Serviced Apartments - Moving from Niche to MainstreamWednesday 04 May 2016 by Ben Harper Serviced apartments are quickly moving from a niche category to a mainstream as part of the wider travel and hospitality mix.
We see three major themes:
1. Property Supply: Significant investment in our sector is delivering a short term surge in global supply.
The property investment community now views serviced apartments as a viable asset class. This investment means growth, and in the UK alone, Savills projects 37 new openings in 2016. And this growth is set to continue…
2. Product: A new type of product is emerging
Much of this new type of supply will take the form of purpose built Aparthotels, which break down the barriers that have frustrated travel managers such as inconsistent and unstandardised product, guest experience and booking processes. These Aparthotels cater perfectly for transient business, offering a hotel like check-in experience, onsite teams, gyms, communal spaces and, in some, a food & beverage element. We’ll see providers focus on an enhanced lifestyle driven by guest experience, targeting what we call the “new corporate traveller.” And this new corporate traveller isn’t just about demographic. Take London as an example; the corporate landscape is changing, we’re seeing the dominance of the banking, finance and professional services sector being balanced by an influx of tech businesses such as Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google whose travellers want authentic, local “anti-brand” experiences.
3. Supplier Choice: New and growing players are providing buyers with real choice in how to integrate serviced apartments into their programmes
As the market matures, clear categories are emerging within the serviced apartment supply chain, providing buyers with real choice in whichever direction they take:
- Global providers such as Bridge Street, Oakwood and SACO
- Pure serviced apartment operators such as the Ascott Group
- Specialist serviced apartment booking agencies such as The Apartment Service, Silverdoor and Nomad in the US
- Travel Management Companies now giving more focus and delivering more efficiency in ways in which to manage serviced apartment demand as part of the wider travel supply chain
- And of course, the vacation rentals sites such as Airbnb who will continue to target the corporate sector with tools and initiatives to overcome compliance concerns
So, if we put this together: 1) more supply 2) a more relevant product and guest experience and 3) a wider range of booking and programme management solutions, overall, this presents the travel buying community with real opportunity to deliver value and choice to their travellers.
Ben joined SACO in 2013, bringing a wealth of experience from working in senior sales positions across the travel and serviced apartment sectors, including Go Native (serviced apartment provider), Eurostar and British Airways. Ben leads all the SACO sales activity (Business Development, Key Account Management, Online distribution and reservations) – driving the teams to deliver commercial growth through a balance of tactical and strategic initiatives. Ben is an eloquent speaker on the subject of serviced apartments – based on his knowledge, commercial approach and ability to cut to the chase and not mince his words.Read more articles by Ben Harper