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A Quick Study’s Guide to Corporate Housing

What I didn’t know about Corporate Housing

When I worked on Wall Street, the only bid I was concerned with was the one that matched my ask. In my new industry, a bid isn’t looking for an ask, but rather, sourcing the ideal match for an employee’s temporary accommodation needs. When I discovered that fact, I quickly realized that I wasn’t in Lower Manhattan anymore. To say I needed to learn a lot in a hurry would be an understatement. Longtime Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger advises, “Knowing what you don’t’ know is more useful than being brilliant.” I’ll take that advice: so, step one is to acknowledge the gap.

Closing the knowledge gap

My colleagues at Dwellworks Living, aka adjunct professors at Corporate Housing U., Andria LaMantia, David Holt, and Brian Keating, have not only been more than willing to share all the knowledge they have accumulated during their careers but also have been even more gracious by connecting me with industry resources to help me on my learning journey. They suggested I attend the recent Worldwide ERC Spring Virtual Conference to gain more insights, make valuable connections, and get something we could all use a little more of, some perspective on this industry of ours. Corporate Housing after all is a blending of talent mobility, business travel, critical support services, and real estate and rental market economics. So, I sharpened my pencils and went back to school to absorb as much knowledge from these industry experts as I could.

What I learned at the Worldwide ERC® Spring Virtual Conference

I am going to assume everyone reading this knows more than I do (on this topic at the very least.) You don’t need me to tell you that the surge in demand for temporary housing has caused strains in certain parts of the world (looking at you, Dublin, though you still hold a special place in my heart) * What I would like to share with you instead are the takeaways of a self-described, quick-study outsider as I considered the opportunities created by the challenges we are facing together as an industry.

*Ireland will always be dear to me since my wife and I were married there.

  1. Flexibility – If I were to create a word map for the conference, Flexibility would be dead center in size 72 font. This flexibility is less about stretching for the sky, and more about bending and reshaping the status quo. We, as an industry, need to evolve to not only meet expectations but anticipate them. We are the experts; we have the technology and the data. But now what? What have we learned? What ideas can we bring to the table? Not just housing options, but ‘think differently, plan better’ options to support our clients as business partners, which leads to point 2.
  2. Creative Collaboration - I am a fan of being creative and the panelists I heard all agreed that being creative is crucial. Creativity allows you to color outside the lines of the box. A client of mine recently presented just such a collaboration conundrum: this Philadelphia-bound client’s non-negotiable was a pool for the summer. Makes sense, Philly, hot summer, nice, cool, relaxing pool in the shade; however, the pool at the guest’s first choice property was closed for maintenance. Enter Creativity. I asked, “Can’t we find a pool club and provide a paid-for membership?” Outside the box. Inside the pool. And instead of trying to budge the impossible (an empty cement pool), let’s work together to focus on alternative ways to get to acceptable outcomes.
  3. Risk and Resilience - Inventory, Supply Chain, Inflation, Staffing. All the things we deal with every day. In the face of adversity, I will never tell you to pick yourself up by your bootstraps (partly because it is literally impossible). What I will tell you is to be resilient. Also, know the world around you. Resilience has a lot to do with staying aware, riding the upside while always preparing for the unknown. Resilient isn’t just being tough, it’s being prepared for that around the corner event. And in our industry, that means always knowing your risks and managing your business accordingly.
  4. Empathy - Anyone know the opposite of a narcissist? I didn’t, I had to look it up. The opposite of a narcissist is an empath. To use it in a sentence, “The corporate housing industry is chock full of empaths.” I know that in the face of mounting pressures and high caseloads, things can get stressful. If you lead with empathy, walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, then we can all get ahead.
  5. Opportunity – This is not being ‘opportunistic’ at the plight of the market, but rather, finding an opportunity to shine. Someone on a session I attended mentioned the phrase. “A rising ride lifts all boats.” To which that other sage from Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffet, famously replied “But when the tide goes out, you can see who was swimming naked.” Take on too much risk and you leave your backside open to exposure, while the long-term, investment-oriented providers (in people, process, product design, creativity and compassion) seem to be coming out ahead. As the other adage goes, ‘Never waste a good crisis.’ And that is exactly where we find ourselves currently. People still need to move, need a place to stay, have every expectation of great service, but how are we going to make that experience better, and with what tools? This opportunity is not a comeback story, it’s a new chapter waiting to be written.

How to put good learning to good use?

I’ll leave you with one final quote, delivered to me by a client, “Day by day we work to improve our service to our colleagues in a fast-growing and increasingly complex market...and without you (a salesperson) it would be much more complicated!” I love coming to work every day knowing that I am making a difference to that transferee, that intern, that employee on short-term assignment. Providing solutions is what we do best. Within the corporate housing community, I have found my home at Dwellworks Living, and when I help a client find their furnished apartment, I get to say to the guest, with pride, “Now you’re home, too!” I’d love your feedback on this blog and would love to find solutions for you in corporate housing. Reach me at [email protected].


Dwellworks Living: Global Solutions for Corporate Accommodations 

Dwellworks Living is committed to providing our clients and their employees with the best possible corporate housing and serviced accommodations experience. With a global network of property partners, a tri-regional team of customer experience and supply chain professionals, and a wide range of services for global mobility and travel customers, Dwellworks Living can provide the perfect corporate housing solution for any need or budget.

Dwellworks Living is the global corporate housing solution of Dwellworks, an award-winning, business-to-business provider of global mobility and business travel services. As a global leader in corporate housing and serviced accommodations solutions, Dwellworks Living is uniquely positioned to meet the temporary living needs of businesses and their employees who are relocating or traveling on short-, medium- or extended-stays. With 60,000 high-quality professionally managed properties in over 125 countries worldwide, Dwellworks Living is the preferred housing solutions partner of many Fortune 1000 and leading relocation management companies.

Dwellworks Living's corporate housing and serviced accommodations solutions are designed to help businesses attract and retain top talent, support employee productivity, and ensure a smooth and successful relocation or business travel experience. In addition to our core global accommodations management services, Dwellworks Living, through our worldwide network of local experts, is uniquely capable of offering our clients expanded and related services, such as area orientations, group move assistance, destination services and intercultural training.

Whether you have corporate housing needs for an individual employee or a large team, Dwellworks Living can provide the serviced accommodations solutions you need anywhere in the world to ensure a safe and successful stay. Please contact us to learn more or visit our Properties page to begin your search for global corporate housing accommodations.

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