Serviced apartments: Seizing opportunity from challenge

As alternative short-term accommodation solutions breathe down the necks of serviced apartment providers, Shannon McGuey, general manager of Calgary-based Imperial Suites, tells Re:locate how her company adds value for companies, their relocating employees and international assignees.

Calgary, Canada
Q. Where are your apartments and why are you based in these particular locations?Imperial Suites offers fully furnished and serviced apartments in Calgary, Edmonton and Montreal. Our accommodation ranges from one- to three-bedroomed condominiums, townhouses and homes.We have strategically placed ourselves in 75 different locations in these three markets, to provide our clients with variety, convenience and choice in their temporary housing options. Prices range from $83 to $256 a night, depending on suite size, quality and length of stay.Guests are welcome to book for as short a stay as seven nights. Monthly, six-monthly and yearly rates are available.Q. What industry sectors are using your accommodation, and why?Alberta is an oil-and-gas-driven market. Industry sectors vary in terms of volume in our three locations, and extend to almost all industries. Our suites accommodate almost any guest, whether they are being relocated, are on temporary work assignments, are temporarily displaced from their homes, or are visiting for leisure purposes.Q. Where are your guests coming from – domestic, US or international relocations?Our guests originate from all over the world. A large number are from Canada and the US, as well as Asia, the United Arab Emirates, and Europe.The average length of stay is between 30 and 90 days. In recent years, we have seen an increase in stays of a year or longer.Q. What challenges do companies face in finding suitable accommodation to support relocation moves and international assignments in Canada and your particular locations?Each of the markets we currently provide inventory in is unique in its limitations. Guests relocating to Edmonton, for example, are very area-specific. If their relocation requires their housing to be in south Edmonton, commuting from downtown is not an option. This is different from Calgary, where many relocated individuals and families accept the commute from the suburbs.Edmonton downtown lacks quality inventory because of the age of the buildings, the cost of land, and the consequently limited number of condominium developments to date.Montreal faces similar problems in the downtown core, but both markets are actively building, which will change available inventory over the next five years.Q. Have you any comments to make about the demographic of employees?The demographic of guests varies between types and ages; however, there has been a rise in families and Millennials over the past five years.Q. How important is the business travel and leisure market to your business? Would you like to comment on any trends in the industry, challenges or opportunities?Both business and leisure markets are important to our business. The increasing trend of unregulated listing sites, where individual owners can compete with corporate housing providers, is the most recent challenge in all markets.Lack of regulation and consistent standards will have a negative impact on our industry as whole. The opportunity in this challenge is for providers to ensure we educate the public on the difference between corporate housing and sites such as these.Q. What would you describe as the key reason why relocation users opt for your apartments?Imperial Suites places a high emphasis on customer service and ensuring each guest has a personal experience with our team. No matter how large our expansion takes us, we believe that interacting with each guest on a one-to-one basis is essential to their experience in the new city.We do a personal meet and greet with each guest, to welcome them and explain their new temporary home. Our management team are on call after hours to provide a fast response to any questions or problems.Special Focus on CanadaIf you have news and views to contribute please contact our Editorial Team via For advertising and sponsorship opportunities contact our Sales Team via For more Re:locate news and features on serviced apartments, click here and for more on Canada, click here

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