In this edition of our continuing series of interviews, Hamza Abdel, Specialist/Community Manager for CorporateStays.com, spoke to us about the importance of applied technology, developing trust, and the diversity of CorporateStays.com’s clientele.
1) Can you give a brief description of what your company does and why it is unique in the marketplace?
At CorporateStays.com, we specialize in executive housing, offering high-end, fully-serviced apartments to business and leisure travelers. We offer guests the experience of a hotel while they enjoy the freedom of a private apartment. This cost-efficient solution offers our clients a complete one-stop shop for a variety of services, ranging from car rentals to everyday needs (such as grocery shopping). We now have over 500 properties worldwide in our inventory.
A lot of aspects make us unique in the marketplace. First, our exponential growth, our passion for innovation and customer service, and applying new technologies to our industry and procedures — we like to pride ourselves as the youngest and hippest corporate-housing company. Another thing that really makes us unique is that we own and operate our properties independent of any third party, which gives us a lot of space for flexibility and works in favor of our clients. 🙂
2) What do you think is happening to the furnished rental business? Challenges?
I think that the furnished rental business is changing radically due to the power of collaboration on the Internet. 10 years ago we were skeptical about putting our real names online, five years ago our credit cards, and today we are ready to share our homes with complete strangers online. This change is having great effects on our industry. If you look at the success websites such as Airbnb have had, you’ll quickly realize that our business went from being completely outsourced and exclusive to relocated employees, to being completely open source like everything else on the Internet. The way we keep our competitive edge is by creating standards so our guests know exactly what to expect each time without exceptions; this standardization builds trust and loyalty.
Having said that, we truly believe that, today, the new currency for success is “trust.” The challenge for everyone is to keep strong credibility and build relationships by engaging clients online and offline.
3) How cost conscious are your clients?
The demographics we serve are so varied that there’s really no way of answering this question. Some of our clients come from oil rich countries, and their top concerns are usually luxury, amenities, and proximity to their offices and business meetings. In contrast, some of our clients are young foreign students from abroad who are very cost-conscious because of their limited budget.
4) What is the optimal experience you want your clients to have?
You know the wonderful feeling of relief we get when we think of “Home” after a long, gloomy day of work? That is the exact comforting and reassuring feeling we want our guests to have when they think of our properties.
5) Any future plans or developments for the business?
Our plan is to keep doing what we’re good at while keeping an open mind. So, basically: acquiring properties, making sure they meet our standards so our guests can feel welcome and at home; expanding to more markets; and offering our guests the best customer service.
6) What do you like to call your short-term renters/corporate-housing clients?
Our Guests. 🙂
7) How do you refer to your units? Do you refer to them as corporate rentals or furnished residences?
We are extremely dynamic and flexible in our approach and how we cater to our clients, so it depends on who we’re talking to. If an independent traveler calls us to inquire about one of our properties, we will refer to them as furnished apartments. On the other hand, if a human resource manager calls us, we will refer to them as corporate rentals. Both really mean the same thing!