Mobility

The future is now: Reflecting on ERC Americas and a week in Atlanta

As we are now back in California I’m reflecting on a great week in Atlanta and our third ERC conference.

Our team was excited to speak with so many RMCs, Corporate Housing Providers, Mobility managers and fellow technology vendors. The one conversation that kept coming up was:  “Where is our industry headed in the future?”. The exciting part to me is that the future is now -  and this is what drives us at Urbandoor. Our focus on making it easy for corporate housing providers to offer and operate serviced apartments for relocation isn’t just digitizing a bid process. We’re making finding and experiencing a serviced apartment as easy as booking a hotel on Booking.com or Expedia.  Essentially, we are doing for apartments what Opentable did for booking a table at a restaurant: Make it so accessible that you make serviced apartments your first choice.  Many corporate housing providers today are spending meaningful time integrating with platforms to offload their vacancy on leisure travel sites that require updating price and availability daily.  We’re excited that providers on Urbandoor are instead investing their time in Urbandoor to deliver this real-time booking experience for relocation companies and their clients versus a few leisure travel stays.  No need to wait, the future is here today.  

We hosted a panel on Wednesday with a great dialogue between Robyn Joliat from ABODA and Andrew Livingstone from Greystar. What really came out during this conversation, was how the demand for alternative accommodations is growing and progressive multifamily owners and operators, like Greystar, are working to make it easier to open access to their inventory. Today the process is complicated and cumbersome and even the best providers like ABODA, put large amounts of resources into acquiring inventory every year. One of the providers in the audience even stated that “they felt like a vendor versus a customer” in many cases even though they were the one writing the check.  This is a challenge when Corporate Housing Providers sign tens of thousands of leases every year and they aren’t getting the relationship they need. If, through the introduction of new tools and technology, this process can be simplified, then providers can streamline the supply chain and put more time into delivering great experiences, not chasing leases around. We’re excited about the opportunities to contribute to the growth of relocation and we have a lot planned for the summer to make it easier to offer and operate serviced apartments.


I can’t end without thanking the ERC team and while I’m sure I’ll leave people out, a big thanks to Micki, Cici, Shab and everyone else who helped us with our booth, panel preparation and everything else they did to make our week smooth and productive.  We’re excited. The future is now.

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.