Skift Take

Demand for extended stay and alternative accommodation options is on the rise in the business travel sector. But according to Bridgestreet CEO & President Sean Worker, not all extended stay inventory is created equal.

Demand for extended stay housing, defined as visits of longer than seven nights, continues to grow. According to the Wall Street Journal, the extended stay sector’s revenue has enjoyed consistent year-over-year growth over the past five years, rising by 13 percent in 2017 to $3.62 billion. Meanwhile, shifting business traveler habits and a growing receptiveness to sharing economy products are making the sector increasingly attractive and visible to the corporate travel managers who oversee business travel policy decisions. As noted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), 30 percent of businesses now permit employees to use some form of alternative accommodations while traveling.

All of this has been good news for Bridgestreet, a 20+ year-old organization focused on the extended stay corporate hospitality space. In fact, the topic of extended stay accommodations was front and center at the 2018 Skift Tech Forum panel, titled “The Bold New World of Seven-Plus Night Stays,” during which Bridgestreet CEO & President Sean Worker joined Skift founder and CEO Rafat Ali for a conversation about the future of the extended stay and corporate hospitality sector.

As Worker explained during the panel, Bridgestreet’s extended stay platform satisfies a unique need for its corporate clients. For one, the company has access to the broadest range of seven-plus night accommodation inventory of anyone in the extended stay sector. “On the supply side, we’ve added thousands of suppliers and are on the road to millions of room-nights that can be consumed easily for seven-nights plus,” said Worker.

This stands in contrast to many competing extended stay options, which are typically distributed by means of a confusing patchwork of online hotel sites and corporate travel tools. “That’s been a big issue, because it’s all been siloed,” said Worker. “You’ve had to go to an individual hospitality brand, a sharing economy brand, and then jump out of your environment as opposed to being able to consume it all in one location.”

On top of this, a significant number of corporate travel managers must ensure their employees’ accommodation choices meet minimum organizational standards in terms of housing quality, safety, and pricing transparency. That means that renting a futon in a stranger’s spare bedroom may not cut it with most corporate travel departments.

“You get the companies that want to be early adopters, but it just doesn’t fit in their policy or transaction stack or their legal test,” said Worker. “We’ve solved for that with background checks and vetted and curated supply. We only do business with other businesses [instead of individuals]. That puts us in a unique position to deliver high-quality supply to a highly curated demand stack.”

Where does this leave Bridgestreet in a corporate travel environment where demand for extended stay options seems likely to increase? As Worker sees it, the company’s deep industry relationships and unique value proposition speak for themselves. “Our customer base is built up over 20 years, and there’s an 88 percent retention rate. Once they’re embedded with us, they stick with us.”

Watch the full discussion below.

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Tags: BridgeStreet, extended stay, skift tech forum, stf2018

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