Originally appeared on Serviced Apartment News, article by George Sell
UK: Nearly a third of corporate travel buyers increased their use of serviced apartment suppliers in 2018, up from the 20 per cent recorded this time last year.
A survey of 134 corporate travel buyers by the Business Travel Show found that 29 per cent of buyers booked more serviced apartments in 2018 compared to 2017. It was the only accommodation category to see an increase in use over the last 12 months.
In contrast, just nine per cent of buyers used more sharing economy suppliers this year compared to 18 per cent in 2017. The number of buyers who don't use serviced apartments dropped from 42 per cent to 32 per cent, whereas the number of buyers not using sharing economy providers rose from 38 per cent to 45 per cent and those not using five-star hotels also went up slightly from 28 to 31 per cent.
When asked to rate their reasons for booking serviced apartments out of five options, number one was value for money, followed by convenience, more space, flexibility and long-term suitability. This has changed slightly since last year, with space and flexibility flipping slots. A number of respondents also stated that the apartment's proximity to their meeting venue was also a key factor.
More buyers allocated a higher percentage of their budget towards service apartments (see below) over the last 12 months. In 2016, 90 per cent committed less than 10 per cent of their budget to serviced apartments. This dropped to 84 per last year and 77 per cent in 2018. In 2018, 23 per cent of buyers spent more than 10 per cent of their budget on serviced apartments, compared to 16 per cent the year before and 10 per cent in 2016. For the first time ever, buyers were registered as allocating between 50 and 100 per cent of their budget on serviced apartments, with 1 per cent claiming to spend their entire budget on apartments.
However, with one third of buyers not using any serviced accommodation suppliers, and 45 per cent now vetoing sharing economy providers, the poll shows there is still a way to go for alternative accommodation providers to be an automatic choice for travel buyers.
Business Travel Show event director David Chapple said: "These are pretty extraordinary statistics that prove the industry is making considerable headway in raising awareness of serviced apartments as valid and valuable alternative accommodation for business travellers. Not only are more buyers aware of service apartments as an option, they also appreciate the pros they offer to their travellers and are much more open to including them in their travel programmes. I think these results also reflect the ongoing pressure on buyers to cut cost and display improved ROI on travel spend as well as the desire from younger travellers to enjoy the flexibility provided by alternative accommodation providers."
Corporate travel buyers should be applauded for offering more employees the serviced apartment choice over hotel accommodation. SAN will be hosting its buyer half day event alongside Serviced Apartment Summit Europe 2019, July, London.