Gary Hurst, founder and CEO of MYSA
I’m confident that business travel can – and will – recover
from the current crisis, but an inevitable part of this recovery will also be
For the coming weeks and months travel managers will be
asked to cut costs on travel programmes where they can and find creative ways
to stretch finances that bit further.
The good news is that there could be some surprisingly low-hanging
fruit, one of which is the greater adoption of serviced accommodation. With
just a few simple tweaks to the ways in which managers source, book and utilise
serviced accommodation, there’s potential to achieve some significant savings.
Take the booking process itself. Yes, navigating the
serviced accommodation sector can seem daunting. With limited availability
through the GDS, many travel teams find the prospect of sourcing and managing
serviced accommodation providers directly almost impossible. Instead, they
entrust this job to an intermediary or agent.
However, there are substantial savings to be made by dealing
with properties directly. Not only does doing so remove the costs of an
intermediary, but it also provides greater control and oversight of the
properties in your programme. By creating a curated portfolio of serviced
accommodation options, you can ensure hygiene protocols and accreditation are
in place and be assured that each booking sits safely within your travel
policies. And when negotiating rates, ensure you’re taking advantage of a
digressive pricing model.
Serviced accommodation was inherently designed to cater for
longer stays. Providing travellers with extra space, privacy and home comforts,
it is geared towards offering a ‘home from home’ experience, rather than a
quick corporate stopover.
This is reflected in the pricing model adopted by most
providers. Serviced accommodation operators will invariably offer a cheaper
nightly rate the longer you stay, with rate reductions tending to kick in from
Don’t shy away from negotiating further savings on bulk
bookings too. Negotiating lower rates through expected volume – rather than
piecemeal stays – is another benefit of sourcing and managing properties
And once you’ve found the property and negotiated the best
rate? Well, there’s still plenty of potential savings once a traveller walks
through the front door.
In serviced accommodation, travellers have the option to
shop and cook in well-equipped self-catering facilities rather than dining out
and at a far lower cost. By giving travellers this option companies could
feasibly cap expenses policies without being accused of removing choice or
In the same vein, serviced accommodation has the potential
to remove all sorts of unexpected extras appearing on a traveller’s invoice.
After all, even where the upfront cost of a hotel stay can seem like a great
deal, there are plenty of hidden extras travel companies may find themselves
footing the bill for. In the US alone, it’s thought hotels make an extra $2.5
billion each year from fees and surcharges.
In serviced accommodation this culture of hidden extras doesn’t
exist to the same extent. Generally there is no room service or minibar
provided, and any extra amenities, such as Netflix on the TV or a parking space
outside the property, will almost always be included in the nightly rate. All of
which creates far greater certainty that the final bill a company will be
invoiced for won’t contain any nasty surprises.
Serviced accommodation as a tool within business
travel is growing fast. And though it might sometimes seem a little
overwhelming, with the right strategy in place, it can also be a fantastic and
underutilised tool for getting by on your budget in the challenging weeks and