As the consulting industry faces pressure to trim travel costs while maintaining a high level of service, short term apartments have emerged as a leading cost-saver with all the perks of a leading hotel – and then some.
The current economic climate and recent public scrutiny of travel and entertainment spending has placed corporate travel on the chopping block. The U.S. corporate travel market fell 15 percent in 2009, an estimated industry loss of $85 billion, according to PhoCusWright, a global travel research firm based in Sherman, Conn.
In the consulting industry where travel is a vital component to the business, consulting firms find themselves in a juggling act between meeting clients’ demands and keeping billable travel expenses under control. At the same time, most consultants still travel more than 150 days per year and constantly struggle to maintain work-life balance. Some 85 percent of recruiters have seen candidates reject a job offer because it wouldn’t include enough work-life balance, according to a recent survey by the Association of Executive Search Consultants. Some 90 percent of recruiters say work-life balance considerations are more important now than they were five years ago.
Today, consulting firms must establish and adhere to a work-life balance policy in order to acquire and retain world-class consulting talent. That includes providing travel accommodations that feel more like living and less like work. Corporate housing has emerged as a way to better manage extended travel due to consulting projects. Companies that prescribe short term apartments for their travelers can realize savings of up to 15 percent over typical hotel accommodations. What’s more, consultants can enjoy more comforts of home in addition to high-quality amenities they expect during extended travel.
Clients Push Back on Travel Expenses
About half of consultants surveyed report that clients are pushing back on travel expenses, according to a survey by Consulting magazine. Nearly one-third of consultants report that clients are setting limitations on travel expenses as part of engagement contracts. Roughly one in five consultants say that clients are asking them to travel less or find ways to spend less on traveling. It is too early to know whether these new pressures will continue after the economy improves. However, consultants should be prepared to continue to limit or curtail their travel expenses for the foreseeable future.