Ever heard the saying “any business is good business”? I’m sure you have – and you probably hear it more frequently than ever at the moment thanks to the economic downturn, despite the fact that the industry has been growing strongly. But understanding what sort of clientele to target is a vital part of any business, and at SilverDoor we strongly feel that apartment providers should consider the benefits of encouraging corporate rather than leisure stays.
Why you should aim for corporate stays
Corporate stays are often more profitable and less problematic than leisure stays for several important reasons. Firstly, they are typically longer in length (between two weeks and three months), while business people are usually more experienced travellers so will better understand booking procedures, check-in and check-out processes and so on.
Secondly, receiving one long-stay corporate booking for three months is a lot more cost-effective than booking four or five short stays within the same time frame. Variable costs such as cleaning, administration and cost of sale increase significantly with short stays. These factors are likely to have a more significant effect on smaller operators, so we recommend keeping availability for long stays rather than encouraging short ones. If you do want to encourage short stays, consider a lead time of between one and three days so you can use them to plug the gaps between long stays.
How to say no
If you decide to turn away a request you’ll still need to leave a positive impression, keeping the door open for future business. Make sure you explain why you can’t take the booking and avoid being abrupt. It is also good practice to suggest an alternative accommodation solution – maybe another operator you’ve got a good relationship with, or a hotel.
Making it easier
Smaller operators often find it harder to make the transition to corporate stays: they may not have the capacity to handle a large group booking or they may not have the expertise to manage this type of stay effectively. In these situations it’s helpful to use a booking agent (such as SilverDoor) to manage the request. Booking agents regularly deal with larger clients and when booking for large groups they will often use multiple operators to accommodate them.