While the collaborative economy is growing fast in the tourism sector, travel managers have to face an increasing demand from their travelers for alternative accommodation.
But, although acknowledging the advantages of the sharing economy (price, surface, comfort), some buyers still have to be convinced and reinsured on some points.
“It is difficult to manage the check-ins and check-outs of our travelers with alternative accommodation”
VL: We are really different from other companies working on the mainstream segment.
We only target corporate travellers, meaning that we have to offer more traceability, more security and also more services. And all of this is possible, thanks to the kind of accommodation we offer.
Sure we list private apartments close to business areas and exhibition centers on our website (10% of our ads), but they have to get through a drastic selection
50% of our offers come from rental agencies specialized on short-term rentals that bring additional services and are used to late and early check-ins. Furthermore, those professionals select the properties on their own and offer some services such as cleaning or maintenance.
As for the remaining 40% of our ads, they come from serviced apartments with 24/7 check-ins and checkouts, security, etc.
“Alternative Accommodation is neither safe, nor insured”
VL: The way we select apartment insure you of their safety.
We insure all of the transactions going through our platform and offer an automatic insurance of 1,5 million euros for any damage caused by the tenant.
We also are developing traceability tools that will allow us to track the travelers’ check-in and checkouts hours.
And, we have launched the “Trustay” approach, which aims to secure apartments: identification of key security items, such as smoke detectors, code or intercom in the building, armored door, first-aid kit, etc.
This procedure includes a verification of these elements between two rentals but also the payment of residence taxes, the payment of corporate income tax in France, data stored in France, the hotline 24/7, etc.
“Alternative accommodation is not so cost-effective if we add ancillary costs such as housekeeping, for example”
VL: Most of the time, housekeeping is already included in our prices. More generally, the difference in price compared to hotels is so important that any incidental costs may appear marginal. Overall, it is around a 40% difference, but up to 70% for certain places and periods.
It should also be borne in mind that at the hotel, the traveler will have breakfast, possibly lunch and dinner, and this will affect the overall cost of the trip. With alternative accommodation, you save on catering as well as on meeting rooms and transportation, as our apartments are located near business centers, where hotels are usuallly overpriced.
“Alternative accommodation does not fit into the reservation system”
VL: It is about to change, especially as travel agencies, HBTs or OBTs are in demand for content on alternative hosting. We are often solicited and we should announce several signatures before the end of the year. But we are also working on our own connection tools and we are already in a pilot phase with several companies. This will allow them, in addition with the existing systems, to set up a specific tool for the reservation of apartments, with traceability of the expenses, a system of payment in account and a complete feedback on the information, with implementation of the Travel policy by type of traveler or by city.