- Homesickness and unhealthy lifestyles are turning corporates against traditional business travel accommodation options, new UK research has discovered;
- A survey from B2B apartment booking platform, Homelike, found almost one in three (30%) UK travellers would prefer to stay in a furnished apartment over a hotel for stays of over 30 days;
- In fact more than a third of Baby Boomers aged 55+ (40%) and Gen Z (41%) travellers would actually choose a furnished apartment over a hotel, it found.
Its survey, based on responses from 1,000 business travellers in the UK who had experienced business trips in a city away from home which were over seven days in duration, found that a quarter of business travellers stay in other cities for over thirty days. The majority (30%) of long-term travellers were also found to be responsible for booking their own accommodation - only 17% rely on a dedicated travel manager or travel support platform, while a slightly higher number (19%) use a PA or office manager.
The top factor impacting the accommodation choice for apartments rather than hotels was a central city location (43%), followed by the quality of the property (42%) - that it is well kept, modern and has high quality furnishing – and cost (36%). Other important factors were property size (24%) and proximity to green spaces (21%).
These factors are supported the apparent mindset of business travellers. Traveller wellness is becoming a munch more widely discussed factor in the industry, but the ability to travel remains a key driver for staff. Recent surveys have highlighted that nearly 40% of millennial and Gen Z workers wouldn’t actually accept a job that doesn’t include travel and just under a third of workers (30%) would even accept lower salaries in exchange for more business trips.
But travel, especially frequent visits or long visits do take a toll on travellers. The Homelike survey finds that the most disliked part of long-term business travel is homesickness, i.e. missing family and friends, an issue highlighted by one in three respondents (32%). This is followed by feeling unhealthy, namely eating out, drinking and not having access to a gym (17%) as well as general stress (15%).
There are gender differences too. The survey shows that female business travellers rate social life higher than men (24% want their family or partner to live with them while travelling versus 13% of men; 11% want to be allowed to host friends in their accommodation versus 8% of men). Meanwhile, men appear to prioritise their health (11% want to be located near a gym versus 7% of women; 18% want their accommodation to have cooking facilities versus 15% of women).
There are also generational differences too. More than a third of Baby Boomers aged 55+ (40%) and Gen Z (41%) travellers would actually choose a furnished apartment over a hotel, according to the survey responses. Meanwhile, millennials are most invested in creating a “home away from home” when travelling: 29% want to be located near a green space, 23% want to be able to host their family and partner and one in five (21%) also want to take their pets with them.
It is the Baby Boomers generation that appear to suffer the most from homesickness when travelling for long periods more than any others (52%), while Gen Z (22%) hate the stress it causes and those aged 45-54 despise feeling unhealthy (23%).
The findings actually support the reasons why Homelike was first established in the German city of Colohgne back in 2015. “We founded Homelike because we were fed up with travelling for business and either having to live long-term in a hotel room or attempt to book an apartment through providers that predominantly work offline,” explains Dustin Figge, CEO and co-founder of the business.
“Our research proves what we already knew, that people are moving away from booking a hotel for 30+ night stays and are instead looking for a higher quality, more comfortable experience when travelling long-term for business. The market needs to evolve to reflect that,” he adds.
Homelike last year expanded into the UK market with the opening of a London office and it could expand to other UK cities in the future. Earlier this year it selected Barcelona as its third office location to expand its presence on the Iberian Peninsula.
It currently offers a portfolio of 45,000 furnished business apartments in seven countries and more than 100 cities on its technology platform. It claims to offer an end-to-end booking process that makes renting furnished housing for 30 days+ much like booking a hotel room, but, it highlights that comes “with an average 40% cost saving”.