It’s time serviced accommodation got personal

In 2020 the idea of personal service has taken on new meaning. From DNA diets to customisable haute couture, the trend for ultra-personalisation spans every sector. And there’s no reason booking travel should be the exception. By tailoring serviced accommodation options carefully to individuals, companies can boost satisfaction, morale and – ultimately – cut costs.

The power of personalisation is already big business in leisure travel.

Virgin Hotels offers its guests tailored refreshments prepared according to their preferences and waiting in the room upon arrival, all based on a short questionnaire. Meanwhile, US carrier Delta Airlines uploads detailed passenger information onto mobile devices which are handed out to crew ahead of each journey, flagging up nervous flyers or those that might need special assistance en route. These are just two of many, many examples.

But it’s a trend that should be equally as potent for anyone in business travel management too. A study by the Global Business Travel Association in 2018 found 84 per cent of business travellers felt a personalised experience was important. “From booking to check out, our research confirms personalisation is highly valuable to business travellers, with many seeking customised hotel experiences that are tailored to fit their business travel needs,” said GBTA’s Director of Research Jessica Collison of the findings.

What’s more, for all that it’s often linked to DNA diets and customised cocktails; personalisation should start with the basics. The benefits of better tailoring a travel booking process should not be underestimated– matching individuals carefully to their accommodation, for example.

Which is where serviced accommodation comes in.

Often home to employees for weeks, even months, sourcing the right serviced accommodation can be a huge challenge for buyers. Whereas hotel stays are usually shorter and arguably more predictable in terms of their quality, location and amenities, serviced apartments or houses can be a far bigger gamble. A more personalised offer from the outset can, therefore, make all the difference, and travel and relocation management teams are well-positioned to put such an offer in place.

It all starts with the search. With more and more employees heading online to trawl through options, companies can smooth the process by first matching traveller preferences to what they see on screen. Yes, in a sector infamous for its lack of technology and categorisation, this goal might seem like it’s a long way off. Too much choice is frustrating and too little relevant choice more so.

MYSA has, therefore developed a three-step process to deliver a more defined choice for employees. The first step is cleansing all unsuitable properties from the hundreds of thousands on offer. Remember, less is more here. If your business is typical, then it’s likely 80 per cent of accommodation requirements are in 20 per cent of your overall booked locations.

The second step is to categorise properties according to the basics: location, size and price. Then consider amenities, the availability or not of a check-in process and ongoing support in situ. Finally, evaluation of each property’s safety, security, quality and comfort credentials provide peace of mind that employees have access to more compliant accommodation.

Following the three-step process, employees can view the curated selection of properties. MY Oxygen by MYSA makes this easy with a personalised online platform to showcase all your carefully considered options. This bespoke platform not only increases booking efficiency but ensures employee expectations are far more likely to be met, and that their preferences will comply with your travel policy.

The process may sound like extra or unnecessary work, but in reality, the payoff more than justifies any additional effort. By creating a pre-evaluated selection of serviced accommodation for employees, it’s possible to reduce the stress and anxiety that can often accompany trips. It also boosts morale by making employees feel valued and taken care of, and – of course – improves productivity because business trips aren’t plagued by problems with serviced accommodation that falls below expectations.

In this way, personalisation is really all about the big picture.

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