Industry

Real Innovation: Improving the customer experience in mobility

How many times has the word “innovation” been mentioned in global mobility?

It seems from talking to long-time industry experts that every so often, a new company will announce the latest and greatest innovation with great fanfare. But take a closer look and most of the time it’s a nice improvement, sure. But does the innovation change the game? No.

This familiar scenario is currently playing out in the corporate housing space.  Platforms have been built touting a new way of doing things. But is it true innovation, or are we simply observing a digitization of an analog process? Of course applying technology to a manual process is certainly an improvement - but does it truly improve the process for everyone involved?

At Urbandoor we are changing the traditional process of corporate housing to improve the experience for everyone involved. Looking back on our first ERC conference a year ago, we’re excited at the progress and what we’re bringing to Atlanta this year.

TRANSPARENCY

Part of our path to improvement is to allow RMC teams to enjoy greater visibility to the corporate housing process. With Urbandoor, the relocation service teams receive automated updates throughout the process including; check-in notifications, issue occurrences, and resolutions, and visibility to in the notice to vacate phase.

We’ve automated many processes that today are manual but we didn’t stop there. The organization of those processes and the notifications of their outcomes is all in your Urbandoor dashboard.

INSTANT BOOKING

With true instant booking launching this summer, RMCs no longer have to wait for options to present to the transferring employee. Now you can present options instantly, or even instantly book and secure an apartment for a last minute transferee. This helps you offer a differentiated experience versus traditional sourcing and combat the fact more and more transferees are asking to find temporary housing themselves.  It is not a secret that Airbnb wants into this market. Urbandoor’s goal is to not only help an RMC be the hero for their client but also enable corporate housing companies to easily offer and operate their apartments and be competitive in this quickly evolving market.

Our recent partnerships in the travel management space reflect this philosophy and how we are changing the traditional process in corporate housing. Find out more at urbandoor.co or come see us this week in Atlanta at the ERC Americas Conference.

The Disruption of Serviced Apartments

Disruption is a word that you tend to throw around when it isn’t clear where you should be heading. The companies below represent aggressive and early leaders in driving disruption through technology that led to full-blown market transitions.  

Many of these companies had nothing to lose, or more importantly, to protect, when they launched. As they’ve grown, you can see that continued disruption comes from their culture leveraging technology and data to accelerate their business. In many cases, they end up disrupting their own products or services before their competitors.  

The interesting question is how did the leaders in each of these industries leverage their strengths to compete? Did they bring lawsuits over intellectual property or did they innovate? Did they discover a way to accelerate the transition through their existing customer base or did they try to capture every last dollar they could from customers before it was too late? Did they reimagine their business and how it should look to compete or did they react once they were forced to? It’s already clear that GM, Ford, VW and others are focusing on electric vehicles as well as autonomous driving. Today, this clearly seems like a smart move but is it too late? To answer that, we need only to look at some sales numbers for the vertical segment that Tesla competes in. 

Source: Company reports via  @ValaAfshar

Source: Company reports via @ValaAfshar

What is the market transition we see occurring in Serviced Apartments? It is the idea that technology can connect people and information so much easier than before. Information is real-time and anything you need to accomplish is available right there on your mobile device. Airbnb is a major catalyst for this transition in the accommodations space, and the list goes on and on, as there are countless consumer platforms making a profound effect on how individuals find accommodations globally. Serviced Apartments have an important characteristic, though, that is lost in these consumer platforms:  Service.

Since starting Urbandoor, our focus has been entirely on building a platform that could help grow the global serviced apartment industry through this differentiation. This started with us learning and working with the full supply chain from corporate housing companies to multi-family operators. It also required us to build a team that understood the needs of Relocation firms and Travel Management companies, as well as corporate travel and mobility managers.

After speaking and working with some of the best providers in Serviced Apartments, I am excited to see that many recognize the market transition and are actively looking at how to leverage their strength in service to capitalize on it.

Many people look at technology as the center. The reality though is that without people doing incredible work every day, technology is only an enabler. This is why it’s incredibly important to make sure your business does two things.

  1. Understands the role of technology vs. service

  2. Leverages technology that understands service

Urbandoor is a platform that learns. We help pass information quickly among relocation firms and their clients, mobility managers and transferees, Serviced Apartment providers and their guests. At every moment we are looking to see how we can do this better through data, feedback and ultimately growth in volume. Service is the differentiator and we are excited to make sure that through our technology, service can take center stage.