Serviced apartments: The safest accommodation during a pandemic

As the COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe and countries continue to tighten their travel restrictions, the question of whether and how to travel has become more and more complicated.

The State Department raised its global advisory to a level 4, recommending United States citizens not to travel to any other country, because of the global effects of the outbreak. Flying in or out America is not possible anymore. Also, many countries in Europe and all over the world have been closing its borders as well. Travel in Europe itself is still possible in some countries.

Short Stay Citizens encourages all travellers to stay safe and follow guidelines from the CDC website. However, if you have to travel for work or family reasons, we have listed a number of important points on why professionally managed serviced apartments are the most appropriate accommodations to stay during this pandemic, instead of staying at other accommodations like Airbnb, hotels or friends.

Secured quality

Unlike your average Airbnb or other privately owned short term rentals, professionally managed serviced apartments always have higher standards. Airbnb properties are usually rooms in someone else’s apartments or even villa’s, which means it’s difficult to know what to expect. Privately owned short term rentals are usually rented by individual persons and not companies.

Airbnb is a review based system, so you are counting on the honesty of previous guests to help you make your choice. Neither Airbnb properties nor hosts are checked or regulated by staff, this is the same for privately owned apartments. Both of these choices are basically a stab in the dark. We can imagine that is the last thing you would want during these circumstances.

Privacy

Serviced apartments provide privacy. Shared accommodations don’t. Staying in shared accommodations means that there are other people, hosts,  strangers, around you. Your hygienic routine may not be the same as someone else’s. Due to the pandemic, now is not the best time to be sharing accommodations.

While you have your privacy in privately owned short term rentals, you cannot be sure in what state you will find the apartment nor if it has been thoroughly cleaned or what type of neighbourhood the accommodation is.

With professionally managed serviced apartments you can rest assured of your privacy and safe surroundings.

Accountability

Professionally managed serviced apartments and travel agencies are represented by not for profit trade associations. In the UK, for example, most, if not all, professionally managed serviced apartments are represented by the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers, also known as ASAP in this industry. In Short Stay Citizens’ case, we are represented by IATA.org and all of our professionally managed serviced apartment providers are represented by other not for profit trade associations. These trade associations are aware of COVID-19’s effect on the industry and have taken the appropriate measures to make sure that all stakeholders comply with the new regulations.  Because of these not for profit trade associations, professionally managed serviced apartments are held accountable and are expected to comply with the measures to keep travellers safe during this pandemic. 

Space

Everywhere you go now, you hear and see the words “social distancing”. Most serviced apartments are big enough for you and your partner. If you must travel with family, there are 2+ bedroom apartments available. Therefore, there is space for you to be together but still keeping a social distance. This is hard to do in hotels or Airbnb and shared accommodations.

Besides social distance, you should refrain from leaving your accommodations as much as you can. The fully equipped kitchens provided by serviced apartments enable you to do your shopping weekly, instead of going to crowded spaces and supermarkets daily. The spacious serviced apartments also have work desks or space for you to work remotely if needed.

  

Short Stay Citizens encourages everyone to stay safe and follow the guidelines provided by your local government. However, if you still must travel for work, family or other pressing matters, we encourage all travellers to make use of professionally managed serviced apartments since these are more appropriate during this pandemic. Contact us to find out why.

 

By Marc Bakker

 

Sources:

Nu.nl, March 2020

Travel.state.gov, March 2020

PSNothingham.com, 2018

Business Insider, March 2020


The rise of sustainability in the serviced apartment sector

The rise of sustainability in the serviced apartment sector and what it means for apartment providers

Like most sectors, tourism and hospitality are also taking note of the impacts climate change has and will on our lives in the future. Companies, in general, have incorporated sustainability in their strategic objectives and accommodating their employees in a sustainable serviced apartment would naturally become part of their corporate social responsibility.

This blog will focus on what serviced apartment stakeholders can do to diminish their share of waste creation and what you can do to contribute as an individual or company. The wrong way to go about thinking in terms of bringing a change would be by drowning in hopelessness because you think the issue is too big for one person to handle or maybe even become indifferent towards the subject.

Before diving deeper, it should be said that serviced apartments are already a more sustainable choice than conventional hotels who need more to keep everything running 24/7 and have more facilities such as pools and 24-hour service. The most important issue would be for serviced apartments to become more sustainable and maintain their profitability as well as providing an added value to their customers.

Amount of waste generated in the tourism sector

The amount of waste generated by tourism amounts to 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Even though a large chunk of this (90%) is caused by transportation the stay itself has a significant impact as well along with logistical activities surrounding the serviced apartment itself.

Stakeholders

There are several stakeholders involved in the serviced apartment sector which are engaged in implementing sustainable practices and the following play a significant role:

Serviced apartment owners: Providers of serviced apartments are also responsible for the waste management and materials used. This makes them an important driver in both providing alternatives to conventional hospitality providers and also providing customers with an added value in the form of an environmentally friendly stay. Serviced apartments are usually operated by a small group which makes it challenging to implement something on a large scale, this could mean that cooperation between serviced apartments could enable a shift towards more sustainable practices.

Customers: The customers (leisure, business travellers and companies) are the ones that play a role in demanding more sustainable apartments from providers. Furthermore, B2B serviced apartment customers can also incorporate sustainable stays into their strategic objectives considering CSR (corporate social responsibility).

Regulators: Regulators can both become enablers as well as cause obstacles with regards to implementing sustainable practices in general. In the tourism industry on both the national as well as an international level, such as the European Union, there are regulatory and policy changes being made to incentivize sustainable tourism.

(Online) Travel agents: (Online) travel agents are the ones presenting the profiles of serviced apartment providers on their platform or company and fulfil the role of connecting the customer with the serviced apartment provider. There is a minimal role reserved for them as the stakeholder with the least control with regards to implementation. What they can do however is actively search and promote sustainable apartments in order to appeal to customers and provide them with an added value.

What can serviced apartment providers do?

With all the earlier mentioned stakeholders it’s important to synergize sustainable practices in order to provide a completely sustainable apartment or come as close to it as possible. Sustainability in the serviced apartment sector can be divided into two types, one of them is conventional apartment providers who strive to become more sustainable at a later stage and the second type is serviced apartments that are already built with sustainability in mind. Some of the things that serviced apartments can do is choosing the right suppliers and is essential for a sustainable serviced apartment. What has to be taken into account are their ethical values as a supplier and if their products are sustainably produced. By reducing energy and water consumption for unnecessary use, it's possible to save on scarce resources.

So, all in all, we can say that in general, the tourism industry has a long way to go to fully implement sustainable practices but there is progress being made towards reaching it.

Are you curious about how large your carbon footprint is? The WWF provides a useful tool to calculate how much CO2 you are emitting per year. If you would like to house your employees in a sustainable apartment feel free to contact us so we can help you out.

 

By Selcuk Salman

 

Sources:

Oceaneering.com

TheWorldCounts.com

Cbss.org

Unep.fr