Polly Fletcher & Robert Arnold

Robert & Polly

January 22, 2019

Online Apps vs Independent Serviced Apartment Booking Agencies

Looking for a comfortable serviced apartment in London has become a far simpler task in recent years with the advent of online booking apps such as Booking.com, Airbnb and TripAdvisor. They have devised platforms to assist the traveller whereby they can choose from various booking options at their fingertips. However, there is still an argument for corporate and medical visitors to use independent serviced apartment booking agencies where detailed information – such as location awareness – is paramount. Likewise, on occasions where lengths of stay may be up to 6 months, independent agencies can deliver where online apps may fall short.

Here are some pros and cons that a visitor may experience when booking a serviced apartment in London using the different mediums.

Online Booking Apps


The instantaneous response from online apps has made them a popular choice in recent years. They make searching for accommodation online a fast and easy process, with results being generated by search software giving listings based on information inputted. Users of online apps are provided with a myriad of choices to determine which accommodation suits their individual requirements and offers the best value for money. They also have the option to browse through reviews, where previous customers can speak openly about their experiences of cleanliness, customer service, location and more.


Those booking apartments through online apps are at the mercy of individual owners with regards to the standard of maintenance and cleanliness. Whilst customer reviews are aimed at providing further, honest information as to the authenticity of an apartment, there is a risk that some reviews may be biased in a bid to raise the profile of the accommodation. With apps, it can be difficult to contact the owner should a problem occur with the apartment during your stay. Likewise, if the apartment suffers from a serious problem prior to your stay – a broken boiler, for example – and the owner/operator has to cancel, they are not obligated to provide alternative accommodation.

When it comes to the length of stay, online apps typically only offer a maximum of 28 nights, which may limit visitors who may require accommodation for longer, such as business executives.

The faceless nature of online apps means that customers do not have someone to talk to during the process, making for an impersonal service. Apps are also not always completely truthful when it comes to the location of an apartment – a prime example we have experienced here at Find London Apartments was someone who had booked an Airbnb in Chelsea which had been advertised as being close to Sloane Square. However, when they arrived, they found they were staying in World’s End which is at least 10 minutes by bus to Sloane Square and nowhere near a tube station.


Independent Serviced Apartment Agencies


First and foremost, by booking a serviced apartment through an independent agency, you can rest assured that you will be assisted by a knowledgeable impartial person at the other end of the phone or via the computer. Personal experience of locations, properties and facilities is invaluable to ensure you are provided with accommodation which matches your exact requirements. Independent agencies offer on-the-ground advice on local transport, amenities, shops and so much more, so you receive a service completely bespoke to you. They will work closely with you to identify your individual needs and budget, even providing information on additional property facilities which may not appear on dropdown online app menus.

For differing lengths of stay, independent agencies offer a wider window, with the option to book from seven nights to six months as standard.


When it comes to booking serviced apartments in London, although knowledge of local areas is paramount – something that an independent agency will specialise in – those agencies may not be able to offer the extensive choice of apartments that online apps, with their wider generalised search results, are able to provide.  

When booking less than 14 nights, the tailored approach of an independent serviced apartment agency may prove more costly. 


For visitors who are looking for short stays and are flexible with regards to location or time frame, then online apps may well be the best option, as they are usually able to offer special deals – especially at short notice – for properties trying to fill space.

However, if the visitor needs surety and local expertise – either because they are coming for business stays or medical purposes – and importantly, if they need accommodation for longer than 28 nights, then the independent serviced apartment booking agency would be the best route. 


Find London Apartments

Polly and Robert at Find London Apartments pride themselves on providing a personal, trustworthy service, sourcing serviced apartments within the City and West End of London for business executives and PAs across the country. Take a look at one of our previous posts to find out more about the detailed and personal service you will receive from Robert and Polly – they use their extensive knowledge of London to map out the most suitable properties, pointing out local places of interest and nearby amenities along the way. Simply get in touch today to find out more or to arrange an appointment.