How the Sharing Economy Will Shape Relocation Services

Relocation costs are always a top concern of  global mobility specialists. It’s not just the movement of the assignee’s possessions, from one country or city to another, that can take a huge chunk out from their budget. What can add to the expenditures, and take a lot more of  their and the assignee’s time, is redesigning the latter’s new home. According to the 2017 Price Index, the average relocation costs of moving to U.S. cities like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles ranges from $760 to $860—and these don’t yet take into account family, pets, and international freights.

Another cost factor is buying new furniture for the assignee’s new home. Oftentimes, these new accommodations, while elegantly and efficiently designed with state-of-the-art facilities, are not furnished; chairs, tables, and other accessories would have to be brought in and refitted into the apartment with the assignee’s approval.

Fortunately, technology is helping cut down relocation costs through apps that make the entire experience quick, cost-efficient, and enjoyable for both global mobility specialist and assignee. The buzz word is “a shared economy.” Think Uber and other services where you pay for a service instead of a product — and in Uber’s case, riding these on-demand vehicles may actually make you think twice about purchasing and owning your own car.

A recent thought-provoking blog in The World Economic Forum has said that the sharing economy will soon dominate the global business arena. People and corporations alike will start sourcing things from suppliers who are ready to provide them without the financial encumbrance and other headaches usually associated with ownership. The author paints a happy utopia where individuals call up Uber cars to ferry them to work and order easy-to-quick pasta for lunch instead of stocking up food in his refrigerator and cooking them.

This scenario may still be a few years away — the author projects its full realization in the year 2030 — but there are apps right now that can make relocation easier and more personal for the global mobility specialist. The assignee himself will be happy because the choices that these apps present to him can help him customize his new digs.

Pepperfry allows the global mobility specialist and his assignee to choose their choice furniture before they even move into the new accommodations. They can browse its online catalog from any location. But what makes Pepperfry a notch higher than its counterparts is that it actually allows the assignee to visualize how his preferred item will look in his room. Call it home interiors mix and match — he can superimpose how this lamp or this desk will look in his study room, or whether his bedroom would be better off with a kingsize bed or a queen-size one.

Amazon’s Echo Look would be a treat for assignees who want to know how to look their best in their new city of employment. This virtual assistant lets them take selfies of themselves hands-free and then suggests a line of clothing that can bring out their most attractive features. Assignees would be able to experiment with their individual fashion styles that can be used for a variety of occasions, from the usual corporate outfit, the cocktail event, to just plain chilling-out-with-the-gang after-office parties. They can also order the clothes they like from Amazon’s retail shops. Needless to say, using this app to find their preferred wardrobe can reduce the amount of shirts, pants, and coats (and other accessories) that they would have had to ship from their country of origin.

California Corporate Housing gives assignees a preview of what it means to live in a smart home stocked with these gadgets that are aligned with a sharing economy. Virtual assistants like Amazon Echo are already present in some of its locations. Vizio Smart Cast devices, which allow them to select and program their content, can open up several lifestyle choices such as food, fashion, lifestyle, and learning that they can browse, download, and/or order for delivery.

Beyond these apps, though, California Corporate Housing coordinates with the global mobility specialist and the assignee about how he would like his home to look. Design, aesthetics, and furniture are discussed long before his arrival.

The end result is a very personalized home; the assignee’s ethnicity can be given prominence in the way that the entire furniture is styled. Even personal hobbies and passions can be taken into account; just ask the former Guest who asked to have his accommodations sport the Wimbledon look while that prestigious tennis match was going on.