Starting a corporate housing business can be a lucrative opportunity, especially in cities with a lot of business travelers and relocating employees. Corporate housing provides fully furnished apartments for short and long-term stays, giving travelers an alternative to hotels.
Research the Industry
Before launching your business, research the corporate housing industry in depth. Learn about current trends, pricing models, and the competitive landscape. You’ll need to understand your target market and what sets you apart. Conduct competitive analysis to see what amenities and services other providers offer.
Craft Your Business Plan
Every new business needs a business plan to determine feasibility and map out operations. Outline your corporate housing business model, ideal location(s), startup costs, target market, competitive edge, marketing plan, and financial projections. Define your branding and identity. Detail operational logistics like hiring staff, insurance, and technologies.
Obtain Proper Licensing and Permits
Most areas require special licensing and permits to legally operate corporate housing. Regulations vary by state, county, and city. Common requirements include business licenses, short-term rental permits, hotel occupancy taxes, landlord registrations, and zoning permits. Some cities ban or restrict short-term rentals, so research regulations thoroughly.
Find and Furnish Properties
The foundation of a corporate housing business is its rental properties. Determine what type of properties you’ll offer, like apartments, condos, or single-family homes. Outline minimum standards for unit sizes, amenities, locations, etc. Then research available rental inventory in your target area(s). Estimate costs to furnish and equip the units. Design each space to be functional yet comfortable and welcoming.
Market Your Corporate Housing
Effective marketing is vital to attracting corporate clients. Start with a professional website showcasing your units and services. Reach out to local businesses to form partnerships. Get listed on commercial property listing sites for corporate housing. Use SEO strategies and social media marketing. Consider pay-per-click ads, print ads, and local event sponsorships as well. Focus on promoting your advantages over hotels.
Establish Booking and Payment Systems
Look into corporate housing management software to handle online bookings, rates, calendars, and payments. Make sure your website has online reservation capabilities. Offer easy and flexible payment plans. Set policies for deposits, cancellations, extensions, and billing. Ensure all finances, reporting, taxes, and insurance are handled properly.
Provide Excellent Customer Service
The guest experience makes or breaks your business. Train staff to deliver exceptional customer service and hospitality. Provide 24/7 guest support. Maintain impeccable cleaning standards. Handle maintenance issues immediately. Send pre-stay communications and departure surveys. Pay attention to feedback and continually refine your service approach. Offer loyalty discounts for return and corporate clients.
By following these key steps, you can successfully launch and grow your own corporate housing business. Conduct in-depth planning, comply with regulations, attract clients, and focus on customer satisfaction to build a thriving company in this industry. With hard work and smart strategies, your corporate housing venture can be very fruitful.
What are the typical startup costs for a corporate housing business?
Startup costs often range from $50,000 to $150,000. Key expenses include rental property, furniture, licensing and permits, legal fees, insurance, software, marketing, and initial staffing.
What locations are best suited for corporate housing?
The best areas are major metro cities with strong tourism and business traffic. Look for cities with corporate headquarters, convention centers, universities, and hospitals that attract business travelers.
How do I set my rates and pricing models?
Research competitors’ rates in your area. Base pricing on unit size, amenities, location, peak demand, and minimum stays. Offer weekly and monthly discounts. Create corporate partnership rates.
What legal issues should I be aware of?
Be compliant with all permitting and licensing regulations. Review leases and liability insurance needs carefully. Understand laws regarding taxes, rent controls, tenant rights, zoning, and more based on your area.
How do I market my corporate housing business?
Effective marketing strategies include search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click ads, social media marketing, local partnerships, website listings, print ads, direct outreach, and event sponsorships.
Launching a corporate housing business allows you to provide an in-demand service while running your own company. Follow the steps outlined here, like obtaining proper licensing, establishing booking systems, marketing your brand, and delivering five-star service. With careful planning and hard work, you can tap into the lucrative corporate housing industry and build a thriving business.