Back to School, Back to Work

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They came too slowly, they went to fast – we can only be talking about the already near distant memory of the summer holidays. However, when that dusty old school bell chimes at 9am on that bleak dreaded Monday morning, it does not just signal the end of fun and games for the little ones, but also for the grown-ups too because the sad reality is that back to school also means back to work. While the children are confined to their school desks, only able to experience the sun by wistfully staring out the window, we too share in this pain as the hard reality of the harsh week-long sentence of 9 -5 life sets back in. However, even if you are one of the fortunate ones who are able to escape the desk and travel a little further afield for work, corporate travel is not always as glamorous as it is made out to be. While we all dream of global jet-setting careers, sometimes returning to that same single soulless hotel room every night is not as exciting as it is made out to be. Therefore, why not treat yourself to a serviced apartment where you can have all the space, convenience and freedom you could need? The best part about it is even if you are treating yourself, this is not reflected in the price as serviced apartments actually pose a more cost-effective option than traditional hotels. Not sold yet? Let us explain how serviced apartments can really ease those back to work, and back to business travel, blues:

  1. Having stayed in a hotel room for five weeks, I can attest to the frustration that is caused by returning to the same single room with attached bathroom every. single.night. Nowhere could feel more impersonal than a standard hotel room, and nowhere could feel more claustrophobic. However, with serviced apartments you can break far away from those four walls and to a much more welcoming, spacious environment. Composed of a bedroom, bathroom, fully-equipped lounge and kitchen, it is the little details such as the toaster to the decor to the CD player alongside these big ones that make serviced apartments really feel like a home away from home. It is no surprise that some people can stay for as long as a year, and even longer!
  2. When you stay at a hotel you tend to remember the outright expenses as being the cost of the hotel room; however do you factor in the costs of things such as those rapidly mounting restaurant bills? While your stomach may have enjoyed the indulgence, your wallet may not have. Moreover, there are just times when you really crave a good home cooked meal. This is where serviced apartments really come into their own as with their modern fully-equipped kitchens comprised of a microwave, toaster, oven and kitchen utensils, you have the flexibility and choice to be your own chef. Goodbye takeaways or unfulfilling sandwiches from the local supermarket! Whether you crave the comfort of that traditional British classic of beans on toast, or whether you fancy yourself as the next Masterchef champ, one thing for sure is that our kitchens offer you the most in culinary freedom.
  3. Nothing can be worse than coming home to an empty house. However, as serviced apartments can hold up to six persons due to their mix of double-bedrooms and/or twin bedrooms, you do not have to feel quite as alone. If you have some colleagues who are also on the move, why not collaborate and share an apartment? Not only can you eradicate the loneliness, but you can also help cut the bill as we charge per apartment, not per room. Likewise, do not worry about being at each other’s throats by the end of the week as with your own bedrooms, you still have plenty of space.
  4. Sometimes to get the best deal you have to be located far away from the action i.e. in the inconvenient outskirts of town. However, do not worry about that with The Spires because all of our apartments are in city central locations. Think we are exaggerating? Take our Edinburgh apartments, with an envious spot on Hanover Street they are literally just minutes from the bustling action of St. Andrew’s Square and Princes Street. Therefore, when you want to save on that dash to work or when you are just fancying a bit of exploring, you never have to travel far. However, just because you are in the city centre does not mean the buzz and hum of the effervescent city life will keep you awake at night. We pride ourselves on delivering the most comfortable and peaceful night’s sleep and whether you are travelling with others or by yourself, you could not be in safer locations.
  5. While we do believe that serviced apartments provide that home away from home feel, that does not mean we are leaving you to the arduous tasks associated with running a home including changing the sheets or hoovering the floor. This is because we still offer hotel services including continental breakfasts (available at request and a surcharge) and daily/weekly (location dependent) housekeeping. However, if you do enjoy the freedom of being able to wash your clothes so that they are sweet-smelling and crisp for the next working day, this is also equally possible as we provide all the amenities you could need.
  6. High-speed, reliable Wi-Fi. Need we say more?

 

For more information and to book online, visit http://www.thespires.co.uk or email us at info@thespires.co.uk 

Meet our Travelling National Sales Manager: Craig

Name: Craig Duguid

Job Title: National Sales Manager

Job Function: I am responsible for driving business into the apartments with the able assistance of my sales and reservations team.

Time with Company: 13 years this December

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How many countries/continents/cities have you visited (rough estimates allowed!)?

Ok here goes: 19 (3 of which were purely for connecting flight purposes) countries, 31 international cities and too many in the UK to count, 4 continents – mainly all for work, but some leisure

What has been your favourite country and your favourite city?

I don’t think I can pick just one as every country is so different.  I always find something I like in each place.  There are countries I have visited which I wasn’t so sure about to start with but have grown to love e.g. India.  It was a real shock to my system the first time I visited as I had never been anywhere like that before.  My first visit was to Mumbai which is so busy and hectic and the mayhem starts the minute you step off the plane, however this is something I now find so exciting and to me what makes India the place I love.  There is always something going on in Mumbai and every one of your senses is kept busy constantly.  The people are so friendly and I have made some great friends over there.  I recently visited Australia for the first time this year.  It’s somewhere I have never been too bothered about going to mainly because of the distance and the time it takes to get there, but I have to say I was absolutely blown away by it.  It is such a fantastic place with so much to do, and it has such a great feeling.  I am also a huge fan of Kuwait and Kuwait City.  I have visited it several times and again have always been made to feel so welcome and have made some great friends.

What is your favourite thing about travelling?

I love going to new places and experiencing new things and meeting new people.  As I am usually there on business I don’t always get to see as much as I would like to.  I am also a bit of a transport geek so love travelling by aeroplane and train.  I love experiencing different airlines and travelling on different aeroplanes!  Favourites so far are the Dreamliner and A380!!  I also managed to travel by train on my recent trip to India.  I travelled from Chennai to Bangalore and I have to say it was amazing.  The train was old and rickety and there was so much chaos at the stations, but it is a system that seems to work and work well.  I booked a first class ticket which cost around £30 and included a 3 course meal.

If you had to travel with only one accessory/item, what would it be?

Hate to say it, but has to be my phone.

Do you have any funny travel stories or any travel disasters?

I have not had any disasters and have too many funny stories to pick just one, however I have had a few exciting things happen: An earthquake in LA, an earthquake in New Zealand, an hurricane in Maryland (US), getting hit 3 times by lighting on a flight into Heathrow (one hit was just outside the window from me and I felt the heat) and trying to land during Hurricane Bawbag in 2011 on a flight from Gatwick to Aberdeen which got a few metres above the tarmac before the pilot decided “maybe not” and we returned to Gatwick as all airports to the north were closed – it wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences!

Travel map or travel app?

Travel app every time.  I would be lost without Google Maps!

Do you have any travel tips for both corporate or leisure tourists e.g. how to pack?

Can give for both.

Corporate – make sure you have chargers and adapters!  Also if you are travelling with hold luggage make sure you have essentials in your hand luggage – spare clothes, toiletries, etc. in case your hold luggage doesn’t arrive!

Leisure – lay out everything you think you need, then only take a quarter of it!  Remember sun cream.

What countries are on your travel bucketlist?

Japan, Russia, Nepal, Poland – in fact too many to mention.

Which destination surprised you the most and you would recommend?

India

Selfie stick for travelling – yay or nay?

The selfie stick is so last year.  I now use my watch to take the best selfie!

What is your favourite accommodation type and why?

Apartments obviously for both business and leisure travel.  When travelling on business I do like my own space after a busy day.  Nothing better then stretching out on a comfortable sofa watching TV knowing I have refreshments in my fridge.  Can also eat what I want, when I want it and not be restricted by hotel restaurant opening times!  When I am travelling for leisure it is normally with my family so we much prefer the space and comfort an apartment offers rather than being crammed into a small “family room” which hotels offer.

Finally….post your favourite travel selfie

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Relocation, Relocation, Relocation

Aberdeen67A lot of us dream of it: a high-flying career bringing us to all the exotic, glamorous destinations of the world where we precede to work hard in the boardroom, and play hard in our new mysterious surroundings. However, the reality of business relocation is a lot more different. Sometimes, relocation may simply consist of moving to a different city to complete a short-term business assignment or maybe it is moving for a significant period of time to a different country. There are all different kinds of scenarios and with everyone having their own personal circumstances (for example: married vs. single vs. with young family vs. with teenagers), no relocation and its consequences will ever hit two people the same. However, it is clear that it is rare for any relocation to be plain sailing, what with all the expense and mental strain associated with settling in a potentially vastly different territory. Moving firms can be challenging enough as you adapt to new ways of doing business, let alone moving to an entirely new city or country at the same time where you are unfamiliar with everything but still expected to produce results.

When all else is failing or changing in our lives, home tends to be our anchor due to its enduring stability and its association as a safe haven. It is a place where we can be ourselves, where we feel perfectly at peace. However, when people are relocated, they have to find a new place to live and that alongside changes in the professional life can be very stressful and disorientating. When you have had to endure an entirely new corporate culture, the last thing you want is to return to a sterile hotel room and feel no belonging or comfort there either. This is why serviced apartments are so beneficial for relocation, particularly if you have to uproot the family and bring them with you also.

Due to their warm welcome generated from the comfiest furnishings, the unique yet stylish decorations and their inclusion of the congregation points of any home, a lounge and kitchen; serviced apartments definitely embody a home from home feel. You have plenty of space to relax after a long day and you have the flexibility to cook your own meals so as to benefit your health-and your wallet.

Further benefits of a serviced apartment solution to business relocation were provided in the Buying Business Travel March/April edition. For instance, in further relation to employee welfare, it was highlighted how it is the first few weeks that are of critical importance because if the employee does not feel content or is not assimilating during that time-frame, it is highly likely that their secondment or their assignment will not produce the results it could have.

Similarly, it was reflected how it is not just the emotions that serviced apartments benefit in the relocation scenario, it is also the practicalities. For instance, due to their size, it is a lot easier to use serviced apartments for business projects because should the project be expanded or contracted, apartments can tend to meet those changing needs a lot more easily and reduce the potential for disruption. Likewise, as serviced apartments are not tenancies, they save the employees the strain of having to set up internet and nor do they have to worry about paying utilities; they just pay the up-front fee and can extend or cancel their stay with a lot more ease. Moreover, due to the differences between deluxe serviced apartments and penthouses, every level of employee and budget can be catered for.

Last year it was even noted how the relocation market was one that the serviced apartment industry was keeping a particular watchful eye on, and even today the serviced apartment industry continues to rapidly grow as the bigger brands and smaller organisations alike come to desire to capitalise on the benefits of long-term stays. This is the same for shorter-time business stays because as organisations grow and they need to send their employees to handle their international business, this clearly requires accommodation. However, simultaneously, whilst the industry is growing, long-term relocation has been an area that has been slightly hit due to financial cuts resulting in shorter stays; smaller apartments and families not being able to accompany the business traveller.

As someone who has had to travel for work and has stayed in a hotel for an extended period of time, I can certainly vouch for the preference for staying in a serviced apartment. As lovely as it was to have my breakfast cooked for me and to have my room cleaned, it was frustrating to be constricted to such a small space for such a long period of time and to have to rely solely on supermarket snack foods or take-outs. While I still enjoyed the experience, I can say that the novelty wore off and I did always find myself eager to get home to my own house where I had greater freedom to do as I pleased. Therefore, having learnt that serviced apartments not only handle the breakfast and cleaning aspect for you, but also give you that extra space and that ability to cook for yourself, often for a lower price than a hotel room, I would do things differently if I had the chance to do it over again.

Just remember, even though we are here to cater for longer-time stays, one of the biggest misconceptions about our business is that long-term is all we accommodate for. Whether you are here for a night or a year, we welcome all!

To learn more click here: http://www.thespires.co.uk/serviced-apartments-in-glasgow-aberdeen-and-birmingham/long-term-stay-and-relocation

Business and Leisure Travellers of the Future

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The old adage goes: “the children are our future”. However, in the travel world, Millennials are the future. While sounding like a futuristic robot or alien race that has been sent to take over the world, or even just a scientific experiment, Millennials are actually normal beings that walk amongst us; they may even be unaware of their “Millennial” status. This is because Millennial, or Generation Y, is simply another term for the generation that was born in the 1980s to early 1990s and is used to classify them seeing as like previous generations, they have characteristics that commonly typify them. For instance, having been brought up in the technological era of the nineties and the noughties, Millennials are predominantly known for their tech-savviness and how they have a constant need to be connected.  How do I know this? Well apart from numerous studies to back this, I myself am a Broadband Baby (that is as close as you will get to discovering my age!) and am well aware of the desire to be consistently connected online. Social media forms a major part of my internship after all, only testifying to my Millennial status.

Why are Millennials so important to the travel industry? Well, as illustrated by STA Travel forming a Travel Management Company and creating a specific brand for Millennial business travellers, it is clear that they are becoming a lucrative travel market with increasing numbers of younger persons engaging in business travel and having a unique set of wants and needs that businesses have to cater for. According to the Harvard Business Review, Millennials will account for 50% of the world’s working population by 2020, and already they may comprise the majority in certain firms. Consequently, it is clear that Millennial business travel will only be on an increasing surge and so it is pivotal to satisfy their requirements to capitalise on their market potential. In the US, it has been reported that Millennials are set to become the most populated generation in the nation as well as having $226 billion to spend on travel in 2015; making them desirable in terms of both market size and disposable income.

As can be seen, Skift (a Travel Marketing Intelligence firm) and SACO have both done some investigation into Millennials and the characteristics that tend to differentiate them from other generations (which can be viewed here):

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Considering the range of characteristics that tend to be reflected by Millennials, serviced apartments such as The Spires (not to name drop ourselves or anything!) are the perfect accommodation choice to satisfy them whether they travel for business or leisure.  Obviously, top of many a Millennial’s Accommodation Wish list is that all-important accessory that we need like air; Wi-Fi. Thankfully, here at The Spires we can accommodate this with the provision of high-speed Wifi.

Likewise, many Millennials are all about cost-effectiveness and saving money so that they can spend them on experiences instead, something which serviced apartments can greatly help with as we highlighted in a previous blog (https://thespiressuites.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/serviced-apartments-the-cost-effective-alternative/). Through cooking their own food and sharing the apartment with other co-workers or friends, not only can they cut on costs, but they can simultaneously satisfy their desire to stay in a “social” location and to fuel their healthy diets. Linking to the social aspect, Millennials are really eager to participate in networking and have a preference for “blended” living areas such as having their own bedroom but with shared areas such as open-plan kitchens and lounges. This can be accounted for when it is considered how Millennials are twice more likely than preceding generations to consider serviced apartments as being a “social” accommodation choice.

Moreover, Millennials are always on the go and are looking to stay in locations that are conveniently located near all major attractions and business hubs. This is a need that The Spires can particularly help with due to our extremely city-central locations in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Birmingham and Edinburgh alike. When travellers stay with us, they are not more than a minutes’ walk from all the entertainment and action that these busy cities have to offer. A particular trend that STA noticed and is trying to cater for by creating a specific brand for Millennial business travellers is how 69% of 18-35 year old mix up their business trip by adding a leisure component to it. This fits with how Millennials tend to be characterised by their passion for travelling and having experiences. Consequently, serviced apartments like The Spires are an even more perfect match for their requirements. The likes of our Birmingham, Aberdeen and Glasgow apartments are perfectly situated in business hubs which also boast a wide array of attractions and scenery as well as the bustling city life associated with such historic but modern, dynamic and cosmopolitan cities.

However, no matter how old we are and what generation we happen to be classified under, a comfy, warm bed is always our main priority and here at The Spires, you can always trust us to provide that!

A fellow Millennial signing off….

 Sources:

http://www.sacoapartments.com/blog/redefining_the_term_social_network

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-millennials-hotels-20150329-story.html

http://www.travelpulse.com/news/business-travel/sta-travel-launches-new-business-travel-brand-aimed-at-millennials.html

https://hbr.org/2010/05/mentoring-millennials

http://www.bighospitality.co.uk/Trends-Reports/Infographic-How-Millennials-are-shaping-the-future-of-business-travel?utm_source=AddThis_twitter&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=SocialMedia#.VRq1CHVQQek.twitter.

Image: www.cnbc.com