This week, Maeva Noual and Lucy Allin from The Ascott Limited came to our offices where we talked about everything from the importance of social media and awards to how some questions are best answered with “I’m French”. That’s all we needed to hear.
From your experience how do you think the serviced apartment sector varies between Europe and Asia?
Maeva: In Asia the Ascott Limited brand is really well known, to the point that it’s one of the first names people mention there if you ask them about serviced apartments. In Europe the general public isn’t aware of the brand or industry and this is something we have to work on and where social media plays a vital role. Asia has a different understanding of business and how people move around. Because so many international companies are heavily present in Asia the relocation concept and the serviced apartment industry are just part of how they work.
Lucy: My point of view is that there has been a drastic change from what I’ve been doing last year to this year. It’s just phenomenal: people now realise the benefits of serviced apartments and request them. They’re cheaper and more convenient. Single professional women, for example, don’t want to go out and eat all the time and they’ve got the facilities within the apartment to allow them to cook for themselves. I think we just need to work on our marketing over here to reach the same level as Asia in terms of awareness.
We know that you just won an award at the Business Traveller Awards (Best Serviced Apartment Company). What do these awards mean?
Lucy: Thank you! And thanks for reminding us that we weren’t at the ceremony! No, but seriously receiving such an award makes us a benchmark within the industry, consequently affecting the volume of traffic and amount of enquires we receive.
Maeva: It’s a real achievement even in the sense of supporting what we say. If I am in a conversation with a potential client and I am asked about the benefits of staying in a serviced apartment over a hotel I can state the reasons and include that we’ve been voted for as the best serviced apartment company. It means a lot and gives credit to what we do.
To put you on the spot, who is your favourite SilverDoorian? And it can’t be Alice or Patrick because you were just sitting with them.
Oh my God, are we really allowed to say who? OK I’ll say but then you can’t tell the others who I chose [Engi:Don’t worry, this will only be posted online]. In that case it’s Toby. Throughout the past year of us working with him, he’s always been so patient and understanding and he’s such a charmer.
Last question: What does SilverDoor do for your business?
Maeva: A lot – I think SilverDoor are one of our most serious clients. Your name is respected within the industry, but personally the thing I appreciate is that you are loyal. When we work together and if I need help I have full support and this works both ways as well. However, what’s really special is that the human element is really valued here; I think what I’ve taken to heart is that you treat your clients and partners as humans.
Quick fire round: Love it or hate it?
Twilight trilogy: Hate it
Skinny jeans on men: Hate it
Joey Essex: Funny but hate him
Marmite: Love it
X Factor: Hate it
Fifty Shades of Grey: Big “love it” from Lucy – does “I’m French” count as an answer?