SilverDoor's State of the Market Review - Summer 2022
SilverDoor's State of the Market Review - Summer 202225th August 2022
Growing demand puts a strain on global supply
Following an easing of the majority of travel restrictions in most countries, and the revival of the tourism sector, international leisure and business travel is back in full swing. Corporates are catching up on lost time and looking for longer stays and larger spaces. Consequently, there is increasing demand for two and three-bedroom apartments, as well as apartments featuring dedicated workspaces. The average length of stay based on SilverDoor reservations has increased by 27%, growing from 33 to 42 nights between 2021 and 2022. There has also been a rise in stay extensions, often caused by visa delays, difficulties in finding long-term rentals, and delayed shipping container deliveries. To ensure stay extensions can be provided we would recommend giving as much notice as possible and, where possible, forward planning and identifying where extensions are likely to be required.
Due to rapidly growing demand, the market is struggling with supply. Availability in certain regions has become scarce, and rates are rising accordingly. Singapore, for instance, has seen very high demand as this location is now preferred for many clients over Hong Kong. A large number of Chinese corporations that are dependent on international trade temporarily relocated labour flexible employees to neighbouring countries. Furthermore, some companies accelerated their shift to e-commerce, allowing a larger proportion of employees to work from abroad. This served to catalyse the rise in demand for corporate housing outside of China.
New York has also seen demand soar and availability fall behind. This is largely due to the upcoming New York market, UNGA (United Nations General Assembly), and the US Open - all occurring in August and September. To combat the low levels of supply, operators are continuing to replenish their stock, but with a healthy private rental sector this is also not always easy or quick to come by. However, SilverDoor has been sourcing new properties across all global regions to add inventory in the pipeline, with more than 15,000 new apartments vetted and onboarded since January this year with many new openings in the pipeline in the coming quarter.
Average length of stay (% change) 2021 vs 2022
Average nightly rate (% change) 2021 vs 2022
Rates and Length of Stay 2021 vs 2022 financial year: length of stay (LOS) and average rates have increased significantly across all global regions since 2021. In the Americas, where 30 night+ minimum stays are more common, the average LOS remains at 60 days.
Corporate housing spreads outside the city
The demand for serviced apartments is slowly spreading out of the city centres. For short term stays, Corporates typically prefer properties within walking distance of their offices, limiting the use of public transport. Due to strong demand and current inflation rates, we are seeing a 18.5% average increase in serviced accommodation rates – especially in major cities. As a result, demand is spreading outside city centres – particularly for longer stays.
A continued focus on safety and sustainability
Key findings from this year's Global Serviced Apartment Industry Report (GSAIR) highlighted the key priorities of business travellers and their employers. Corporations are increasingly concerned with sustainability, ESG (environmental, social and governance), and the safety features of their suppliers and apartments. Duty of Care still tops concerns for corporate travellers, wherever in the world they may be.
In response to this trend, more detailed and specific sustainability information from property operators has been formally added at property level on the SilverDoor website, allowing bookers to view the sustainability features a property may offer.
Business travel set to continue in the coming months, challenging previous market trends
Whilst previous years indicated a subtle drop in demand for the months of October through December, this year is set to break the trend. The return of international events and conferences, combined with graduate programme stays, will maintain a constant level of demand. Graduate programmes, which are structured training programmes helping set graduates on a successful career path, will typically last between one or two years. Thus, they drive demand for longer serviced apartment stays, particularly in the UK.
Man’s best friend. Accommodated
A notable market trend has been the continued rise of bookings requesting pet friendly apartments. An increase in pet ownership and the expectation to bring them on both business trips and relocations has prompted more properties to offer pet friendly options; we can expect a continuous increase in demand as well as associated requests for pet-friendly transport services.
EMEA REGION FOCUS
The European market has been rapidly expanding with the launch of 31,566 new serviced apartment units in over 1,000 different locations since December 2019. This signifies an increase of 11.5% and 11.3% respectively over the three previous years (GSAIR, 2021). Europe thus maintains its spot as the second largest region for serviced apartments, with Germany and the UK leading the way.
In the European market, London demonstrates the biggest growth by number of units – where we have added 1,400 new units since January 2022, closely followed by Munich, Istanbul, and Manchester.
In terms of percentage growth, the cities of Stuttgart and Belfast have seen an increase of 372% and 337% in the number of units, respectively. This stems from rising investor and developer awareness of the area, in addition to a growing attraction to currently underdeveloped markets.
Ukrainian immigration continues to impact corporate accommodation
As a result of the conflict in Ukraine, the serviced apartment sector has been impacted by an influx of refugees requiring housing across Europe. Countries who were early to welcome migrants have seen demand skyrocket, with the number of nights booked increasing from 1,302 to 30,934 between 2021 and 2022 in Poland; other neighbouring countries have seen a similar growth in demand, with demand in Romania tripling, and demand in Hungary doubling.
A Fair City for Operators
Dublin is also experiencing unprecedented levels of demand. Over 42,000 refugees coming from Ukraine were placed in college campuses, hotels and apartments. The total number of nights booked in Dublin thus far has already tripled and Dublin’s serviced apartments have been at almost constant full capacity. Demand is set increase in coming weeks as students return to college for the coming academic year and 3,000 Ukrainians vacate their college housing.
The 2022-3 FIFA world cup in Qatar
As the countdown to the 2022-23 FIFA World Cup is now underway, interest in Qatar as a travel destination is growing. The international appeal of the tournament will boost air-travel, local visitor services, and accommodation occupancy levels. Rates have already begun to ascend, as have booking numbers. In parallel to other regions, the market in Qatar will see demand flowing in and availability struggling to match up. However, Qatar is not an isolated case in the Middle East. Demand is rising propositionally across the region, with Abu Dhabi serving as a prime example of this.
APAC REGION FOCUS
Insider review of the APAC region – Andy McCrow, Head of Market Development, APAC
"The APAC region is slowly but surely seeing its COVID restrictions loosen. Singapore has removed restrictions on group sizes, lifted the mask requirements in outdoor settings, allowed all employees back into the office, and now allows fully vaccinated travellers to enter Singapore without COVID testing beforehand.
"Other countries have followed a similar pattern and have begun relaxing their COVID restrictions. The Philippines, Malaysia, and Australia have allowed visitors to come into the country, but often require fully vaccinated travellers to present a negative Rapid Antigen and/or obtain travel insurance with pandemic coverage. There are frequent changes to the situation, but the overarching trend seems to be pointing towards a reduction in barriers to travel and consequently an increase in business travel in the region.
"However, it must be noted that there are notable exemptions such as China and Hong Kong who have witnessed an uncontrollable growth in COVID cases. Local government have thus implemented heavier restrictions, forcing travellers to quarantine on arrival and obliging comprehensive testing schedules. This seems to deter travel into the regions, posing issues to business travel in the areas.
"On the other hand, Singapore and Tokyo have been benefiting from heavy demand, leading to them running at extremely high occupancies. The increasing demand in Singapore may be a result of the COVID situation in Hong Kong, and the increased influence of Beijing over its local politics, encouraging businesses to consider shifting their investments outside of China. 34% of firms state they are looking to potentially relocate from China to other areas of Asia, with 47% of those looking at Southeast Asia. Singapore could be well on its way to becoming the regional APAC hub."
Local investments in the APAC region
The expectations for post-pandemic recovery are good in certain APAC destinations. Hong Kong, for example, will see property investment grow by 20% as investors are believed to set hotels and serviced apartments as their primary acquisition targets.
The Chinese market is also expected to benefit from growing interest. Its travel and tourism sectors are predicted to contribute the equivalent of £1.34 Trillion to China’s GDP in the upcoming year. Although this stands at 5.2% lower than pre-pandemic levels, it shows remarkable growth considering the Chinese economy shrunk 6.8% in the first quarter of 2020. The expected growth of the market is supported by a year-on-year rise of 3.7% in property investment in the first two months of 2022. This reverses the 13.9% slump the market experienced in December 2021.
After demand boomed for Tokyo in 2020-2021 during the Summer Olympic and 2021 Paralympic Games, Tokyo has now levelled to a steady frequency. This has resulted in average rates for 2022 decreasing since the surge last year.
LATAM REGION FOCUS
The role of multinational corporations in market demand
Demand in Latin America is driven by multinationals primarily based in the United States and Canada, most of which are large consultancy firms, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), tech and telecoms organisations. In this market, corporate housing has become attractive to companies who are trying to establish themselves in the region. These overseas companies often require further assistance with integration, with the LATAM market being less culturally compatible with Western corporations than other regions.
When relocating, corporations tend to be more receptive to serviced apartments as they offer low traffic, low contact, sustainable and self-provisioning accommodation options. Larger living spaces also allow for home offices, enabling companies to work without on-site offices (Ben Subedar, 2021).
The search for longer stays, further from the city centre
Similar to other global regions, client requirements for stays in LATAM are seeing a shift away from traditional trends. Most likely a repercussion of the pandemic, clients are typically enquiring about longer stays, for two- or three-bedroom apartments with larger kitchens and better laundry facilities, enabling remote working and home schooling. These bookings tend to be for serviced apartments outside of downtown hotspots which allow guests to be closer to their offices and limits their use of crowded public transport. The LATAM market has therefore seen a surge in demand for secondary and tertiary cities. According to the latest GSAIR’s report, 40% of the demand in Mexico has come from outside the capital. Similarly, in Brazil, São Polo only makes up half of the market, which is a decrease from previous years (GSAIR, 2021). Whilst the above larger cities still stand on stable markets, others in Buenos Aires and Lima are witnessing a decrease in demand.
AMERICAS REGION FOCUS
Serviced apartments challenge the hotel industry in the race to recovery
The US market has also witnessed a growing demand for longer stays as employees can now work from anywhere. North America and Canada now count 665,350 serviced apartment units in 8,423 locations. This constitutes a 11% and 10.7% increase since 2020, respectively. The previous supply growth inflamed by the reopening of extended-stay hotels closed during the pandemic has effectively come to an end. With growing demand, early indications demonstrate that, similar to LATAM, mid-price and upscale supply growth will be below pandemic levels soon (Mark Skinner, 2021). This could create turbulence in the market as demand for such properties grows rapidly.
The gradual increase in average occupancy for US extended-stay apart-hotels serves to confirm the growing popularity of extended-stay serviced accommodation. With a year-on-year increase of 34.1% for upscale accommodation, compared with 16.6% and 8.8% for mid-price and economy, we observe a growing demand for more spacious and comfortable stays. Average rates were not spared by the turbulent changes in the market. Whilst the US saw its average rates increase by up to 22%, depending on size and location of the stay, Canada’s average rates were not far behind with an average increase of 16%.
KEY CITY ANALYSIS
Demand - VERY HIGH. Topping our in-demand locations in EMEA is London’s Canary Warf district. The high level of demand in the district is an on-going occurrence and is not expected to slow down in the near future.
Supply - HIGH. We are seeing availability improve and the market can accommodate a limited number of short lead arrivals in one-bedroom units. For an increased selection apartment, a three week lead time is necessary.
Conclusion: Although supply is high and ever increasing, the level of demand is also very high. It is thus recommended that enquire about accommodation up to three weeks in advance.
Demand - MODERATE to HIGH. Enquiries for Paris have reduced over the last two weeks. However, the market itself is still incredibly strained.
Supply - MODERATE. Supply struggles during high seasons, particularly in August. Availability for properties offering parking and/or elevator service as particularly challenging.
Conclusion: Short lead bookings are possible but there is very limited availability in the market. We are, however, seeing availability open for one- and two-bedroom apartments mid-September as the busy summer season starts to slow.
Demand - HIGH and RISING. As the summer heat dies down, corporate and leisure activity in the middle east is picking up. September and October are forecasted to be more robust (compared with previous years) which is accelerating the transition to higher winter rates. November and December are likely to have extremely limited availability due to spill over from the world cup and the Christmas/NYE rush. To contextualise the rush expected in November for the FIFA World Cup, all major airlines are planning 20 - 25 flights a day each between Dubai and Doha. The rates during this period are likely to be extremely high with very little leverage for negotiations. Aside from the world cup rush, the city has also pushing to attract large conferences to the city (building on the back of their EXPO 2020 success) - having already penned contracts for several major events which are expected to hold onto 300,000 plus room nights.
Supply - SOLID. Stronger than ever and improving. One of our key providers in Dubai has a new location online with 400+ keys. We’ve also onboarded/strengthened relationships with several hotel apartment chains in the city which provides us with a robust bank of availability going into this high season.
Conclusion: We are recommending that our clients look into securing any November/December moves by early October at the latest for the best rates/availability.
Demand – HIGH. Singapore has seen very high demand as this location is now preferred for many clients over Hong Kong. This is especially the case for businesses looking to establish a hub in the APAC region.
Supply - LOW. The location struggles with supply. Substantial lead time is recommended, particularly for two-bedroom units.
Conclusion: Availability is low especially for two- and three-bedroom apartments. The lead time required to have a selection of units is around six weeks. The market can accommodate a shorter lead time but with limited availability.
Demand - MODERATE. Although demand in the market continues to remain steady, we have noticed a slight decrease as corporations begin to increasingly look towards other cities in the APAC region.
Supply - MODERATE. Supply is slowly increasing, allowing for greater availably. However, substantial lead times are recommended for larger accommodation requests.
Conclusion: For two-three-bedroom apartments a lead time of one month is achievable; for one bedroom apartment options, however, there are availabilities with a two-week lead time.
Keep up with current trends in the serviced accommodation market
In response to a continually changing and expanding market, SilverDoor’s regional teams provide up-to-the-minute expert analysis. Through the use of extensive data collection and comprehensive market research, we offer pertinent, accurate, and unbiased updates on market trends. To receive guidance on your next business trip, or enquire about the current market, contact one of our Global teams.