The serviced apartment sector is rapidly growing, but is still relatively unknown.
I interview someone I ask them if they had ever heard of serviced apartments before, and 99 per cent say they haven’t. My next questions are always: “Have you heard of self-catering flats and have you ever stayed in a self-catering flat on holiday?”
Ninety-nine per cent of people answer these two questions positively. I remember staying in ‘holiday flats’ in the 70s; as we were a large family with five kids, money was scarce and it was far cheaper than hotels and B&Bs.
So the idea that a self-catering flat or apartment is cheaper, more spacious and offers the opportunity to cook is neither new nor obscure.
Since we’ve been in more economically challenged times, more companies are using serviced apartments as a better value alternative to hotels, especially for medium length stays, from five nights or more.
Since serviced apartments also provide more space thanhotels, and a home-from-home feel with living rooms, dining facilities and kitchens, corporates can also see the productivity gains from their employees feeling happier and settled, rather than claustrophobic and homesick: just some of the complaints heard from delegates staying in cramped hotel rooms for any length of time. I am sure finance departments are also pleased with the massive savings gained from not receiving large laundry, room service, restaurant and mini-bar bills!
Serviced apartments receive little coverage and the odd article about them in the trade magazines tends to focus on perceived difficulties involved.
So you can’t book a lot of them on Global Distribution Systems, so what? You can’t book a lot of things on GDS. So companies like ours have to employ people to answer questions, respond to emails and provide customer service, well good! When it comes to choosing a place you’re going to live in for a while, you do want to ask questions, preferably of someone who’s seen the apartments you’re interested in.
Serviced apartments have been around for ages, and offer many benefits.
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