Posts Tagged ‘apartment’

Preferred Corporate Housing listed as one of the Largest Woman-Owned Businesses in Houston

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

houston-business-journalThe Houston Business Journal released its annual “Largest Woman-Owned Businesses” list earlier this month. This list includes the top 25 Houston-based companies that are at least 51 percent owned by women. Preferred Corporate Housing is pleased to have been listed as the 17th Largest Woman-Owned Business in Houston according to HBJ’s rankings.

“Corporate diversity plays a significant role in our day-to-day partnerships and transactions. We seek out diverse suppliers and sub-contractors to help us service our national corporate housing clients, so it is nice to be recognized because of our ownership diversity as well,” said Samantha Elliott, President of Preferred Corporate Housing.

This list highlights a variety of industries and ownership backgrounds, but the common denominator for all 25 companies is the strength and commitment of each female owner to lead by example, be adaptable in changing environments, and to remain focused on innovation.

About Preferred Corporate Housing:

Preferred Corporate Housing has been providing furnished temporary housing services across North America for more than 20 years. With service to more than 42,000 locations, PCH has become a go-to resource for more than 8,000 local, national and global clients including 413 companies on the 2016 Fortune 500 list.

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

At last month’s Americas Mobility Conference sponsored by the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council (WERC), PCH team member Michelle Velasquez, led an interactive discussion on the most recent trends impacting employee travel in relation to temporary housing. Several of the HR Managers in the attendance asked questions about Airbnb and wondered if this “home-sharing” hotel alternative is affecting extended business travel and lodging needs in conjunction with employee mobility.

It was noted that these types of lodging alternatives are spending millions in creative advertising targeting the younger traveler, and they are becoming more attractive to individual employees traveling with their own out-of-pocket expenses. But for company-sponsored assignments, Airbnb is still a risky alternative.

The discussion was focused around the unknowns involved with those Airbnb-type of bookings, and how those unknowns can potentially impact the success of an assignment. With little-to-no regulation or quality oversight, employees take a risk on each booking. Another concern involves “home-sharing” solutions like Airbnb and its competitors being heavily lobbied against by the Hotel Industry. This lobbying is creating legislation that involves restrictions, and in some cities, elimination of these types of alternatives altogether. If Airbnb suffered a big loss in a city (think of the Uber ban in Austin, TX) where a company’s employees were utilizing their services, it could distract from the goal of the assignment while the employees are scrambling for alternative lodging.

AirBNB Nightmare

AirBNB Nightmare – Vice.com

Another deterrent for employers who may be exploring Airbnb as a lodging alternative for its employees involves the negative press that spreads throughout social media when a “home-sharing” booking goes terribly wrong. Vice.com released an article this morning recounting some of the worst experiences ever reported with Airbnb experiences. If the stories of brothels, drug-dealing hosts and sardine-style sleeping arrangements don’t scare employers away, the images included in the article certainly will. We’ve included a few as a preview, but you can view the entire article by visiting https://www.vice.com/read/strangest-airbnb-experiences-stories-876

Preferred Corporate Housing clients count on us to provide a home-like experience that is move-in ready and free of stress. HR and Talent Managers understand that employees need a stable, comfortable living experience in order to be productive and successful in their new assignments. Our furnished apartment solutions in residential communities provide the standardization, quality oversight and 24-hour service that are necessary for successful mobile assignments. If you are exploring lodging alternatives for your employees in order to create successful and productive assignments, call Preferred Corporate Housing to learn more about our solutions in more than 42,000 North American destinations. (800) 960-0102. www.corporates.com

Most Affordable States for Job Seekers

Friday, May 27th, 2016

Graduation season is upon us! This means thousands of college graduates ready to enter the workforce with high hopes and unrealistic expectations. Although job creation is on the rise and many glamorous locations are beckoning college graduates to come and find work, often times these locations’ housing costs are way beyond the scope of what entry-level wages can afford. What a perfect time for Forbes Magazine to release its study on the most affordable states and rental rates for new job seekers. John Wasik, a Forbes Contributor, sums up which locations should be most attractive for entry-level workers:

“It’s tough to be a recent college graduate. You’re scrapping to find the highest-paying job and may be carrying loan debt. You must feel like you’re running uphill with a backpack of rocks.

If you’re looking to relocate, what’s the first economic decision you need to make? You need to know what prevailing rents are in the city you wish to relocate to relative to your income.

Let’s get the spoiler out of the way first: The largest, most glamorous cities are unaffordable unless you’re making way more than $20 an hour. You won’t be able to afford these places at all if your wages are around minimum wage.

According to a recent report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, for most workers, that probably puts Hawaii, California, New York, Maryland and New Jersey out of reach for millions. Here’s what the report found:

“In order to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent, a full-time worker in America today must earn $20.30 per hour—a figure that is almost $5 more than the average hourly wage of renters in the U.S. A full-time worker needs to earn $16.35 per hour to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment.”

 One simple rule of thumb is that average rents (or overall housing costs) shouldn’t exceed more than 30% of your income. In glamor cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and New York, you’ll get soaked for housing costs, which could easily exceed half of your income.

That puts a huge burden on you. Remember that you need to pay for food, transportation and other necessities. You won’t be able to save money.”

To view this article in its entirety, visit http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnwasik/2016/05/27/most-affordable-rents-states-for-job-seekers/#306c5d293d90

Hurricane Katrina – A Look Back at Disaster Preparedness

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Hurricane Katrina from space On September 16, 2004 Hurricane Ivan made landfall along the coasts of Alabama and Florida. Prior to the storms’ arrival, mandatory evacuation orders were issued all along the Gulf Coast due to Ivan’s unpredictable path. These evacuations caused widespread panic and Preferred Corporate Housing, a national provider of furnished apartment solutions, began receiving higher-than-normal inbound calls at its Headquarters in Houston, Texas. “People were desperately requesting apartments as far away from the coast as they could get in the short amount of time they had,” recalls Megan Margetusakis, PCH Director of Operations. “Our existing corporate clients were calling in to find solutions for their displaced employees along with all of the people who happened upon our information on the web. We were one of the only national furnished apartment providers at the time, and I remember it being extremely chaotic trying to fulfill everyone’s requests.”

Preferred Corporate Housing eventually housed hundreds of people along the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Ivan’s destruction, but knew that they had to come up with a better plan for servicing disaster-related situations for the future. “We knew we had create a specific planning and response process for any future disaster-related situations that might occur,” said Jon Lanclos, Founder of PCH. “When a Hurricane is on its way, its too late to start trying to create a plan, and we wanted to be prepared in the future. We also knew that we were at risk for future storms and we need to be prepared as well. That’s how we came up with the Preferred Placement Program®

This unique disaster preparedness plan allowed us to track the anticipated path of a potential storm, compile an instantaneous list of all existing clients located near the path of the storm, and simultaneously source all viable furnished apartment solutions outside of the storm’s path to offer to anyone who may be evacuating prior or displaced. Using our proprietary database platform, we were able to incorporate automatic alerts, employee phone trees, mobile office solutions and other critical disaster recovery elements that would allow us to be a resource for any company effected by a disaster, no matter where it occurred.

The remainder of 2004 along with the beginning of the 2005 hurricane season, which began with Hurricane Dennis hitting the Florida coast in July, gave Preferred Corporate Housing several opportunities to test and perfect each element of our newly formed Preferred Placement Program®. “Although there were some kinks, I was proud of the plan we had created and our ability to service our clients who were displaced after Hurricane Dennis. If we had not taken the time following Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis to perfect our systems and plans, we would not have been ready for what came next,” said Lanclos.

new orleans post KatrinaOn Monday, August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall near New Orleans. Preferred Corporate Housing had enabled the beginning phases of its Preferred Placement Plan® the week prior and was already operating its “Ready Room,” to prepare for another influx of calls once the storm passed. “It was pretty close to business-as-usual at the beginning of the week,” said Margetusakis. “Although we were receiving a higher call volume and were responding to more housing requests, we were following the plan we had in place and things were going as smoothly as could be expected. As news reports of the failed levees and floodwaters started surfacing, we watched, along with the rest of the world, in horror as people were stranded in their flooded homes and at the Superdome without food or water.”

“As we learned of the levee breaches and widespread devastation, we expanded our search radius to incorporate more cities away from the devastated regions. We knew that we would need more available housing than originally planned, said Lanclos. “With our past storm-response experience and our allocated resources, we had quickly developed a reputation with our clients and apartment community partners of being a go-to resource for furnished apartment solutions following a disaster.”

PCH received a call from an American Express Travel Agent on August 31, around 5:15pm. “Normally we would have been shutting down for the day,” explains Samantha Elliott, President of Preferred Corporate Housing, “but we were all still busy helping people find housing that we had extended our office hours for the week.” The caller explained that she was representing a major energy company who’s Louisiana office was currently underwater in New Orleans and who was looking to relocate its entire team and operations away from New Orleans as quickly as possible. The caller had been turned away by three other national corporate housing providers who explained that they had already reached their inventory capacity and could not accommodate a group of this size.

The company was Dominion Exploration and Production, one of the largest providers of electricity, natural gas and related services at the time. Dominion Exploration’s Louisiana office, Dominion Tower, was located directly across from the Superdome, and was the central office for more than 325 employees who were displaced from their homes following Katrina’s devastation.

astrodomePreferred Corporate Housing was up to the challenge. It was decided that Houston, TX was the best location with enough housing solutions for all 325 employees and their families. Utilizing the designed Preferred Placement Plan®, Preferred Corporate Housing’s team was able to source and furnished all 325 apartments at 21 different apartment communities in the Houston area.  Dominion evacuated the families and brought them to Houston where they arrived to fully furnished, fully equipped apartments. For many, it was the first time they were able to sleep in an actual bed, prepare a meal, and even shower since the storm hit.

“It was the proudest moment for me,” said Elliott. “We saw the living conditions these people were coming from, and for my team to be able to provide a safe, comfortable place for these families while they began the rebuilding process was an accomplishment that I will never forget.” These Dominion employees and their families were home in the PCH furnished apartments for the next 6 months. Although approximately 200 families returned back to New Orleans in early 2006, around 140 employees became permanent Houston residents and did not wish to return.

Its been ten years since Hurricane Katrina caused more than $108 billion dollars in damage, more than 1,300 deaths and displaced more than 400,000 people from the Gulf Coast region. “Looking back, there isn’t much I would do differently,” recalls Lanclos. “We had a plan in place ahead of the storm, and though we could never have predicted the amount of devastation, we were able to provide immediate solutions when others could not.”

“We still use the same Preferred Placement Plan® today,” says Margetusakis. “We’ve improved it as technology and resources have changed, but the shell of the plan is the same.”

“Hurricane Katrina taught us so much about our company – our strengths, our culture, our capabilities,” said Elliott. “I am so grateful we had the opportunity to help those families, and while I hope no one has to experience that kind of devastation again, I know we’ll be ready to help the next time we get the call.”

To read the Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief Case Study in its entirety, visit http://www.corporates.com/dom. To learn more about Preferred Corporate Housing’s furnished apartment solutions in more than 42,000 North American locations, or to receive a customized employee housing proposal based on your specific program needs, contact Krista Ripper at (800) 960-0102, krista@corporates.com.

Tenant Screening – A Welcome Requirement?

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Background checkThe use of tenant screening, more commonly referred to as “background checks,” is growing in popularity in multi-family apartment leasing. These days just about every landlord and property manager utilize some sort of credit and rental history screening process for the financially-responsible party, but now the integration of background checks for residents is becoming just as commonplace. In the past 24 months, Preferred Corporate Housing has seen a significant increase in the communities which now require specific guest information to be provided so that criminal background checks can be performed on each occupant. While each property management company has it’s own criteria they use to evaluate whether or not they will accept or reject an applicant, PCH is finding that communities are following the guidelines and recommendations from their local civil authorities. With many states and municipalities having passed legislation requiring the tracking of criminal offenders and sexual predators, apartment communities may be required by local law to perform these tenant screenings.

“PCH provided our fully furnished apartments in 49 out of the 50 U.S. states in 2014, and we’ve seen an uptick in background checks/tenant screening processes in every state we serviced,” said Anna Doran, Senior National Account Executive for Preferred Corporate Housing. “This is a welcome trend from our perspective because, even though it may cause a bit more paperwork on the front-end, adding criminal screenings is a way to improve safety across the board for our corporate clients,” said Doran.

Another reason multi-families are adding these types of criminal screenings to their leasing process is in effort to eliminate “negligent leasing.” This is a widely used term in the multi-family rental industry used to describe a rental situation go awry due to lack of due diligence and pre-screening on the part of the community management. Negligent leasing is a real concern today as properties can potentially avoid theft, violence and damages by simply running a criminal history check on guests before accepting them to their property. Fair Housing laws require that if any screening of this nature is performed on one potential resident, it must be applied to all potential residents across the board.

“We prefer to place our corporate clients at communities that require these type of criminal screenings for guests because it adds a bit more peace-of-mind about the neighborhood,” said Megan Margetusakis, Director of Operations for PCH. “Our clients have an expectation of safety when they stay with us, and while we can’t guarantee that crime won’t happen, we can do our due diligence to reduce the risk by placing them in communities with resident screening requirements.”

Although resident screening services can potentially weed out unwanted, potentially dangerous neighbors, many corporate clients have balked at the requirements to provide the personal information needed to complete these screenings for their corporate travelers. This hesitancy is not due to fear that their employees will not pass the screenings, but rather protection of their employees’ personally identifiable information. Drivers License numbers, date of birth, and even social security numbers are often required for these screenings. International travelers may even be asked to provide copies of their passports.

“The most important thing for corporate travel and mobility managers to understand when it comes to resident screening requirements is that we must abide by the community requirements when placing your employees in our furnished apartments,” said Margetusakis. “Because of Fair Housing and other local laws, we do not have the ability waive these requirements on a case by case basis for any guest or employee. What we can offer are secure ways to provide the required personal information that doesn’t violate the company’s PII policy and/or place the employee at risk for PII exposure.” said Margetusakis.

Tenant screening, background checks, criminal history review…they are all here to stay, and it is highly-likely that their inclusion in rental approval processes will continue to gain popularity throughout the country. Corporate Travel and Mobility Managers should be prepared to counsel their employees on this requirement and talk through best-practices and safe methods for providing the necessary personal information for these screenings.

Preferred Corporate Housing Launches Partnership with Move for Hunger

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 3.46.08 PMPreferred Corporate Housing launched its very successful ‘Preferred Charity Helpers’ Program in the Fall of 2013. Through this client-driven initiative, PCH has committed to supporting various local, regional, national and global charities as selected by each of its National Account Program Members. In the past two years, PCH has donated over $200K to organizations like Habitat for Humanity, The Wounded Warrior Project, ASPCA and several other local and regional charities.

PCH is proud to announce its newest ‘Preferred Charity Helpers’ alliance with Move for Hunger, a hunger relief organization that works within the relocation industry to collect non-perishable food items left behind when someone moves, to deliver to food banks all across North America.

Preferred Corporate Housing will be supporting Move for Hunger in several ways, including quarterly monetary donations via the ‘Preferred Charity Helpers’ Program, and by collecting food items left behind when guests move out of one of its nationwide furnished apartments. Once the food items have been collected, Move for Hunger will use its network of partner van line companies to deliver the food to local food bank operations.

“We really fell in love with the concept of Move for Hunger,” said Samantha Elliott, PCH President. “Everyone has non-perishable food items that are a hassle to pack and transport, and most of it winds up in the trash. But by partnering with Move for Hunger and giving our guests a way to donate those items, we know we can help make a big difference to fight hunger within our country.”

PCH Awarded “Company of the Year” by Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA)

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Company of the YearPreferred Corporate Housing, a national provider of furnished lodging solutions in more than 42,000 locations across North America was just awarded the Tower of Excellence “Provider Member/Company of the Year” Award by the Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA).

The Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA) is the professional trade association exclusively dedicated to supporting corporate housing providers around the world. With more than 300 company members, CHPA works closely with related trade associations such as the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council (WERC), National Apartment Association (NAA) and various others as an advocate and educational resource for the corporate housing industry across the globe.

CHPA recognizes success and achievement within the corporate housing industry by presenting the highly-coveted Tower of Excellence Awards at its national conference each year. Company award categories include Best Community/Philanthropic Program, Most Creative Marketing, Best Green Progress and the most-coveted, highly-competitive award of “Provider Member/Company of the Year.” The 2015 Tower of Excellence award for “Provider Member/Company of the Year” was presented to the Preferred Corporate Housing team at the awards luncheon in Orlando, Florida.

“We are extremely proud and honored to win this prestigious award,” said Jon Lanclos, Founder and CIO of Preferred Corporate Housing. “Being included in this category with so many other heavy-hitters and industry leaders is a challenge in itself. Coming away with the recognition of ‘Company of the Year’ really legitimizes the hard work and dedication that our team has put in to being the best corporate housing provider.”

CHPA selects “Provider Member/Company of the Year” award winners based on scored evaluations from the following categories: a) Contributing locally, nationally, and internationally to the corporate housing industry b) Creating unique solutions or programs to enhance the industry. c) Achieving sound financial results as they pertain to growth through sales and other initiatives. d) Exceeding guests’ expectations measured by survey results or testimonials from guests or clients e) Developing strong relationships with other corporate housing providers f) Developing collaborative relationships with supplier partners.

“We’ve really focused on what sets us apart,” said Samantha Elliott, President of PCH. “Its not just about providing a furnished apartment. Its about finding opportunities to personalize our service, customize the solutions we offer and really ‘wow’ our guests each and every time. Every person on our team plays a vital role in making that happen, so we are happy to share this award with them,” said Elliott.

About Preferred Corporate Housing:
Preferred Corporate Housing has been providing furnished temporary housing services across North America for more than 20 years. With service to more than 42,000 locations, PCH has become a go-to resource for more than 8,000 local, national and global clients including 413 companies on the 2014 Fortune 500 list.

Press & Media Contact
For questions or commentary about trends in the corporate housing industry, collaboration on story development, or a corporate housing subject-matter expert (SME) to serve as a speaker/panelist at your next conference or trade show, please inquire with our media relations contact Michelle Velasquez – (800) 960-0102 ext 21, michelle@corporates.com.

What’s in store for PCH in 2015

Monday, January 12th, 2015

20152014 was amazing for PCH, and coming off such a great year, we are committed to keeping the momentum going throughout 2015. In fact, this year has already kicked off with several great things for Preferred Corporate Housing. We have already won our first large group mobilization bid for 2015, a $130k contract with the US Coast Guard that began during the first week of the new year. Our team members have already completed 2 new certification courses and contributed 5 continuing education credit hours towards our goal of 100 per year. And our webinar series on temporary housing trends has already been approved for Certified Relocation Professional (CRP) credit issued by the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council…and we are only 11 days into the new year! We are just getting warmed up!

We have several new program launches in store for 2015 that will allow us to service more clients in more locations, including international destinations, and we are expanding our portfolio of service inclusions for our clients. We are excited about adding our new, unique approach to the exceptional temporary housing services we already offer in more than 42,000 locations, and for the new opportunities these added benefits will bring for PCH and our clients.

So keep your eyes peeled and your ears open because Preferred Corporate Housing has lots in store for 2015, and you won’t want to miss any of it!

PCH Sponsors Relocation Partner Forum in Beaver Creek, CO

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

PCH was proud to be invited to attend the 4th Annual MSI Executive Forum in beautiful Beaver Creek, CO earlier this month.

Hosted by the beautiful Ritz-Carlton, Bachelors Gulch Resort, the annual MSI event brought together the most respected minds in global mobility to explore the latest trends and key topics impacting talent management as it relates to employee mobility. With more than 300 supplier partners and corporate HR managers in attendance, PCH was proud to sponsor such an amazing event.

The education portion of the forum kicked off with opening remarks by Tim Runnion, CEO of MSI Global Business Solutions. He placed emphasis on the importance of adaptation and flexibility in order to remain successful. He was followed by keynote speaker, Jared Cohen, who spoke about how technology is changing the landscape of the world. His fascinating take was the perfect intro to an amazing day of networking and education.

“MSI was a great host,” said Samantha Elliott, President of PCH. “They created a great event in a great location, and we were excited to be a part of it!”

The education and networking opportunities hosted by MSI provided additional insight about their core values, hot topics and forward outlook. PCH team members also earned 10 additional continuing education credits, bringing their 2014 total to 117.MSI Photo 2

MSI Photo 3

MSI Photo 4

MSI Photo

Don’t Fall Prey to the Summer Productivity Slump

Monday, July 21st, 2014

summer slackingAccording to a survey done by the Captivate Network, workplace productivity tumbles about 20% in the summertime. Of the 600 workers surveyed throughout various industries, most of us feel distracted, we take longer to complete projects, go on longer lunch breaks, and even have a drop in workplace attendance. You may be less productive because you’re distracted by summer activities or the fact that business has slowed. Maybe your managers and colleagues are on vacation so your normal hustle and bustle office environment is quieter than normal. Whatever the reason, Here are 5 things you can do to boost your productivity at work this summer.

Adjust the thermostat
I know it sounds silly, but research has proven that if the temperature inside your office is too high or too low, your productivity can suffer. Citing research from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, it states the optimal office temperature is between 70 and 72 degrees (Fahrenheit). For every degree over 77 degrees, productivity drops by 2%, and below 68%, error rates increase dramatically. They also found that 10% of employees also waste time arguing over the office temperature, so if everyone could just agree on 70 to 72 degrees, we would all be more productive.

If there’s no work, find some
If you’re not productive simply because things around the office are slow, use this time to get a jump start on upcoming projects or new initiatives that might take more time to launch. The longer you wait for things to pick back up, the longer it will take for things to pick back up.

Switch up your routine, or the scenery
If work is starting to feel a little stale, you may be able to kick-start simply by changing your routine or environment. Try getting outside more during the workday. Go for a walk or have meetings outside. Or if you tend to do the same things at work in a set order, consider switching things up. The summer is a great time to start a new task and challenge yourself.

Don’t fall prey to lowering your output
Managers most-likely won’t accept poor performance because it’s a slower time of year. As long as your are getting your paycheck, your boss is assuming you are working to the best of your ability, regardless if others are vacationing at the beach.

Don’t think showing up equates to productivity
Just keep in mind that achievements trump hours spent. Just because you are in the office for the required eight hours doesn’t mean you’ve done your job. The summer is not a ticket for slacking off, so don’t do it!