While glossy marketing campaigns lure more Australians to take a break and visit Canberra, tempting them with pictures of wineries, hot air balloons and fabulous food, there is another type of visitor who moves quietly in and out of the city every week.
Whether it is for a few days, weeks or months, Canberra is a regular, short-term home for thousands of business travellers every year. From private firms and public companies, to health, education, IT and defence sectors, business travellers regularly fly or drive into our city in huge numbers.
However, the dream of business travel, staying in five-star accommodation and dining with colleagues or clients while building meaningful relationships is often replaced with the reality of cramped spaces and nowhere to prepare a quick meal and curl up on the couch. So the choice of where to stay becomes critical for many regular business travellers.
For people wanting to live a midweek work life out of a suitcase, hotels are not necessarily going to be the best option for a stay of more than a couple of days, particularly for the regular Canberra business visitor.
Enter Accommodate Canberra, the brainchild of local Canberra real estate agency Maloney’s Canberra, which caters for the discerning business traveller, and is now so successful that tourists have cottoned onto it.
“Business people often frequent the same city multiple times, especially in Canberra where they may be working with a government department on a specific project,” says managing director Peter Maloney.
“We recognised that business travellers want different things from accommodation. They want five-star standards but with the amenities of a home away from home.”
Beginning in 2009, Accommodate Canberra quickly built a portfolio of more than 30 properties, offering a choice of one, two or three-bedroom serviced apartments for a few nights or a few months.
“We have now been operating for 15 years and have a portfolio of more than 70 executive apartments in some of Canberra’s most prestigious, luxurious and sought-after apartment complexes in the Canberra CBD, Kingston and Northbourne Avenue,” says Peter.
He says moving into short-term executive rental was a natural fit for an agency with extensive experience in property management.
“Although these days we have a dedicated specialist team to look after Accommodate Canberra properties,” adds Peter.
He says the overriding principle of the business is to pick the small things and do them well, such as easy check-ins.
“The last thing an exhausted business guest wants when they arrive at their accommodation is a hassle checking in,” says Peter. “The quicker they can get into their accommodation and relax, the better life will be for everyone.”
Peter says a clean apartment is one of the most important requirements for guests, and a weekly service, including full clean and linen change, is included in each stay.
“We pride ourselves on having very high standards of presentation and cleanliness,” says Peter.
“No-one wants to find evidence of the previous guest, however cleanliness is easily overlooked, especially when cleaning companies rush to turn over rooms before the next guest arrives.”
Cleaning is such a key area, Peter started a standalone cleaning company, Canberra Room Service, to ensure high standards are met consistently.
He says Accommodate Canberra works because not only do business travellers enjoy quality-controlled, short-term accommodation, it is also a fantastic opportunity for investors.
“Business travellers are usually the perfect tenants,” says Peter. “They are not usually in their rooms very much, and there is no moving furniture in and out so there is much less wear and tear on the investment.”
Like most businesses, COVID-19 hit Accommodate Canberra hard, but Peter says as business resumed, both business travellers and visitors returned, and bookings are positive again.
“With 95 per cent occupancy, we are actually looking to add more properties onto the books and build our stock back up to our pre-COVID-19 levels,” he says.
For more information, visit Accommodate Canberra.