London is calling all right. It is estimated that a quarter million people will visit the United Kingdom’s capital city during the summer of 2012 to attend events including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics, the Paralympics, and the Wimbledon Tennis Open Championships. An estimated eight million tickets will be sold for the Olympics, which are scheduled to run from July 27 to August 12, and the Paralympics, which will be held August 29 to September 9. With this agenda in mind, there are planning considerations for relocation managers.
With approximately 16 months remaining until the Olympics, advanced planning is critical to managing successful relocations into London during the summer of 2012. In general, most relocation services are likely to take longer to deliver. Although it is too early to plan for some moves, graduate programs, long term assignments, and repatriations can be reviewed now. Relocation managers should consider monitoring the number of assignees that they need to move and try to avoid having their employees begin or end relocations or assignments on dates that coincide with any of the summer 2012 events.
If companies are planning a number of relocations to and from London in 2012, it is recommended that they conduct regular calls with their Cartus representative to monitor future moves and any changes or allowances that may need to be made.
Monitoring Temporary Housing & Accommodations
The demand for housing during the Olympics means that temporary accommodations, serviced apartments, and hotel rooms will be harder to find and more expensive. Relocation managers should plan moves into London during this period with as much advance notice as possible as the more time that is available for sourcing temporary accommodation, the more availability there will be.
There are other housing issues to consider. Companies that have corporate hotel rates should check whether they will be honored during the Olympic period. Block booking temporary accommodations for four to six months to ensure availability during the Olympics is an option, but may be difficult to arrange due to a lack of availability.
If a company’s relocation provision normally includes serviced apartments, it could be cheaper to rent regular apartments on a six-month let in 2012 rather than block booking a serviced apartment for the four-month period of June to September. Companies may consider having their employees stay in properties outside of London where rents may be cheaper, and travel into the city for work. These places will still need to be booked early. Relocation managers may also want to consider renting accommodations on a long-term lease, typically 12 to 18 months. By doing this, short-term assignees will be able to live on the property on a rotational basis.
Schools & Family Moves
As the Olympics coincide with school summer holidays, both cost and convenience should be considered. Employees who are taking moves in 2012 may wish to consider having the family arrive at a later date. The lack of availability and cost of temporary living during this time will undoubtedly be more problematic for a family than for an individual. Employees delaying a move should consult schools well in advance to ensure that children will be able to enroll later in the school term.
Immigration and Visa Applications
Prior to the Olympics, UK immigration will be far busier processing visitor-related applications for those attending the events; therefore, it will be wise to apply for UK visas at least three months before the date of travel.
Given the likely increase in rents and hotel accommodations during the summer of 2012, relocation managers may want to provide incremental increases in the allowances paid to relocating employees during this period. Relocation managers are advised to determine in advance how they intend to manage exceptions during this time. For the majority of moves, it may be more cost effective, easier, and more equitable to have one policy rule to cover moves into London than to process individual exceptions.
Help With Navigating the London Summer of 2012
Cartus is ready to help its clients and their employees get around London during the summer of 2012—though not with getting tickets to the football finals at Wembley Stadium! Please call your Cartus representative for more information.