Homestays: two views on whether they work for business
24 August 2017
Is it better to stay in a hotel, or choose the individuality and variety of peer-to-peer homestay accommodation? Two industry experts share their views.
Homestay providers, such as Airbnb and Onefinestay, give visitors the chance to stay in the homes of others across the world. These so-called peer-to-peer (or sharing economy) providers have long been predicted to shake up the business travel market. Here, two industry insiders share their views on how homestays measure up to traditional hotel accommodation.
Homestays offers variety
Caleb Parker, technology and innovation chair, HBAA
When you travel for business, you’re still a person with your own preferences.
People are happy to use peer-to-peer accommodation in their personal lives. Therefore, they should be given as much choice as possible when travelling for business, so they feel happy and empowered.
Peer-to-peer platforms have made an effort to understand what business travellers want.
Airbnb, for example, has curated amenities and shows certain homes as ‘business travel-friendly’. These venues include WiFi, a laptop-friendly workspace and other elements common to a hotel to make a stay convenient.
Peer-to-peer accommodation options offer something a bit different.
Unlike some branded hotels, each flat or house has a different look and feel; when staying in someone’s own place, you feel at home. You’re able to relax and have more space than when in a hotel room.
One of the biggest benefits is cost.
In major cities, hotel prices can be high and you may also be paying more for food at restaurants. Having your own kitchen at a home away from home allows you to make breakfast and dinner if you want to.
There are more peer-to-peer properties in different locations.
While hotels might be concentrated in a city centre, homes are also scattered throughout suburbs – there are more locations and an opportunity to explore other neighbourhoods.
Reviews of peer-to-peer properties help give you peace of mind.
There are fewer regulations for homestays than for hotels, but the platforms list reviews of a host. Those reviews are what organisations should be thinking about: you could incorporate a certain review rating into your policy to keep standards high.
Hotels are good places to network
Chris Roe, vice president for sales, distribution and loyalty, UK and Ireland, AccorHotels
Hotel brands now offer homestay options, too.
AccorHotels bought Onefinestay in 2016 and now offers budget brands, such as Ibis; midscale properties from Mercure; and luxury accommodation by Fairmont, as well as the home-rental option, to cater to all needs.
Traditional hotel brands are dependable.
They offer an assurance of health and safety standards, ability to track and itemise a stay, and consistent service, which corporate customers can rely on.
Hotels offer great work/life balance.
Whether you want to spend time in the restaurant, bar or gym after hours, hotels o er excellent amenities. For the business traveller, many of our hotels have meeting rooms, too. While Onefinestay offers an excellent concierge service, this is thanks to the attentiveness of hotel stay.
A hotel might be closer to your office.
In cities where real estate costs are high (such as London), peer- to-peer properties are often outside of the centre – which might be further away from your choice. This is less of a problem in cities like Paris where there are a large number of peer-to-peer rental properties available.
Hotels are good places to network.
If you want to meet like-minded travellers, you can do it in the communal areas of your hotel.
Pick hotels for a short-term stay.
Renting a whole house can be expensive. They’re a great choice for senior business travellers who might be working long term on a project or travelling with family, but many corporate guests will be spending a short time in a location before moving on.
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