By Peg Guinta, CRP
New business opportunities don’t always require new products and original services, but sometimes just a new approach. Some brokerage relocation departments are successfully re-directing expertise to reflect their local markets’ ever-changing needs by expanding, linking or repackaging existing services.
Last April, readers responded to a survey about specialized services that relocation departments successfully provide to their clients. Your responses included varied activities for both corporate mobility and non-corporate customers, including:
• Corporate Rental Assistance programs are expanding in part because renters often now outnumber homeowners in many corporate activity areas. Renewed focus on fee-paid, variable duration area tours is due to higher rental volume but also to renters that may expect upgraded assistance. Some brokerage firms report offering corporate renters additional services such as lease negotiation, customized settling-in services, welcome package information and corporate temporary housing.
• Pre-decision Services, a practical, cost-efficient concept is now often seen in corporate assistance policies. Worldwide Employee Relocation Council (WERC) surveyed their corporate client members and found that 54 percent offer some type of pre-decision services (Mobility magazine, August 2013). Home market analyses, policy benefits and destination area counseling are some of the services that support informed decisions and help avoid failed relocation costs.
• Traditional services, such as Property Management and Expat Settling-in/Orientation Assistance, also represent potential growth areas. Fewer homeowners may be eligible for home purchase assistance, and those unable to sell may consider vacant or tenant-occupied property management arrangements. There is evidence of increased international expansion, too. According to Cartus, a leading relocation management company (RMC), 48 percent of multinational companies say they expect their international assignment activity to increase; an additional 40 percent say it will remain the same (2013 Trends in Global Relocation Survey). Corporate relocation policies are continually evolving and these changes can represent new roles for brokerage relocation departments.
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