5 Elements to Consider When Building a Serviced Accommodation Programme in India

Beautiful, vibrant India—where a charming culture meets a thriving commercial hub, attracting investors from across the globe— eagerly racing to tap into India’s vast potential.  

As investment pours in by the billions, this thriving country has become an increasingly popular destination for business travellers, driving a surge in demand for furnished accommodation solutions to house extended-stay travellers across its major cities. Despite India’s growth in popularity, building a successful accommodation programme isn’t as simple as it looks. There are a number of essential elements you’ll need to consider if you want to ensure you deliver a cost-effective programme which balances traveller safety and wellbeing with productivity.  

In this article we’ll explore what serviced accommodations are, how your travel or mobility programme might benefit from them, and our five do’s and don’ts when building a successful fully furnished accommodation programme in India.  

What Are Extended-Stay Serviced Accommodations in India? 

Serviced accommodations typically come as a self-contained, fully furnished apartment within a residential or hotel-like establishment, offering a wide-range of amenities such as a fully-equipped kitchen or kitchenette, laundry facilities and larger living spaces.  

Serviced accommodations typically come as a self-contained, fully furnished apartment within a residential or hotel-like establishment, offering a wide-range of amenities such as a fully-equipped kitchen or kitchenette, laundry facilities and larger living spaces

Extended-stay serviced apartments in India typically come in the form of apartments within a 4* or 5* international hotel brand and “corporate housing” options which offer a collection of rooms within a shared residential complex. These are the two ends of the temporary living spectrum as  â€śmiddle of the range” options are very limited in India.  

Despite this variance in product, both long-term and short-term accommodation types generally benefit from amenities such as weekly housekeeping, meet & greets upon arrival and a bed & breakfast style board, however international hotel brands typically provide access to additional amenities such as gyms, restaurants, meeting rooms and enhanced security facilities.

What’s So Great About Them? 

Simply put, the serviced accommodation product by its very nature provides the capability to enhance the guest experience when compared to other forms of accommodation solutions like hotels, by providing the space and amenities to live just as comfortably, flexibly and independently as they would at home. But it doesn’t end at the guest experience—the benefits of implementing a furnished accommodation solution to your travel programme are endless and can range from cost all the way to sustainability.  

5 Do’s and Don’ts When Building Your Accommodation Programme in India  

We’ve dipped our toes into what furnished apartments are and how they might support your extended-stay objectives, but what are some of the things you’ll need to know to really reap the benefits and ultimately, taking your business travel or mobility programme to new heights. 

1. Do—Work with a Local Provider 

Working with a local provider who understands the nuances associated with building a serviced apartment programme in India is like gold dust in ensuring your programme is rolled out successfully. India’s diverse culture and customs make it a complex landscape to navigate, especially for international travel managers who are less familiar with  the region. Local providers don’t  only possess invaluable insights about India’s fully furnished accommodation landscape, but they also can pass on the benefits gained from their extensive local relationships and operational infrastructure. Such benefits can include:  

  • The capabilities and expertise to claim back on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) - only registered entities can do this!

  • Creating exceptional guest experiences via on-the-ground teams who can offer advice and service specific to the local market.

  • The ability to find the best serviced apartments at the most competitive and cost-effective prices, via extensive relationships with local apartment suppliers

  • The capacity to effectively vet and manage third-party apartment providers, ensuring guests stay in quality apartments which are safe, secure and that promote wellbeing 

2. Don’t—Skip Extensive Property Vetting 

Vetting apartments in India is a crucial step in ensuring a safe and comfortable stay for guests.

Vetting apartments in India is a crucial step in ensuring a safe and comfortable stay for guests. The quality of standards can vary significantly across the country, and expectations of standards can vary substantially based on whether business travellers are domestic or international. By thoroughly assessing not just quality of the apartment itself, but the safety and security of its external surroundings, it’s paramount to work with a partner who can verify apartment conditions, locations and reviews. Such careful scrutiny not only helps travel managers comply with duty of care laws, but it also helps safeguard guests against unpleasant surprises, helping to put their minds at ease amongst the stressors and unfamiliarity that comes with extended-stay travel away from home.

3. Do—Choose Locations with Proximity to the Office 

In India, the location of apartments is king. This is primarily because India’s key cities often grapple with heavy traffic congestion, making it difficult to get around, especially during rush hour. 

It’s important to determine your travellers’ unique priorities throughout their assignment, and ensure they stay in an apartment which is going to make it easy for them to travel to and from such priorities. Don’t get caught out at the first hurdle—it’s easy to assume all business travellers should be located next to their office, but a successful accommodation programme takes into consideration the unique circumstances of each individual traveller. Some individuals might work from home three days a week. Others with children will need to stay close to places of education. One size does not fill all. By considering these unique circumstances, not only will this allow for a more efficient use of working hours, it can also reduce assignee stress by allowing travellers more time to rest and make the most of their down time, which ultimately translates into enhanced wellbeing and productivity at work.

4. Don’t Underestimate The Value of Managing Traveller Expectations  

Picture this: one of your international interns is visiting India for the first time.  They’ve just landed and are on the way to their serviced apartment in Bangalore. The streets are crowded, drivers are honking their horns, and a ginormous cow just strolled in front of the car. While this is completely normal and part of daily life in India, a traveller who doesn’t have their expectations sufficiently managed might be shocked by such scenes, leaving them feeling anxious and on edge, ultimately disrupting the productivity of their assignment.  

A local serviced accommodation provider can help you manage these expectations by educating both you and your mobile workforce on the cultural quirks associated with living in India, as well as by providing advice ahead of guests’ arrivals to ensure they are mentally prepared for what is to come. By taking such steps, and eliminating potential stressors, guests are free to settle into their new home as quickly as possible, enabling them to fully immerse themselves into their work commitments without distractions.

5. Do Take a Blended Online and Offline Approach To Accommodation Management 

Within this article, you’ll notice one common denominator for a successful accommodation programme in India—it’s the local experts behind the scenes. They are the ones who make the magic happen. And while technology can be a great enabler for an efficient and streamlined serviced apartment programme, it’s important not to underestimate the role human connection plays in the delivery of an exceptional experience.  

From providing personalised end-to-end guidance and support, to offering round-the-clock service, to addressing the sense of anxiety and familiarity that comes with travelling away from home—working with a local provider who can blend the best bits of technology with the value-adding elements of a real, human connection is quite simply second to none.  

How Synergy Can Help  

At Synergy, we specialise in managing the end-to-end management of furnished accommodation programmes, wherever our clients need us to be across India, and for however long.  

Our goal is simple: to make it easy for you to achieve your business travel and mobility objectives across India without any compromise on guest experience. More specifically, Synergy can provide:  

  • Consultative, end-to-end programme management which targets your specific business travel and overall organisational objectives in India 
  • Local reservations, guest services, finance, sales and supply chain management experts to support you and your business travellers from start to finish  
  • Potential tax savings associated with your programme via Synergy’s tax registration across Telengana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Haryana  
  • Access to an extensive network of fully vetted apartments across India including Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai and Gurugram.  
  • Access to high-touch service teams who go above and beyond to deliver on your objectives 
  • Innovative and flexible accommodation management solutions to meet the ever-evolving requirements of the modern day business traveller 

Ready to learn more about how Synergy can help you build or enhance your existing accommodation programme in India? Tell us what you need and our local teams will be happy to support you.  

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