Ascott sees record year with 14,200 units added during Covid-hit 2020

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 12 January 2021

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Singapore: Ascott has signed more than 14,200 units across 71 properties globally for 2020, exceeding its 2019 total and recording four consecutive years of record growth.

In China, Ascott achieved an 80 per cent year-on-year growth in units compared to 2019. Ascott says the new properties will boost the annual fee income by over S$27 million as they progressively open and stabilise.

Since October 2020, Ascott has added more than 4,900 units across 23 properties, including more than 3,800 units across 17 properties in China. Ascott will make its first forays into Yangzhou while expanding in other cities such as Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Wuhan.

Among the newly secured properties are two rental housing properties in Shanghai and Hangzhou, marking Ascott’s increased presence in China’s high growth rental housing sector.

Outside of China, Ascott has signed contracts for more than 1,000 new units across six properties in Doha, Qatar; Manila, Philippines; Singapore; Sydney, Australia; as well as Binh Duong and Danang in Vietnam where Ascott will introduce its first lyf coliving property and first Citadines Connect business hotel in the country.

Kevin Goh, CapitaLand’s chief executive officer for Lodging and Ascott’s CEO, said: “COVID-19 has validated the resilience of Ascott’s business model as property owners continue to sign new management and franchise contracts with us, allowing us to achieve our fourth consecutive year of record growth in 2020. Through these new contracts, we continue to build our future recurring fee income stream. In 2021, over 80 properties with about 17,000 units are slated to open across the world. This includes over 70 properties with more than 15,000 units in Asia Pacific which is expected to lead the global economic recovery. We will continue to look for opportunities to expand our presence through management contracts, franchises, strategic alliances, and stand ready to seize good investment opportunities.”

He added: “While we were not spared the short-term operational impact of COVID-19, we believe that the fundamental demand for lodging remains intact and will bounce back quickly once the global pandemic is brought under control. In the meantime, we continue to seek new opportunities amid the crisis. We have capitalised on Ascott’s well-designed and spacious serviced apartments to tap on domestic demand while pursuing new businesses. Ascott’s new businesses such as the ‘Work in Residence’ and ‘Space-as-a-Service’ initiatives have generated more than S$91 million in 2020. With the global roll out of vaccines and testing protocols to facilitate the gradual resumption of international travel, Ascott will emerge stronger and deliver greater value for our partners and guests.”

In 2020, Ascott opened 25 new properties adding more than 3,900 units to its global inventory. In the last quarter of 2020, new properties were opened in Australia, China and Thailand. The new properties include Quest Ballarat Station, Quest Preston and Quest Wangaratta in Australia; as well as Citadines Yunlong Lake Xuzhou and Tujia Somerset Yunlong Lake Xuzhou in China.

Amid the COVID-19 situation, Ascott continued to leverage and upgrade its digital capabilities to support growth, while enhancing its guests’ experience and ensure their safety.

It completed the migration of its CRM and PMS to a cloud enterprise solution, and installed self check-in kiosk with facial recognition technology in selected properties in China and Singapore

Ascott’s service robot, Aria (Ascott Robotic Intelligent Assistant) will be deployed to selected properties in Singapore in 2021. Aria is one of the contactless technologies that Ascott has introduced to its properties in China. Guests can call upon Aria to perform a suite of tasks such as concierge services, leading guests to the rooms or facilities, delivering clean laundry and packages, and refilling room supplies. Aria is also able to interface independently with the property’s vending machine to bring guests their ordered items via a mobile app.

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