Posts Tagged ‘business travel’

PCH Team Member Joins Houston Relocation Professionals Board of Directors

Friday, December 16th, 2016

michelle-velasquez-highresPreferred Corporate Housing is proud to announce that our Director of Client Services, Michelle Velasquez, has been appointed to the Board of Directors for the Houston Relocation Professionals organization.

Houston Relocation Professionals (HRP) was founded by a small group of global mobility professionals in the Houston area for the purpose of providing education and networking opportunities to the local relocation and human resource communities.  Today HRP has a membership of over 200 mobility professionals from within the Greater Houston area, as well as from many other locations throughout the United States. Michelle joins an elite group of current Board Members from all facets of the relocation industry.

“I’m excited for the knowledge-share, continued professional development and networking opportunities to come within the organization,” said Michelle. “Our goal is to increase the value that HRP provides for its members, and I can’t wait to do my part to help achieve that goal

Office Politics = Risky Business

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Office PoliticsThe world often feels like a crazy place these days! It seems like each day brings a new headline that grabs our attention and forces us to take sides and promote our opinions. While it is important for each of us to feel like we have a voice and say in what’s happening around us, it can also be counter-productive and distracting if those opinions creep into our workplaces. We came across this article posted by Derrick Perkins, and found it extremely valuable in light of the most-recent headlines and political banter. We’ve included the article below:

“Talking Politics at Work Poses Risk to Employers and Employees!” by Derrick Perkins

This election cycle seems to be sparking more office conflicts than previous campaigns, but talking politics at work is a risky proposition for employees and employers alike.

Strife from the divisive presidential campaign season is bleeding over into the workplace, according to a recent survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management.

In a poll of 457 human resource professionals, 26 percent reported an increase in “perceived greater political volatility” in the office this election cycle. And the problems with talking politics at work may worsen as November approaches, said Evren Esen, SHRM’s director of survey research programs.

“Businesses need to be aware, even if they haven’t had any issues in the past, that this particular election cycle could be different,” Esen said.

For the purposes of SHRM’s survey, which was compiled in May, volatility means increased tension, hostility, or argumentation among coworkers directly related to the ongoing political battle for the White House, she said. SHRM released its findings at its annual convention earlier this month.

Of those surveyed, about 67 percent reported their organizations lacked a policy—written or otherwise—regulating political activities in the office. Esen believes that those that do likely adopted one after a workplace incident.

Regulating political speech is a tricky situation for employers, said Karen Glickstein, an attorney who specializes in employment law. She recently penned a column outlining tips and advice for supervisors after receiving a glut of inquiries—many related to on-the-job incidents—from clients.

Both employers and employees can take steps to protect themselves, Glickstein said. For supervisors, it can be as simple as reminding their staff about workplace harassment or discrimination policies. Employees, on the other hand, must recognize that the First Amendment does not always apply in the workplace, she said.

It’s a question that seems to come up with each election cycle, Glickstein said, though “I think it’s probably more this year than I can remember in past years.”

Where it gets trickier is during off hours, particularly with the rise of social media. Can action be taken against workers who list their employer on sites where they also espouse political views, like Twitter and Facebook? Not necessarily.

Though only four states explicitly protect workers engaging in political activity afterhours, Glickstein said the National Labor Relations Board increasingly has sided with employees disciplined for politicking outside of the office.

But “every situation is going to be different,” she said.

SHRM, which hasn’t before gauged the amount of workplace incidents stemming from political disagreements, plans to follow up in October. Esen said reaction from members has been positive so far, as many recognize that it could become an issue.

“Not a lot of organizations have policies, but this is something to consider and talk to employees about as well,” Esen said. “Even if they don’t have a formal policy, even if it’s kind of unwritten, encourage employees to be respectful of diversity. Really, this falls into the diversity of ideas and opinions and attitudes. Regardless of whether people agree with each other, they do need to respect one another.”

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

PCH Short-Listed for EMMA Award by Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM)

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

Preferred Corporate Housing has been shortlisted for the Forum for Expatriate Management’s (FEM) annual EMMA award for “2016 Corporate Housing Provider of the Year.”

This is the second consecutive year for Preferred Corporate Housing to make the Shortlist of potential winners for an EMMA award. In 2015, Preferred Corporate Housing received “Highly Commended” recognition in this same category.

“We are honored to be included in this exclusive list of recognized temporary housing providers by one of the relocation industry’s leading organizations,” said Samantha Elliott, President of Preferred Corporate Housing. “FEM is quickly becoming a go-to resource for knowledge-sharing, best practices and partnership within the global talent and mobility industry, and we are thrilled to be considered one of the best corporate housing providers in their eyes,” said Elliott.

The annual Americas Expatriate Management and Mobility Awards (EMMAs), “celebrate excellence in global mobility. With over 20 categories, these awards truly recognize leaders, business successes and rising stars,” as described on the FEM website.

“We believe we continue to achieve successes and honors such as this because our entire team is committed to innovation and excellence in the temporary housing services we provide,” said Krista Ripper, Director of Business Development for PCH. “We work each day to find new and exciting ways to improve the guest experience, and we never settle for doing things just because its the way they’ve always been done,” said Ripper.

“Our goal is clear,” said Elliott. “We want to be the best temporary housing provider with the best team, the best options, the best tools and the best prices. Being included in this prestigious list is proof that we are on the right track,” said Elliott.

The final award winners will be announced at the black tie gala event on May 5th at the Hilton City Avenue hotel in Philadelphia.

Preferred Corporate Housing is First Member Company to be Accredited by the Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA)

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

AccreditedThe Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA) is the professional trade association exclusively dedicated to supporting corporate housing professionals and expanding the corporate housing industry around the world. CHPA’s Company Accreditation Program was designed to recognize and elevate companies who have proven their legitimacy, professionalism and commitment to industry best practices and ethics when providing corporate housing services.

CHPA announced last week that Preferred Corporate Housing, a national corporate housing provider servicing more than 42,000 locations across North America, would be the first to achieve the ‘CHPA Accredited Company’ endorsement.

“This is a program we truly value and believe that our clients and supplier partners will value as well,” said Preferred Corporate Housing President, Samantha Elliott. “There are so many ‘fly-by-night’ companies out there that are causing damage to our industry’s reputation with their unethical business practices and fraudulent behavior. CHPA’s Company Accreditation Program is a first step in highlighting which providers are operating within the appropriate standards and best practices.” said Elliott.

In order to be eligible to receive the ‘CHPA Accredited Company’ endorsement, Preferred Corporate Housing had to submit financial history, operational documents relating to business continuity and data protection policies, proof of appropriate business insurance coverage, and letters of reference from peers, suppliers and current clients. Preferred Corporate Housing was also eligible for this endorsement due to its active involvement and leadership within CHPA over the past years, and because all Preferred Corporate Housing’s Senior Managers have earned and maintained the ‘Certified Corporate Housing Professional (CCHP)’ designation.

“We believe that any company that might be sourcing corporate housing services should only want to work with providers who have received CHPA’s Company Accredited endorsement,” said Jon Lanclos, PCH Founder. “This accreditation highlights those companies who have proven themselves to be the best examples of corporate housing industry leaders.”

About Preferred Corporate Housing:

Preferred Corporate Housing is the premier, North American temporary lodging provider for corporate/government relocation programs, extended travel assignments and other corporate travel needs. Since 1996, Preferred Corporate Housing has built a unique model for providing housing solutions in more than 42,000 locations across the US and Canada, specializing in remote destinations and third-tier cities. PCH takes pride in its ability to provide furnished lodging solutions exactly where clients need them, when they need them. Multiple options are available at every budgetary level, making PCH a great partner for any relocation program.

About CHPA:

The Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA) is the only trade association dedicated to the corporate housing industry. As the industry continually evolves, members gain insight and resources on how to stay competitive through their involvement with CHPA. CHPA, as the voice of the corporate housing industry, offers networking, educational and informational opportunities to corporate housing providers around the world.

2015 – What a Year!

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

New Year 2016What a year! Preferred Corporate Housing really made the most out of 2015 from being named “Provider of the Year” by the Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA), to winning several key client RFPs that will lead us through the years to come. Our team has grown together, laughed together and worked to create the best temporary housing experiences for each of our guests.

So as we close out this amazing year, we thought we would use the last blog post of the year to pass along some of our favorite quotes. The new year brings new ideas, new ventures and a fresh start. But it also brings new challenges and struggles to overcome to achieve these new goals. Here is a little motivation to get you started breaking through barriers and reaching your objectives in 2016!

1. “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it.” – Charles R. Swindoll

2. “If you can dream it, you can do it!” – Walt Disney

3. “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Ryun

4. ” A good beginning makes a good end.” – Old English Proverb

5. “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one!” – Brad Paisley

6. “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language, and next year’s words await another voice.” – T.S. Eliot

7. ““We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential.” – Ellen Goodman

We are excited about the potential of what 2016 will bring. To all our friends around the world celebrating the start of this new year, we wish you a safe and joyous celebration, and we can’t wait to experience prosperity and success with you in 2016!

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.

Preferred Corporate Housing shortlisted for Expatriate Management and Mobility Award

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

FEM_AMERICAS_BUTTONPreferred Corporate Housing, a leading provider of temporary lodging solutions in more than 42,000 North American destinations, has been shortlisted for the Forum for Expatriate Management’s (FEM) annual EMMA award for “2015 Corporate Housing Provider of the Year.”

This is the second major recognition this year for Preferred Corporate Housing, who won the Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA) Tower of Excellence award for “Large Market Provider of the Year,” in February 2015.

“We are honored to be included in this exclusive list of recognized temporary housing providers by one of the relocation industry’s leading organizations,” said Samantha Elliott, President of Preferred Corporate Housing. “FEM is quickly becoming a go-to resource for knowledge-sharing, best practices and partnership within the global talent and mobility industry, and we are thrilled to be considered one of the best corporate housing providers in their eyes,” said Elliott.

The annual Americas Expatriate Management and Mobility Awards (EMMAs), “celebrate excellence in global mobility. With over 20 categories, these awards truly recognize leaders, business successes and rising stars,” as described on the FEM website.

“We believe we continue to achieve successes and honors such as this because our entire team is committed to innovation and excellence in the temporary housing services we provide,” said Krista Ripper, Director of Business Development for PCH. “We work each day to find new and exciting ways to improve the guest experience, and we never settle for doing things just because its the way they’ve always been done,” said Ripper.

“Our goal is clear,” said Elliott. “We want to be the best temporary housing provider with the best team, the best options, the best tools and the best prices. Being included in this prestigious list is proof that we are on the right track,” said Elliott.

The final award winners will be announced at the black tie gala event on September 9th at the Loews Coronado Bay Hotel in San Diego.

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, if you would like to collaborate on story development, or if you are looking for 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 to arrange an interview with a Preferred Corporate Housing executive. Michelle Velasquez – (800) 960-0102 ext 21, michelle@corporates.com.

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.”