In April 2016, AccorHotels acquired short-term vacation rental company Onefinestay, which vets and manages all of the properties in its portfolio. Contributing editor Sarah Feldberg spoke with Onefinestay chief revenue officer Alexandra Rethore about how corporate travelers use Onefinestay homes and the company’s launch in Milan.
Travel Weekly: Why do you think Onefine-stay’s vetted and managed approach to home-based accommodations appeals to business travelers?
Alexandra Rethore, Onefinestay
Alexandra Rethore: Business travelers we’ve worked with really want to know that we’re there as and when they need us. Of course they expect the space to be right. They want a reasonable location, a clean home, a good bed and strong WiFi, but what we’ve also found with our business guests, particularly those who stay awhile — and by that I mean more than a week but often multimonth stays — is that they really want to spend time getting settled into the home upfront. We do a lot of homework to make sure we can make that happen. We spend time before the stay understanding their specific requirements, and then, as we do with all guests, meet them in the home and check in as needed.
TW: How do corporate travelers use Onefinestay properties for business?
AR: In the best hospitality businesses there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but we really try to understand how the guests want to engage and tailor it appropriately. Often they want to use the home as a base, and they’re hosting clients or colleagues for cocktails or small dinner parties, sometimes even product launches. We can do anything to help them do that, including arranging details of those events or sometimes just ensuring that a cleaning team comes back through the home the next day to tidy up. We also have business guests who use our homes for working off-sites. It’s easy for us to make sure that they have what they need to make the best use of the day. They really love the ability to flex into different spaces within the home and really create a different dynamic with our team.
TW: Are there specific cities where Onefinestay is focusing on the corporate travel market?
AR: One of the interesting things we’re trying in our recent launch of Milan [in June] is to cater the product and the inventory specifically to extended-stay travelers. So the minimum length of stay is much longer — 30 nights for most homes — and the idea is we’re choosing smaller homes of two to three bedrooms, where it’s not super homes that you would find in Los Angeles.
TW: Has the acquisition of Onefinestay by Accor changed the way the company approaches business travel?
AR: Business travelers have really been critical to Accor’s success. The profile of their clients has historically been quite different, with guests staying one or two nights rather than four, five plus, where a home might make more sense and where we come into play. We certainly have benefitted from the Accor affiliation and from the vast Accor sales network. One of the things we’re working with Accor on is to make it easy for business travelers to book with us, an area we’re continuing to invest in with our site. We definitely are trying to find ways to weave ourselves as an option into the broader Accor network and vice versa.