Short Stay Citizens co-founder and managing director Oscar van Wel on the idea behind the company

The co-founder and managing director of Short Stay Citizens B.V. Oscar van Wel talks about the idea behind the company, trends of future business travel, as well as forthcoming plans for the business.

What is the Short Stay Citizens platform? 

Oscar: It’s a platform that offers people who move across the globe an easy way to find a serviced apartment, tailored to personal needs and wants. We offer our services to all corporate business travellers, all global nomads, all people, who appreciate comfort, quality, good experiences, and a personal touch on things. We want to extend the experience beyond just the apartment itself – we care about the complete vibe of our customer’s stay, not just what stays inside the apartment walls.

Why did you decide to build a platform like that?

Oscar: Simply because we figured out that a unified and centralized global booking platform – one with an actual touch of a person – doesn’t really exist. The world of serviced apartments is a very exciting and busy one. You can easily get lost in it. We, as a company, want to be a partner in that world and provide our customers with a high-quality service selection.

The thought behind the product – that is what’s important.

What is the product you offer?

Oscar: In general, our product is a serviced apartment. But it’s much more than that. Imagine, that you’re moving to a new city, on a job mission, and there are tons of things just you don’t know. You don’t know the place, the neighbourhood. You’re not aware of the local services you need to continue with your everyday life, you’re not aware of the places to go out to, events to visit. It doesn’t feel like you’re continuing with your everyday life if that is the situation. It’s not comfortable. You want to have a head start – you want the things you’re used to, the things that suit you because you don’t want to start inventing them every time you end up in a new place or city. You need a helping hand in that – someone who pre-selects all those things for you, maybe gives you advice along the way so you can concentrate on the things that are actually important to you – perhaps it’s your new job, or welcoming your family to your new location, or maybe exploring and experiencing the city. It saves you a lot of time and space in your mind.

Answering your question, the product is actually a service.

How would you describe the person who uses your services?

Oscar: We like to call them global nomads. People, who travel around the globe for work and projects, so their home is anywhere they’re at at the moment. What we strongly believe in is that the whole concept of home is going to be redefined in the near future – in fact, it is already happening. People, their lifestyles, their jobs – everything is becoming progressively mobile. However, with their lives getting more and more busier people are definitely learning not to waste time and energy on issues that can be avoided – they would rather concentrate on their own happiness and comfort. Thus, the concept of living as a service – that is, tailored, comfortable and quality-guaranteed serviced apartments and everything that comes with it – is an up-and-coming perception on the modern living, and it is one that we as a company want to promote.

What do you think, what are your customers looking for?

Oscar: I think they’re looking for comfort, for something familiar. Wherever you are in the world, you still are looking for something you know. The most comfortable thing. A regular hotel room – even if it’s extremely nice – it can be very alienating. An apartment, a studio – it’s still not yours, but at least you have an option to make your eggs how you like them in the morning. Simultaneously, they are busy people, so they are looking for flexibility too. And most importantly – they’re looking for quality and a legal safety guarantee. That’s what separates us from the rest. These big booking platforms – they don’t always know what they’re offering. They just can’t be personally aware and responsible for every single one of their properties. We know all of our properties, and we hand-select them, to make sure that they’re up to our standard. We only work with professional companies to keep a quality and safety standard. It’s vouched for.

What are the future plans for Short Stay Citizens?

Oscar: We have many exciting plans for our company. Expanding and introducing a more comfortable online booking system is our main task right now. For the near future, we think it’s very important also to underline the problem of being alienated in a new city – like a buddy. Call it buddy, call it a host – it’s someone you can call or WhatsApp, for little tips and advice. Maybe you want to find a good Italian restaurant in the neighbourhood, or you’re looking for the closest dry cleaners, or maybe you want to find a bar with a specific crowd. We’re planning to introduce a host service for that – so our customers can get help with these small things. We want to bring back the personal touch in serviced living – introduce a modern version of the concierge, per se. The internet offers thousands of lists for accommodations, services, restaurants, all kinds of tips – you can read tons of testimonials, reviews, and still not know what’s good and what’s not. We believe it’s about making sure, that someone actually thought about what suits you, thought about the quality and comfort. Also, in the further future, we are planning to introduce a so-called subscription for serviced living – for a specific fee, you get a full service for a living, meaning, accommodation, car rent, anything else you might need to make your transfers between cities, adapting, and living as comfortable and easy as possible. One quality standard for all over the world.