Updated: May 19, 2020
I know the word ''unprecedented' has been bludgeoned to death over the last few weeks and months, but we really are in the midst of a crazy [unprecedented] time where global markets are frozen and all we can do is hunker down to ride this thing out. With basically the entire planet still enforcing social distancing (which is the right thing), there’s surely never been a more stressful period to be planning your relocation.
And whilst it’s tough for all Assignees, it’s particularly tense for Lump Sum Movers who typically receive less hand-holding, have to decide for themselves which services they might need and ultimately which services to spend their allowance on. As such I wanted to take a look at ways we could de-stress the lives of Lump Sum Movers and alleviate some of the fears created by Coronavirus.
Luckily for us, most of what we do is technology enabled via our App so we have been able to come up with a few creative ways to keep our portfolio of lump sum movers engaged through our tech and make sure they are prepared to rock and roll when they get the green light to begin their new lives in their new location.
Below are some of these tools we are currently providing to relocators, and although many our facilitated via our own PerchPeek app, there are certainly a lot of things that other RMC's, DSP's and even corporates’ themselves could potentially utilize to help support those relocators who are faced with oodles of uncertainty in the current craziness.
So without further ado, here are six ways to support Lump Sum Movers stuck indoors awaiting their new life.
1. Give to get.
With constantly changing border closures and evolving quarantine measures, it’s hard for Lump Sum Movers to know what proactive steps they are able to take to plan for their new lives. One of the first things we’ve seen is that providing value and support to these Assignees, regardless of whether it’s revenue generating, can create huge amounts of goodwill and help them feel in control of their move once again.
As such, we’ve been on the hunt for ways that we can alleviate anxiety for Assignees and allow them to retake control of their situation. Generally speaking, to gain access to our app and relocation support services there is a fixed cost for each lump sum mover.
However, owing to the uncertainty for pending Assignees, we’ve decided to create a free account for every potential mover and allow them to kick off their search even before they’ve opted in to our services.
Our technology analyses the relocator’s own unique needs, and offers up tailor-made suggestions for properties and/or flatshares that would be ideal as their new home. This is a great way for relocators to get a feel for the types of property that they can secure when the world starts to spin again and they finally get to move to their new location.
We’ve seen an incredible surge in usage for movers in the App - with an average of over 120 properties viewed in app per mover since April 1st. With Lump Sum Movers stuck nervously awaiting their move, anything to allow them to make progress generates confidence and they’ve evidently been grateful to be able to kick off their search in spite of the current restrictions on movement.
2. Stay clued up:
One thing we don't do is hand relocators an app and tell them to go off on their merry way to manage their relocation and home search themselves. Even in “normal” times, moving is so much more complex than that and it’s always important to be able to speak to a specialist with local knowledge, in the location they are moving to.
With additional Coronavirus complications, it’s even more important to be able to access specific, localised support for their area and thus we decided to provide completely free pre-arrival consultation calls.
This means they get to speak to a member of the Perchy Support Squad via video call who has intimate knowledge of relocating themselves, has in-depth awareness of their destination location & most importantly, of the current environment on the ground. I know the 'there are no silly questions' quote has been repeated and butchered to death (mainly by us), but there really are no silly questions when it comes to relocating. Just in the last two weeks, we’ve fielded questions ranging from “when will schools reopen” to “will I have to self-isolate” through to “will I be able to go to the pub when I arrive”!
More than ever, our Support Squad are having to stay on top of local lockdown laws, fluid changes to the housing market & keep abreast of economic trends. Our own Coronavirus resource centre provides an array of advice for Europe whilst International SOS & Mercer have also served as invaluable guides for information.
3. Virtual Viewings:
We love virtual property viewings here at PerchPeek, not just because our relocators can get a proper feel for what a property is like before they even move to their destination location, but because we genuinely believe it can offer huge benefits to estate agents and landlords as well (see our overly-simplified view on the core benefit to estate agents here).
Indeed, since lockdown began in the UK, virtual viewings have been on absolute fire with a 215% percentage spike in requests from searchers.
Our Support Squad are constantly, proactively scouting estate agent and landlord listings for properties that are currently offering virtual viewings. Once sourced, these are all accessed via the PerchPeek app which creates a double whammy of goodness in that the Assignee gets a better feel for the type of property available and can also narrow down their search before they even move country.
Even outside of Perchpeek, generally speaking video viewings can be accessed via an independent URL link so even if you don't have an app to offer your lump-sum movers/employees, simply send them the URL link via email/whatsapp/slack and they should be able to access from any of their devices. We are quite bullish on virtual viewings becoming more mainstream within the global mobility and real estate industries, which has the potential to drastically streamline the moving process for relocators & service providers alike.
4. Virtual Area Orientations:
One of the potential hurdles to virtual viewings is that the property itself could be absolutely stunning, but it could be sitting on a plot sandwiched between a recycling dump and an abattoir - beautiful!
The mantra “location, location, location” still rings true for the majority of our relocators and so, in light of current restrictions, we have started to take them on virtual tours of the areas in which they are interested in living.
They can explore the coffee shops, supermarkets, pubs, restaurants and public transport stops in areas of interest - all from the comfort of their home! AirBnB are also offering 'virtual tours' now for what originally would have been on-the-ground events which is a great place to direct relocators to, as it will allow them to get a flavour of the culture and people in their destination location.
Over time, I think we will see more of this 'try-before-you buy' experience as consumers begin to get more and more comfortable with virtual reality enabled services. (Quick Tip: An easy way to to do this is to share screen with your relocator via Zoom or Teams and do a walk-through tour of areas using Google Street)
5. Temp Accommodation:
At the moment the majority of relocators are still not 100% sure of the date they are due to arrive in their new location but with demand for hotels and serviced apartments so low, it’s an ideal time to help them secure their initial temporary accommodation at a great price. Average short stay occupancy rates at corporate apartments are below 50% and most of our network of partners are happy for us to book accommodation now, and alter the dates down the line if the relocator’s arrival dates change.
Top tip: The easiest approach here would be to fire off the same email to 3 or 4 serviced accommodation providers that are in close proximity to the Mover’s office. With the tourism industry globally in lock-down providers should be willing to offer you and your Assignees/employees a decent rate. If you need any help to find out who the providers are in and around your area, contact us directly here and we will be happy to help you with this).
Booking now not only ensures that Lump Sum Movers lock in a great price, it also gives them a tangible touchpoint that they will have a roof over their head if/when they’re allowed to move.
6. Buddy Ups:
We work with a broad range of relocators from senior management to interns and everything in-between. Some are relocating by themselves, others with a partner or even with kids and the family cat. This demographic of relocator generally are planning on renting their own home, which is relatively straightforward in most cases. However, we are now seeing a growing demographic of relocators, particularly Lump Sum Movers, who would prefer to live with one or two housemates. If this is the case, generally relocators' options become somewhat diminished, and it can be difficult to source good quality house shares.
Because of this, we decided to launch our 'Buddy-Up' support system. For those that opt in, we connect relocators with one or two other like-minded PerchPeek relocators, who are moving to the same destination at a similar time so that they can secure a property together. This is becoming increasingly popular because relocators can:
Have access to an immediate network of friends, who are all going through the stresses and challenges that come with moving to a new location;
Start socialising and networking even before they hit their new location. With so much uncertainty surrounding relocations, putting roots down socially before you even arrive is proving hugely popular.
Save money on rent - in some locations like Dublin, London and New York it can be almost 50% cheaper to house-share instead of trying to rent your own studio or one bedroom.
If I were to summarise these six points in a nutshell, it would be to put yourself in the shoes of the Assignee and try to understand what concerns & problems they are likely to be facing because of Coronavirus. There’s never been a more stressful time to be waiting to relocate and whilst there’s definitely no silver bullet, using some of these tips might help smooth some of the fears faced by Assignees.
How are you supporting Lump Sum Movers at the moment? Do you have any tips/tricks that I didn’t mention in this post?