As Australian border restrictions ease, the prospect of business travel is back on the table. Companies that have placed on hold, projects and face-to-face meetings, will be actively discussing the re-deployment of their workforce. The demand for long-stay apartment accommodation for corporate guests is back.
But given the cards of uncertainty dealt over 2020 and 2021, bookers and travellers alike are more cautious. Travel policies have been refreshed with a sharp focus on traveller safety and wellbeing. Bookers are looking towards options that can accommodate last-minute changes and custom requests.
Suppliers of Corporate Apartment Accommodation Go The Extra Mile
The complex sector of business travel involves more stakeholders and risks. So having a grocery list of standard features such as COVID safe cleaning practices and contactless check-ins provides some sense of relief, but will everything really be ok if things don’t go to plan?
Here are four stories of how Astra Apartments made the complicated simple for those on the move in uncertain times. We share stories of:
- Unexpected extensions
- Unexpected arrivals
- Humans, helping humans
Breaking Down The Barriers In The Return Business Travel.
Accommodating unexpected extensions
One very real concern that companies have with business travel, is what will happen if their employees get stuck. Australia has demonstrated good reason for this concern. We have not only observed the complete closing of international borders for more than 18 months, but also the frequent opening and closing of domestic borders.
In one such example, Astra was providing corporate housing apartments to a group of assignees from the US. They were due to leave the country but couldn’t because of hard border closures. For both the company and the booker, complexities arose.
Peace of mind came in two forms. Firstly, Astra was able to extend the booking indefinitely for all assignees, guaranteeing that rates would not fluctuate for the duration of the stay. This allowed for budgeting certainty while the organisation worked through the plan to bring their employees home.
Secondly, because the apartments are high quality, larger than a typical serviced apartment and properly equipped for long stays, bookers did not need to spend unnecessary time or stress sourcing more suitable accommodation for their assignee’s wellbeing. Living amongst locals, like locals, they were able to feel a sense of belonging at a time when they were unable to easily return to their country of origin.
Managing unexpected arrivals
A large project team was coming from abroad. Due to the project timelines, the booker had arranged for the groups to arrive in two waves, several months apart. However, unstable borders meant the arrival of the second wave of assignees was significantly fast-tracked. It was brought forward to a time the Astra location was already at 90% occupancy.
With imminent border closures, the arrival of the assignees was extremely time-sensitive, to ensure they were in the country before further travel restrictions occurred.
Unlike hotels, Astra Apartments is not constrained by a defined number of rooms/apartments. Astra was able to quickly scale up based on demand by adding more apartments, and in this case, it allowed us to meet this unexpected timing for accommodation.
Within a short period, the Astra Apartments location manager secured and set up an additional 10 new corporate long-stay apartments. This allowed the client to maintain a single, consistent supplier, simplifying their processes and assignee management.
Making cancellations easy
When the unexpected occurs, companies need reassurance that they can cancel their reservation and they won’t be faced with huge penalties and administrative time.
Across every Astra Apartment location in Australia and New Zealand, cancellations have occurred. With no deposits or bonds for an Astra Apartment, companies and bookers simply notify the location without losing this money. Bookers are not nuanced with the time to chase refunds.
Humans helping humans
Underneath the mask-wearing, socially distanced, contactless world is humans. At a time that travellers face unprecedented uncertainty, the knowledge of on-the-ground support is priceless.
A couple that had booked a weekend trip out of their host country, found themselves unable to return. They were diverted to an Astra location where they, with just their weekend bag, ended up staying 7 months.
Another family, with three teenage children booked into a long stay apartment, found themselves caught in the extended lockdown, working from home, and homeschooling.
From toddlers dropping keys down lift shafts, and travellers arriving shell shocked after their time in mandatory quarantine, our local on the ground teams have been on-hand 24/7 to help them through the process. Empathy, stability and a friendly face.
The return to travel will be different and accommodation providers will work to help travellers, bookers and companies regain their confidence. Astra Apartments offers peace of mind when booking long stay accommodation for corporate travellers, because you are partnering with a supplier that is simply easy to do business with.