Serviced apartment industry a bit of a maze?

Written by on 27th September 2010
Category: SilverDoor news

The latest issue of the Buying Business Travel magazine features an article on serviced apartments by Jonathan Hart. In it, the writer recognises that serviced apartments have many selling points but argues that the industry still has a number of problems.

Hart observes that the home-from-home, leave-me-alone aspect of serviced apartments has become as great a selling point as their traditional more-space-for-lower-rates challenge to the hotel industry. He agrees with the sector’s claim that serviced apartments offer more space for less money and recognises that serviced apartments provide added freedoms and productivity benefits, as well as offering a cost-saving solution for extended stays.
However, he suggests that a largely indifferent network of travel managers continues to view serviced apartments as lacking in standardisation, real time access or streamlined working practices.
Serviced apartments are, Hart argues, solitary by design, disparate in distribution, and largely out of synch with mainstream procurement, booking and billing processes. Furthermore, the sector faces accessibility, reliability and visibility issues among corporate buyers who have neither the time nor inclination to source accommodation off-track or trawl through the protracted tenancy negotiations and the mostly manual processes which are sometimes associated with extended stays.Hart speaks to Charlie McCrow, managing director of The Apartment Service, who admits: “Frankly, looking from the outside in, it’s a bit of a maze”. McCrow says fluctuating supply and other build or rental issues contribute to an understanding of the serviced apartments sector as complex and fragmented.
At SilverDoor we largely agree with Hurt’s analysis, but would eagerly add that we remove all of the negative factors he outlines. We represent all the major serviced apartment providers and numerous small independents too. Buyers and clients need not worry that booking a serviced apartment in London  will be complex or protracted as we will do everything for them. We will email quotes within two hours (during UK office hours), we give numerous payment options and we keep things simple by providing a two-page document with all the relevant reservation details. It’s as easy as that.
What are your thoughts on the serviced apartment industry?