Expert opinion

The rise and rise of the serviced apartment sector

14 September 2016

Serviced apartments continue to prove popular with travellers, according to new research predicting further expansion and is expected to exceed one million worldwide by 2017.

The boom in the serviced apartment sector continues apace. The recent Global Serviced Apartments Industry report showed 47% of buyers are increasing their usage of serviced apartments compared to 2015. It found supply was “continuing to expand at a ‘steady and consistent’ rate across all global regions, driven by rising institutional and private investment”. The number of apartments looks set to hit one million next year.

So, just what is the appeal of a serviced apartment (or aparthotel as they are sometimes called)? You get more space, for starters. The average serviced apartment is 30% bigger than a typical hotel room. And of course, you also get your own living space and fully equipped kitchen. Which means you do not constantly have to eat out. Plus, you can also do your own washing – a particular benefit for those on longer trips.

No wonder they are proving popular for frequent travellers. At this year’s Serviced Apartment Summit in London, senior corporate travel buyers from leading banks and professional services firms told delegates about their travel policies that either “mandated or strongly recommended” serviced apartment usage for longer stays.

Star ratings for the serviced apartment sector

A serviced apartment can also offer levels of privacy and comfort that are more like being in your own home. As with hotels, however, they have a reception, and offer housekeeping services and often a concierge. The concierge can be a good source of local knowledge – great if you are in an unfamiliar area. They can also help out with your travel arrangements should you require.

The AA recently announced a new star-rating scheme for serviced apartments, reflecting the growth of the sector.

Most serviced apartments today are designed specifically with the business traveller in mind. Most have Wi-Fi, direct-dial telephones and good desk options, often with integrated USB ports. This is certainly the case at the Cannon Apartments in London’s Cannon Street, which adds home comforts such as a king-size bed, premium toiletries, an HD TV, Apple TV, DVD player and MP3 plug-in to the list of reasons to check in.

Little wonder, then, that according to research undertaken by Savills, the aparthotel sector will be the fastest-growing segment of the UK hospitality market over the coming two years.

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