Accommodating short-term business visitors
Will the rise in short-term business visitors help serviced apartment providers and HR global mobility managers to ride the waves that are being thrown up by the choppy conditions of Brexit, the global economy and currency turmoil?
See more features about serviced apartments in the Autumn 2016 issue of Relocate magazine on our Digital Issues page.
Appendix 4For Appendix 4 to apply, the individual must be:
- Resident in a country with which the UK has a double taxation agreement under which the Dependent Personal Services/Income from Employment Article (Article 15 or the equivalent) is likely to be competent
- Coming to work in the UK for the benefit of a UK company or a permanent establishment (PE) of an overseas company
- Expected to stay in the UK for 183 days or less in any 12-month period/UK tax year
- Staff of all grades will periodically report days spent in the UK on business to the central point controlling this arrangement
- Staff should not spend more than 30 days intermittently in the UK in any 12-month period without reporting to that central point
- Security passes
- A separate signing-in book
- An expenses system
- Timesheets/work reports
- Computer log-on activity
- Online diaries/calendars
- HR database systems
Serviced apartmentsThe part that serviced apartment providers can play in this is significant. They tick the boxes on helping minimise such compliance risk, and the big players, who know and understand the global mobility and relocation market well, will ultimately be the winners.Those who couple their depth of knowledge with a real understanding of duty-of-care issues will be set to succeed and capitalise on the tide of movement that is inevitable as the implications of Brexit become clear.
The business perspectiveAt the recent Serviced Apartment Summit, during a session exploring how the role of the travel buyer may change in the future, Helen Jefferys, from PWC, Kevin Carr, from UBS, and Steve Proud, from Citi, illustrated how financial services and banks were already firm fans of serviced apartments.PWC strongly recommends the use of serviced apartments for stays of more than four or five nights. UBS has a mandated policy over six nights. Citi no longer has a minimum stay requirement. With high volumes and the average length of stay growing, it is seeing a shift to serviced apartments.Citi has large regional service centres in Poland, Nashville and India, where people are doing training or project work. PWC’s requirement for serviced apartments in London has grown hugely. The company has set up an extended arm out of Belfast, and sends teams to work out of London. It now has an apartment group that is growing all the time. Eighteen months ago, following an RFP, it took the decision to use two new providers working closely together.When asked to what extent UBS was synchronising with relocation, Kevin Carr admitted that, although they did have a partnership, they could do more to leverage it. Steve Proud explained that requirements of 90 days or more sat with Citi’s mobility department. Asked what would stop people choosing to stay in a serviced apartment, the requirement for a reception, a lounge and a bar was flagged up. Helen Jefferys felt it was still easier to book a hotel, and that there wasn’t the knowledge of serviced apartments, which could be addressed. Employees, she said, liked the loyalty points offered by hotels.The panel acknowledged that all corporates were potentially looking at Airbnb, but said there were still challenges, particularly around robustness of safety and security.
Aparthotels on the riseThis brings me to the rise of the aparthotel. The large operators, such as The Ascott, winner of the 2016 Relocate Best Serviced Apartment Provider award, offer seamless tracking as part of their service. With coverage in global regions, including fast growth in APAC, the mechanisms are there for Ascott to give employers exactly what they need.The Citadines apartments currently being refurbished at the Barbican capitalise on the buzz of the creative industries and the tech companies and easy access to the city Fintech (financial technology) companies. The new, welcoming receptions and drop-by catering from the restaurant will give a vibrant atmosphere and pull in the local workers popping by for a morning coffee, a healthy bite, or, throughout the day, a welcome juice or salad break.BridgeStreet Global Hospitality has introduced its new aparthotel brand Mode Aparthotels, and is responding to shifting travel trends by targeting global hotspots and retrofitting existing buildings, offering a 24/7 front-desk concierge, community areas for gatherings and the space of an apartment to live and work in.
Australian brand making a markNow on the scene, Australian big brand Quest Apartment Hotels is here to do serious business. As a major player in Australia, where serviced apartments occupy 25 per cent of the market compared with 5 per cent in the UK, the company has knowledge to share. It also operates in New Zealand and Fiji.Andrew Weisz, Quest’s director of UK development, spoke at a session at the Serviced Apartment Summit. He made the point that the more brands in the market place, the more people are aware of the sector’s existence, resulting in growth for everyone. In Australia, there is a sophisticated accommodation-franchising model for the sector, he explained, with a track record that is accredited by all top banks. Here, they are creating a market.
The following sections may also be of interest: International Assignments, Culture and Language
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