This week we spoke to Carine van der Aa and Katrien Snoep from Htel Serviced Apartments in Amsterdam. The company has 240 fully furnished apartments split between two properties, Amsterdam Amstelveen and Amsterdam Buitenveldert, both located on the outskirts of the city with easy access to the business district.
Carine and Katrien speak about their focus on corporate travellers, the serviced apartment industry in Amsterdam and their love for wine.
What is your corporate/leisure mix?
Carine: We’re mainly focusing on corporate business at the moment but we are looking to move into the leisure market as well. Amsterdam is a beautiful destination that people want to visit, from a leisure perspective as well as business.
How would you classify your properties?
Carine: Our apartments have a corporate feel. They are very modern, but have been decorated in colours such as warm red and blue, giving them a very ‘at home’ feeling. Our properties are child-friendly and very easy to clean – which is good for us as well. At the Amsterdam Amstelveen property, there is a swimming pool, a huge fitness centre, ping pong tables and a drink machine. If you look at the guests who stay with us, though many are corporate travellers, they choose to bring their families with them – and their pets. Luckily for them we cater for everyone, pets included!
When are your high and low peaks for corporate business?
Katrien: We are very close to the RAI Exhibition in Amsterdam, so whenever there is a large event there, we see a big rise in our occupancy. This aside, our business is steady throughout the year.
From your experience, how do you feel the serviced apartment industry is in Amsterdam?
Katrien: I think it’s a concept that isn’t widely understood and I know a lot of companies that accommodate their Managing Directors in hotels. There’s still a great opportunity for us to educate people.
Currently in Amsterdam many empty office buildings are being converted into hotels. In the last year we have seen an increase of 400 hotel rooms. In order to remain ahead of our competition in the serviced apartment industry, we strive to be the best in service, quality and location, whilst also placing huge importance on the privacy and security of our guests.
What are you hoping SilverDoor can do for your business?
Carine: What’s important to us is the partnership. SilverDoor don’t use automatic call operating systems so we always know we can get through to someone within three rings. I think that’s the most important thing and we have already achieved that.
Time for the toughest question… who is your favourite member of the SilverDoor team?
Carine and Katrien: Stuart! [Engi: You can’t say Stuart because he is sitting right here, you have to choose someone else…]
Katrien: I can’t decide, we like everyone…. Jimmy, no Kristal, no wait Jimmy… I can’t decide at all.
Carine: I have a better idea. Let’s call Walter Roelants, Reservations in Amsterdam. [Engi: Well that’s a first. I’ve never had a long distance phone call made to answer an inside scoop question!]
Walter: Kristel, because she phoned me half an hour ago!
[Engi: Well I’m glad we got to the bottom of that one!]
Now for the quick fire round…
City break or beach holiday? Carine: Beach; Katrien: Beach
Beer or wine: Carine: Wine; Katrien: Wine
Men – clean cut or rough and ready: Carine: Rough and ready; Katrien: Clean cut
Winter or summer: Carine: Summer; Katrien: Winter
Men – chest or arms: Carine: Chest; Katrien: Chest