October 29, 2009
Top-of-the-line furnished executive apartment providers are constantly pitted against each other to find the most cutting edge interior design. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the new movement in interior design is called “Rough Luxe” and focuses on found objects, reclaimed materials, and imperfection in general. In a previous blog, I discussed shopping at thrift stores for finds in furniture– no I wasn’t kidding. In the future refurbishing a unique item will go a lot further with the jet-setting executive crowd than cookie cutter design. Major designers in the field of Rough Luxe include Bill Sofield and Raw-Edges. Miami’s Art Basel this year awarded its top prizes to designers who, in the words of the Journal, created works that “drew attention to the maker’s hand.” Top design stores in Manhattan such as Matter and Moss are carrying elements of the design.
October 27, 2009
On the blog Social Media Explorer, guest blogger Jeremy Epstein recently made the assertion that cultivating one raving fan of your company was worth cultivating 445 people. What I’d like to talk about today is word-of-mouth marketing and how it can be applied to social media marketing concepts. (more…)
October 23, 2009
Jay Boehmer of Business Travel News Online writes in the article “Business Travel Cuts Bottoming,”
“Many companies expect to increase travel spending next year from what is expected to remain a craterous 2009, but some industry players are convinced it will be a matter of years before they resume pre-recession levels, according to speakers at last month’s National Business Travel Association International Convention in San Diego, conversations with industry buyers and suppliers and recent surveys of corporate travel managers.”
So hold on providers, because we may have finally reached rock bottom and it is time to begin the climb again. And what have we learned from the recession? As Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
October 22, 2009
In his many books Robert Cialdini explores the relationship between science and persuasion. One theory he touches on is that of reciprocity.
The question is, how do you convince a client to go with your corporate housing company again based on the theory of reciprocity?
If it’s a large corporate client that you’re trying to land, such as IBM, you could go so far as to offer them a free night’s stay, so that they can see how your product and service is better than your competitor’s.
If it’s a traveling individual, such as a traveling nurse or a consultant, leaving a gift basket of food on the dining room table goes a long way. Oftentimes these people are arriving in new territory, sometimes late in the afternoon, and after unpacking all of their things they simply want to stay in and make dinner for themselves. Why not provide them with their first meal?
October 21, 2009
I liked what David Flando of Habitat said in the March 2009 CHPA Newsletter about “Keeping up with the Joneses.” Basically, what he said was that our efforts to one-up each other in high-end design and technology reduces the bottom line of our industry. For example, according to the Highland Group, over one third of all units currently have flat panel television screens installed in them, and that number is expected to increases by the end of 2009. Let’s face it: it’s a fun place to work, but at the end of the day we’re in this to make money. (more…)
October 20, 2009
The New York Times recently reported that Manhattan hoteliers are slashing their room rates by as much as a third in a desperate attempt to fill vacancies. How can corporate housing providers keep pace? Well, price is only one of the 4 P’s of Marketing (product, price, place, promotion). Perceived value is so much more powerful than price alone, and many factors combine to create this perception. (more…)
October 19, 2009
Business Travel News Online recently reported that in an economy that has seen a drop in business travel by almost 10% in the past year (source: NBTA), extended stay hotels are aggressively constructing new hotels. Richard Flores, marketing director for Larkspur Hotels and Restaurants, was quoted as saying , “In 2006 and 2007, you could get away with having one major account, and you were running 80% occupancy with a good rate. You can’t count on Google to fill them up anymore.”
This brings up a number of interesting points. One is that internet referrals, when gleaned from a single source, will fail us in this economy. What is needed is a more innovative way of bringing in internet referrals, and that’s where Shop Corporate Housing comes in. The website allows all providers to compete for a single lead, which in the end means that the prospect is more likely to find the niche provider who is best able to serve their needs.
The other quote from the article that caught my eye was this: “Robert Radomski, vice president of brand management for InterContinental Hotel Group’s extended stay brands, said the down economy also has increased certain types of business travel to extended stay properties. ‘We are seeing growth in liquidations, and those liquidation teams are the sort of thing that brings more extended stay business,’ he said.” Liquidation teams are teams of consultants who are asked to manage the liquidation of large inventories, such as when Circuit City liquidated its inventory across the country earlier this year. What this means to me: now is a time to pursue new markets, and to open up sales into a new clientele. Liquidation teams could be one of them.
October 16, 2009
Providers take note: Business Travel News Online maintains a Black Book as a free resource for corporate travelers and human resource professionals to download. The Black Book has a special category for corporate housing, and there are a dozen or so providers listed already. The magazine has an excellent Google rank for the keywords “business travel” and seems to have a broad reach in terms of audience. It would be a good idea to list in their Black Book and see what business it drums up.
October 15, 2009
Tampa Bay Online recently published an article about an army reservist who was forced to plead guilty to housing fraud. The article states that the reservist set up a trust for his home, and then rented it to the provider Apartment Express. The man then turned around and rented the house from Apartment Express under his own name. He charged the rental expenses to the Department of Defense. (more…)
October 14, 2009
It’s a common question that comes up these days, especially when it comes to housing interns. More and more, people have been requesting two twin beds in one bedroom as a way of cutting costs on corporate housing. CHPA has a discussion thread on the topic and The New York Times has an article on the subject. What are your thoughts?