AltoVita’s world-first Corporate Housing Innovation Summit brought together more than 400 industry experts across roles and continents to identify pain points in corporate housing, and future-proof the sector for the 21st century. The summit was held virtually over five continents and, as a result, AltoVita has further developed its offering to empower organisations to seamlessly source verified and vetted accommodation, support new ‘work from anywhere’ policies, and more.
The Innovation Summit provided opportunities for detailed discussions with industry participants, including representatives from IBM, BAE Systems, Schneider Electric, V.Group, Sirva, and Cartus, to solve the logistical issues associated with corporate relocation, particularly to fix the inefficient legacy infrastructures. Helping launch AltoVita’s bold industry-first objective to foster open collaboration within corporate housing and global mobility, the summit was backed by sponsors including Aires, Odyssey Relocation, Relocity, and Graebel. The event opened a dialogue between industry experts to discuss the future of the sector and covered design and discovery, prototype and iteration, soft launch and testing, and a final ‘launch’ stage, where new developments were officially released – in just three months from discovery to launch.
Vivi Cahyadi Himmel, CEO and Co-founder of AltoVita, said, “Being a product-driven technology company, our job is to intimately analyse the most challenging issues & concerns that our industry faces daily. With the Corporate Housing Innovation Summit, we brought together the sector’s most innovative minds to embrace and create a modernised future.”
The Summit officially kicked off with a Discovery & Design Thinking Session on the 25th March. Moderated by Chris Roberts, Director of Innovation of the global relocation management company, Aires, and Ben Cross, the host of the popular relocation daily show Love + Relo, 5 continents and 32 countries joined together to identify the unique challenges of relocation housing and brainstorm solutions specific to North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Africa, and Latin America.
The session format allowed participants to “walk around” the virtual room to network. A mural also enhanced the collaboration with post-its, maps, flowcharts, and drawings where every participant could contribute. Focusing on the need for technology, particularly the importance of APIs between temporary housing and RMCs, and availability within the corporate housing space, the session encouraged innovative thinking around the need for more diverse amenities. 146 problems, solutions, ideas and visions were shared. This is the very first open API developed to support the corporate housing sector.
From the 26th-30th April, the summit entered phase two, hosting a Prototype and Iteration Workshop. This highlighted the importance of solving development issues, which were validated by continental groups in five different private sessions. Collaborative insights found that 50% of relocation bookings were straightforward, and the other 50% were complex, underlining the need for cutting edge solutions in order to save on costs for relocation managers as well as assignees and operation teams. The prototyping and iteration workshop facilitated discussion on how to shorten the development cycle and build the most relevant solution. As a result, the session displayed AltoVita’s hands-on, human-centric approach, which is strategically paired with technology to streamline the operations process. End-to-end sourcing is key for certain requested requirements – for instance, remote locations where providers must set up and furnish empty properties.
From the 7th-11th June, the next phase – a Soft-launch and Testing Period – engaged a cohort from each continent who had private access to trial the prototype. The feedback was then incorporated into finalising AltoVita’s new product features, which reflected the company’s inclusive and forward-thinking approach to optimising the quality and accessibility of the platform, as well as solving genuine industry-wide problems.
Following this, the final stage of the Summit – the Product Launch – took place between the 21-25th June and hosted five public continent events from North America across to Asia. The product launch was conducted with unique panel discussions led by continent ambassadors, which were tied to a unique issue for each region. Each product launch event concluded with a demo of the new features developed:
- Product Launch Day 1: US East Coast & Central
- Data Analytics Tool
- Product Launch Day 2: Europe Middle East & Africa
- AltoVita’s Public API
- Product Launch Day 3: Asia Pacific
- Modular Filter Technology
- Product Launch Day 4: US West Coast & Mountain
- Design Thinking & HR
- Product Launch Day 5: Latin America
- Compliant Housing Options
Through the detailed discussions that took place during the course of the revolutionary summit, AltoVita noted that the industry was lacking key functionalities and consequently developed a new easy-to-use data analytics tool to help clients contrast and compare average and seasonal market prices. The tool allows corporates to benchmark, budget, and manage client expectations more easily – a first for the industry from an accommodation booking platform, showcasing AltoVita’s inclusive initiatives.
In order to improve employee experience amid the work from anywhere trend, AltoVita’s improved filters help clients easily search for properties that allow pets, have entertainment facilities and work-from-home-ready essentials, among others.
What’s more is that AltoVita developed these capabilities as a result of real life feedback from a wide range of industry experts, consumers and RMCs showcasing. The success of the Innovation Summit will lead to more collaborative and bold industry-shaping events in the future.
Feedback from industry leaders included:
“There was a recurring theme here in the conversation about sharing information for the greater good. Being part of this [Corporate Housing Innovation Summit] process for the last couple months has been really inspiring to see the AltoVita team really trying to, many times, voice that this will be something that will be helpful just not for them and for their client but really for the industry. So I think coming in and having some mechanism that, me as the client, can make measurements across different providers, that gives me some level of what’s truly the quality level from all of these things (pricing, adaptability, etc), I think that’s been pretty interesting to see behind the scenes.” – Miguel Tosoni, Supply Chain Manager – Nike at Cartus
“What [the Data Analytics tool] shows is the data opportunity is more in this consultative, client education area. Being able to have data to back up comments to clients about, like, ‘Why is pricing going up right now?’ – One, because they want to be educated, because they rely on you as that outsource expert. And #2, for your own survivability, so you can explain why things are happening and a client doesn’t question you and what you’re doing because this doesn’t make sense to [them]. … So from any supplier – RMC or any vertical supplier – having this consultative data that can explain why a marketplace is going a certain way or why you’re making these suggestions, I think is very important and in the grand scheme, probably much more important than any kind of data we may be giving the transferee.” – John Zilka, President of NRI Relocation
“Technology is really at the forefront going forward, and making sure those platforms are integrated, since that’s definitely a pain point within the industry. When there are multiple platforms and multiple different forms, I know that can be quite frustrating. More integrated ecosystems will save a lot of time and a lot of energy moving forward.” – Kirsty Smith, Global Mobility Business Partner at BAE Systems