Paving the Way for the Next Generation of Corporate Housing

By Gary Brown
President & Co-Founder
Furnished Quarters
From Corporate Choices, Spring 2007 VOLUME X, ISSUE 1

The term "corporate housing" used to be synonymous with low-budget efficiencies situated near airports with minimum amenities and services. Business travelers and relocating professionals were taxed with acclimating to a new city while remaining productive. However, as the requirements of the corporate traveler have progressed, so has the corporate housing industry.

Corporate housing is much less conspicuous than in years past. The units have assimilated residentially into upscale communities, and now offer high-end services, amenities and leisure facilities. Many options are available in terms of locations, including residences within city limits or walking distance of financial and business districts in major cities worldwide. To accommodate a growing corporate travel market, the corporate housing industry has recently stepped up to assist the hospitality industry by providing additional rooms in cities lacking an adequate number of hotel rooms.

In the coming years, we will experience growth in the corporate housing industry, as well as an increase in emerging markets beyond the traditional corporate travel and relocation segments. International travelers accustomed to vacations of four weeks or more will lead the way in an increase in the leisure market segment. Guests who desire to maximize their experiences will seek corporate housing in neighborhoods that are historic, upscale and convenient to major attractions. Growth in this longer-stay segment will demonstrate the value and desire to "experience" a destination, and will become the driving force for selecting corporate housing over a traditional hotel.

While this is great news for the corporate housing industry, we must also be aware of traditional hotels. As an established and powerful industry, the hotel business has created a lobbying force that is incredibly influential. As corporate housing continues to gain market share, we will continue to experience the power of hotel industry lobbyists. Therefore, it is critical, as we embark upon the next generation of corporate housing as architects of a burgeoning industry, that we formulate our own lobbying efforts to help affect change and promote expansion.

How do we do this? By staying informed of trends within both industries; by listening to our clients; by monitoring targeted markets; and, most importantly, by working locally within the cities and countries in which we do business. There is certainly enough business for everyone, and we must prepare ourselves to not only compete, but to educate the traveling public and our colleagues within the hotel industry.

As the largest corporate housing provider in New York, Furnished Quarters faces tremendous competition from powerful hospitality groups. Last year, we experienced rapid growth not only in New York, but in the New Jersey and Massachusetts markets, as well. We continue to make great strides and to incorporate education into our sales and marketing outreach to enable us to continue to operate exceptional products and provide exemplary service as we expand.

The new year holds even greater opportunities for all of us in the industry as we continue to expand our business and our unique product in the hospitality field. Our commitment to growth is based upon our belief that our industry will continue to flourish for many years to come, and that as leaders in corporate housing, we can educate prospective customers and a traveling public, ultimately turning them into loyal customers. We encourage all of our colleagues in this industry to do the same.

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