As the world is getting closer, travel firmly established itself as one of the largest industries in the world, contributing almost USD 8 trillion to the global economy. It employs over 300 million people, which means about one in 10 working persons is in travel.
Business travel is one of the most important facets of this fundamental industry and it has been growing at an exponential rate. In 2017, business travelers spent over USD 1.3 trillion on their trips. By 2022, the number will jump to USD 1.7 trillion.
Since the beginning of history, the human desire to travel always fueled explorations and societal progress. Likewise, the rise of digital technologies are now benefiting travel itself. From the unstoppable rise of the sharing economy to biometrics for quick airport check-in, digital disruption is shaking up the industry.
In the meantime, the needs of travelers evolve as fast as the digital technologies.
Best of Both Worlds for Business Accommodation
“Nowadays, people not only travel more — but they also stay longer in the places they travel to,” says Anna Paccagnella, Marketing and Executive Manager of City Pop, a Swiss start-up that offers innovative living spaces for a period of time between 4 and 52 weeks.
While the sharing economy disrupted travel, it doesn’t always meet the needs of busy mid-term travelers. Both hotels and the sharing economy apartments offer unique advantages and disadvantages.Anna Paccagnella, Marketing and Executive Manager of City Pop
Hotels have perks like 24/7 reception, housekeeping, food, and maintenance services. However, many travelers feel hotels often come with an impersonal experience. Frequent travelers spending an extended amount of time in hotels might feel alienated and disconnected from the local communities.
On the other hand, renting a unit over a house-sharing platform can feel cozier and more humanizing — especially for frequent business travelers who might need to stay more than a few days in a destination. As the micro-living trend is taking off, many already favor simpler dwellings where one has access to everything they need in a small, yet neat place.
That said, there are downsides to renting another person’s home too: Travelers in a hurry might miss out on the essential services such as cleaning and maintenance. Furthermore, the lack of a reception area and the hassle of carrying keys might add another layer of stress.
What’s It Like to Stay At a City Pop Apartment?
Through a future-proof concept, City Pop offers a middle way to tap into these advantages while minimizing the disadvantages. The Swiss start-up urges consumers to “re-think” the way they’re living.
“In the 21st century, we are smarter than ever. Our work, our passions, our life choices, lead us to optimize the resources of space and timing of life’s management, to travel from city to city frequently and for extended periods,” states the company’s website. “The answer to this social revolution could only be a paradigm shift, where new types of housing are able to meet the demand of centrality, match a modern lifestyle, ensure flexibility and freedom of movement, and must not turn into multi-yearly contracts or longer and longer commutes.”
Hence, the company provides new, fully equipped apartments of up to 35 meter-square, which come with a workspace, kitchen, bathroom, as well as a comfortable bed and a sitting area. These City Pop units aren’t hotels, even though they’re designed to match the standards of a 4-star hotel. However, they offer an extensive range of on-demand services. These services go beyond that of a luxury hotel and they include housekeeping, laundry, private parking, bike-sharing, grocery shopping, and even tailor-made health insurance.
Flexibility is At City Pop’s Core
All these units, as well as the services City Pop offers, are available for booking via the City Pop app. This allows all the travelers to pick the services they need, and leave the unnecessary ones out — which makes their stay customized and more cost-efficient.
Furthermore, once travelers book a unit and the services they need via the app, this mobile app also becomes their keys. Through their smartphones, lodgers can gain access to their temporary homes on-site or remotely.
A holistic, all-in-one app also makes the booking process more favorable to house-sharing platforms — which often require the approval of the host and can be a lengthy process.
Once booked, these high-tech access solutions not only eliminate the need for full-time reception staff, but also provides a hassle-free entrance experience, and boost safety. Thanks to these technologies, the entire process of lodging – from booking to check-out – is without any contact to a receptionist or a landlord. Nevertheless, City Pop continues to support the guests seamlessly whenever they need, via their app.
Mobile Access Is a Win-Win For the Hospitality Sector
According to Stefan Ammann, General Manager of dormakaba Switzerland, the winners of the hospitality industry will be those who tap into the mobile access revolution. He believes a key-free access is key for boosting the customer satisfaction and loyalty for many reasons.
“Especially when people travel for business, there’s usually a lot going on in their schedules. People often lose or misplace a key, and this can cause an unpleasant experience,” Ammann says. “But they’re much less likely to lose their mobile phones. So, mobile access will make their everyday lives much easier.”
Mobile access has benefits to businesses beyond happy customers too.
“Customers have to use the app several times a day,” Stefan Ammann says. “This means they are in touch with the company and its daily offers. This would be perfect for companies to promote the other services the customers might need — such as laundry, bike or car sharing, or food delivery.”
So, it’s a win-win for both sides.Stefan Ammann, General Manager of dormakaba Switzerland