With globalization came global mobility, the temporary relocation of highly trained professionals to a foreign country – often on another continent. Some individuals are particularly keen to expand their professional and personal horizons, with many changing their place of work multiple times.
Offering this option to international employees is the norm these days for multinational corporations. And making sure employees can relax within their own four walls is part and parcel of a successful stint abroad – which is why companies often call on professional service providers to arrange accommodation for their expats. Nest Temporary GmbH is one of Switzerland's leading players in this area.
New Furniture Every Three Years
The company offers a comprehensive array of services for people working in Switzerland on a temporary basis – from just a few months to several years. Services essentially comprise the rental, furnishing, and maintenance of serviced apartments; at the start of 2018 the firm looked after around 300 units, in Basel, Zurich, Zug, and Lucerne.
The offering was expanded in 2015 to include "Local Life," a web-based service with shopping and leisure tips for those guests wishing to explore life outside of their office and temporary home. NEST's primary USP, however, is its "furniture rotation program," says CEO and company owner Philippe Aenishaenslin: "All furniture is replaced every three years on average. By doing so, we ensure that the quality of our furnishings is of a consistently high standard. In the event of any defect, furniture is replaced within 24 hours – sometimes even on the same day."
The smart but unpretentious apartments are very appealing, with their stylish, contemporary furnishings. "We're not seeking to offer a lifestyle product. Our aim is to provide a universal product that every guest appreciates, regardless of where they come from. We operate behind the scenes to offer the perfect, supportive service: from check-in to check-out."
Pioneer with Oodles of Experience
The base price includes a fully furnished apartment with high-speed internet, a fully equipped kitchen, towels and bed linen, washing machine and dishwasher, a fortnightly cleaning service, as well as round-the-clock check-in/check-out. Additional amenities ranging from parking to grocery deliveries are available at extra cost.
Set up 14 years ago, Nest is among the pioneers in the still relatively young market segment of global mobility service providers. According to Aenishaenslin, its offering and client needs have developed in a virtually symbiotic way: "We enjoy a long-standing partnership with some of our clients. During that period we've gained tremendous experience, which we're constantly building on in order to improve our product."
In-house surveys conducted by Nest in 2005, 2010, and 2015 showed a trend toward a continued reduction in the period of stay to a current average of 18-36 months. What's more, the number of expats in Switzerland is falling in absolute terms according to Aenishaenslin.
Global Mobility No Longer a Luxury
Although the market as a whole may be shrinking, Nest's market share is growing: In 2017 the opportunity arose for the company to acquire the portfolio of its main rival in Zug, with Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital Ltd. as its financing partner. It was a friendly takeover, since the two competitors had known each other for years. The additional 36 apartments turned Nest into the largest provider in the Zug market area overnight – and by some margin.
Global mobility is on trend, and this is putting the budgets of multinational companies under pressure. Nest gives its clients what they want, and is therefore diversifying, Aenishaenslin explains: "Our apartments are usually very centrally located. In Zurich, however, we are now catering to a lower price category at two peripheral locations. Ultimately, this enables us to gain additional market share given that we have reached a certain saturation point in the city centers. We are now able to accommodate every type of guest, from junior employee to executive board member."