Vijay Kumar from Smarter Living joins us to talk about their venture in to the serviced apartment sector and why independent businesses can compete with the bigger brands.
You only joined the serviced apartment industry recently. What made you enter the market?
We started the company a couple of months ago with a few of our partners. We’re new to the short-term let industry, but we have a background of owning properties, maintaining them, and renting on a long-term let model. We’ve now bought stock from partners and that’s how we’re moving ahead. We’ve decided to move in to the serviced apartment industry because it’s growing, especially in the area we’re in, which is Croydon. There’s a detailed plan for regeneration, with Westfield moving into the area and various other uplifts. It’s also a good commuter point situated 15 minutes on the train to London Bridge, Victoria and Gatwick. You’ll notice that a lot of old office buildings in the area have been redeveloped into apartments, so it’s an exciting time for the area.
Do you think bigger brands have an advantage over independents?
Established brands will always have more stock and more opportunity to increase it, but independents, in our opinion, offer a more personalised service. We’re more interested in what the client wants, rather than showing someone how much turnover we’ve made. We focus on the customer experience and that makes SilverDoor’s job easier because you can rely on us to deliver on our promises.
What facilities do your aparthotels offer?
We have a check-in/out service, a welcome pack with taxi services, restaurants, bars and other useful things. We include train ticket details, maps of the local area and information about it too. We can help guests locate office space and we localise areas within walking distance from stations. Each aparthotel will have a full gym, so guests don’t have to leave the apartments to get fit. This isn’t just aimed at the business traveller – it’s really useful for families too. There’s no angle that we’re not trying to cover as we develop the model.