Visitation to New York City understandably plummeted during the pandemic. The entire city shut down from local traffic and restricted outside visitors. All the major attractions (and even the city streets) became eerily empty in efforts to control the virus’ spread.
No visitors also devastated the city’s apartment rentals opportunities, as both business and personal travelers shied away. As the pandemic eases in NYC, it will impact the rental market for the short and long-term. And, these impacts will be particularly acute for the luxury market.
So how are luxury apartments in New York City adapting post pandemic?
Meeting Cleaning Expectations
Longer-term corporate housing units managed through a reputable firm employ specialized cleaning crews and follow the latest protocols. Since the units are occupied for longer time periods, there’s less turnover compared to the typical two-to-three day stays with hotel rooms. Hotel operators cannot commit the full staffing needed to professionally clean a room up to the new COVID-19 standards. Brian Ferdinand, Managing Partner of CorpHousing Group, sees the need for cleanliness driving a shift away from high-occupancy hotels to longer-term apartment rentals.
The expectations for cleanliness during COVID-19 will remain in place, as people expect a certain level of detail for sanitization and contaminant removal. This will include:
- A focus on disinfecting, not just cleaning and straightening, by using higher strength products to eliminate the virus, such as those recommended by the EPA.
- Extra attention for cleaning all common touch surfaces throughout the property
- Opening windows and any balcony doors to encourage fresh air flow during cleaning and before the next rental
Shifting Away from Airbnb
In 2019 city officials raided the Far West Side Atelier condominium and handed out more than 20 violations to owners that violated short-term (Airbnb) rentals. This was a wakeup call for building managers and luxury apartment owners in the city who tried to skirt regulations. It’s illegal for New Yorkers living in buildings with three or more units to agree to rentals for less than 30 days, unless the actual owner is also present.
Luxury apartment owners spooked by the possibility of fines are turning away from Airbnb’s model towards corporate housing rental agreements for 30 days or more.
And Moving Towards Corporate Housing
Reputable corporate housing firms such as CorpHousing Group provide luxury apartment owners with better way forward to navigate the “new normal.” These firms’ service offerings are a distinct contrast to the typical Airbnb or VRBO model:
- Airbnb relies on a self-service model, which works until…it doesn’t. Guests encountering problems are on their own. CorpHousing Group, under the leadership of Brian Ferdinand, provides a catered experience with a personal greeter who handles issues throughout the guest’s stay.
- Building managers are turning away from Airbnb due to the security risks. Airbnb does not conduct background checks or perform other diligence to screen renters. Top-tier corporate housing firms conduct full background checks including reviews of a potential guest’s social media activity to greatly limit the risks for unauthorized parties or vandalism.
- While scam and fraud cases are rare, some Airbnb renters have their trips ruined by unscrupulous Airbnb hosts. Reputable corporate housing firms provide rock-solid guaranteed accommodations combined with transparent service.
Brian Ferdinand understands the needs of luxury apartment building managers. He knows they want their properties to retain their appeal to guests and residents beyond aesthetics. From his discussions with dozens of property managers, he also sees they desire safe and secure places where people feel comfortable in the halls and elevators.
Extensive use of Airbnb rentals dilutes this luxury experience and over time can devalue the property. Longer-term corporate housing attracts business and leisure guests that need a true “home base” and appreciate a more local enhanced experience.
Corporate housing firms that emphasize service aim to remove any headaches from luxury apartment security staff or management. These firms employ their own team of greeters and other team members that build relationships with luxury apartment managers and owners. Why? Because they’re committed to renting out units as unobtrusively as possible, both for the guest’s benefit and to streamline the daily lives of property managers.
As of July 2020, NYC is turning the tide against infections and looks forward to regaining its premiere status as the world’s best business and leisure destination. Luxury apartment owners and property managers will adapt to the new realities by enhancing cleaning protocols and shifting towards more sustainable and secure corporate housing models.