The Rise of Professional Accommodation in Major UK Cities

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The Insider @ Houst
Last updated on
February 14, 2024

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The Rise of Professional Accommodation in Major UK Cities

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Welcome to the world of professional accommodation, a shining star within the serviced accommodation sector that's rapidly changing the way young professionals live and work in the UK's bustling cities. This innovative concept blends the best of both worlds, offering the flexibility and services of a hotel with the comfort and warmth of a home. It's not just about having a place to crash after a long day at the office; it's about creating communities and experiences that resonate with the dynamic lifestyle of today's young professionals.

From the heart of London to the vibrant streets of Leeds, Newcastle, and Sheffield, professional accommodation caters specifically to the needs of the modern workforce. Imagine living in a fully furnished apartment, with all bills covered in one monthly payment, and amenities like gyms, co-working spaces, and social events right at your doorstep. It's the ultimate convenience, designed for those who want to make the most out of city life without the hassle of traditional renting.

Whether it's co-living spaces like The Collective Old Oak or bespoke apartments such as The Palm House and Bloom Nine Elms, these accommodations are setting a new standard for urban living. They offer not just a place to stay, but a lifestyle choice that prioritises flexibility, community, and a whole lot of fun. With the sector's resilience and growth, especially post-pandemic, it's clear that professional accommodation is not just a trend, but the future of city living for young professionals across the UK.

Table of Contents

What is a Professional Accommodation?

Professional accommodation, commonly known as serviced accommodation, marries the convenience and services of a hotel with the homely comfort of a fully furnished apartment. This blend appeals greatly to business travellers, tourists, and individuals seeking extended stays, marking a growing trend within the UK’s housing market, which stands as Europe's largest for serviced accommodations. The evolution of work, travel, and living preferences has propelled the serviced accommodation sector into a favourable position, especially with the rise of remote work and flexible working arrangements influencing business travel.

Serviced apartments are becoming the preferred choice for many, offering a "home away from home" experience that traditional hotels struggle to match. They provide the autonomy and comfort of an apartment with the added benefits of hotel-like services.

Professional accommodations differentiate themselves from other housing solutions in several key aspects. They are typically situated near essential transport links, catering to the needs of commuting professionals, whereas student accommodations focus on proximity to university campuses. The quality of professional houses generally surpasses that of student houses, reflecting in potentially higher rental costs. The housing market offers a variety of tenancy agreements, from joint to sole, tailored to suit different needs, including temporary solutions like hostels and B&Bs for those prioritised for assistance by local authorities and permanent options like social and private rented housing.

Incorporating these insights, professional accommodation presents a lucrative and growing sector within the UK’s property market, offering flexibility, quality, and convenience tailored to the modern professional’s lifestyle.

Benefits of Professional Accommodation

For Young Professionals:

Professional accommodation offers a plethora of benefits for young professionals stepping into their careers. These accommodations often situate in city centres, close to essential transport links, simplifying the commute to work. The cost-effectiveness of shared living spaces is a significant advantage, especially when budgets are tight. Besides economic benefits, such accommodations come fully furnished, alleviating the burden of investing in furniture and appliances.

Living among peers, young professionals find a built-in community, easing the transition into new cities or job roles. The promise of more spacious living areas compared to the budget for solitary living is enticing. Many professional accommodations now boast en suite rooms, catering to those who value privacy alongside communal living. Added amenities like parking, laundry services, gyms, and high-speed internet enhance the living experience, combining convenience with the comfort of modern living.

For Landlords and Property Owners:

The appeal of professional accommodation extends to landlords and property owners, presenting opportunities for higher occupancy rates and stable rental income. These properties command higher rental yields compared to traditional long-term rentals, thanks to the premium charged for short-term stays. Regular cleaning and maintenance keep properties in top condition, safeguarding the asset's value.

The short-term nature of these rentals translates to better cash flow and reduced risk of problematic tenancies. Additionally, in the UK, the classification of serviced accommodation as furnished holiday lets brings several tax advantages, further enhancing the attractiveness of investing in this sector. The resilience of serviced accommodation to market fluctuations, coupled with the possibility of remote management or delegation to professional companies, makes it an appealing venture for property professionals looking to diversify their portfolio or enhance profitability.

Key Features of Professional Accommodation

Essential Features and Amenities:

Professional accommodation marries the convenience and service of a hotel with the comfort and homeliness of a fully furnished apartment. Strategically located in city centres, these accommodations are a stone's throw from essential transport links, making the daily commute a breeze. They come fully furnished, lifting the burden of sourcing furniture and appliances for young professionals.

The communal aspect of shared housing fosters a sense of community, offering not just a place to live but a network of friends right from the start. These accommodations don't skimp on space, boasting large communal living rooms and kitchens, with some even offering the luxury of en suite rooms. The cherry on top? A plethora of services including parking, laundry facilities, gyms, bicycle storage, and the all-important high-speed internet, make life that bit easier.

Examples of Successful Professional Accommodations:

Studios2let in London stands out for its appeal to young professionals, offering a variety of flats in trendy locales that buzz with youthful energy. Studio flats, often overlooked, emerge as an ideal choice for those flying solo, combining affordability with the essentials for modern living. The choice of location is crucial, with London’s diversity, meaning the vibe can change dramatically from one postcode to the next. For the young professional, finding a spot that's culturally rich, serene for both work and leisure and well-connected is key to a fulfilling living experience.

Location Analysis for Professional Accommodation

The Importance of Location:

In the realm of professional accommodation, location is more than just a detail; it's the heartbeat of decision-making. It influences hotel bookings significantly and is pivotal for student and professional living. The right location intertwines seamlessly with work, social engagements, and relaxation. For professionals, especially, accommodation provided by employers, aimed at enhancing job performance, underscores the strategic value of proximity to workspaces.

A table containing short term rental performance metrics (median ADR, occupancy and revenue) for professional accommodations in the cities of London, Newcastle and Leeds/Sheffield.
A list of three UK localities and their respective STR performance.

Spotlight on UK Cities:

London: The bustling metropolis offers a spectrum of professional lets, from communal living spaces to deluxe apartments, each catering to the dynamic lifestyle of young professionals. With a median Average Daily Rate (ADR) of £202.93, an occupancy rate of 67%, and annual revenue hitting £49,626, London stands as a premier choice for those seeking the vibrancy of city life alongside their professional pursuits.

Newcastle: This city provides a diverse selection of professional lets, tailored to suit the requirements of its young workforce. Newcastle's accommodation scene is marked by a median ADR of £129.81, a 58% occupancy rate, and an impressive £27,480 in revenue, showcasing its appeal to professionals seeking both value and quality in their living arrangements.

Leeds/Sheffield: Both cities are known for their rich industrial heritage and now, for offering some of the most cost-effective professional accommodations. With a combined median ADR of £114.38, an occupancy rate of 55%, and revenue of £22,961, Leeds and Sheffield present a compelling proposition for professionals looking for affordability without compromising on the quality of life.

Key Location Attributes:

  • Proximity to Employment Hubs: Tied accommodation, closely linked to employment, highlights the importance of location in enhancing job performance and overall satisfaction.
  • Transport Links: Essential for a seamless daily commute, cities like Stoke-on-Trent excel with their transport infrastructure, ensuring professionals can navigate with ease.
  • Lifestyle Amenities: The advent of build-to-rent developments has revolutionised professional accommodation, offering everything from on-site co-working spaces to leisure facilities, all within an inclusive monthly rent. This trend reflects a broader shift towards accommodations that don't just meet basic living needs but enrich the lifestyle of young professionals.

Incorporating these data points underscores the nuanced landscape of professional accommodation across key UK cities, illuminating the interplay between location, amenities, and market dynamics that shape the choices of young professionals today.

Marketing Professional Accommodations

Leveraging Booking Platforms and Online Travel Agencies (OTAs):

In today’s competitive landscape, the strategic use of booking platforms and Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) is paramount for marketing professional accommodations. Tools such as SiteMinder offer a comprehensive hotel commerce platform, enabling properties to enhance their online presence and manage bookings more efficiently. ResNexus and Little Hotelier provide cloud-based solutions tailored to increase reservations and revenue, particularly beneficial for small to midsize establishments. Smoobu simplifies the vacation rental process, focusing on reservations, guest communications, and overall guest experience enhancement. Cloudbeds and Caterbook deliver cloud-based hospitality and reservation solutions, supporting hotels, B&Bs, and serviced apartments with room booking and billing management. Hostaway stands out as a leading all-in-one vacation rental software, ideal for property managers seeking growth and operational efficiency.

Booking Platforms/Channels:

SiteMinder: A hotel commerce platform that helps businesses sell, market, manage and grow their hotel.

ResNexus: A cloud-based property management software that helps increase reservations and revenue.

Little Hotelier: A hotel platform that lets small, independent properties easily attract more guests and take direct bookings online.

Smoobu: An online vacation rental solution designed to help businesses streamline processes related to reservations, communications, guest experience and more.

Cloudbeds: A cloud-based hospitality platform suitable for small to midsize hotels, vacation rentals, hostels and B&Bs.

Caterbook: A cloud-based reservation solution, which assists bed and breakfast, guest houses, serviced apartments and hotels with room booking and billing.

Hostaway: The #1 rated, and fastest growing all-in-one vacation rental software for property managers.

Guesty: A hospitality operations platform designed for the modern needs of property managers and hospitality companies.

Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) such as Booking.com and Expedia are global leaders, offering a vast array of accommodation options to travellers worldwide. Airbnb’s unique platform connects guests with diverse lodging options, making it a favourite among younger professionals and those seeking unconventional stays. Trivago and Despegar enhance the search and booking experience by aggregating deals across the globe. Trip.com, eDreams Odigeo, and MakeMyTrip cater to specific market segments, providing tailored travel solutions. Lastminute.com and Tripadvisor offer comprehensive travel services and advice, aiding travellers in making informed decisions about their trips.

Online Travel Agencies (OTAs):

Booking.com: A global powerhouse in the online travel agency sector. Its expansive platform includes a diverse array of property types, ranging from hotels and resorts to apartments and hostels.

Expedia: A leading online travel agency known for its global reach and comprehensive travel offerings.

Airbnb: A unique online travel agency that connects travellers with a wide range of accommodations, from cosy private rooms to entire homes.

Trivago: A global hotel search platform, it compares prices from more than 1.3 million hotels in over 190 countries.

Despegar: The largest online travel agency in Latin America.

Trip.com: One of the world’s leading online travel agencies and part of the Ctrip Group.

eDreams Odigeo: One of the world’s largest online travel companies and one of the largest European e-commerce businesses.

MakeMyTrip: An Indian online travel company that provides online travel services including flight tickets, domestic and international holiday packages, hotel reservations, rail, and bus tickets.

Lastminute: Offers travel and gift packages and allows users to book flights and holidays, as well as entertainment tickets and restaurant reservations.

Tripadvisor: The world’s largest travel platform, helps 463 million travellers each month make every trip their best trip

Expanding Digital and Social Media Outreach:

Developing a strong digital footprint is essential for attracting young professionals to your accommodation. Utilising storytelling on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, alongside offering virtual tours of your properties, can significantly engage potential guests. These strategies, combined with the operational ease provided by platforms like Smoobu and Hostaway, ensure a seamless booking experience for guests while enhancing the visibility of your properties.

Networking through Professional Channels:

Engagement on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn can directly connect you with young professionals and corporate clients. Participating in industry events and utilising professional networks can further elevate your accommodation’s profile, presenting it as an ideal choice for corporate stays and young professionals seeking quality and convenience.

By embracing a detailed approach to using booking platforms, OTAs, and digital marketing strategies, property owners can effectively market their professional accommodation. This multi-faceted approach not only enhances visibility across various channels but also positions your properties as top choices for the discerning young professional market, promising higher occupancy rates and sustained rental income.

Legal and Operational Considerations for Professional Accommodation

When delving into professional accommodation, property owners are faced with a mix of legal and operational hurdles that demand attention. From ensuring leasehold compliance to upholding high health and safety standards, the journey is intricate but manageable with the right knowledge.

Legal Compliance:

Navigating the legal landscape is paramount. Property owners must align with leasehold agreements and local regulations. It’s not just about keeping the peace with the freeholder; it's about safeguarding the property’s insurance and staying clear of potential legal conflicts. Local authorities are on their toes, ensuring that your serviced accommodation ticks all boxes regarding licensing, safety, and tax obligations. With the Housing Act 2004 setting the stage, both landlords and tenants in the private rented sector have a clear framework to ensure every rental is a home safe and sound.

Operational Excellence:

The heartbeat of successful professional accommodation lies in its operational prowess. From seamless plumbing to the hum of the HVAC, every element contributes to guest satisfaction. Effective hotel maintenance ensures not just the operational efficiency but enhances guest comfort, directly influencing the property’s reputation. Adopting hotel maintenance management software and a robust checklist can streamline processes, ensuring a swift resolution to any issues and elevating housekeeping standards.

Health and Safety: A Priority:

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) underlines the importance of identifying and mitigating health and safety risks in dwellings. It’s not merely a guideline but a mandate for properties in England and Wales, ensuring every dwelling is free from potential hazards, ensuring tenant safety at every turn.

Best Practices for A Smooth Operation:

  • Establishing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) is not just beneficial but essential for the smooth running of professional accommodations.
  • A well-structured hotel maintenance checklist and the integration of management software can be game-changers in maintaining operational excellence.
  • Prioritising preventive maintenance not only reduces long-term costs but also ensures continuous guest satisfaction.
  • Whether it’s through in-house teams or outsourcing, the goal remains the same: maintaining the highest standards of upkeep and service.

In essence, offering professional accommodation is a rewarding venture that comes with its set of challenges. By focusing on legal compliance, operational efficiency, and the health and safety of tenants, property owners can navigate the complexities, ensuring both profitability and satisfaction in the serviced accommodation sector.

Future Trends in Professional Accommodation

The world of professional accommodation is evolving at a rapid pace, driven by technology, changing work habits, and a growing emphasis on sustainability. Let's dive into what's shaping this dynamic sector and how property owners can stay ahead of the curve.

Current Trends:

  • The explosion of online booking platforms and the return of global tourism post-COVID-19 have revolutionised how we think about travel and accommodation.
  • A digital-first approach to guest experiences is becoming the norm, not the exception.
  • Sustainability is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have, with both guests and operators prioritising green practices.
  • The remote work revolution has reshaped demand, with professionals seeking accommodations that blend work and wanderlust.

Remote Work’s Influence:

  • The flexibility of remote work has led to a surge in demand for serviced accommodations that cater to longer stays.
  • This trend has transformed hotels into bases for digital nomads, blending the lines between living, working, and exploring.

What’s Next for Professional Accommodation?

  • By 2034, expect hotels and accommodations to be drastically different, with AI and personalisation at the forefront of the guest experience.
  • Customisable rooms with automated furniture and personalised settings will become standard, catering to every guest's unique preferences.
  • The future points towards accommodations that are not just places to stay but tailored environments that adapt to individual needs.

Adapting to Market Changes:

  • Property owners need to remain agile, and ready to adjust strategies and pricing in response to market shifts.
  • Implementing an advanced revenue management system can provide the insights needed to navigate a competitive landscape effectively.
  • The pandemic highlighted the sector’s resilience and potential for strong returns, prompting many to invest in next-gen revenue management tools for better analytics and adaptability.

As we look ahead, the professional accommodation sector is set to embrace innovation, sustainability, and flexibility. For property owners, understanding these trends and preparing for the future will be key to capturing the evolving needs of professional tenants and maximising the potential of their investments.

Final Thoughts on Professional Accommodations

As we've navigated through the intricacies of professional accommodation, it's clear this sector presents a wealth of opportunities for property owners keen on tapping into the evolving demands of today's workforce. From the shift towards remote work to the increasing demand for digital-first experiences and sustainable living options, the landscape of professional accommodation is ripe with potential for growth and enhanced profitability.

Key takeaways include the importance of location, the allure of tailored amenities and services, and the need for property owners to remain agile in a dynamic market. The rise of booking platforms and online travel agencies (OTAs) has also underscored the significance of digital visibility in attracting young professionals seeking convenience and community.

For property owners in the serviced accommodation business, now is the time to consider how professional accommodation can complement your offerings. By understanding market trends, leveraging technology, and prioritising guest experience, you can position your properties to meet the needs of a diverse professional clientele and unlock new avenues for business success.

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team at Houst is dedicated to providing up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals. If you have hosting inquiries, please write to us at expert@houst.com. For guest inquiries, reach out at guest@houst.com. We are here to help you navigate the world of short lets and look forward to assisting you with your needs.

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team at Houst is dedicated to providing up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals. If you have hosting inquiries, please write to us at expert@houst.com. For guest inquiries, reach out at guest@houst.com. We are here to help you navigate the world of short lets and look forward to assisting you with your needs.

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David
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"I have a philosophy in life called keep it simple. I don't live to work, I work to live. This is the first time I've leased this property on Airbnb. A house allows me to have vision of all the revenue and all the expenses associated with the apartment. They work as a well-oiled machine. They strive very hard to keep both myself and the tenants happy."

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"Honestly, if I didn't have Houst, I don't think I'd have this house anymore. With Houst's help, I can focus on my busy life while they manage my Airbnb listing. Guests call this place the 'magic cottage', and Houst makes it possible to share its special charm without any stress."

David
Account Manager

"I have a philosophy in life called keep it simple. I don't live to work, I work to live. This is the first time I've leased this property on Airbnb. A house allows me to have vision of all the revenue and all the expenses associated with the apartment. They work as a well-oiled machine. They strive very hard to keep both myself and the tenants happy."

Jules
Sales Director

"Honestly, if I didn't have Houst, I don't think I'd have this house anymore. With Houst's help, I can focus on my busy life while they manage my Airbnb listing. Guests call this place the 'magic cottage', and Houst makes it possible to share its special charm without any stress."

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