Overcoming the Extended Business Travel Black Hole

Lost in a vacuum: Time to revive extended business travel

If you agree that travelling for business is something to get excited about you are not alone: 40% of younger employees (Millennials and Gen Z in particular) wouldn’t accept a job that doesn’t include travel and 30% of workers would even consider lower salaries in exchange for more business trips.

 

Long term business travellers have the perk of getting to know the ins and outs of another city, a higher salary (potentially) and the freedom to build a new nest – a home away from home. Sadly, business travel, especially long-term, is not as dreamy as it is perceived to be. Outdated technology (or no technology at all) linking business travellers to real-estate has resulted in obstacles from start to finish; both for the corporations making extended travel bookings and the business travellers themselves.

The maze of obstacles for the corporation

Long-term booking travel is falling off the radar of travel organisers because of its lack of processes, technology and integration with existing travel technology. Research shows that corporates can go through up to sixteen manual touchpoints to process a three-month booking, this is because 90% of the process on the side of real estate still takes place offline. In the age of digitalisation, where we have come to expect pain free online platforms to make our lives easier, this dated sector doesn’t fit with wider tech we use for business and certainly doesn’t fit in with general service expectations more widely.

 

With little access to real-estate, corporations are generally left with the option to book hotels for their staff, which is expensive. Add to that hotels do not always accept extended bookings, leaving corporation and traveller with a sense of uncertainty as to whether they will need to soon uproot and move on and the added stress of re-booking accommodation.

When we looked into what business travellers do want, they said they searched for a ‘home away from home’.

Anticlimax for the business traveller

 

Corporations might feel the initial torment of finding suitable and affordable long term accommodation, but they are not the ones living it. The secondary effects of poor booking services are felt first hand by the business travellers themselves and the anticlimax they experience comes down to a cocktail of disappointments. Research points towards the argument that extended travel contributes heavily to mental health costs for the UK: £35bn in 2018. At Homelike, we conducted research to find out what business travellers’ biggest let-downs are – we discovered that the most disliked part of long-term business travel is homesickness, where travellers abroad miss their family and friends. Another was feeling unhealthy – a result of eating out and drinking every day, as well as not having access to a gym.

 

It is not surprising to hear that homesickness and feeling unhealthy are rife concerns for business travellers, just take the time to imagine staying in a hotel room for months on end. A small room with no way to host friends and family, a lack of amenities, and no easy way to get into a healthy routine: this does not sound like a recipe for happiness. When we looked into what business travellers do want, they said they searched for a ‘home away from home’.

The revival of long term business travel

 

If we can make it possible for businesses to more easily organise a ‘home-away from home’ for their staff, then we can help reduce the anticlimax of long term stays in foreign places and revive the excitement that could and should go hand-in-hand with business travel and this is possible with technology solutions that take the pain out of the long-term booking experience.

 

Our technology is making digital transformation effortless for long-term apartment providers and corporate clients alike, allowing them to integrate their properties with business booking systems to provide a better, more standardised experience. As a result, businesses can easily provide staff with accommodation that helps them feel healthier when travelling long-term which will not only save money on travel costs but will increase the productivity rates of employees.

How can Homelike help?

 

Homelike is the first organisation to make booking long-term furnished apartments for business travellers as simple as booking a hotel.

 

We have the biggest portfolio of furnished apartments in Europe (50,000 apartments in 7 countries) and travellers, HR and Travel Managers can choose apartments that suit the tenant individually.

 

Our solution is cheaper than booking a hotel because of our close partnerships with the professional landlords we work with.

 

We have even created a booking platform that you can incorporate into your existing systems with all of your company branding – you can use the platform to manage invoicing (from several billing addresses if need be) and keep an eye on employees, travel policies and expenses.

 

Everything is online as well, meaning your staff can sign contracts and view apartments from their home countries before they move over to join their new team.

 

Ask any expat – knowing you have a nice apartment waiting for you takes away a lot of the stress associated with moving city or country!

Dustin Figge