Serviced apartments – a home from home

Its not a real insider’s tip anymore, yet it still is little known to many travellers and travel agents: serviced apartments. Not only does this unique “home away from home” offer more space than a conventional hotel room, it also guarantees a great potential of saving travel costs.
Many business travellers that have to go to another city, temporarily working there as a project manager or a consultant, know about the benefits of serviced apartments. The demand for this type of temporary apartment is growing. All over Europe, new houses are opening. After all, the sector of corporate housing is interesting both for the guest and the operator.

In terms of comfort, a serviced apartment can be compared at least to a junior suite in a hotel. Compared to a hotel room with a similar standard, the rates for a serviced apartment are up to 30 percent lower most of the time, sometimes even more.

 

The explanation for this cost advantage lies in the special concept: in general, operators of serviced apartments are cutting unnecessary services. Though many long-term travellers state that it is nice to have the many services of a common hotel, many amenities can’t be used due to a lack of time or are simply not necessary for them.

A private kitchen, instead of a breakfast buffet. A cleaning service that is more oriented on private habits and does not by all means have to been done daily. According to the operators concept, one might only find a temporarily staffed front-desk. These – to name but a few – are possibilities for the operator of serviced apartments to reduce costs and to pass on this cost advantage to the guest.

Instead of easily paying 18 euro and more per person for a breakfast buffet, guests of a serviced apartment can buy a few things in the grocery store. Enjoying breakfast just like at home, the guests will be able to eat exactly what they enjoy. Already after a few days, a good deal of money can be saved this way.

Depending on the operator’s concept, single services can, of course, separately be booked – just as the guest prefers it. Besides breakfast, this could be a shopping or laundry service. The guest simply decides if he would like to enjoy the services or not.

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Holiday Rentals Up as Hotel Prices Rise

As more Britons arrange their holidays independently, holiday rental homes are becoming sought after in greater numbers than before. Properties throughout Mediterranean Europe have seen their bookings and enquiries increase significantly over the past three months, as higher room rates and occupancy targets in the hotel industry have pushed traditional lodging out of peoples’ price range.

It’s not the first time the holiday rentals industry has seen such a surge. With the rise in property marketing outlets throughout the last five years, a significant sector of the industry has seen levels of interest increase due to online exposure. Some of the county’s biggest rental agencies have made the switch to digital marketing almost exclusively, citing its ability to find high-value tenants.

And for the industry, things are soon to become even better. Private rentals are likely to grow in the UK as the London Olympics attracts visitors. Tourism experts have used the 2000 Sydney and more recent 2008 Beijing Olympics as a model for the city’s private accommodation market – in both of the most recent cases, the demand for private property rentals soared preceding the games.

It also caused a surge in prices, one that many homeowners are hoping will allow them to monetise their properties during London’s Olympic period. With the Olympic Stadium currently being built in Stratford, a number of homeowners in the area are expecting to see a significant increase in their potential rental earnings alongside a long-term value increase due to the new buildings.

For the hotel industry, it remains a growing annoyance. New York City’s recent decision to outlaw holiday home and apartment rentals has left homeowners somewhat displeased, while Paris’s same legal ruling is likely to compromise the value of inner city homes. For London’s holiday apartment and home owners, it’s important that policy remains supportive of the private rental market.

New York Bans Short-Term Vacation Rentals, Attracts Instant Criticism

Travellers to New York City will have significantly less housing options to choose from over the next few months. The city recently passed a law banning the rental of apartments and houses for periods of under thirty days. New York Governor David Paterson signed the bill after saying that such legislation would likely be vetoed, enraging part-time renters throughout the city.

The bill is a major blow to the city’s inexpensive rental housing industry, which has offered rental properties for vacationers and budget travellers over the last decade. New York City has some of the highest hotel prices in the world, making the vacation rentals an affordable and simple option for families and budget travellers in the city. Hotel prices in Manhattan average around $200 nightly.

Vacation rental owners are planning to take their operations underground, offering the apartments as temporary home-stays using services such as Craigslist and CouchSurfers. The ban was approved by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a recent speech, who claimed that is is as much about apartment safety as it is built to crack down on illegal hotels and vacation rentals.

Paris was one of the first major cities to pass such a bill, pushing a temporary ban on holiday rentals through local government just three months ago. Both arrangements are designed to stimulate hotels and other ‘official’ tourist residences in the city, although owners suspect they will have unintended consequences. Illegal rentals could simply become less visible in the city, leading to potential crime.

However, the bill may still be overturned. Property groups have filed suit with the local authorities, claiming that the bill violates their basic rights and limits the usage of their property. City tourism groups are likely to meet about the matter in the coming days, raising the possibility of a state-level veto and potential reversal of the policy.