The use of serviced apartments by business travellers in the UK is “hugely on the increase,”
Rebecca Hollants van Loocke, vp operations UK for Ascott International.
She said occupancy in its seven London locations were 75% with the bulk, up to 70%, corporate travellers.
“The demand is high all round in London. There are not enough apartments in London to cope with the number of people wanting to stay. We are having to put them in hotels,” she said.
She said besides travellers involved in long term projects, training courses and re-location, Ascott’s three brands, Ascott, Somerset and Citadines were also attracting business travellers for one night stays.
“The locations are good and people are beginning to understand the concept, they have latched on to the flexibility it provides. Hotels are also looking at this concept in the UK as well,” Ms Hollants van Loocke said.
Staybridge Suites, owned by the InterContinental Hotel Group, are due to open their first properties in the UK in the next year.
Ascott, which is owned by CapitaLand Limited, a company listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, has European properties in France – its main base with more than 30 properties – Germany and Spain as well as the UK.
“We have 19,000 apartments in 47 cities in 21 countries but we want to increase that to 30,000 by 2010,” Ms Hollants van Loocke said.
“Areas for expansion include India and China but we also want to expand quite aggressively in the UK and also in Germany, Russia and Eastern Europe.
“We recently appointed a business development person, Andrew Shaw full time for the UK and we are looking at all the major cities in the UK and Ireland.
“We have an actively engaged business development team which goes out and buys properties for us. We have the funds. We are a cash rich business.
“I think we shall be rivalling the hotels in three years time.”