing for more extended stays, serviced apartments often provide a more economical option compared to hotels.
  • Amenities and Services: Many serviced apartments include benefits such as daily or weekly cleaning, Wi-Fi, fitness centres, and 24-hour security, bridging the gap between hotel luxuries and home comfort.

Cons

  • Limited On-Demand Services: Unlike hotels, some serviced apartments may not offer 24-hour room service or on-site dining options.
  • Availability and Location: While growing in popularity, serviced apartments might be less readily available in some locations, especially in remote or less-traveled areas.
  • Inconsistency in Standards: Quality and services might vary between providers or properties under the same provider, so thorough research and trusted recommendations are vital.

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2. Corporate Housing

Like serviced apartments, corporate housing is intentionally designed for the long-term business guest and offers an even more residential feel and customised format.

Corporate housing offers a tailored solution for business travellers, particularly those engaged in extended assignments, relocations, or large-scale projects. This accommodation are typically located near business centres, making the daily commute easier and maximising productivity.

Unlike traditional accommodation and hotel rooms, corporate housing is designed with the business traveler in mind. The fully furnished apartments or houses come equipped with all the essentials, often including dedicated workspaces, high-speed internet, and various amenities that cater to long-term stays.

One of the notable benefits of corporate housing is the cost-effective nature of this option. By offering a complete living environment, corporate housing can save companies significant amounts on extended stays compared to the rates of conventional hotels.

Corporate Housing

Pros

  • Location Proximity: Corporate housing is usually strategically located near multiple offices or business hubs, reducing commute times and providing easy access to essential services.
  • Fully Furnished and Equipped: This accommodation includes everything from furniture to kitchenware, making the transition into a new location smooth and hassle-free.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Corporate housing offers a more economical solution than traditional hotels without sacrificing quality or comfort for extended stays.
  • Feels Like Home: With more space and personalised options, corporate housing provides a home-like atmosphere essential for well-being during long-term assignments.

Cons

  • Availability Constraints: Finding the right corporate housing option might be challenging in some locations, especially during peak business travel seasons.
  • Less Instant Service: Unlike hotels, corporate housing does not offer immediate services like room service or daily housekeeping, which some travellers prefer.

3. Airbnb and Vacation Rentals

In the vast landscape of accommodation options for business travellers, Airbnb and vacation rentals offer a distinct and occasionally vibrant alternative. These platforms can cater to various tastes and preferences by providing various choices, from urban apartments to remote villas. But the very factors that make Airbnb and vacation rentals appealing can also lead to challenges.

While an Airbnb might work for a small tech startup planning a week-long hackathon in a remote mountain lodge, it would not work for a senior executive traveling alone for crucial client meetings in a major city.

Pros

  • Wide variety
  • Unique, localised experiences
  • Easy to book
  • Located in remote locations for off-sites

Cons

4. Hotels

Hotels have long been the go-to solution for business travellers, offering predictability, convenience, and a range of services tailored to the professional on the move. They stand as the traditional backbone of corporate travel accommodation, yet they still need to improve. 

A hotel can be an excellent option for a marketing executive attending a three-day industry conference in a bustling city centre, but it would be a terrible choice for project managers tasked with two-month assignments or meeting potential clients in new markets.

Pros

  • Predictable standards and services
  • Central location
  • Business-specific amenities
  • Loyalty programs and perks

Cons

  • Expensive for extended stays
  • Less space and home-like comforts
  • May lack local flavour
  • Potential extra fees for amenities

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5. Short-Term Apartment Rentals

A short-term apartment rental might work for a software developer attending a week-long hackathon in a trendy city neighbourhood. The space provides a creative environment, a full kitchen for meals, and is within walking distance of the event venue, making it a perfect fit for his needs. 

However, suppose a sales team planning a series of client meetings across a city over three days chooses a budget-friendly short-term apartment rental. In that case, they might need more reliable internet, insufficient workspace, and a long commute to client offices, resulting in a counterproductive and frustrating experience.

Pros

  • Flexibility in Location and Style
  • Potential for Cost Savings on Brief Stays
  • Some Offer Specialised Business Services
  • More Home-like Comforts

Cons

  • Quality may vary
  • May lack essential amenities
  • Potential compliance issues
  • Possible problems with booking and check-in

Short-Term Apartment Rentals

Catering to Extended Business Trips & Long-Term Assignments

Extended business trips and long-term assignments bring unique challenges and considerations that require balancing costs and complex logistics while providing employees with a safe, comfortable living space. It’s evident from the section above that corporate housing and serviced apartments for the best option for extended stays--they provide home-like comfort, convenience, and safety at a cost-effective price. 

However, finding appropriate, cost-effective, serviced apartments and corporate housing available for specific dates can be challenging. Ensuring the available accommodation is safe, secure, and comply with company policies is nearly impossible. Outside of finding the actual totals, travel and global mobility managers oversee all bookkeeping, including tracking expense and business travel trends, approving individuals’ travel costs, and executing the duty of care.

But there is a business travel solution: Partner with a modern corporate travel accommodation or global mobility software provider. By leveraging technology, a corporate housing platform can help stakeholders find suitable accommodation, book it, track costs, keep everyone safe, and ensure the stay is pleasant and productive.

Modern corporate travel management platforms will have the following functionality:

  • Real-Time Availability and Booking for Business Travellers: Allows for instant booking of suitable accommodation, notifying managers for approval, and confirming availability and bookings to travellers.
  • Live Stats Dashboard and Reporting on Corporate Travel: Utilises technology for accessible reporting, providing maximum visibility and data analysis of corporate accommodation activity and spending.
  • Diverse Business Travel Accommodation Options: Offers a wide selection of accommodation types to empower choice and cater to diverse needs.
  • Business Trip Safe and Compliant: Allows managers to review and select business accommodation options with confidence, ensuring safety, quality, and security.
  • Dedicated Customer Service and Success Teams: Provides personalised support and assistance, ensuring a smooth process from booking to stay.

The landscape of extended business travel requires a multifaceted approach that considers comfort, cost, convenience, compliance, and more. Organisations can easily navigate these complexities by embracing real-time booking, comprehensive reporting, diverse options, dedicated support, and safety measures.

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Key Takeaways

Navigating the multifaceted landscape of business and leisure travel and accommodation requires thoughtful consideration, strategic planning, and a keen understanding of organisational goals and individual needs of potential customers. Here are the key takeaways from our exploration:

  • Understand Intention Behind the Business Trip: Recognising the unique objectives and demands of different travel experiences, from sales trips for startups to relocations for multinational companies, helps tailor strategies that align with organisational success and personal well-being.
  • Explore Accommodation Options: Whether it’s serviced apartments with their home-like comforts, corporate housing with strategic locations, hotels with predictable standards, or short-term apartment rentals with flexibility, each accommodation type has its pros and cons. Understanding these options helps inform decision-making for everyone, from long-term transfers to short-term stays for corporate events.
  • Cater to Extended Stays and Long-Term Assignments: Extended business trips bring challenges, such as finding suitable accommodation, compliance, and logistics. Corporate housing and serviced apartments are versatile solutions, offering home-like comfort, cost-effectiveness, convenience, and strategic locations.
  • Embrace Technology and Support: Utilising real-time booking, comprehensive reporting, and dedicated customer service ensures a smoother process from planning to staying. Technology and human support work hand-in-hand to enhance the travel experience.
  • Balance Cost and Convenience When Making Travel Decisions: Achieving a seamless travel experience requires a nuanced balance between company objectives, individual preferences, cost considerations, and cultural insights.
  • Emphasise Sustainability and Alignment with Corporate Goals: Aligning travel options with corporate sustainability goals and environmentally conscious living reflects a responsible approach to business travel, resonating with modern values and societal expectations.

FAQs

What does travel accommodation include?

Travel accommodation typically includes a room with essential amenities like a bed, bathroom, Wi-Fi, and possibly extras such as a kitchenette or fitness center.

Can I use Airbnb for business travel?

Yes, professionals can technically use Airbnb for business travel if their organizations’ specific travel policy allows it. Airbnb built a program called Airbnb for Work to meet lodging needs. While Airbnb attempts to provide localized experiences for short-term business trips, corporate housing offers more comprehensive solutions for everything from brief business stays to extended relocations.

What is a business travel hotel?

A business travel hotel is designed for professionals arranging business travel, featuring amenities like high-speed internet, working desks, business centers, and meeting rooms. However, corporate housing offers a cozier and more cost-effective alternative to hotels for business travelers—it strikes a balance between the homelike environment that supports productivity and well-being and the practical considerations of cost and location that are paramount for business travel. These fully furnished apartments are an ideal choice for extended business trips or relocations.

What are types of business travel?

Types of business travel include Sales Calls, Client Visits, Conferences, Training Workshops, Site Visits, Team Offsites, Incentive Travel, Strategic Planning, Project Work, and Relocation Travel.



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