George Sell

George is the editor of Serviced Apartment News, and has more than a decade's experience as a hospitality, property and travel journalist. He regularly contributes to a wide range of international publications and websites.

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Recent Articles by George

Clare Ace joins CAP Worldwide

News Story /

UK: Former SACO director Clare Ace has joined CAP Worldwide to develop global relationships and brand partnerships with operators.

Extended reach

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When one thinks of the hotel market in the UAE, and particularly in Dubai, the first word that springs to mind is definitely not undersupply.

Finding a balance

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Across the entire hospitality space, views on OTAs are extremely polarised.

Revitalising the high streets

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The retail sector is having a hard time of it at the moment, and our high streets are seeing an unprecedented number of shops closing, but this presents an opportunity for regeneration.

Operator sought for Belfast aparthotel

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UK: Developer Oakland Holdings is seeking an operator for a 175-unit Belfast city centre aparthotel which has received full planning permission from the City Council.

Dublin Staycity aparthotel up for sale

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Ireland: The newly-completed 51-key Staycity Aparthotel on Chancery Lane, near Dublin city centre, is for sale with a guide price €12.3 million.

Melbourne serviced apartment deal scrapped

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Australia: Malaysian developer UEM Sunrise Bhd (UEMS) has terminated an agreement with The Trust Company (Re Services) Ltd, the trustee for Ascendas Australia Hotel Trust (AAHT) to buy a serviced apartment block at Aurora Melbourne.

Aviva buys London aparthotel

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UK: Aviva Investors’ Lime Property Fund has acquired the freehold interest in a London aparthotel scheme, which it will lease to the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

Evolution and expansion

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Ascott's unprecedented growth spurt on its home patch shows how it is adapting to the evolving hospitality sector and its clients needs.

Up close and personal with Ben Davis and Adam Lowenthal, Saxbury

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In the latest of a regular series, we find out what makes some of the leading figures in the serviced apartment and aparthotel sectors tick. This time, we speak to Ben Davis and Adam Lowenthal, co-founders of serviced apartment real estate agency Saxbury.

Up close and personal with Simon Lehmann, AJL Consulting

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In the latest of a regular series, we find out what makes some of the leading figures in the serviced apartment and aparthotel sectors tick. This time, we speak to Simon Lehmann, co-founder and CEO of AJL Consulting. Lehmann is an online travel specialist, angel investor, and a thought leader in the alternative lodging and vacation rental industry.

WoodSpring Suites set for Jacksonville

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US: A planning application has been logged for a four-storey WoodSpring Suites extended stay hotel in Baymeadows, a suburb of Jacksonville, Florida.

Locale adds to Texas portfolio

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US: Locale is expanding its footprint in Texas with newly signed leases across five luxury residential buildings in Dallas and Fort Worth.

The green opportunity

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Sustainability is a hot topic in the hotel world, and indeed the wider construction industry, but one which is not mentioned very often in conjunction with serviced apartments.

Handy phones parent Tink Labs wound down

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Hong Kong: Tink Labs, which makes and supplies Handy smartphones to serviced apartments and hotel operators, has terminated its services in several markets following the cessation of operations.

Blog Post /

• Dubai has often been at the forefront of incredibly ambitious schemes in the hospitality and tourism markets, and this week the emirate's nascent but healthy short-term rental space just burst in to life with two landmark deals.

Sydney aparthotel bought by Yeh family

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Australia: Sydney's Yeh family has purchased the Seasons Harbour Plaza serviced apartment hotel in Sydney's CBD through the first-ever NSW court-ordered strata renewal collective sale.

New hires and promotion at IHM

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Leading hospitality publishing and events company International Hospitality Media, the publisher of Serviced Apartment News, has announced promotions and additions to its UK-based team.

Up close and personal with Max Thorne, MRP Group

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In the latest of a regular series, we find out what makes some of the leading figures in the serviced apartment and aparthotel sectors tick. This time, we speak to Max Thorne, chief executive of MRP Group.

Two US hospitality REITs to merge

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US: Park Hotels & Resorts has reached a deal to acquire Chesapeake Lodging Trust in a deal that will bring its market value to $12 billion.

SMARTments partners with ReviewPro

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Germany: GBI’s SMARTments brand has partnered with ReviewPro with the aim of improving the guest experience and securing repeat business from corporate clients.

Up close and personal with Ken Brown, Furnished Quarters

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In the latest of a regular series, we find out what makes some of the leading figures in the serviced apartment and aparthotel sectors tick. This time, we speak to Ken Brown, vice president, global solutions at Furnished Quarters.

Up close and personal with Larry Korman, AKA Hotel Residences

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In the latest of a regular series, we find out what makes some of the leading figures in the serviced apartment and aparthotel sectors tick. This time, we speak to Larry Korman, co-CEO of Korman Communities and president of AKA Hotel Residences.

Hyatt House planned for Huntsville

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US: A planning application for an extended-stay Hyatt hotel in downtown Huntsville, Alabama, is due to be considered by the local council.

NexPoint buys Condor Hospitality Trust

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US: Canada-listed REIT NexPoint Hospitality Trust (NHT) has agreed to buy Condor Hospitality Trust, an owner of extended stay and select service hotels.

The real opportunity for co-living

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The term co-living is a misunderstood one - although there are operators out there with an international product aimed at high income global nomads, this demographic is unlikely to be big enough to support a fast-growing industry.

Bartra to redraw plans for Dublin co-living projects

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Ireland: Developer Bartra Capital Property Group will cut up to 20 beds from a proposed co-living development in Dun Laoghaire to meet guidelines proposed by An Bord Pleanala in relation to a similar project in west Dublin.

Up close and personal with: Jason Delany, Staycity Group

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In the first of a regular series, we find out what makes some of the leading figures in the serviced apartment and aparthotel sectors tick. To kick us off, we spoke to Jason Delany, director of brand, product & marketing at Staycity Group.

The circle of life

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• Although it has been described as London's ugliest hotel, there is something slightly poignant about the fate of the Holiday Inn London Kensington Forum.

My Place makes Wisconsin debut

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US: My Place Hotels of America has opened in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, marking the first My Place Hotel in state and the brand’s 22nd state entry.

Superior Court boost for AKA West Hollywood

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US: A Superior Court judge has denied the City of West Hollywood’s request to dismiss several parts of a lawsuit brought against it by the owner of AKA West Hollywood.

Be Mate adds Madrid apartments

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Spain: Be Mate, Room Mate Group’s serviced apartment brand, is adding two new full management buildings in Madrid to its portfolio.

Building synergies

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You won't see many clearer examples of the synergistic relationship between the extended stay and serviced apartment sector and corporate business than two of the US stories we have covered this week.

ESA goes "asset-right"

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Extended Stay America is now just over half way through its five year ESA 2.0 plan to transform the business through the selling, building and franchising of assets.

My Place partners with AHLA

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US: My Place Hotels has partnered with the American Hotel and Lodging Association, with membership covering all locations as the brand nears the opening of its 50th property.

Layton launches CAP Worldwide in London

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UK: CAP Worldwide Serviced Apartments, a booking agency for the corporate market led by former Apartment Service director Jo Layton, launched last night in London.

Green light for Lancashire aparthotel

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UK: The conversion and extension of Ormskirk’s grade two-listed former Magistrates’ Court into an aparthotel has been given the go-ahead by West Lancashire Council.

WhyHotel launches Hospitality Living arm

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US: WhyHotel, a service that operates pop-up hotels in new-build apartment buildings, has opened a second office, in San Francisco and launched a new business arm.

IHG is latest GTMC industry partner

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UK: The Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) has announced that IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) is its latest industry partner.

Work starts on Texas Hyatt House

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US: Developer The Sam Moon Group has begun construction on a Hyatt House hotel as part of the 69-acre Metropark Square mixed-use development in Shenandoah, Texas.

Your Apartment plans UK expansion

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UK: Design-led apartment provider Your Apartment has announced plans to expand across the UK, with a primary focus on London, Birmingham and Cardiff.

AvenueWest expands in Colorado

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US: AvenueWest Global Franchise, the largest provider of managed corporate housing in the US, has announced the expansion of AvenueWest Northern Colorado.

Fraser Suites opens in Hamburg

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Germany: Frasers Hospitality has opened Fraser Suites Hamburg, in the historic Oberfinanzdirektion, a listed building dating back to 1907.

Oakwood rebrand for Phuket hotel

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Thailand: Journey Hub Hotel Phuket, a property owned by Boutique Corporation, has been rebranded as the Oakwood Hotel Journeyhub Phuket.

Uptown Suites opens eighth property

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US: Uptown Suites has announced the official opening of its eighth extended stay property, Uptown Suites Denver Tech Center CO – Centennial.

Ascott announces KSA expansion plans

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KSA: Ascott announced its MEA expansion plans at the Arabian Travel Market, with Saudi Arabia its top pipeline destination in the region over the next two years.

Ascott launches Star Rewards loyalty program

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Singapore: Ascott has launched Ascott Star Rewards, which it describes as the first serviced residence loyalty programme to offer full flexibility to earn and redeem points.

Airbnb leads Lyric funding round

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US: San Francisco-based apartment provider Lyric has raised $160 million in a Series B financing and debt financing led by Airbnb.

Work starts on Dublin aparthotel

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Ireland: Developer Marlet has started work on a €110 million hotel and aparthotel development close to the Ha’penny Bridge in central Dublin.

Parkes to step down from GTMC role

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UK: Adrian Parkes, chief executive of the Guild of Travel Management Companies, has announced his retirement and will step down from his role this summer.

KeyNest expands in to Italy

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Italy: KeyNest is expanding its key exchange service to Italy, in a move that will allow 80,000 operators and hosts to grant property access to guests remotely.

Prime Position

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The prime central London residential market has had a well-documented tough time of it recently - Spring review figures from Knight Frank show that there is still no growth in terms of sales and prices, while sales were down by 15 per cent year-on-year in 2018 and prices down 4.4 per cent.

Developing value

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Staycity's acquisition of a development company is an interesting twist on the Opco Propco equation.

Publisher plans Newcastle aparthotel

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UK: The former home of the Newcastle Chronicle is set to be demolished to make way for two new hotels, in multimillion-pound plans from publisher Reach Plc.

YOO Worldwide opens regional HQ in Bangkok

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Thailand: YOO Worldwide has announced that Bangkok will be the base for its regional HQ and has already confirmed the appointment of key executives and creative directors.

RedAwning integrates with AllTheRooms

News Story /

US: Vacation property network RedAwning.com has integrated with AllTheRooms, an accommodations aggregator that pulls data from more than travel sites.

RedAwning integrates with AllTheRooms

News Story /

US: Vacation property network RedAwning.com has integrated with AllTheRooms, an accommodations aggregator that pulls data from more than travel sites.

Uptown Suites opens in Texas

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US: Uptown Suites has announced the official opening of its fifth extended stay property, in Round Rock, Texas.

Quick Q&A: Stephen McCall, SACO

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SACO's new CEO Stephen McCall talks to SAN about rolling out the Locke brand to capitalise on the Airbnb-effect that has boosted consumer awareness of apartments.

Event review: RECHARGE 2019, Berlin

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Around 130 professionals from the serviced apartment and broader hospitality sectors converged on Berlin last week for the second annual RECHARGE event. George Sell reports.

Oakwood signs partnership with LIXIL

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Singapore: LIXIL,a manufacturer of bathroom and kitchen products, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Oakwood in the Asia Pacific region.

Quick Q&A: Ken Moore, Oakwood

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Ken Moore, managing director for EMEA at Oakwood, talks to SAN about the growth of the serviced apartment sector and regional variation in customer behaviour.

Cheval launches private chef offer

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UK: Cheval Collection has partnered with La Belle Assiette to offer guests the opportunity to book a private chef in their apartment.

SilverDoor opens US office

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US: London-based serviced apartment agent SilverDoor has opened its US headquarters in Denver, Colorado.

Oakwood buys Chicago apartment building

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US: Oakwood has acquired Jones Chicago by Mapletree, a 25-storey residential property at 220 West Illinois Street, in Chicago's River North neighbourhood.

Sandpiper forms extended stay REIT

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US: Sandpiper Cos, a developer and operator of extended stay hotels, has formed Sandpiper Lodging Trust, a privately held lodging REIT.

Doing the business

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It's hugely encouraging to see increased use of serviced apartments by corporate travel buyers again this year. According to a Business Travel Show survey, just under a third of buyers booked more serviced apartments in 2018 compared to 2017, and serviced apartments was was the only accommodation category to see an increase in use over the last 12 months.

A growing attraction

Blog Post /

It's great to see top talent from hospitality and other industries looking to contribute their knowledge and expertise to our sector - in recent weeks we've covered the moves of senior hotel industry figures across to prominent roles at SACO and Ascott, and this week there is another clear indication that serviced apartments have well and truly entered the mainstream.

Yays reveals European expansion plans

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Netherlands: Amsterdam-based serviced apartment investor and operator Yays has announced an ambitious European growth plan, with a mission to grow to 2000 units by 2023.

Changing of the guard

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The changing of the guard at SACO is yet another sign that the UK serviced apartment sector is continuing its upward curve.

Here to stay

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Congratulations to Hilton on opening its 1,000th All Suites property, a Homewood Suites hotel in Pleasant Hill, California.

ASAP to launch Belgian chapter

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Belgium: The Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP) has announced plans to launch a second overseas chapter, this time in Belgium.

WoodSpring strengthens DC presence

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US: Choice Hotels, in collaboration with Sandpiper Hospitality, has opened the WoodSpring Suites Washington, D.C. East Arena Drive.

That’s lyf

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The major serviced apartment companies are diversifying in to areas outside of their traditional offerings

Starting something

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Aviva’s entrance in to the serviced apartment sector in Dublin is a move of big significance even if the sums involved are relatively small.

Cytonn to acquire Wasini Resorts

News Story /

Kenya: Investment firm Cytonn has received the go-ahead from the competition watchdog to buy Nairobi’s luxury hotel and serviced apartment company Wasini Resorts.

Zahariev appointed GM at Cleves Sofia

News Story /

Bulgaria: Cleves, an owner and operator of serviced apartments in Sofia, has announced that GM Peter Diakov has left the company, and has been succeeded by Bozhidar Zahariev.

Dream Apartments teams up with Emaar

News Story /

UAE: Belfast-based provider Dream Apartments has signed an agreement with Dubai developer Emaar to sell and rent apartments at the Emaar Beach project.

Salford aparthotel plans revealed

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UK: Plans for a nine-storey hotel and aparthotel project on Regent Road in Salford have been submitted by Liverpool-based developer NW Build.

Supplier spotlight: PMS and RMS software

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The advent of cloud software has revolutionised the functionality of property management and revenue management systems, and there is now a huge choice available.

Cheval launches AI-enabled website

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UK: London serviced serviced apartment provider Cheval Residences has launched a new website with an integrated AI booking engine.

Come on over

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IHG’s recent interim results have prompted a recurring question: why haven’t the major hotel companies introduced more of their extended stay brands to Europe?

Gaining momentum

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Encouraging news for serviced apartments and the extended stay sector this month as the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) renamed its hotel committees.

Urban Stay awarded Plum Guide certification

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UK: London operator Urban Stay has had its apartments listed in the Plum Guide, a listing of “the world's best vacation rentals, holiday homes, short term lets and Airbnbs”.

De Jongh joins Avvio as CCO

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Ireland: Avvio, has appointed Michael De Jongh as chief commercial officer as it prepares for a new phase of growth and expansion into new territories.

Quick Q&A: Charlie Marsh, Jetstream

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Charlie Marsh, director of global markets at Jetstream, tells SAN why serviced apartment operators should list on Airbnb and how her company is ready to take off in Europe.

Turning tide

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City Apartments’ acquisition of the Atelier House property in London EC1 was accompanied by an admission that the company has struggled to find new inventory in the City.

Eastward bound

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The incredible growth in serviced apartment supply in Asia continues at a frantic pace, with China leading the way.

Transatlantic trend

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Back in April I wrote a feature about the increasing number of US apartment operators entering the UK and European markets.

What's in a name?

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There are some interesting new entrants to the London serviced apartment market, companies which show how definitions can mean different things to different people.

Airbnb's supersubs

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Airbnb's partnership with Century 21 is a clever way for the sharing economy giant to access new inventory in cities which have tried to suppress its growth.

Around the world

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The results of the seventh GSAIR report in to the global serviced apartment industry provide fascinating, and for the most part, encouraging reading.

Find your voice

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Amazon’s launch of Alexa for Hospitality is a game changer for the use of voice activation technology in hospitality.

Room for all?

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The latest Colliers research in to the growth of Airbnb provides some illuminating insights in to its evolution.

Interview: Dustin Figge, Homelike

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Dustin Figge, co-founder and managing director of Cologne-based Homelike, talks to SAN about the long-stay business travel market and launching in the UK.

90 North buys Quest aparthotel in Brisbane

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Australia: London investment firm 90 North Real Estate Partners has made its first move into Australia with the acquisition of a Quest Apartment Hotel in Brisbane.

WoodSpring Suites opens on Florida coast

News Story /

US: Choice Hotels, in collaboration with Brookwood Hotels and Nationwide Hotel Management Company, have opened WoodSpring Suites Deerfield Beach hotel in Florida.

WoodSpring expands Seattle area footprint

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US: Choice Hotels, in collaboration with West77 Partners and Hotel Management & Consulting, has announced the opening of the WoodSpring Suites Seattle Tukwila.

Amazon launches Alexa for Hospitality

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US: Amazon has launched the Alexa for Hospitality program, bringing its voice assistant technology to hotels, serviced apartments and vacation rentals.

ESA to transfer listing to Nasdaq

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US: Extended Stay America and its paired-share REIT, ESH Hospitality will transfer the listing of their shares from the New York Stock Exchange to Nasdaq.

LaRosa joins RESIDE Worldwide

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US: Derrick LaRosa has joined RESIDE Worldwide as executive vice president, and will focus on property acquisition and asset management.

In the right place

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Congratulations to My Place Hotels on reaching its 40th property opening.

Fair City

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From time to time, the circumstances are just right for a particular city to find itself at the epicentre of the industry.

Live and direct

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Q&A’s decision to offer cash back to direct bookers as part of its membership of The Guestbook reward program for independent and boutique hotel brands is an interesting move.

Dekle to take general counsel role at ESA

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US: Extended Stay America has announced that Christopher N. Dekle has been appointed to serve as the next general Counsel and corporate secretary, effective from June 1.

Hypnos launches BoutiqueBase

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UK: Bed manufacturer Hypnos has launched its BoutiqueBase, a one-piece bedstead featuirng a solid base with an integrated headboard.

From across the pond

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As the serviced apartment and corporate housing sector in the UK and Europe matures, it's no surprise to see an increasing number of players from the US establishing a presence here. George Sell reports.

Brand refresh for Forenom

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Finland: The Nordic region’s biggest corporate housing provider Forenom has refreshed its brand identity.

Management restructure for Clarendon

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UK: London serviced apartment operator Clarendon has promoted Joanna Cross to managing director, while Scott Hamilton moves to the position of executive chairman.

Meeting of minds in Manhattan

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US: More than 150 industry professionals gathered in New York City this week for the 2018 Serviced Apartment Summit Americas.

Major boost for Ascott’s Asian pipeline

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Singapore: Ascott has signed strategic partnerships with developers in in China, Japan and Thailand, and has added more than 5,000 units to its pipeline in Q1 2018.