CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition 2014

Bespoke tailoring for the serviced apartments sector

The relationship between clients and providers in the serviced accommodation sector is an on-going and evolving one, says Ross Patterson of Refresh Accommodation.

5 Maddox St, courtesy of Refresh Accommodation

The firm’s director says he has noticed some distinct new trends in the Serviced Accommodation sector and writes here of the company’s recent experience with clients from Sweden and Ukraine and how important it is to carefully tailor the package to suit the clients’ individual needs.

“Refresh Accommodation has certainly experienced an increase in enquiries from companies sourcing accommodation for colleagues on inbound relocation to the UK, and these have ranged from US based companies, in the catering and banking industries, to Eastern European and Scandinavians employed in the natural resources sector.

Where companies had previously accommodated their employees in hotel accommodation, serviced apartments are becoming the alternative choice and particularly suited to those relocating for extended periods whereby they are able to take advantage of added space and comfort, similar hotel facilities, such as onsite gymnasiums and free Wi-Fi. 

In addition there are cost savings, not just on the accommodation itself, but on ancillary expenditure such as laundry and catering services.  Our clients find that within most hotels these operate as ‘additional revenue generators’ charging for ad-ons and for companies and clients the inclusive package is certainly fundamental in choosing a solution.

Refresh works with a wide range of properties throughout London and the UK, and with an extensive knowledge of the accommodation we provide, we pride ourselves on being able to offer our clients the benefit of our experience and personal service.

Recently we helped with an assignee from a luxury car manufacturer relocating from Sweden to the midlands on a 6 months secondment, with flexible terms to extend his stay and price reductions as and when he takes advantage of this.  

Our client account managers discussed the client’s requirements in terms of location, budget and facilities – which in this case included a suitable commuting distance to the office (cycling with safe storage attached!). 

Close proximity to work is always a strong criteria, but finding out what his personal needs made the process far easier.  When reviewing apartment options with the client, it gave the account manager the opportunity to talk through wider arrangements such as travel routes or ‘cycle routes’ between the accommodation and the two office locations that the gentleman would be working from, as well as arrangements for airport transfers.

One of our clients based in the Ukraine relocated staff for a programme in London, with the emphasis being placed on an all-inclusive solution that ensured comfort and convenience. 

Our relationship with this client was not just in the booking process but throughout their stay, obtaining feedback, offering assistance and additional support with our property providers. 

One of the guests from the group used a proverb from their country to describe the experience of staying in a serviced apartment against previous solutions as, ‘Only when you have eaten a lemon do you appreciate what sugar is’.”


The Summer 2014 issue of Re:locate magazine will feature further analysis of the international lettings market with particular reference to the UK and Asia Pacific region. Click here to register for your free digital copy.