What are the challenges facing the serviced apartment industry in 2015? Clarendon argues that while demand is increasing it will be become more important for providers to focus on the benefits of serviced apartment living.
The end of each year always provides an opportunity to reflect on the past twelve months, as well as to prepare for those approaching. 2014 has been the year when, for the majority of industries in the UK, the economic downturn has become a distant memory. The economy is strengthening, not just in the UK but worldwide. This is encouraging more business trips and an increase in international travel coming in and out of London. This return to growth has been felt in the serviced apartment sector. Clarendon, with property across the capital (many an easy distance from international airports Gatwick and Heathrow) has felt this renewed appetite and eagerness for people looking for extended stay and temporary accommodation in the capital.
This growth looks set to continue in 2015. Business Travel Show’s annual buyer survey revealed there was an increase of 13% in the number of bookings across the sector in 2014. A number of factors indicate this upturn isn’t a temporary occurrence. As the economic recovery spreads around the world there will be a greater demand for travel, for both business and pleasure. More accommodation will be needed to fulfil demand. Taxes associated with airfare have been reduced suggesting flights will become cheaper. Combine this with a reduction in oil prices and in 2015 travelling around the globe might become less expensive.
Confidence along with economic growth in London will have a positive impact on the serviced apartment sector. New firms will be established, investment will rise along with employment. More people will be looking for places to stay and increasingly a serviced apartment provides a flexible and cost-effective temporary solution for relocation. Clarendon is looking to prepare for this growth by investing in new property over the course of 2015.
While many of these new travellers will turn to serviced apartments it is still important for the industry to sell the lifestyle and advertise the flexibility it offers. For guests looking for extended stay accommodation in London a serviced apartment offers more living space, cheaper rates over a longer period, a central location and a greater degree of flexibility, With a fully fitted kitchen it’s easier for guests to prepare their own meals and live in a “home from home” compared with a hotel. A laundry and cleaning service keeps their apartment spick and span while there is also added security. The customer experience at Clarendon apartments is clearly reflected in our Feefo rating where 93% of reviewers rate their stay as excellent.
2014 has been a successful year for the serviced apartment sector. More guests are turning to an apartment instead of a hotel and those bookings are expected to rise. That doesn’t mean that any provider can rest on their laurels. To continue to attract new customers serviced apartment providers have to continue to offer an excellent service, to ensure their accommodation is of the highest standard and that they are based in central locations that guests want to stay in. Serviced apartment providers have learnt in 2014 what becoming popular feels like. Having been in business for 26 years, Clarendon has watched the sector grow and rise. Now in 2015 all will have to learn how to stay both popular and relevant, and the key to that is continuing to offer an excellent service.