ASAP launched its voluntary quality assurance (QA) programme on 4 December 2013 to benchmark current legal compliance and performance in the UK serviced apartment sector and develop a set of guidelines for operators.
At the time ASAP was not intending to reveal the results, but following ‘tremendous' feedback from its members – 98 per cent of which have signed up for the programme - the organisation has decided publish the list of properties that achieve accreditation at the end of the initial audit in November.
The long-term aim is to establish a ‘kitemark’ for the industry, with ASAP currently exploring different options for how to rate properties so consumers can choose with confidence.
“Members recognise the importance of legal and statutory obligations, health and safety and that any property is accurately and appropriately marketed, and this provides a high level of confidence for guests booking a serviced apartment," said ASAP managing director James Foice.
“Our members sell three million accommodation nights per year, generating £500m revenues, and our aim has been to create an internationally-recognised serviced apartment standard that answers the question: ‘How do I know what I am buying?’”
The organisation is also looking to extend the programme to agents offering ASAP-accredited serviced apartment bookings and international serviced apartment operators.
“ASAP’s QA standard also has applications abroad, and I’m delighted that a major serviced apartment operator in Amsterdam, Your Amsterdam Housing, has joined the Association specifically to benefit from the QA initiative,” said Foice.
Serviced apartment growth
According the latest forecast from ASAP, the UK and Ireland serviced apartment sector will grow by a further 10 per cent this year to a total stock of 13,000, with 70 per cent of the new openings in London.
Go Native, Cheval Residences, StayCity and City Marque are among the operators that have significantly increased their portfolio in London over the course of the year. Elsewhere in the UK, House of Fisher opened a dedicated apart-hotel in Reading, ESA is opening 83 apartments in new destinations including Woking and Guildford and Apple Apartments added 35 new units in Belfast.
In Q1 2014, London apartments achieved occupancy rates of 77.8 per cent, with the rest of the UK achieving 72.2 per cent.