Richard Majewski, founder of Extended Stay Serviced Apartments (ESSA), Serviced Apartment Booking Association (SABA) and Accommotel, gives us an insight into his successes to date, where he thinks the serviced apartment industry is heading and his “throwing things against a wall and seeing how they fall” attitude.
How important do you think associations are for the serviced apartment industry?
I think ASAP and HBAA are very important because they can help companies within the industry to establish codes of conduct and standardise how companies work with each other. Particularly in a relatively new sector like serviced apartments, it would be a lot easier if the terms and conditions were standardised throughout.
I’ve noticed you do quite a lot on social media, especially on LinkedIn and Twitter. What influence do you think social media can have on businesses?
I was talking to someone recently who was saying they weren’t sure about social media and thought it was just another socialising tool. I think there’s a lot more to it than that. People are always looking at how they can adapt to new technology and a different way to communicate with others. It’s interesting to see how it applies to not just a social environment but for commercial use as well.
I’m a big believer in throwing things against a wall and seeing how they fall. I don’t take a firm view point and say that’s how it should be used but instead try to stir it up a bit. I look at how it’s being used in other areas and try to apply it to what I do. If it works it works, if it doesn’t it doesn’t.
Where do you see the serviced apartment industry in 5 years’ time?
I see it becoming a lot more structured like the hotel sector. The serviced apartment industry is becoming a lot more mainstream. The serviced apartment industry used to be viewed as very domesticated and many people couldn’t understand how it made sense commercially. It’s now become very prominent in the business world. It’s come a long way and will be a big part of the accommodation sector. [Caroline: It’s definitely become a lot more well-known than it ever used to be]. Absolutely, it’s no secret. People can’t even afford to call it a new sector anymore because it’s been around so long.
The only difference between a serviced apartment and a hotel as far as I’m concerned is the average length of stay. If you’re staying for one night, you’ll pay a lot more and stay in a hotel. If you’re staying for 3 months, you’ll pay a lot less and stay in a serviced apartment; it’s as simple as that.
Where does your drive come from?
From the industry itself. I really like the sector and I enjoy the people that work in the sector, it’s a great industry to work in. The approach that I like to take on everything is just to see how things go. In many ways I’m a great believer in there being no right or wrong way to do things. I’ll do things how I want to do them and see how they work out.
Now for the quick fire round…
Cars or motorbikes: cars
Twitter or LinkedIn: LinkedIn
Summer or winter: summer
Football or rugby: football
Wine or beer: wine, no beer, no wine… both!