The group, which represents 70 serviced apartment operators and agencies in the UK, told those attending its annual conference last week that it would be launching the programme early next year to provide a set of standards for the sector, which, according to a report by Savills is expected to grow considerably in volume over the next five years.
ASAP managing director James Foice told BigHospitality the time had come to provide a set of guidelines for companies operating in the serviced apartment space, so those currently in it or new to it could benchmark themselves against others and ensure standards were kept high.
"The industry's offering is hugely varied, from the top five-star quality properties like Cheval Residences to those with just a couple of apartments within a property," said Foice "which was why we felt there was a need to devise a system that could embrace all of them and give a set of quality assurances for the industry."
Foice said there would be two main areas of assessment - one which looked at legal and health and safety requirements and one which assesses the type of facilities offered, such as bed size, washing machines and electric socket locations.
He stressed that the programme was being launched to provide a benchmark for operators within the association, not to act as a rating system.
"That's not the purpose of this programme," he said "but it has been set up so that it could become that in the future. The purpose for now is to provide a way for operators to improve the quality of the serviced apartment sector."
The scheme was trialled by 16 operators last year and will be rolled out to others in the next two months. Businesses will be re-assessed every year by a band of qualified assessors who have strict guidelines to adhere to.
Foice said the introduction of the scheme was part of plans to take the association, which has grown its membership by 30 per cent in the last six months, to the 'next level'.
"The association has tried very hard to bring the group together and now what we need to do is introduce a reference to quality so that then we can scream and shout about how good the industry is," he said.
The introduction of the quality assurance programme comes as ASAP held its first industry awards at its conference in London last Wednesday with The Serviced Apartment Company awarded Most Innnovative Serviced Apartment Operator, Marlin Apartments winning Best Service and Hospitality Experience and Geoff Bailey of Your Space Serviced Apartments given the Outstanding Individual award.
Foice said he had been 'encouraged' by the support of the awards and was planning to make them 'bigger and better' next year.
"We introduced the awards on the back of our regional meetings in January where requests for the awards were unanimous," he said. "We had 27 entries which was astonishing given that this is the first year."