Ser­viced res­i­dences bat­tle it out with dis­rup­tive play­ers

The dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion has brought about the likes of Airbnb, pos­ing a huge chal­lenge to the tra­di­tional play­ers within the field of ac­com­mo­da­tions.

Singapore Business Review - - RANKING: SERVICED RESIDENCES -

Weak eco­nomic growth in Sin­ga­pore and eco­nomic un­cer­tain­ties across the globe are mak­ing it a chal­leng­ing time for Sin­ga­pore’s ser­viced res­i­dences sec­tor. All hope is not lost, as it has con­sis­tently sur­vived un­cer­tain eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ments and has gained a rep­u­ta­tion for con­tin­u­ous growth over the years. De­spite some bright spots, the ser­viced res­i­dences sec­tor needs to keep close watch amidst the mod­er­ate busi­ness out­look.

Arthur Kiong, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Far East Hos­pi­tal­ity, thinks that com­pa­nies will be more likely to curb spend­ing in re­lo­ca­tion and em­ployee mo­bil­ity. As such, hu­man re­source man­agers are chal­lenged to seek ac­com­mo­da­tion for for­eign busi­ness trav­ellers whilst stretch­ing bud­gets. This is where the ser­vice res­i­dences sec­tor can come in and of­fer its value propo­si­tion.

How­ever, on the sup­ply side, man­agers and own­ers of ser­viced res­i­dences need to step up their game in the face of chang­ing de­mands.

The city’s labour crunch is forc­ing em­ploy­ees of the ser­vice in­dus­try to mul­ti­task within and across de­part­ments, thereby high­light­ing the urgency for in­creased dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion. Hen­ri­etta Chong, gen­eral man­ager of Great World Ser­viced Apart­ments, says that although the ser­vice in­dus­try prides it­self in hav­ing a per­sonal touch for ev­ery ser­vice it ren­ders, a move to­wards au­to­ma­tion can­not be avoided.

Ser­viced res­i­dences have to lever­age their ad­van­tages at a time of grim eco­nomic out­look. In fact, Kiong says that the de­mand for ser­viced res­i­dences has grown over the past decade. This de­mand is fu­elled by im­proved prod­uct knowl­edge, un­der­stand­ing of prod­uct ben­e­fits amongst cor­po­rates, and the

Chang­ing dy­nam­ics

Busi­ness leisure – com­monly called ‘bleisure’ – has be­come the new­est trend in travel. The grow­ing in­ter­con­nect­ed­ness of mar­kets com­bined with the en­ergy of to­day’s young work­force have made this trend pos­si­ble. Chong says that against a back­drop of aus­ter­ity mea­sures, the ad­van­tages of ser­viced apart­ments sur­face in meet­ing the needs of unique types of trav­ellers.

“There’s a shift in the ser­viced apart­ment sec­tor in re­sponse to de­mand for greater flex­i­bil­ity in room book­ings and pric­ing, and this has re­sulted in some tra­di­tional long-stay providers di­ver­si­fy­ing their tar­get seg­ments to in­clude short-term guests. In Sin­ga­pore, the in­creased sup­ply of ho­tels and ser­viced apart­ments is likely to out­pace de­mand as man­aged travel con­tin­ues to come un­der pres­sure in a glob­ally un­cer­tain and volatile en­vi­ron­ment,” says Richard Tan, vice pres­i­dent, Ser­viced Suites, Pan Pa­cific Ho­tels Group.

The dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion has also brought about the likes of Airbnb, pos­ing a huge chal­lenge to the tra­di­tional play­ers within the field of ac­com­mo­da­tions. Clara Beng, gen­eral man­ager, Frasers Hos­pi­tal­ity, says that it would be fool­ish to ig­nore the im­pact that Airbnb has made on the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try. With the rise of ser­vice providers such as this, com­pa­nies are en­cour­aged to re­main com­pet­i­tive and re­think their en­tire dis­tri­bu­tion strat­egy. In fact, a lot of ho­tels are look­ing to merge with dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nels to im­prove their on­line dis­tri­bu­tion.

“The en­tire con­sumer land­scape

There’s a shift in the ser­viced apart­ment sec­tor in re­sponse to de­mand for greater flex­i­bil­ity in room book­ings and pric­ing.

Great World Ser­viced Apart­ments ranks first with a to­tal of 304 rooms

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