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What Are The Top Challenges in Corporate Housing?

At the end of the busiest summer season for travel, relocation, and accommodations bookings since 2019, how are things looking for corporate housing?

This question was answered on September 22, when EuRA (the European Relocation Association) hosted a Corporate Housing briefing, moderated by Dwellworks Living.

The conversation involved Christina Connolly, Premier Suites, Ireland; Jason Parry, SIRVA BGRS, Phil Stapleton, SITU; Ally Branding, Destiny Scotland; Rob Somner, Cheval Collection, and Vidak Glavinic, Dwellworks Living, and was hosted by Jess Blakemore at Dwellworks Living. 


Key Takeaways

  • Temporary accommodations remain at full occupancy in multiple major European cities, including Dublin, Berlin, Munich, Zurich, and London.
  • Corporate employers continue to initiate moves, catching up on pandemic backlogs as well as growth and talent initiatives.
  • The disparity between supply and demand, the volatility of bookings (short notice and emergency placements caused by the conflict in Ukraine, for example), and extensions beyond planned stays all contribute to higher costs.
  • Corporate travel and relocation policies and budgets are under review. As such, employers need reliable data to guide expense management and service expectations.
  • The industry is more innovative coming out of the pandemic. Housing options have expanded beyond serviced apartments and hotels to include the broader short-term rental market and multiple pro-tech platforms.
  • Sustainability is highly visible. Suppliers are still learning about requirements and best practices but are adopting sustainable ways of responding at a pace that is also affordable for their businesses.
  • The future looks positive, even with clouds on the horizon! Businesses have diverse needs driving the demand for temporary accommodations and investors continue to support new property and technology development.


Has availability improved?

Somewhat, but not in the most active markets – in the opinion of operators within Dublin, London, Berlin, and beyond. As Christina Connolly noted for the Dublin market, “we’re at 95% occupancy and fully booked for October.” 

Operators are not expecting a quiet period at the end of the year since clients continue to adjust their schedules based on scant availability. Moves originally organized for summer are happening now, and since all rental supply comes from the same sources, the shortage carries over to long-term rentals. 

With long-term housing also in short supply, short-term stays are extended, making it nearly impossible to accommodate moves with no notice, though, as Connolly noted, “we are always working the jigsaw puzzle.”

On the upside, suppliers have been extraordinarily diligent in sourcing properties, stepping up their lease acquisitions, and onboarding new options reported Vidak Glavinic and Phil Stapleton.

Of course, there is the requirement to ensure these new style accommodations leased through the short-term rental market also meet corporate compliance specifications, but there is absolutely progress in expanding supply to respond to demand.


Have client needs shifted?

Jason Parry at SIRVA BGRS noted that the corporate clients’ service needs for responsiveness, quality, and consistency remain the same. Additionally, with the challenges in sourcing and the increased cost of housing, clients are applying greater scrutiny than ever before. 

Recommendations for budget and policy changes need to be supported by facts, data, and trend reporting. Clients are also interested to learn more about alternative options and confirming that their supplier partners are pushing past pre-pandemic models and actively expanding their housing inventory and supply chains.

Sourcing for solutions has become more complex given the consumer-quality expectations of guests. Several experts noted that hotels were a standard temporary housing offering for years, but no longer meet the expectations of customers looking for a more ‘home-like’ experience and those with larger families and expectations for more space.


What strategies are gaining ground?

Speaking as a member of the ASAP advisory board, Sally Branding at Destiny Scotland commented there is a good understanding that sustainability is a key client requirement, as well as good for people and the planet.

The challenge for corporate housing is in the very diversity of suppliers – from operators with a dozen units under management in different buildings, to regional hotels, to large-scale agencies like Situ with its comprehensive Starfish ESG program. 

Corporate housing suppliers are learning from industry-wide education initiatives like ASAP’s Join the Journey and CHPA’s Sustainability Series and progressing from education and awareness to building sustainability programs and accessing tools to measure their environmental impact.

The key piece of advice is to learn the basics and take incremental steps. In turn, industry associations are banding together to provide standardized guidelines and timelines so that suppliers can implement sustainable practices efficiently.

Clients expect to see ‘eco-friendly’ choices in the options presented to their employees. Supply chain managers at Dwellworks Living and elsewhere are building out plans to educate and identify qualified partners and present their options on their booking sites.


What are the industry’s bright spots?

Technology, for one. Jason Parry commented that providers have been innovative and active coming out of the pandemic, demonstrating actual features and functionality upgrades, and not just ‘roadmaps and power points.’

The general sturdiness of the industry was commented on by several. After a very rocky 2020, the entrepreneurial spirit in corporate housing took hold and companies have built back capacity.

Rob Somner at Cheval noted that it’s been a period of growth and expansion since the sector is serving a wider customer base than ever, overall.

Others commented that their teams have been committed to finding solutions throughout the worst of the pandemic as well as the non-stop needs from mid-2022 on.

Most panelists agreed it’s too early to predict what will happen in 2023. While the initial post-pandemic volume surge has been largely managed, companies still have plans and projects they are seeking to execute, provided the overall global economy and political environment are stable enough to sustain mobility and global travel.


So, what’s next?

From today’s perspective, the view is positive. For the immediate future, through Q4, employers and guests should continue to expect tightness in supply – even as operators continue to source more broadly – as well as better tools and processes for updates, occupancy management, service experiences, and financial reporting.



For more on EuRA’s relocation insights and briefings, visit  www.eura-relocation.com.


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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