Serviced apartment sector predictions for 2015

By Helen Gilbert

- Last updated on GMT

The serviced apartment sector can expect a growing number of 'bleisure' customers and more bookings via mobile devices this year say industry leaders
The serviced apartment sector can expect a growing number of 'bleisure' customers and more bookings via mobile devices this year say industry leaders

Related tags: Serviced apartment

Two key members of the serviced apartment sector outline their views on what travellers will be demanding of the serviced accommodation market over the next 12 months and why it may be a good year for London-based expansion and global brands.

High speed WiFi

John Neil, director of Fountain Court Apartments: “For corporate guests, free Wi-Fi with fast connectivity is rated in the top three essentials they look for when booking accommodation along with a comfortable bed and great shower. When guests check into an apartment now they come armed with an array of different devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops. Multiple guest devices connecting simultaneously to the internet has resulted in additional bandwidth access becoming business critical. Something which was once seen as ‘nice to have’ is now mandatory and can prove a deal breaker for some guests.” 

John Wagner, Cycas Hospitality: “The design and facilities within a serviced apartment/aparthotel will become more important as guests seek out smart functional spaces in which to unwind and relax.  More guests than ever are enquiring about WiFirobust, high speed WiFi connectivity will become even more important.”

Bleisure bookings

John Wagner, Cycas Hospitality:

“While most of our customers come from the short-medium stay business segment, we have noticed a marked upturn in the number of bleisure bookings and we think this will gather pace over the next couple of years. To be successful in this market more serviced apartments/aparthotels will be reviewing their offering to make sure, for example, that they are geared to welcome partners and families at weekends.  They will need good local tourist and leisure information as well as partnerships with local attractions and restaurants.  

John Neil, director of Fountain Court Apartments: “One of the significant travel trends is the increase in popularity of serviced apartments in recent years. According to the latest Global Serviced Apartment Industry Report, 73 per cent of operators reported an increase in occupancy levels this year to date and the sector has grown by 14 per cent since the last report in 2013. Travellers are often looking at accommodation providers as a ‘travel experience’ rather than just a place to sleep. They look for insight into what’s happening in and around the place they are staying.”

Mobile innovations

John Neil, director of Fountain Court Apartments: “Mobiles have transformed the way we do pretty much everything and in 2015 it’s going to be even more prevalent in the travel industry. More than a third of all travel bookings made online will be done via a  mobile device by 2018. More people are going through the booking process using mobile and tablet devices so Fountain Court has invested in a new responsive WordPress website, launching in February, which will provide a more seamless experience between devices, social media integration and live review feeds, overall simplifying the booking process."

London-based opportunity

John Wagner, Cycas Hospitality: “London’s economy is set to expand by 15 per cent over the five years to 2019 (Centre for Economics and Business Research) demonstrating the huge potential for growth for the serviced apartment/apart hotel which currently stands at only 10 per cent of accommodation in London.  Savills estimate that there will be a 16.7 per cent increase in current stock levels by 2018.  Regionally aparthotels are driving interest in the sector, but we still see London as the main focus for expansion.” 

Global brands

John Wagner, Cycas Hospitality: “2015 will be an even better year for the global brands such as IHG, Marriott and Accor in the serviced apartment/apart hotel sector with institutional investors continuing to be attracted by the clarity of the brand proposition. Brands in the sector also provide customers with a clear proposition giving them confidence in booking because they are familiar with their preferred brand concept and they can stay within their existing loyalty schemes.”

Related topics: Business, Venues, Hotels, Trends & Reports

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