Although the availability of alternative accommodation is soaring, it often remains a small element of corporate travel programmes. So, what is it that stands in the way of property operators and lucrative agreements with the corporate travel sector?
Corporate cash gets lost in a complicated supply chain
The alternative accommodation sector, both serviced and short-term rentals, is awash with intermediaries, which in the nascent years of the sector made a lot of sense. The supply of properties was disparate and fragmented, sometimes lacking full-time management. For harried corporate bookers, the use of intermediaries allowed them to access the benefits of these properties without the hassle of finding them or filtering through to what they needed.
But this comes at a price. Literally. The longer the booking supply chain, the more cash gets swallowed up along the way. In fact, our research shows that corporates could save up to 20 per cent were they to liaise with properties directly and get rid of all the middlemen. Luckily, with the sector far more established – plus with the availability of one-stop procurement platforms like that created by MYSA – it’s become much easier to do so.
Outdated distribution platforms create hassle for corporates and TMCs
Don’t underestimate the appeal of ease when it comes to the decisions made by corporate bookers. Though many travel managers are well aware of the advantages that come with alternative accommodation options – cost, flexibility, location and variety, to name but a few – the lack of easy online booking channels can create an unwelcome headache.
Operators need smart ways to integrate their offer into the most effective distribution channels to avoid being overlooked. The same goes for TMCs, tasked with managing a sometimes high volume of corporate travel bookings and looking for the most convenient, seamless way to go about it.
Alternative accommodation still needs to prove it’s the safest option
Never has duty of care been higher on the agenda for corporate travel than it is now. When the world does begin to open back up again, the health and safety of employees will be top of mind for travel managers the world over. And rightly so.
Alternative accommodation has so much to offer by way of peace of mind: contained, private properties; few or no communal areas; self-catering facilities that allow travellers to avoid busy restaurants. The problem? The sector still labours under the perception from corporate bookers that it has less transparency and less independent accreditation of its standards, which is why hotels can often seem like a safer bet.
As a sector, alternative accommodation lacks differentiation
Leading us nicely onto the fourth major challenge the sector faces: how can a corporate booker distinguish those properties that are best in class − and how can they be assured that they’re only using those properties with scrupulous safety standards? A direct operator-booker relationship would go a long way here, with travel managers or TMCs able to easily ask questions, carry out checks and build up a relationship with an operator based on reliability and consistently meeting those standards set.
But at MYSA, we also believe there’s scope for operators to go one step further when it comes to differentiating themselves, and their property portfolios, from a vast market. With MYSA audit, they can create a shortcut for corporate bookers, one that communicates, at a glance, that their record on quality, health, safety and hygiene is industry-leading.
At MYSA, our technology can help alternative accommodation operators get their properties in front of more corporate bookers and TMCs. If you’d like to know more about how we can help you, please get in touch with us here.