One in five travel buyers increased serviced apartment use in 2017

George Sell By George Sell
1 week ago | Updated 1 week ago

UK: A fifth of corporate travel buyers increased their use of serviced apartment suppliers in 2017 according to a poll by the Business Travel Show and ASAP.

A similar number of buyers directed more spend to budget hotels and over a third (37 per cent) to mid-range hotels.

When asked why they book serviced apartments, 57 per cent of the 234 travel buyers polled said it was because they provide value for money. This was followed by convenience, flexibility, extra space and long-term suitability. While the top five reasons remained the same as last year, their order has changed, with convenience falling from the number one spot.

Of those buyers who do incorporate serviced apartments in their programmes, more are allocating a higher percentage of their budget towards them. For example, in 2016, seven per cent of buyers spent between 11 and 25 per cent of their budgets on serviced accommodation. This year, that rose to 13 per cent, while the number of buyers spending between 26 and 50 per cent remained consistent. 

With 42 per cent of buyers not using any serviced accommodation suppliers, however, and 38 per cent still vetoing sharing economy providers (down from 91 per cent last year), the poll shows there is still a way to go for alternative accommodation providers to be an automatic choice for travel buyers.
 
David Chapple, event director, Business Travel Show, said: "Our research is great news for the serviced apartment community and is testament to the work ASAP has done in raising awareness of, and building trust in, the industry and its suppliers. It's also an honest reflection of the state of the market. For the last two years, our annual survey of travel buyers has shown that the number one challenge facing them is cutting costs while maintaining quality and value for money. With this in mind, it's no surprise that more buyers are looking to alternative and budget accommodation providers and incorporating these in their travel programmes alongside more traditional four and five-star business hotels.

"Of course, the demographic of travellers is also changing with younger executives enjoying the flexibility and convenience offered by alternative accommodation - something they have become used to as leisure travellers. We have understood and - to a degree - preempted this shift at the Business Travel Show, and accommodation providers from all sides of the market can be found on the show floor for buyers to talk to." 

James Foice, chief executive of ASAP, added: "It's absolutely fantastic to see that 20%, or 1 in 5, of corporate buyers have increased their use of serviced apartments this year. The popularity of our serviced apartment product has never been higher with the significant increase in supply this year - more than 2,000 new serviced apartment units have opened right across the UK in 2017. 17% growth in supply is forecast by 2020 so this trend is all set to continue. More corporate and leisure travellers prefer this more flexible way to stay offering a bit more space to live, work, sleep and eat. It's particularly interesting to see 'value for money' coming out as the top reason why corporates are using serviced apartments. We find more and more companies book two-bedroom/two-bathroom apartments and colleagues will share the apartment, making it a more cost-effective choice as well as giving employees working away from home some companionship."

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