Long stay in­vest­ments

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE HOSPITALITY - By LI JIN mr­li­jin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The As­cott brand has come to rep­re­sent qual­ity lux­ury ser­viced res­i­dence for the longterm busi­ness trav­eler, and in China, As­cott is ag­gres­sively driv­ing its ex­pan­sion plans where it al­ready has a sig­nif­i­cant pres­ence in cities such as Bei­jing, Shang­hai, Dalian and Shenyang.

The world’s largest in­ter­na­tional ser­viced res­i­dence owner and op­er­a­tor is look­ing at ex­pand­ing its foot­print into new cities such as Qing­dao and Zhengzhou, ac­cord­ing to its area man­ager for North and Cen­tral West China, Dar­ren Cher.

“All of th­ese cities are cho­sen be­cause of their bur­geon­ing growth and strong at­trac­tion for for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment. With our ex­ten­sive pres­ence and es­tab­lished track record in China, As­cott is well-po­si­tioned to meet the huge de­mand for pre­mium ser­viced apart­ments in th­ese rapidly grow­ing mar­ket sec­tors.” Cher says.

Al­though many in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies have cut their bud­gets and de­creased the num­ber of ex­pa­tri­ates they send to China due to the un­cer­tain global eco­nomic cli­mate, Cher be­lieves that this is just a tem­po­rary re­sponse. In the long term, the huge po­ten­tial of the Chi­nese mar­ket is still so im­por­tant to th­ese com­pa­nies that they “sim­ply can’t af­ford not to be in China”, and as a re­sult, the ser­viced res­i­dence mar­ket will con­tinue to ex­pand, he says.

Be­sides emerg­ing mar­kets, As­cott will con­tinue to strengthen its pres­ence where it is al­ready well es­tab­lished. The brand cur­rently has 16 properties in the North and Cen­tral West China re­gions and more are in the pipe­line.

By next year, all three brands un­der the com­pany — As­cott, Ci­tadines and Som­er­sets — will see ad­di­tional open­ings in Chengdu.

There will be a new As­cott Raf­fles City Chengdu open­ing in Septem­ber this year, and a new Ci­tadines South Chengdu start­ing op­er­a­tion next June.

“We of­fer busi­ness trav­ellers and ex­pa­tri­ates a home away from home to re­lax and recharge. We aim to pro­vide all our res­i­dents and guests with per­sonal space, pri­vacy and com­fort,” Cher Says.

“In our ser­viced res­i­dences, we want the res­i­dents to feel that they are part of a friendly com­mu­nity and sup­port net­work where ev­ery­one knows and treats them like old friends, or even fam­ily in some cases.”

It is this at­ten­tion “into the finer de­tails” that has won As­cott the honor of be­ing named “Best Ser­viced Res­i­dence Brand in China” for eight years con­sec­u­tively.

Be­sides its con­sis­tent ef­forts to de­liver top­notch ser­vice, an­other suc­cess­ful fac­tor is As­cott’s wide ge­o­graph­i­cal spread across China and glob­ally.

“Our res­i­dents have said that they would pre­fer to stay with us if they are posted to a dif­fer­ent city in China or even on a short busi­ness trip or hol­i­day week­end.” Cher says. “They know what to ex­pect, and that is the sig­na­ture level of ser­vice, at­ten­tion to de­tails and com­fort that As­cott has be­come well-known for.”

Last year the com­pany launched an “As­cott Host” pro­gram es­pe­cially for its long-stay and se­lected short-stay loyal guests. Un­der the pro­gram each guest re­ceives in­di­vid­ual at­ten­tion from one des­ig­nated em­ployee known as the host, who will con­tact them via e-mail even be­fore they ar­rive in the city. The main role of the As­cott host is to do their ut­most to help the new-ar­rivals set­tle in their new city of res­i­dence.

They will also leave their phone num­bers and e-mail ad­dresses so the guests can con­tact them at any time of the day.

Such at­ten­tion to de­tail and ser­vice bench­marks are what makes the As­cott apart­ments so pop­u­lar, and it looks like their pole po­si­tion at the top will be hard to dis­lodge for some time to come.

Dar­ren Cher, As­cott area man­ager for North and Cen­tral West China.

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