By Peg Guinta
Last month we discussed how changes in the corporate mobility industry may herald new business opportunities for brokerage-based relocation departments. Traditionally, relocation directors focused on buyer and seller referral revenue, but with fewer corporate transfers and increased renter populations, it may be time to include more non-traditional approaches.
This month, we focus on key mobility trends and related support services. For future issues we’ll include topics that interest you most, so please take our short survey here.
Awareness of trends that can impact mobility programs may spark ideas about recalibrating existing services or developing new ones. Here are some prevailing trends, possibly in your market area right now, that can indicate new or enhanced service needs:
• Global assignment increases
• Renter population increases
• Use of pre-decision services
• Mobility policy development
Corporate mobility managers’ responsibilities have also changed; fewer are dedicated solely to relocation functions and often have diverse HR responsibilities. Increasingly, they may rely more on relocation management companies (RMCs), local agents and performance data to manage mobility activities. Employers must also maintain competitive, cost-effective moving assistance policies throughout changing economic cycles. As new service needs evolve, corporate administrators may welcome your help in developing effective support services. Here’s a look at how trends can impact services and policy needs.
Many employers face steadily increasing global assignment activity. Inbound internationals typically need specialized orientation and settling-in assistance, whether for long- or short-term assignments. Assignees can benefit from expanded cultural and language services; spouse and family assistance (i.e., career and school guidance) and financial services (i.e., banking, mortgage, investment). Repatriating expats frequently need re-orientation services, too. Could your relocation department be the local resource for incoming internationals?
Currently, 59 percent of domestic moves are renters (WERC, 2012). Renters’ needs have not always been well-addressed but it may be time for corporate clients to develop specialized renters’ assistance. Is there a local market for fee-paid corporate renter service packages that include time-based, escorted familiarization visits, home search trips or lease negotiation assistance?
Currently, a domestic employee homeowner relocation costs about $97,000 and a renter, $24,000 (WERC, 2012). High costs and potential relocation failures are more often causing employers to use pre-decision services. Preliminary services help employees make informed decisions before transfer acceptance by better understanding a potential move’s financial and family dynamic impacts. Services can include: departure home sale and/or destination purchase analysis and candidate and/or family needs assessments. Could your relocation department provide or partner services to local corporate clients?
Relocation Advisory Information
Corporate administrators need meaningful, consistent policy advisory and development support for successful programs and your ‘field’ insight could be valuable.
Existing relocation policies need periodic evaluation to confirm they’re effectively meeting transferees’ needs and corporate objectives. For companies that don’t offer guaranteed home buy-outs, homeowner transferees rely on the success of home marketing programs to secure sales, especially in challenged markets. For those unable or unwilling to sell their homes, employers may want to assist by developing vacant or tenancy-managed property programs. Are there local corporate clients who can benefit from strengthened home marketing assistance or property management programs?
Your relocation department may already be relied upon for local market statistics, but other real estate-related subjects are equally important to transferring populations. Employers may need educational brochures or content detailing:
• Local short selling/buying practices
• Employer-provided marketing assistance advantages
• How correct listing prices can quicken sales
As in-field specialists directly in contact with transferees, your relocation department is ideally positioned to identify service gaps and potential solutions for local corporate mobility programs. Whether your direct relationships are with RMCs or local corporations, your insight and suggestions could provide instrumental support and reinforce your firm’s value as a key resource.
Your survey input will help us provide topics of interest to Relocation Directors in future issues of RISMedia’s Power Broker Newsletter’s Relocation Column. Please access our brief survey here.
Peg Guinta, CRP, is Projects Director for RIS Consulting Group.
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