The accommodation sector is going from strength to strength in London, with occupancy levels predicted to reach a 20-year high in 2015 of 84.4% and the average daily rate to grow by a further 3% year-on-year.
However in spite of this, business travel budgets have remained stagnant and have even fallen in some cases this year with less than half of all corporate travel bookers stating that their business travel budgets have increased compared with 2014.
The importance for all travel managers is ensuring that their budget stretches as far as possible. Whilst there are always budget hotels or other accommodation options available to suit even the most modest of travel budgets, the business traveller wants more for their money.
Here are a few top tips from Marlin Apartments’ managing director, Susan Cully, about the most important things to consider when booking a corporate stay in London to ensure you get the most value for your money.
1. Don’t be afraid to consider locations that are a few more stops away on the Underground – an extra 10 minutes’ travel on the tube can end up saving you hundreds of pounds for a week’s stay. The smartest, savviest travel managers in the business recognise that you can reap the rewards in terms of costs if you move your search radius to include Zone 2 rather than just Zone 1.
What’s more, a Zone 1-2 travelcard is actually the same price as a Zone 1 travelcard, yet you’ll save on average £40 per night when booking accommodation outside of Zone 1.
Susan Cully comments: “A number of our corporates located in the heart of the city are taking advantage of our other locations in the city. For instance, some of our clients that have slightly smaller budgets located in the Square Mile book our Aldgate or Limehouse locations. Especially our Limehouse property - it is located in Zone 2 yet it’s just 5 minutes from Bank station on the DLR.”
2. Look at accommodation providers that offer business solutions rather than simply accommodation. Nowadays accommodation providers are becoming a jack-of-all-trades and are helping travel managers sourcing services such as airport transfers, breakfast, dinner and taxis around the city. Marlin Apartments is even offering a range of relaxing in-apartment spa treatments.
3. If you value spaciousness and freedom above all, try a serviced apartment. According to an annual buyer survey commissioned by the Business Travel Show, serviced apartments accounted for fewer than 10% of travel managers’ booked room nights in 2014. However, 12% of travel managers did increase their usage of serviced apartments; compared with a hotel they are usually double the size or even larger.
Cully added: “Business travel doesn’t need to be a compromising experience for those with tighter budgets. We are extremely passionate about speaking directly with travel managers so they are able to truly understand that the best value for the business traveller always lies with serviced apartments.”
“With a Marlin apartment, corporates are able to make use of our fully equipped kitchens to prepare food, as well as living areas and separate bedrooms allowing them to comfortable live and work in a spacious and uncompromising environment.”