Travelers often find hotel rooms expensive and too small to be comfortable after a week or two. The corporate housing industry has sprouted up to provide an alternative: accommodations are offered in serviced furnished apartments so that business people and others staying in a city for a month or more can take short-term leases on corporate suites in the part of the city that is preferred by the customer. Some executives prefer peace and quiet while others like to be close to the action.
The city of Toronto is a destination that most Canadian business people will visit at some point if they are company executives.
Most major corporations maintain offices in Ontario’s capitol so there is an endless flow of airport traffic, many quality hotels, and countless restaurants to serve visitors. For some, the 0 or so per night hotel room cost is not the main issue when the company budget is large; the executives however have greater needs for privacy and they may not want to dine out for every meal.
The corporate housing solution provides furnished apartments in condo buildings with all the amenities they are used to at home. The apartments have twice the floor space of hotel rooms – this allows the visitor to relax and settle in.
It’s doubtful that anyone would look forward to the formalities of hotel living after being in office meetings all day. A hotel room is little more than a place to sleep and shower. The urge to get out of the room usually results in a trip to the lounge or other public place to be around other people so less work gets done.
The average cost of a corporate suite is about 0 per night so for half the price you get twice the space plus closets, couches, kitchens, dishwashers, laundry machines, internet access, dinnerware, parking, sauna, gym, and swimming facilities in the building – everything that can satisfy the needs of someone who has to be away from home for several months. Chances are they will be working on the laptop much of the time in these days of telecommuting and remote virtual offices.
The companies that arrange these suites find suite owners who will be away or who rent units for profit and put them in the reservation system which customers can access online. Photos of the suites can help the guests choose the décor they prefer. The corporate housing business makes a marginal profit in normal times but the companies in Toronto suffered losses in the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak scare of 2003 when, in April of that year the World Health Organization advised that all but essential travel to Toronto should be avoided due the enormous Chinese population coming and going from their home country, possibly spreading the disease. This magnified to near-quarantine levels and destroyed the tourist trade for many months.
The scare turned out to be nothing substantial but the effect on the city’s economy was profound and long-lasting. So was the fear of touching door handles, eating in restaurants, being in crowds, shopping in stores, and shaking hands with people. The ripple effect seemed to cost everybody money. Toronto was so paralyzed by the SARS scare that a concert called “Molson Canadian Rocks for Toronto” featuring the Rolling Stones and AC/DC was put on to help revive the city’s tourist trade.