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Business travel set to boom, with increased demand for extended rental stays

68% of the flexible rental sector is seeing an increased demand for extended stays, and 59% are seeing a demand for large spaces. That’s according to a report from AltoVita, which surveyed key players in the flexible rental sector globally.

The survey, conducted in partnership with ShortTermRentalz and Serviced Apartment News, asked respondents about the impacts of COVID-19 on the industry, alongside increased guest expectations and changes to inventory.

With millions of employees working from home during the pandemic, there has been a significant rise in ‘working from anywhere’. To create WFA spaces, the survey revealed that respondents have prioritised high-speed internet (43%), providing desk and office spaces (29%) and laptop-friendly surfaces (9%). When it comes to the best lease structure to support working from anywhere, 74% favour monthly leases.

With the global pandemic causing illness and frequent isolation, flexible cancellation policies have been a must. In light of this, over two thirds (68%) began offering flexible cancellations, in addition to check-in date flexibility (12%). A small minority also reduced their minimum stay requirements (3%).

The survey also revealed that the pandemic has driven enhanced cleaning in compliance with WHO standards and to protect guests. Increased cleaning (44%) and contactless check-in (37%) were seen most frequently, alongside contactless technology (10%).

The survey also found that 90% have invested in new technology over the past year, including customer relationship management tools (28%), property management systems (28%), API connections to other services (28%) and contactless entry (25%). Although many have been furloughed during the pandemic, approximately 69% of the workforce are likely to be hired back after COVID.

Karolina Saviova, COO & Co-Founder at AltoVita, added: “Prioritising safety, security and quality is vital, and we want business travelers to travel with confidence and feel supported through their journey as business travel moves toward pre-pandemic levels. Almost all (96%) of our partner network and clients feel a pent-up need for travel, and industry players have really stepped up to focus on guest expectations and comfort. There is no doubt that technology will play a pivotal role in guest experience delivery and quality monitoring in the future.”

Paul Stevens, Editor, ShortTermRentalz, said: “It is clear from our discussions with other industry leaders in the short-term rental space that guest expectations have become more defined than ever as a result of the pandemic. Due to the accelerating convergence between hospitality and real estate asset classes, particularly with more hotel companies venturing into the rental segment, travellers are more open to booking alternative or ‘niche’ private accommodations, but, on the other hand, they are increasingly unwilling to compromise on the exacting standards they’ve come to expect from hotels that make their stay so seamless, including smooth booking processes, cleaning, and the amenities on offer.”