A home rather than a hotel for longer London stays?
By Joanna Doniger, founder, Accommodate London
Around 7.1 million people visited the UK for business purposes from May 2010 to May 2011; a 5 percent increase on the previous year. While many of these businesspeople are put up in hotels for short stays, longer visits of a week or more are often required for various events, meaning hotel bills can rack up, especially in the capital.
So what are the alternatives for business travellers coming to London?
There are a variety of other options available and there is currently a growing trend towards Londoners renting out their own homes. This can be a perfect solution for those travelling to London on business. Private home rental can provide a preferable and competitive alternative to hotels. During Wimbledon, for example, TennisLondon rents out houses and apartments to players, the media, global corporations and international companies for two weeks or more over the tournament period.
For businesses who are looking for an alternative option to hotels, private home rental can be a more appealing choice offering increased security and privacy, and also providing a tailor-made, hassle-free service in locations that really suit business tenants.
In addition, services such as broadband and TV are included in the price of a private rent, so there will be no extra sting in the tail such as paying separately to use the sometimes expensive wireless services at a hotel.
Throughout the year there are multiple events that draw businesses to privately rent in London as opposed to the traditional hotel stay – the most prominent currently of course being the 2012 Olympics. London will be busy and chaotic during this time and a recent poll found that 60 percent of travellers are considering avoiding London altogether in case they are unable to secure accommodation.
To put the situation in context, LOCOG has already booked out 40 percent of all the hotels in central London for officials, sponsors and media, and many of London’s premium hotels are reporting that they are already full, so there will inevitably be stiff competition for the best offerings.
Companies who leave it too late to secure accommodation may have to look at alternative options if they want to stay in the capital, especially to be close to good transport links, such as those near the Central and Circle & District tube line stations.
Using a company such as Accommodate London, which has over 25 years experience in the field, can help take the hassle out of finding somewhere to stay for travellers coming to the capital on business. What sets Accommodate London apart is that it’s not just a website listing service; all properties are visited, vetted and handpicked for inclusion so clients can be confident that homes are well maintained. In addition, the company provides a wide range of concierge services from personal training to fine dining.
 According to the Monthly Overseas Travel and Tourism Bulletin by the Office for National Statistics, May 2011
 Survey carried out by LoveHateTravel.co.uk
(Joanna Doniger is the founder of Accommodate London; the views expressed are her own)
Main caption: Commuters walk past the Olympic Rings, the symbol of the Olympic Games, at St Pancras international station in London March 3, 2011. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh