BigHospitality has reported a great deal recently on the growing demand for serviced apartments throughout the UK, where the supply is growing but is still not meeting the demand. Traditionally serviced apartments have appealed to business clients, and as was announced at the conference London currently has only 1.2 apartments available per 1000 business visitors it receives.
However, the market for serviced apartments has been evolving lately. Nowadays it is not only business clients who frequent them, but also leisure customers who are looking for a different sort of break.
STR Global, which tracks demand and supply data for the hotel industry, announced at the summit that the UK sees consistency in occupancy every day of the week when it comes to serviced apartments. Not only this, but average rates are actually highest on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, which shows that operators are looking to shift away from the purely corporate market.
At the Serviced Apartment Summit, which took place at London’s Montcalm hotel in Marble Arch on 9 July, a panel discussed the areas where serviced apartments succeed and hotels do not, as well as how to turn business guests into leisure guests.
Immersed in a city
One of the advantages that serviced apartments have in comparison to hotels is that they are often found in the main business hubs or cities, compared to hotels which are more likely to be found on the high street. The panel believed that this allowed guests to immerse themselves more easily in the feeling of the city.
Vice president of marketing at BridgeStreet Global Hospitality, Kelly Murphy, stated that leisure travellers do not want to feel like tourists, but instead want to blend in with a city.
She said: “To meet both business and leisure customer needs, the industry needs to do a better job of educating their customers about their offering and tell guests what they should see when they get there. They need to give additional local services and really make the brand feel alive.”
Local services could be as simple as hiring bikes to guests and offering bike tours round the area, a service offered by the Ace Hotel London Shoreditch.
“Remember that customers on business trips look for leisure too, and they are a great way to spread the word about your business,” added Murphy.
“We can inspire business travellers to stay longer for by offering a cultural experience, selling culture is a really good way in. A survey we took recently showed that 60 per cent of our clients were using our product for bleisure purposes, adding days to their business trips and coming back weekends.”