During the last few years, many small companies have popped up like mushrooms in popular business destinations such as Barcelona & Madrid, all promising to be the best at renting out business apartments. So how do you choose between them? What should you be looking out for? What should you try and avoid? How can you be sure that the business apartment you are renting out isn’t miles outside of town in a place that even the taxi driver hasn’t heard of? How can you be sure that you haven’t just rented out a holiday apartment on the Costa Brava?
What you are looking for which sets the business apartment rental industry apart from holiday rentals is a certain degree of professionalism. You want and need a rental company which does what it says. You need to be able to rely upon check in times & dates, apartment costs, rental availability, extra services and furnishing quality. You don’t want your company staff or guests, staying in a place with rats and cockroaches, any less than you want them staying in a place without the advertised wireless Internet connection, without the promised telephone line and without the washing machine and tumble drier to get those shirts ready for that next-day important meeting.
Look for a company that has a good reputation. Speak to people who have used these companies. Check out their web sites. Do they have a good image? Do they instil confidence? You can’t always judge a book by its cover, they say. But if a company can’t get a simple thing like a web site working properly, can they really provide all that is necessary to rent out professional business apartments?
Take a look at customer testimonials, but most importantly, try actually speaking to someone at the company before you go ahead and book the apartment online. Whilst you may never be able to go to the place in person before the planned business trip, there really is no substitute for speaking to a real human being. So pick up the phone, give them a call and ask them all the questions you have in your mind. Chances are that if they cannot answer all your questions and make you feel happy and confident, then you have chosen the wrong place. Customer service is paramount these days, and a good business apartment rental company will be aware of this. The decision making is then up to you.
Whether you are visiting for business, to work on a project, to attend a congress, to give a course, to take a course, or maybe you start living there and building up the next step in your life, and you require temporary housing, you need to concentrate on a company which focuses on professionals.
With all these issues in mind, there are a few things you should ask for:
Are there basics such as a sofa, bed, TV & bathroom facilities?
How far is the apartment from the centre of town or the place of your business meetings and/or conferences?
Will there be someone who can be contacted at all times during the stay, who speaks your language?
Do they offer a taxi service and/or airport transfer?
Are there extra services such as a cleaning service, catering & baby care facilities?
Is there flexibility regarding your length of stay, in the case that you might need temporary accommodation whilst looking for a permanent place to live?
Is there flexibility in payment methods?
Is there a safe place for your belongings?
Are there any hidden costs such as agency fees?
If you have an emergency, will someone be there to help you out?
Who takes care of the small daily incidents you may encounter, such as a blind that gets stuck, a washing basin that suddenly starts leaking or if you happen to lock yourself out?
At the end of the day, you want to find a business apartment that suits you, one where you will feel at home. Not exactly like your own house, of course, but pretty close – a nicely decorated place, cosy, pleasant, where you can keep your clothes, books, music, sit down in the sofa and watch a good movie or check your emails on your laptop on the terrace, prepare the meeting for the next day while you cook your own meal. You want to be able to invite people over for dinner or to stay for the weekend. You need a place to stay where you can feel relaxed and do as you wish.
Of course, the final decision making is up to you. But you can make this process far easier by simply doing some investigation first.