Serviced apartments become more popular in Europe.

By | Businesstravel and expats in Belgium | No Comments

Although serviced apartments might just be the more affordable option for frequent travelers,serviced apartments should not be confused with regular hotels as the services provided by each may vary widely.

Fewer attendants

During your stay at a serviced apartment, you will realize that most things are a DIY way. While hotels usually have doormen, bellhops or valet at your service, these are things that you will have to take care of by yourself during your stay at a serviced apartment.

No room service

While you’re making a reservation for a serviced apartment, think of it as renting your own place for a short term as here, you’re basically on your own. You might call the hotel restaurant when hungry, but no such room service is provided at serviced apartments. You will need to walk down to a grocery shop or store for yourself for the essentials.

Varying turnover service

 Most hotels provide a daily turnover service, fresh linen and towels every day. But at serviced apartments, this is usually a once a week affair. Those used to the hotel life might find this inconvenient, but those who value minimum intrusion might just welcome this.

Peace and quiet

A stay at a hotel almost always includes the hustle and bustle of a lot of people stomping down a hallway, noisy guests milling about, staff conversing right outside your door and the constant ding of an elevator, among other things. Now imagine a stay minus all of these.

With serviced apartments comes peace and quiet. Such places are not disturbed by the sound of too many people or vehicles as they are primarily located in residential areas. Also, the number of people checking in at serviced apartments is far lesser than what is seen at hotels. This is one of the greatest perks of staying at a serviced apartment.

 The budget-conscious travelers will surely look at the brighter side of things and opt for serviced apartment over hotels.

travelers

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • 24/7 guest support
  • Personal contact possible
  • Fully equipped Kitchens
  • Fresh bed linen and towels
  • Luxury toiletries and hairdryer.
  • Weekly maid service
  • Washer/dryer
  • Freeview Tv

bookers

  • Minimum stay from one night
  • Flexible and refundable rates
  • Rate Parity
  • No upfront deposits required
  • Full compliant/regulated buildings
  • Further discounts available for stays that are seven nights plus

A serviced apartment is an all-around outfitted loft and is accessible for transient or long-haul stays, and gives enhancements to utilize every day.

Space and privacy: business people and different explorers are used to hotel rooms which comprise of bed, phone, TV, espresso or tea facilities, a washroom, and bread rolls if the lodging offers them. While these things are incredible for any traveler, a service apartment accompanies increasingly, and that is the reason it is named as a home away from home.

Price + Price

There is no such distinction with regards to the price you are to pay for a service apartment or a hotel. But where does the cost get you? One thing you ought to review is that with a service apartment you get the chance to appreciate all your security and solace at that cost. What’s more, with a hotel you get an opportunity to pay for a hotel room with a few civilities, including essential amusement, yet you can’t set up your meals.

The length of stay

Maybe the real difference in costs comes when you consider the length of residence. If for example, you are to remain in a temporary location for a couple of months or nights, it will be clear to perceive how the cost of a hotel’s stay may add up. Service apartments then again, accompany adaptable value extents, and they too will rely on upon the length of your stay, yet they are negotiable to fit a budget. Furthermore, service apartment can even be better on the off chance that you are to book as a gathering since you get the opportunity to share costs as you appreciate the solace of a home away from home. You can set up your particular dinners and in spite of the fact that this may sound little, it is a noteworthy money-saving advantage.

Serviced apartments have become the most popular choice for accommodation these days. Serviced apartments offer a homely environment which hotels can’t provide.

Staying in a serviced apartment gives you the room to work, cook, relax and sleep and on average you can expect to enjoy 30% more space than an equivalent standard of hotel. A typical one bedroom service apartment is around twice the size of the average hotel room.

Here are some of the basic advantages:

  1. More Space: With serviced apartments, you will get access to plentiful space.
  2. Well equipped Kitchen: The serviced apartment provides a fully equipped private kitchen with all the cookware needed to prepare the meal.
  3. Cost savings: Serviced apartments cost less than the hotel of the same size.
  4. Hotel like facilities: With a serviced apartment, you will also get access to more facilities like free WIFI Internet, Tata Sky TV with international channels, self-laundry facilities along with Housekeeping and Linen change services.
serviced apartments bruges

Serviced Apartments Brussels-Ghent-Bruges: Frequently Asked Questions

By | Businesstravel and expats in Belgium, FAQ | No Comments

What are Serviced Apartments? A serviced or selfcatering apartment is the perfect combination between staying in a hotel and renting an apartment. What are the differences between hotels and serviced apartments?

What is a serviced apartment?

A serviced apartment or business apartment is a sort of accommodation that can be booked on mid or longterm basis, features kitchen facilities and an optional maid service. Rates generally reduce as the length of stay increases.

What is the difference  between hotels and serviced apartments?

A typical serviced apartment or selfcatering apartment offers 1/3  more space than a hotel room, with separate areas for  working, eating and sleeping.

The majority of serviced apartments have free Wi-Fi, and some in Brussels even offer rental of office equipment such as printers or copiers. .

For stays of one week or more, the average serviced apartment is 15% cheaper than equivalent hotel accommodation, increasing to 25% after 1 month, and 30% after 3 month.

Is there a minimum length of stay?

Yes. Minimum stay of one week. Please note that the minimum length of stay varies from property to property.

A greater selection of serviced apartments will be available to you if you book for one week or more.

How do I make a reservation?

Your best approach is to give us a call. Whatever your requirements are, we will suggest a selection of serviced apartments that match your given criteria.

You can also book online.

You can also speak to us online using whatsapp or via Skype.  You can also drop us a quick text.

When do I need to pay?

Reservations are billed at the point of booking and must be paid in full before check-in. Our Account Management team agree a monthly or weekly payment date with you during the reservation stage.

If I cancel, can I get a refund?

Whether you receive a refund is dependent on if you cancel your booking in accordance with the apartment’s cancellation policy.

 

 

What kitchen equipment will I find in my serviced apartment?

All serviced apartments have a  kitchenette or fully equipped kitchen.  As a minimum, a kitchen or kitchenette must include:

  • A cooking appliance such as an oven or microwave
  • Fridge
  • Glassware
  • Pots and pans, kitchen appliances
  • Dishwasher

 

What can I expect in my apartment?

Facilities you can expect to find in every property:

  • Kitchen or kitchenette
  • Sitting or living area
  • Sleeping area
  • Shower
  • Appliances, furnishings, kitchenware, bedding, linen and towels.
  • Furniture
  • Free Wi-Fi and TV package

Will there be WIFI access?

All serviced apartments have free Wi-Fi, and it’s included in the overall cost.

What’s included in a basic welcome pack?

A basic welcome pack contains items like tea, coffee, toilet paper and shower gel. Most properties also provide a small starter pack of water, milk, dishwashing liquid and/or dishwasher tablets.

More extensive welcome packs are often chargeable (cereal, bread, pasta, biscuits, fruit or chocolate).

How do I check-in to my apartment?

Check-in varies from property to property:

  • Self-check-in: you’ll be given access to secure codes for access to the main building and key safe.
  • Off-site check-in and key collection: keys will need to be collected from a location different to that of your apartment.

The standard check-in time is from 15.00, although this is not always the case. Full details of your check-in are provided at the confirmation stage.

What if I need to check in early or check out later ?

Please make this request via mail or phone or during the booking process.

An early check-in is sometimes possible, but needs to be asked in advance. Most properties are able to hold luggage on your behalf while you wait to access your apartment.

What should I do if I have a problem during my stay or on arrival ?

Please refer to the confirmation mail that was sent to you via email when you made your reservation. On your confirmation, you’ll find the following contact numbers:

  • Office number of the property manager
  • Emergency number of the property manager

What are the differences between  a fixed tenancy and serviced apartments?

Benefits of serviced apartments include:

  • Shorter notice period
  • Zero agent fees
  • Minimal paperwork
  • Flexibility to book short stays as one week or month instead of the required six months in a fixed tenancy
  • Freedom to extend or shorten your reservation.
  • A serviced apartment is fully equipped, eliminating the hassle of purchasing appliances, furnishings, kitchenware, bedding, linen and towels.
  • Most bills are included (to a certain maximum)
  • Internet and TV packages are included.
  • Maid service once a week, as a minimum, which includes a full clean and change of all towels and linen should be discussed before reservation.
  • Access to  guest service team at no extra charge.

What’s the pet policy in serviced apartments?

If you wish to bring your pet with you, please make this clear during the enquiry stage, and we’ll find an apartment that allows this.

An additional cleaning charge will be incurred by staying with a pet.

What do I do with my keys upon checking out?

Keys should safely be returned to reception or left in your property.

What security features do serviced apartments offer?

It is important to note that the Fire Safety Certificate is an approval of the fire safety of each apartment. (Vincotte fire safety certificate)

 

How many guests can stay in my apartment?

The maximum occupancy of each apartment type varies. Typically, the below rules apply

  • One bedroom apartment – two people
  • Two bedroom apartment – four people

When making your enquiry, please inform us of the exact number of guests (adults, children)  you need to accommodate,  and we’ll do our best to source the right properties.

Some apartments have cots or sofa beds available to allow one extra guest. If this is required, please let us know upon enquiry.

Is it possible for me to view an apartment before I make a reservation?

Yes. To arrange a viewing please contact us and we’ll organise a viewing for you. These visits depend on availability at the property in question.

Can I smoke in my apartment?

No!  All serviced apartments are non-smoking. Smoking may be permitted in external areas, such as balconies, roof terraces…

How do I make a payment?

When making a payment, you have two main options:

  • Bank transfer – Iban or Sepa
  • Card Payment – we accept payment in euro via our online payment system, supplied by Stripe or Paypal. This system accepts payment from American Express, MasterCard, Visa, JCB, Maestro and Electron. A 2.95% card transaction fee applies to all card payments.

Do I have to pay a deposit?

A number of properties may require a deposit, which is paid at the time of booking.

Alternative can be a pre-authorisation from a credit card which may then be used to cover any incidental costs occurred during your stay.

Is it safe for me to pay by card?

Yes. When you pay by card we’ll provide you with a payment link to our secure, online payment service provider Stripe or Paypal. This is a PCI compliant service, so none of your sensitive card information is shared with us.

When will you take my payment?

We agree a payment date with you at the reservation stage. Reservations are billed at the point of booking and must be paid in full before check-in.

What’s included in the cost of my serviced apartment?

  • Utility bills: water, heating, electricity, council tax, gas and television licence.
  • basic TV package
  • Wifi
  • Welcome pack

Other services are subject to an additional fee:

  • Maid service
  • Premium TV channels
  • Extra beds for additional guests
  • Parking

 

serviced apartments bruges

Business matters for expats in Belgium

By | Businesstravel and expats in Belgium | No Comments

Things you wish you’d known before moving to Belgium

Using the expat community web sites is a good solution for finding the starting points for a move to Belgium.
Several scenarios exist for expat businessmen working in Belgium: expats working for themselves, working for other expats, working for Belgian companies and expats working for British companies with offices and/or operations in Belgium.

All of them have one thing in common – a wealth of information the prospective businessman can take advantage of on visas, transport, accommodation, government permissions and licenses and last but definitely not least office and industrial etiquette for workers managers, and administrative staff.

The expats on various internet sites can provide the answers you need on just about any query you have and especially on best working practises. They have ‘been there, done that and got the t-shirt’ applies. Using the expat community web sites is a good solution to finding the starting points for a move to Belgium.

Going to Belgium under your own steam? Then extensive research and contacting people in the expat networks via the internet will definitely pay off and having the right visa is essential. Going to Belgium as a tourist or holiday visit is quite different to the visa for a final permanent move.

With UK membership of the EU up for a referendum in the UK in the not too distant future knowledge of the visa system and where your nearest Belgian embassy or consulate is will help if changes occur.

If your company is sending you then they will be able to advise you and make the necessary arrangements. They should be able to organise visas, airfares, hotel, guest house, help you meet business associates and so on. Certainty about your move outcome and knowing you have the right accommodations when you first arrive is paramount.

The job may well be one that you have desired for a long time and the change an exciting one, however, ensure you go to Belgium on a visit and have a look round before you make that irrevocable permanent move for yourself and family overseas if you have not already done so.

With UK membership of the EU up for a referendum in the UK in the not too distant future knowledge of the visa system and where your nearest Belgian embassy or consulate is will help if changes occur.

Vital tips:

1) Use the expat networks to make contact with other expat businessmen in Belgium and ‘pick their brains’. Make notes and bookmark  internet sites you know you will revisit again.

2) Visa requirements is the correct place to hat up on visas. Instructions given on this site are very specific and it is advisable to read it thoroughly.

3) ‘Know before you go’ by visiting lots of different places in Belgium on a short or not so short break holiday to be sure the city or town you choose to live in is right for you with your workplace easy to reach on public transport. Bruges is an excellent city to use as a base as it has great transport facilities to the other larger cities and towns like Ghent, Antwerp and Brussels. For accommodation go here: http://goo.gl/am8o7m

Languages and the Ways of Government.

One will need to understand, whether you are English or American, is the complete absence of a nationwide cultural infrastructure. Belgium is made up of language divisions as opposed to political ones. French, Dutch, German and Flemish are spoken in specific areas and regions in Belgium and each pretty much run their own administrations.

Brussels is officially bi-lingual, (whilst other cities are not), and it also holds the administrative seat for both French and Flemish speaking communities. It is not always easy to follow through on business with the Government as a result. You must persevere and learn who deals with what where and in what language.

If you do not yet speak French, Dutch or German it’s a good idea to start learning as soon as you can. Wikipedia has a really useful map of the language divisions in Belgium, showing the major language spoken in each one.

Brussels has an advantage for the English speaking expat. English is becoming established in Brussels as the common language for all thanks to NATO, the European Union and the huge numbers of foreign students living in this city.

Internations

Expatica

The Bulletin

 

Www.white-rooms.be offers serviced apartments in Bruges for B to B rentals for expats in Brussels, Ghent or Antwerp. We are a member of ASAPS (Association of Serviced Apartment Providers) and we will go for full accreditation this year.

Why Airbnb short-term holiday rentals are biting hoteliers’ bums

By | Airbnb | No Comments

 

Is the ‘sharing economy’, spearheaded by the likes of Airbnb, shaking up the traditional hospitality industry in the same way Uber has pounced on the taxi trade?

Founded by designers Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and their tech-savvy pal, Nathan Blecharczyk in 2008, Airbnb is the online community marketplace that enables homeowners to rent out a room, or their entire home, to independent travelers and has grabbed the lion’s share of the lucrative short-term apartment rental market worldwide. Why Airbnb does short term holiday lets so well…

Have you stayed in an Airbnb holiday apartment lately?  From airbeds to castles… The blue oceanstrategy in a shared economy in a new age! Gina Baksa finds out… Airbnb’s revenue in 2013 was a staggering $250 million, and with more than 10 million nights booked to date, the hotel industry is feeling the heat. No longer an edgy upstart, Airbnb is now a force to be reckoned with. Fancy a night in a castle? Check. Your own island in Fiji? It’s yours. An aeroplane? Climb aboard. Cash rich baby boomers with influence and purchasing power are collecting these unique experiences to impress their friends, share on social networks, and add to treasured memories. Eschewing stuffy impersonal hotel rooms, travelers across all demographics are increasingly choosing to experience unique apartments, houses, boats and even tree houses on their vacations. This group has huge influence and purchasing power – and most importantly, they are social network savvy. They like to share their good – and their bad experiences. Such is Airbnb’s reach and financial muscle, it makes a booking every two minutes and the company is reportedly worth an estimated 10 billion dollars – more than all the world’s hotels groups bar the top four. Growth due – in part – to last year’s cash injection from TPG Capital and other private equity firms. Quick to adapt to current trends, online hotel booking sites such as booking.com are already featuring short-term holiday rentals alongside its hotel and flight

Certainly Airbnb brings in cash to local infrastructure – restaurants, bars, museums and retail – and it creates jobs: 200 new positions are earmarked in Dublin this year alone. But what about occupancy taxes to local authorities? Tax which hotels are forced to pay. Considering its listing base now runs into the hundreds of thousands, the fact most Airbnb users contribute no local taxes in the cities they stay in has created a significant profit margin for buyers, sellers and Airbnb bosses. And angered many hoteliers who are demanding more stringent regulation. Civic authorities in San Francisco only made Airbnb legal last year via its Airbnb Law and forced Airbnb to charge users 14% tax to bring it in line with the city’s hotel tax legislation, while New York authorities have come down heavy on multiple rentals from a single user – calling them ‘illegal hotels’ and demanding regulation and payment of taxes. And what of market share? Airbnb’s listings are doubling each year – and could well become the world’s largest ‘hotel’ group by the end of next year, beating IHG and Hilton. At the upper end – the Hiltons, Marriott and Crowne Plazas – will continue to attract their core luxury and business clients, but many corporate expense accounts are now listing Airbnb usage. Yet the top dogs remain bullish: Christopher Norton, EVP of global product and operations at the Four Seasons dismissed Airbnb with a single soundbite: “Our guests don’t want the Airbnb feel and scent… [they expect] a level of service that is different, more sophisticated, detailed, and skillful.” Some brands such as the Marriott are feeling the Airbnb wolf at their door and investing in upgrading their boutique chains – partnering with designer Ian Schrager to help attract a different clientele. At the budget end of the hotel chain, however, it’s a different story, according to a recent study from Boston University that claims Airbnb has been taking around 5% business from budget hotels in areas with successful penetration. And in a recent Economist interview, president of New York’s Apple Core Hotels, Vijay Dandapani, admitted that: “We had continued growth until Airbnb. There are some hotels here who are like ostriches and have their buried in the sand, but I am of the view that this is a full-blown threat.’’ Around 80% of listings in New York are priced at $200 per night, often less, which means that the city’s hotels are losing potentially one million room nights a year. Airbnb is now looking at long-term rentals and nibbling at the heels of serviced apartments – one category that thought it was safe from attack. The company’s hire of hotel guru Chip Conley as global head of hospitality (he founded boutique hotel group Joie de Vivre) means Airbnb is going full guns – perhaps to snare more the lucrative business and luxury market. Bruges Airbnb holiday rentals Bruges Airbnb holiday rentals In Bruges, many homeowners are letting out their rooms and apartments via Airbnb, asking up to £167 a night for a four-bedroom apartment overlooking Sint-Annerei. Others are using Airbnb guests to funnel their inspired business model of buying up old historic apartments to refurbish and rent out – an example being White Rooms Bruges, which showcases the talents of interior designer, Natalie Haegeman. And even chocolatiers Spegelaere has refurbished an apartment specifically for the Bruges short-term holiday rental market at sweetchocolatedreams.be. Has Airbnb impacted the hotel market in Bruges? Apparently not, according to one top hotelier I spoke to, who seemed almost put out that I could suggest such a thing. The city’s top hotels probably won’t notice a drop in bookings due to Airbnb, but at the lower end of the scale, tired and run-down B&Bs, guesthouses and hotels in Bruges will go out of business, unless they revamp and re-think their business models. Many solo travelers, couples, families and business people now want a more unique experience when they visit a new city; accommodation that is homely yet sophisticated. So if you’re looking for a different way to experience Bruges this year, then check out Airbnb’s holiday rentals in Bruges.

 

Gina Baksi

www.odevaere.com

 

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