If your company ever helps to find furnished housing for interns or employees on temporary assignment outside of their hometown, and you've been tasked with helping, this post is for you. Say you just got asked to help find and book a nice place to stay for one of your coworkers going on an extended business trip. That feels like a lot of pressure, doesn't it? Where to go from here?
In the spirit of #AdminMonth, here's a simple five step guide that may help.
1. Get the details about their trip. Budget? What town? Do they need to be near a certain work site? Will they be working closely with a colleague that will be traveling with them? How long? For stays of 30+ days, a normal hotel will likely be prohibitively expensive. Consider corporate housing or extended stay hotels. If they're going to be traveling with a colleague and would like to be close to them, look for rooms in the same neighborhood, same building, or even a two or three bedroom place where they can share upscale amenities like a pool or a gym.
2. Everyone has unique tastes. Find out what theirs are. Some people love room service. If your coworker is one of those people, you're better off booking in an extended stay hotel. There are several chains that specialize in that, such as Extended Stay America*. If you go that route however, be sure to check the ratings and reviews of the particular location you're considering. Most extended stay hotel brands are decidedly mid-market. If your coworker is going to want a nicer place, you should be careful. On the other hand, corporate housing and home shares offer some extra comfort and amenities over a hotel, like full kitchens, or in-unit washer/dryer.
3. Shop around - efficiently. Fortunately, there are some convenient ways to quickly and easily conduct a thorough search. Our advice would be to check a marketplace like Homesuite or Airbnb. Marketplaces like Kayak.com are great, but they're only going to show you normal hotels, which likely won't work for your budget if the stay is for 30 days or more.
4. Avoid common pitfalls and hassles:
- Professionally maintained. The majority of the options on Airbnb are someone's home. Your colleague may find that charming. They may not. To be on the safe side, you may be better off booking a place that is not someone's primary residence. Traditional corporate housing and sites like Homesuite are primarily investment properties that are exclusively for guests and are not a primary residence for anyone.
- Billing flexibility. Depending on your company's travel policies, your company may want to pay the lodging bill directly, on your coworker's behalf. That frees them up from having to submit a large expense reimbursement.
- Cancellations. Some home sharing sites allow home owners to cancel at the last minute. That would obviously be very inconvenient for you and your coworker. You'd have to find a last-minute Plan B option, which would likely fall on your shoulders.
5. Verify whether there's flexibility on the length of stay. If the trip is going to be short, you'll likely just book a hotel room and they can usually extend the stay without any problems. If it's an extended business trip of 30 days or more, you'll likely be looking for corporate housing or a home share. Many home share reservations are difficult to extend though. Airbnb places typically have to honor reservations immediately after your initial reservation, so the homeowner cannot extend. Call the provider and make sure that you'll be able to extend if need be. Can't find a customer care phone number on the provider's website? That's not a good sign.
Anything we missed? Leave us a comment with your thoughts.
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Homesuite is the leading provider of monthly furnished rentals for business travel. We are differentiated by combining the comfort of home with the professionality of a hotel. Our customers include Google, Facebook, Microsoft and thousands of smaller businesses. In addition to our business offering, we also serve individuals traveling for work and personal reasons. Founded in 2014, we operate across the United States with specific focus in large urban markets.
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