One size cer­tainly doesn't fit all – in the world of ser­viced apart­ments all re­quire­ments are catered for

The 2018 Guide to Serviced Apartments - - CONTENTS -

Get­ting to grips with the mul­ti­tude of apart­ment styles

Ser­viced apart­ments, aparthotels, mi­cro apart­ments, life­style apart­ments, cor­po­rate hous­ing… the in­dus­try now has nu­mer­ous mod­els of ac­com­mo­da­tion, each with its own tar­get mar­ket.

These days, Wifi is a given, clean­ing is gen­er­ally weekly, and a wel­come pack pro­vid­ing tea, cof­fee, snacks, clean­ing items and bath prod­ucts typ­i­cal.

To un­muddy the waters, GSAIR gave def­i­ni­tions in the 2015/16 re­port. It stated 'ser­viced apart­ments' was a generic term to em­brace the sec­tor. How­ever, out­side the US, cor­po­rate hous­ing is gen­er­ally re­ferred to as ser­viced apart­ments, cre­at­ing some con­fu­sion. Ei­ther way, they are res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties with larger liv­ing spa­ces than aparthotels and have been up­graded to in­clude ser­vices such as clean­ing. They are fully fur­nished with en­ter­tain­ment ser­vices and broad­band. “While ser­viced apart­ments can be use­ful for short-term trips and leisure stays, they are of­ten the best op­tion for long-term business trips or for re­lo­cat­ing fam­i­lies,” says man­ag­ing di­rec­tor EMEA for Oak­wood World­wide, Tom Meertens.

Aparthotels have smaller apart­ments with a kitchen. There is typ­i­cally a laun­dry and/or gym for pub­lic use and a large com­mu­nal seat­ing and din­ing area, with break­fast sup­plied and ac­tiv­i­ties that range from hosted drinks through to quizzes, talks and more.

Lat­est to ar­rive on the scene are mi­cro apart­ments, with small sleep­ing spa­ces and a bath­room. This model has a large pub­lic area with com­mu­nal kitchen to com­pen­sate – although there are those who would ar­gue that apart­ments without kitchens are just ho­tel rooms.

BridgeStreet’s Stüdyo in Padding­ton, Lon­don, falls into this bracket, with 9m2 bed­rooms that will mea­sure from 16m2 in fur­ther Stüdyos. BridgeStreet will also be run­ning Stow-Away for Ciel Cap­i­tal and Stow Projects, start­ing with a prop­erty in Lower Marsh, Lon­don, in 2018, con­structed from ship­ping con­tain­ers, with small bed­rooms (21m2) and a restau­rant in the pub­lic area. Another Stow-Away will ap­pear in Birm­ing­ham Cen­tral Hall in 2019, with bed­rooms from 18m2.

Other brands are go­ing this way and a re­fur­bish­ment of Ci­tadines Bar­bican Lon­don in­tro­duced bed­rooms without kitchens to com­ple­ment those with, plus a lively pub­lic area that com­bines fresh sea­sonal food and drink from Sourced Mar­ket and a café that serves break­fast, lunch and a light evening meal. Ci­tadines Is­ling­ton (2019) will go the same way. A trial of com­mu­nal kitchen for Ada­gio Ac­cess in Frank­furt this year has also proved to be a suc­cess.

As­cott’s Lyf brand has stu­dios without kitchens, two-bed­room apart­ments with, plus a com­mu­nal area that hosts ac­tiv­i­ties such as jew­ellery mak­ing and a scented can­dle work­shop. Where other brands are tar­get­ing mod­ern trav­ellers, Lyf is unashamedly 'mil­len­nial'. Two are open­ing in China (2018) and one in Sin­ga­pore (2021).

Key­less en­try and shared spa­ces are main fea­tures of the model and the

hosts and land­lords share rev­enues.

This pro­lif­er­a­tion of apart­ment mod­els is partly down to the blur­ring of bound­aries be­tween B2B and B2C con­sumers. “The B2B, cor­po­rately pro­cured, man­dated pol­icy is com­pletely un­wound be­cause Airbnb cre­ates de­mand for some­thing that isn’t a ho­tel, and be­cause B2C has started pen­e­trat­ing B2B lines,” says CEO of SACO, Stephen Han­ton.

“Mod­ern trav­ellers are start­ing to emerge that are not in ei­ther camp. They might book through cor­po­rate chan­nels but not be­have in the same way. And although length of stay is short­en­ing, there is still a lot of 30-night business but three-month stays are shift­ing into Airbnb-type of­fers,” he says. Or­gan­i­sa­tions that used to re­lo­cate some­one with their fam­ily now place em­ploy­ees on short-term projects and these trav­ellers book as in­di­vid­u­als.

“There is no rule for what con­sti­tutes a ser­viced apart­ment to­day,” says di­rec­tor of Cy­cas, John Wag­ner. “Just like ho­tels, we see all kinds of vari­a­tion, de­pend­ing on build­ing, op­er­a­tor and lo­ca­tion, but there is now some­thing for ev­ery­one up and down the spec­trum. The gen­eral rule of thumb is that you ‘stay at a ho­tel overnight’ but you ‘make your­self at home’ in a ser­viced apart­ment.”

Lo­ca­tion may also in­form de­sign, so a prop­erty near Sil­i­con Round­about in Lon­don might be very dif­fer­ent to one close to a pharma hub in Cam­bridge.

“Added value ex­tras and dif­fer­ent styles and lev­els of prod­ucts are de­fined by the brand – but if a kitchen is fea­tured inside, then this is a ser­viced apart­ment,” says man­ag­ing di­rec­tor group com­mer­cial sales for The Apart­ment Ser­vice, Jo Lay­ton.

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