The whilst the country has almost in lockdown for 12 months, like many others, the corporate housing and contractor accommodation markets have been hugely impacted. The State of Contractor Accommodation and Corporate Housing Report discusses some current trends identified in speaking to teams and companies booking accommodation.
Findings discovered that contractor and corporate housing supply has been shrinking, with a growing tendency of companies booking whole property accommodation to host the team in a few locations and / or units. Additionally, companies seem to realise how important it is to protect specialists and isolate them, creating a higher demand for smaller accommodation units. The report also shows the role of flexibility and partnership in the current market situation, with an additional section discussing Brexit and how it is likely to affect the property accommodation industry.
Shrinking Supply in Uncertain Times
Many locations have experienced a shrinking accommodation supply. This can be seen on booking platforms with a reduction of over 70% in certain areas (eg. London). Less affected towns are still facing a 20% minimum reduction as a result of lockdown, restrictions and host concerns. Over 50% of property providers focused on the contractor and corporate housing market are feeling concerned and worried.
Embracing the Bubble Principal
Contractors are opting to stay away from home in bubbles with whole houses and apartments preferred over hotels and shared spaces. Guests also are preferring long-term stays, even over weekends, to help maintain the bubble as opposed to returning home in lockdown. We have also seen changes in company policy opening up hotel only policies to pleasing employees, with more privacy, space, and comfort in whole property accommodation.
In order to prevent contamination from larger bubbles, specialists have been housed alone or with only a few people. There is currently an increased demand for smaller housing units for less than two people.
In the first lockdown, we had our only specialist engineer on site catch COVID. This meant everything stopped.
Cancellations and changes of date are more common than ever, and adapting to them is crucial.
Flexibility on accommodation provision is also necessary: downscaling, having smaller units to isolate team members, and having extra space to accommodate new people arriving.
Sometimes we don’t know resourcing plans as they change every week of the month, we’re not expecting that to change anytime soon.
Partnership and Ease Over Cost
Covid-19 made many companies realise the real importance of partnership, trust, and ease. Partnership plays a role to help and improve processes amidst the uncertainty. Although hosts and guests have always depended on each other, Covid-19 shows the relationship is indispensable.
Similar to Covid-19, Brexit brings feelings of uncertainty for for accommodation providers. With fewer EU workers migrating to the UK, skills shortage are expected in specific areas. Companies have already implemented contingency plans with those employed through international companies. EU-based international companies with contractors working in the UK will not be affected.
The survey highlighted time and time again that although leisure accommodation for hospitality had been all but closed down, companies still had the appetitie and requirement to get their work done. Corporate housing and contractor accommodation will continue to have their place, even during the lockdown. Of course, adaptability and flexibility will be essential for the successful host, and there will exist a preference for accommodation that allows for the creation of work bubbles for specialists and critical role team members.
Serviced and contractor accommodation is almost mandatory for companies during the lockdown. However, they are beginning to realise that this option is viable in terms of cost, team relations, and productivity. Many employers indicated that they will not return to hotels, even after the crisis.