With disruptions in the economy hitting businesses, companies have started exploring cheaper options of overseas corporate stay. They are enquiring about home stay options for employees for longer stay. The industry is confident that by next year home stay bookings will catch up with India Inc.
“Post-demonetisation and GST, corporate travel growth has come down. While companies have not cut their business travel volumes per se, there is an increased pressure on reducing the cost. Companies realise that there is a need to optimise the money spent on corporate travel,” said Balaji Ramakrishnan, founder of Insteract, a corporate travel service provider.
This year travel service providers are getting more enquiries on alternate accommodation options, he said. For short stay, companies still put up their employees in hotels. When it comes to longer stay of more than a week and going up to months, serviced apartments are usually preferred.
There are expensive serviced apartments too. But on an average these apartments are cost-effective compared to hotel rooms for a longer stay. In comparison with serviced apartments, home stays are further cheaper by 25 to 30 per cent in many of the developed markets.
“In developed countries like the US, home stay market is mature and there is enough inventory available even in cities. While we have started seeing enquiries coming for home stay, by next year we hope bookings will start happening,” said Ramakrishnan.
“For leisure travel, home stays are a preferred option. When it comes to corporate travel, companies are careful about security. We are getting enquiries about home stays, bookings have also started. But in places where hotels are available at better rates clients still prefer hotels. The cost factor is important,” said Karan Anand, head, relationships, Cox and Kings.
Ramakrishnan said the trend is more pronounced in the technology sector and that too among medium-sized companies. However, in the domestic market home stay is still at a nascent phenomenon. There are a few aggregators who list the inventory for the leisure market like Airbnb. But the prices are still high.