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Observations on the serviced apartment sector during the corona crisis

How has the corporate travel behavior changed since the outbreak?

Travel on hold: Recent corporate and governmental restrictions make it hard to continue business travel activities during the crisis. We have seen how some companies, mostly in the consultancy sector, are completely replacing business travel with remote work (home office), which translates into a drop in requests. But as the taken regulatory measures are proving to be effective, the volume of requests is slowly returning.

Project rescheduling: Due to the high relevance and size of some project, business travel continues to be relevant in sectors like manufacturing. This resulted in 2/3 of existing bookings at Acomodeo remained during the lockdown. Regarding the remaining 1/3, our observation is that the majority (82%) of cancelled bookings were actually postponed.

Serviced apartments stay open: We have seen many serviced apartments scaling down but remaining open for business. Together with the actions taken aligned with governmental guidelines, additional measures have been taken by most operators. These include extra cleaning of common areas like elevators and longer empty-room periods between guests. Our assessment is that 60% to 70% of serviced apartment providers continue to operate, although this differs by country and region.

Extraordinary pricing measures: Serviced apartment operators are working hard to improve the appeal of their accommodation. At the moment we are observing a drop in prices of up to 50% of the ADR (average daily rate). However this widely varies across service levels, operational models, brands and regions. Other operators have started to offer free booking-rescheduling, enabling a win-win situation for both travellers and suppliers.

Summarizing all the key learnings:

  • Most companies have put their business travel on hold until further notice
  • 1/3 of existing bookings were modified (cancelled, shortened, postponed, etc.)
  • 82% of cancelled bookings were postponed due to the high relevance of the projects
  • 60%-70% of serviced apartments remain open during the lockdown
  • Some operators offer up to 50% lower prices
  • Other operators are proactively approaching travellers with free rebooking options
Figure 1: International vs. Domestic volume of bookings by calendar week at Acomodeo

International vs. Domestic Bookings at Acomodeo during 2020

The international and domestic booking trend lines continue to fluctuate during the crisis. The severity of the lockdown reached its peak during calendar weeks 12-15, at which no international bookings were registered.

Figure 2: Requested Gross Booking Volume (GBV) by calendar week at Acomodeo

Gross Bookings Volume Requested at Acomodeo during 2020

The volume of bookings dropped significantly since the outbreak news, reaching all-time lows at the start of the lockdown phase during calendar week 12. Nevertheless a trend of steady increase can be identified during the recent weeks, which serves as an indicator for stable recovery.

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