Last week a couple of our team members had the pleasure of attending the annual convention of The Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP). Our Sales Executive, Paulina, was at the event in etc.venues, London and was thrilled by how much useful information was packed into just one day of the conference.
The convention “World of Opportunity” encouraged thought-provoking debates and ignited new ideas and passion to drive business. It is the largest gathering of serviced apartment professionals and was a busy day with keynote speakers, panel discussions, breakouts, seminars, workshops and campfire discussions. The sector is increasingly having an impact on travel as people find serviced apartments are available all over the world as a credible and cost-effective alternative. They are especially economical for longer stays, group travel or family parties, allowing savings on dining out and offering in-house entertainment as well as allowing you to live like a local.
The serviced apartment industry has made great progress in raising the awareness of the sector in the global market place through education, marketing and conference activities to both industry peers and buyers.
The main presentation for the day was delivered by travel writer and broadcaster Simon Calder on the 2019 highlights and 2020 trends which was followed by a choice of sessions, including a talk about Data Trends, Growth and Sector Opportunities.
Fascinating new trends were discussed during the various sessions, including the emergence of ‘co-living’, or the practice of having a housing community which shares living areas and meals as well as workspace.
We also attended a Q&A session hosted by Mary Ann P Passi (CEO of the Corporate Housing Providers Association) on branded aparthotels, and a panel with Tom Walsh (CEO Staycity Aparthotels), John Wagner (Co-Founder of Cycas Hospitality), Jon Colley (Head of Development – UK & Ireland IHG) and Rober Alley (Chef Operating Officer Roomzzz Aparthotels) who discussed the Aparthotel brand and idea.
Meanwhile, Diane Scott (Senior Hotels Consultant for Katten Law) and other bankers gave a very interesting talk on “Where are the Financing opportunities today?”, which focused on the importance of investments in Aparthotel and Serviced Apartments business, delivering valuable insights in an accessible way.
Wrapping up the conference was Mike Ashton, Managing Director of ABCG, who held a session on “Booking Apartments: the opportunity, the challenges and the responsibility within the sector”, discussing commissions and what travel agents are bringing into our industry. Speakers also answered audience questions submitted via the ASAP event app, with Helen Maher (Director Market Management of Expedia Group in London) leading the way.
In addition to the talks from keynote speakers, there were plenty of opportunities to meet suppliers and engage with our industry peers which provided a nice change of pace and a great opportunity to exchange contact details with colleagues in the field.
Overall, the convention provided heaps of useful information for juniors and Serviced Apartments sector experts alike, offering industry insights and highlighting major changes from the past few years. Attending the event has undoubtedly made us proud to be working in a field which is consistently growing in size, strength and popularity every day.
Entries for the 2020 ASAP Serviced Apartment Industry Awards are also now open, so watch this space – you might spot us amongst the nominees!