Today Living Group featured on City News for their housing initiative for frontline workers We know how important it is to keep our healthcare professionals (and their families) safe during this time, and we are helping by providing our corporate … Read More
Higher standards mean more peace of mind
We’ve all seen the trend: In the ‘sharing economy’, they say, there’s no need for hotels. It’s so much more interesting, and comfortable, and ‘authentic’, to stay in someone else’s furnished apartment or condo or house.
That may be a good choice if you’re traveling for pleasure and are only visiting a place for a day or two. In that case, if you discover that your accommodations aren’t as described, or aren’t available, or are somehow totally unsuitable, you can either just sort of muddle through for a night or two, or decamp for a hotel.
But if you’re landing in town on a Sunday night, about to start a month-long temporary relocation assignment for work, or have to suddenly find a temporary home for the whole family because your home has been flooded, or need a home base while a family member is in the hospital, it’s a different story. You need a home-away-from-home that’s fully equipped, meets expectations, is safe and comfortable – and allows you to live your life without having to worry about where you’re going to sleep or whether the wifi will be working or the owner will suddenly show up and tell you that s/he needs the place back after all.
That’s where corporate housing (also known as ‘executive suites’ or ‘extended stay suites’ or ‘serviced apartments’) comes in.
Not all furnished suites are created equal
In the corporate housing industry, the two most highly-regarded accreditation programs are The ASAP and CHPA. Both are not-for-profit industry associations which help to set standards, connect members, and provide resources to ensure that every stay in a furnished suite delivers the comfort, value and safety that everyone wants. Corporate housing providers aren’t required to join these associations, but the ones who do are staking their reputation on the quality that they deliver across all their suites.
Today Living Group is accredited by both The ASAP and the CHPA. Here’s what that means:
This is a global organization whose aim is “to ensure the consumer has confidence in booking serviced apartment accommodation anywhere in the world.”
The ASAP sent a representative from the UK to inspect TLG properties, to ensure we provide high-quality services to our clients. We were also required to provide them with examples of all our paperwork, including lease agreements, invoices, welcome letters, etc. – essentially they wanted to have the same experience as one of our ‘normal’ visitors might have.
Just some of the things they inspected:
- Housekeeping services (especially quality and reliability)
- Bed quality
- Furnishings and interior design
- Electronics (quality and functionality)
- Check-in process
- Building amenities
- Website experience
CHPA (Corporate Housing Providers Association)
The CHPA is both a professional body, offering corporate housing certification to individuals as well as corporate housing providers. Originally focused on North America, they now have member organizations around the world.
To become an accredited provider, companies must:
- Have CHPA members in good standing (TLG has several CHPA members on staff)
- Adhere to a strict code of ethics
- Participate in ongoing professional development in the industry
- Meet credit requirements to ensure financial stability
- Demonstrate documentation of key business documents (in other words, behave like a properly-run professional organization)
- Have sufficient insurance
- Provide reference letters from other CHPA members
- Meet standards for accommodation
What certification and accreditation means for clients and guests
Accreditation by The ASAP ensures that all of our suites meet standards for comfort, safety, repair and responsiveness, while accreditation by the CHPA ensures that you’re staying in a suite which is being managed to high professional standards. The combination means that even if you don’t get into town until midnight the night before you have to start working at your new office, you can be confident that your new temporary home will have everything you need, from a comfortable, clean bed to functioning wifi. You can relax.
Gorgeous views, terrific amenities, and the comforts of home
If you’re visiting Toronto for a month or more, our 1 bedroom + den furnished corporate housing suites are the best way to get all the benefits of the city. Located within steps of both the business district and some of the best entertainment and waterfront living, our suites deliver more than a hotel ever could. The 24-hour concierge and building amenities mean you can enjoy every moment of your stay, whether you’re here for work or play.
Details of these suites:
- Full kitchens which are fully equipped dishes, utensils and cooking equipment
- 24-hour concierge
- Fitness centre with steam room and juice bar
- Indoor-outdoor swimming pool
- Full bathrooms with tub
- Desk space (with terrific views)
- All suites have balconies
- Pets are welcome (with some restrictions)
These suites are a great way to take advantage of the best of Toronto, all within a few minutes’ walk.
For more details about this suite, click here.
To arrange to view this suite, contact Mary Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 416.213.8881 x228
If you work in HR, you know that one of the biggest challenges in your job is convincing the rest of the organization that you can make a real contribution to the bottom line. Too often, HR is seen as a ‘cost center’ rather than a ‘revenue center’ – and that can mean the HR department isn’t taken as seriously as other departments, or given a seat at the strategic boardroom table.
So how can you look like you’re just as focused on the bottom line and making a contribution to the overall health of the organization? If your company spends money on corporate travel, try implementing these 5 money-saving strategies – and then make sure everyone knows just how much money you just added to the bottom line!
5 ways to save money on corporate travel
1. Establish well-defined policies. Too many companies just let employees ‘use their own good judgement’ when it comes to travel-related expenses. But without sufficient oversight, this can lead to $200 steak dinners and late-night raiding of expensive mini-bars. By establishing some clear guidelines (like specific per-diem amounts, expectations regarding taxis vs public transit, etc.), you can control costs without taking draconian measures.
2. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. With all the emphasis on bargain-hotel websites these days, you might be surprised to learn that the corporate sales departments of major hotel chains are more than willing to provide discounted rates even for mid-sized organizations. If your staff travels to a variety of cities throughout the year, one call to a hotel chain that serves the regions you travel to most often could save you 20% or more on annual hotel costs.
3. Consider corporate credit cards. Using corporate credit cards for travel expenses – either providing them to employees who travel or using them to book travel from head office – delivers three key benefits: First, they provide you with better annualized data on where you’re spending travel dollars, which can help you cut costs; second, they reduce the reliance on cumbersome expense forms (which some employees seem to take forever to submit); and with a little research, you can find one which provides cash back or other benefits that can further cut costs.
4. Talk to the purchasing department. Your purchasing department is experienced in researching and negotiating the best prices from all kinds of suppliers – they may be able to help you find additional ways to save money on travel costs, or even help you with some hard-nosed negotiation. What’s more, they may already be working with travel-related suppliers who are motivated to provide deeper discounts in exchange for the promise of exclusivity.
5. Investigate corporate housing. If you have multiple staff members visiting the same city several times during the year, or you often host visitors from offices in other cities, it might be time to consider furnished corporate housing. In Toronto, corporate housing can be half as expensive as hotels, while providing guests with the ability to make their own meals – which can put a stop to those $200 steak dinners!
Because even real estate professionals may not know about furnished rentals
It’s a great show, especially for real estate professionals and investors who are wondering how to get the most out of their investment condos and townhomes. While the corporate housing/furnished accommodation sector has been growing exponentially in the past few years, it’s still not well known or understood, and Michelle explains what it is, how it works, and why it can be a fantastic solution for investors, individuals and organizations.
Go ahead – listen to the podcast here.
Do you know what ‘executive suites’ really means?
While most people have heard of the term ‘executive suites’, we know that not everyone is familiar with just what corporate housing and executive suites really are. In this second part of our FAQs series, we address the questions we’re asked most often. (You can see Part I here.)
Is there a minimum/maximum number of nights I can stay?
In Canada, each province has specific legislation regarding what constitutes a ‘hotel’ or ‘permanent accommodation’. This legislation affects tax rates and the rights of owners or landlords and guests or tenants. Corporate housing (also called ‘extended stay’) lies between the two. That means that while hotels can offer single-night accommodation, and rental housing is typically based on yearly leases, executive suites are generally required to be a minimum of 30 nights and a maximum of 364 nights.
Specific municipalities or individual condominium complexes may have slightly different rules, but in general executive suites are a good option when you need furnished accommodations for 30+ nights. (The upside to this is that in most cases, 30 nights in a furnished executive suite costs less than 10-14 nights in a ‘regular’ hotel room – and you get more space and amenities.)
Can other people stay with me?
Yes, and this is one of the biggest advantages of corporate housing. Furnished suites are designed to provide a more ‘home-like’ experience than a hotel room, which means they have kitchens, living areas, and additional bedrooms (we have suites with 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms) – which makes it easy to accommodate spouses, families, and guests. Today Living Group, like most corporate housing providers, will ask for the names of guests staying with you – but this is largely for security reasons.
What about housekeeping?
Twice-weekly housekeeping services are generally provided as part of your fees, and their services include cleaning the kitchen, bathroom(s), living areas, and providing fresh linens. You can arrange for more frequent housekeeping services upon request – just let us know when you book your stay. Our housekeepers are thoroughly vetted for security and attention to detail.
What amenities are available?
In general, guests in our suites have full access to all the amenities normally enjoyed by permanent residents: Fitness clubs, swimming pools, guest suites, parking spots, party rooms – all of these are included with your stay.
Are the residences secure?
Yes. Every unit has its own security system, and many also have secure main entrances. We also provide you with access to a Manager on Duty who is available 24 hours a day.
Is parking available?
Yes, for most suites. In some cases, an additional charge will apply – just let us know when you make your reservation. If a particular suite does not have parking included, we can help you find parking nearby.
Can you accommodate pets?
Yes, some of our residences will be happy to host your cat or dog. This may entail an additional charge, depending on the unit. (Of course, service animals are always accepted at all residences.)
What do I need to bring with me?
Your clothes, toiletries, and some groceries. Everything else, from bedding to dishes to internet access, is all there.
How far in advance do I have to book?
As with most accommodations, the longer the lead time, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to secure a specific suite. However, because we have quite a number of properties in downtown and midtown Toronto, and in Yorkville (and in some cases, more than one suite in the same building), we can usually provide you with your first or second choice, even on short notice.
Still have questions?
Let us know. We think that corporate housing is a fantastic option whenever you’re going to be in town for 30 nights or more, and we’d be happy to answer all your questions.
My aunt and uncle live just outside of New York City, but two of their children still live here in Toronto.
A couple of summers ago, their daughter got married, and my aunt wanted to be in town more often to go to dress fittings and food tastings and bridal showers. At the same time, their son had a new baby, so they wanted to be available to see the new arrival and help the new parents for the first few weeks. The distance between New York and Toronto doesn’t seem all that huge – until parents want to be able to be with their children, and grandchildren, for traditionally significant moments.
Neither of their children had a spare bedroom, so my uncle and aunt spent a fortune on hotels and on travelling back and forth between Toronto and NYC. At that time of year, even two-star hotels in downtown Toronto are easily $250/night, and of course all the airlines had bumped up their prices for the holiday season. By the time their daughter was married and the baby was a month old, they’d spent almost $10,000 on hotels and airfare.
This is where furnished corporate housing can be a lifesaver. A one-bedroom, furnished executive condo – right in the heart of the city, convenient to everything, including the island airport – could have cost them less than $3500 for a whole month. They could have saved more than $6000, between the hotel, room service, and all the extra money they spent on flights back and forth – and ended up with much more time to spend with their kids and new grandchild.
The good news? They’re expecting a second grandchild later this year, and have already booked a month at one of the TLG suites downtown!
We’re very pleased to announce that our very own Michelle White, CCHP, has been appointed to the Canadian Advisory Group of CHPA, the Corporate Housing Providers Association.
The advisory group leads initiatives on behalf of CHPA’s Canadian members.
CHPA members include corporate housing providers around the world. As the voice of the corporate housing/executive suites industry in Canada, CHPA’s Canadian members offer educational, informational and networking opportunities to corporate housing providers across the country.
The Canadian members of CHPA provide companies with insight and resources to stay competitive in a continually evolving industry in Canada. Current initiatives focus on achieving the following strategic goals:
- Membership Development – increasing the number of Canadian member companies in CHPA.
- Member Engagement – facilitating educational and informational meetings across Canada.
- Industry Awareness – increasing awareness of the industry in Canada and communicating to key target audiences.
For more information, visit the CHPA website here.
It can make good economic sense to buy a downtown condo or two as an investment: Toronto real estate prices continue to rise, so you’re building equity – and in the meantime it shouldn’t be too hard to rent the property to a nice professional couple who won’t trash the place and won’t default on the rent, right?
The truth is that managing tenants can be a whole lot more work – and cost a whole lot more money – than most property owners realize. Even the best tenants occasionally leave holes in the walls or flood the bathroom; nice professional couples tend to move on in a year or two, meaning you have to go through the process of finding new tenants all over again; and while today’s monthly rental prices may seem high, they probably won’t cover the mortgage and condo fees on a new downtown condo.
That’s where suite management can make a real difference, especially when your condo becomes part of a corporate housing pool. Here’s how:
- Revenue. Rentals are priced on a hotel model, so the monthly rate is higher than you might expect for a regular monthly tenancy. While everyday occupancy isn’t guaranteed, on an annualized basis you can expect to earn more revenue than you would if you had permanent tenants on a year-long lease.
- Cleanliness. Because all our suites are cleaned regularly (before and after each tenant, plus weekly or biweekly housekeeping while a suite is occupied), the property is maintained in first-class condition at all times and any issues are promptly identified and addressed.
- Repairs. The provisions of Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Act say that landlords can’t enter a property without the tenant’s permission, so it’s possible for tenants to do a lot of damage before a landlord is ever aware of the problem. Because our suites are inspected before and after each (short-term) guest, repairs are done quickly – before they have time to turn into something serious.
- Risk management and administration. Suite management companies like TLG manage the property, handle bookings and payments, and provide you with monthly and annual reports.
Want more information on how your condo can become a TLG suite managed property? Click here.
The Lago community: Steps from Lake Ontario
Details of this suite:
- Brand-new one-bedroom + den in the Lago building, overlooking Lake Ontario
- Includes parking (1 space) and locker
- Walk to everything, from shopping to parks and Lake Ontario
- Hardwood floors
- Open concept kitchen/living/dining room in very cool gray shades
- Marble bathroom surround
- Exercise facilities, party and cinema room, garden area, guest suites and sauna
This suite is designed for people who want the best of both worlds in Toronto: Views of the lake and access to greenspace and parks on one side, but shopping, restaurants and transit on the other.
For more details about this suite, click here.
To arrange to view this suite, contact Mary Casey at email@example.com or call us at 416.213.8881 x228