When it comes to changing the course of something, it’s following your heart and really caring that matters. Having worked in the corporate serviced accommodation sector for the past two decades, there are many things that frustrate me but also many things that I love. With this in mind, I wanted to share why my team and I have been so passionate to introduce a fresh approach to corporate serviced accommodation, developing something we truly believe will benefit everyone.
For longer than I can remember, this niche sector of the travel industry has largely been dominated by booking agents as a result of a somewhat fragmented market, poor distribution channels and a lack of cohesive technology. While the sector is predominantly driven by relationships and built around people, which is an attribute I love, there are few companies driving the charge. It means corporate accommodation buyers (travel managers and HR managers responsible for relocation) have limited choices and are often at the mercy of the agents managing the process, controlling operator relationships and adding additional costs.
Until now, this process has worked ‘fine’ for the corporate buyer, and while there are frustrations with the indirect process, they haven’t really had many other options. Paying premium rates to have a third party take responsibilities for their serviced accommodation requirements has been part of the acceptance. However, this can often come with a lack of democratisation, transparency, and clear demonstration of property safety and security. The latter being vitally important to adhere to the recently introduced ISO 31030 benchmark requiring streamlined, integrated and effective processes to support travelling employees.
With more control and a direct approach to serviced accommodation sourcing and selection, corporate buyers could work towards a more structured mandate and overcome many of the challenges they face today.
A post-COVID world
In a post-COVID world, health and safety, wellbeing, personalisation and most importantly transparency, are front of mind for the travelling or relocating employee, who was already driving change pre-pandemic. We have seen employees increasingly drawn towards staying in alternative accommodation with all the comforts and freedom associated with a home-from-home experience. This mindset is now influencing businesses’ thinking about how their people travel and relocate. The use of serviced accommodation being a more desired approach but with a need to ensure the highest standards are met. To achieve this, the sourcing and selection process needs to change to make it simpler to manage and book but also give more control to the buyer and operator.
Opportunity is what I love
We chose to shape a new path in the sector, not just because we identified an opportunity for change but because we care and love to help and connect people. As a team, we thrive on fixing the challenges and problems others experience. As a global sub-sector in a huge travel industry, there are many incredible property operators out there, offering impeccable service to guests. If the ‘ownership’ challenges with agents were removed, we believe operators could provide even greater levels of service and care. We want to raise the bar for this increasingly popular category and make the highest-quality accommodation and service available, and easy to select for employees, within a corporate programme.
So, going back to basics, this really means:
- ensuring the highest quality accommodation is directly available
- improving efficiencies for buyers, travellers and property operators
- driving complete transparency
- delivering value for money
- raising greater awareness of sustainable practices
- creating a great experience for everyone
Giving (back) control
This is where I hope our endeavours bring about the greatest benefits to corporate buyers and accommodation operators. By bringing both parties together, we at mysa are simplifying the end-to-end process from choice to booking to give more control to everyone and ensure employees’ needs are met with a real focus on wellbeing and duty of care.
We are setting ‘new’ standards in due diligence and accommodation sourcing, ensuring better quality serviced accommodation is available to everyone, with the detail buyers need to support selection RFPs and greater property selection for the employee.
mysa partners with quality-proven operators who exuberate standards of safety, security and comfort to create a special community in offering the very best in serviced accommodation. This allows property operators to take back control of bookings by owning the corporate relationship and really being able to differentiate on quality and value. Each property in our ecosystem is evaluated to the highest standards for health and safety, security, sustainability, quality and comfort, and only if they meet these standards can they be offered to corporate buyers.
Our ecosystem, industry knowledge and expertise support organisations to procure, book and manage serviced accommodation directly with our assured operators. By providing detailed and transparent choices, corporate buyers can maximise technology to take control and make informed decisions, while putting employees at the heart of a travel or mobility programme. Corporate buyers can pre-qualify properties to ease duty of care concerns, exceed traveller expectations and deliver negotiated, direct rates with potential cost savings of up to 20 per cent.
With high-quality, rich content in an easy to use booking engine, employees can select and secure a property knowing it meets all their requirements and matches their individual needs, based on personalised pre-booking information.
The combination of our expertise, differentiated due diligence and powerful platform equal simplified programme management that delivers enhanced value and experiences for everyone.
For me, conscious change and choice is what is needed in this sector, and that’s why I am following my heart and working with people I love to do things differently and hopefully make the difference we need.