What is Relocation Anyway?


Twenty years in the relocation industry and still running across professionals from different industries who are wondering what relocation is anyway. They may have heard of relocation, but often even if they have, the concept is vague to them. Why is that? That question needs to be addressed as well, in another blog! Today, the focus is on explaining the roots and reasons behind the relocation industry in order to better understand what it’s all about.


After the hardship of WWII, America [pioneering in most USA DNA] wanted to expand their markets and looked abroad to establish their industries on foreign soil. HQ back home expected numbers to increase quickly [true to the American cultural aspect of being fast paced and results oriented]. So the folks sent out into the world needed to establish themselves and the new affiliate quickly.


In those days the immigration industry was less developed and this type of “barrier” was less limiting than it is now. [Denmark’s immigration controls only began to take hold and evolve in the mid-70s]  At that time the main concerns were taxes and the movement of house hold goods [HHG] and its storage. Crown was one of the first to open a HHG office in Japan in 1965.


In the US, the real-estate brokerage companies were the main facilitators of the relocation industry. The main concern when moving employees around was the real estate needs of the person transferring to the new city. At that time, relocation companies would buy the assignees house to help ease the cost burden. In 1964 The Employee Relocation Real Estate Advisory Council Employee Relocation Council was established to address these needs. This council evolved into what is now known as The Worldwide Employee Relocation Council. ERC captures the broader scope of global mobility services. Other associations have been created in this pursuit, for example The European Relocation Association that was formed in 1998.


As the need to get employees up and running in foreign markets, grew, so did the need for mobility services in those countries. Again the employer’s expectation was to be on the new job from one week to the next. This where host country services/‘Destination Service Providers’ [or DSP in relocation lingo], found their niche. The idea behind this type of service was to make all the practicalities of the moving process to a new country go faster and to lessen the amount of obstacles [including stress levels] encountered along the way.


DSP’s are facilitating the lives of transferees every day. It is their core business and they understand which shortcuts to use and those to avoid in order getting employees up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible. Today, most DSP’s big and small are able to assist with all aspects of the transfer process – from the initial immigration paperwork to home finding and settling in, etc.  Spread the word! Relocation services add value to the relocation process and they improve expat life. As one of our relocating assignees said, “It’s a lot less expensive than therapy!”.


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