Tom Jeavons-Fellows from Astra Apartments gives us the lowdown from down under on growth in the Australian serviced apartment sector and what the future holds.
Have you seen a growth in the Australian serviced apartment market over the last few years?
Yes but it depends how you define serviced apartments. Serviced apartments as alternatives to hotels, where people can look after themselves with catering, have grown phenomenally, particularly with Quest, Meriton and Adina opening lots of new properties.
If we’re talking about serviced apartments being extended stay, long stay or temporary housing then that area’s pretty static. From an economic point of view, the high dollar meant that it was more expensive for people to visit Australia, so we think that’s caused a bit of a slowdown.
What do you think has caused this growth?
Simply better value. It’s a better value proposition for travelling businessmen to go into a self-catering, self-laundering, lower cost environment and people are becoming more aware of the serviced apartment product as a result.
What makes up the majority of your bookings: corporate or leisure?
All corporate, with an average stay of five to six weeks.
We get a lot of relocations and we’re linked very firmly into all the big relocation agents in Australia. They probably make up 10-15% of turnover.
What does the future hold for serviced apartments?
I think the market’s going to expand. On a global scale, people are going to expect and be expected to move around the world.
Domestically, Australia as an economy is really 4 or 5 regional economies which are geographically distant and have different job markets. There’s always a migration of people as these job markets change. Added to this is a big Asian influence which is becoming more prevalent and creating lots of demand.
Now for a quick fire round:
Rugby Union or Rugby League?
Aston Martin or Ferrari?
Blondes or brunettes?