Talking Business: Anett Gregorius, Boardinghouse Consulting and Apartmentservice Germany

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• How did you come to be involved in the serviced apartment industry?

"I would call it a lucky coincidence. While searching for a topic for my diploma thesis I stumbled across the serviced apartment sector, which was at this time a true niche segment and hardly known. Interested by the topic, I decided to write about the German market. The industry was strongly interested in my thesis and soon after finishing my studies I had my first consulting job. The idea for my company was born and it was founded in 1999. In addition to the consulting enquiries I launched, the first online platform for serviced apartments in Germany."

• How many serviced apartment units are there in Germany, and roughly what proportion are managed by domestic and international operators respectively?

"Overall we have around 470 apartment developments with more than 15 units in Germany; this equals approximately 23,000 units. Around four per cent of those properties, and almost 10  per cent of the total number of apartments in Germany are managed by international operators. Hence, the number of international operators is rather small. International brands that are well represented in the German market are Citadines, Adina and Adagio, but we can observe that more international brands are planning to enter the German market. I think that the distribution of domestic and international operators will shift slightly towards international operators in the near future, while domestic operators will still have the major share of the market."

• What do you think is the approximate split between leisure and business use in German serviced apartments?

"Business is definitely dominating the use of serviced apartments. In our last market survey 67 per cent of the stays were business motivated while only 33 per cent of the stays were private. At Apartmentservice Germany we serve around 98 per cent corporate clients."

• How widely understood is the term serviced apartment? And can you explain the difference between a serviced apartment/aparthotel and the German "boarding house" classification?

"For our last conference, the SO!APART, we interviewed around 100 business people in the public in Berlin and found out that only 17 per cent knew what a serviced apartment is.
So just like in the UK, defining the sector and promoting the use of the correct terms is one of the biggest challenges of the industry. This is why some of the biggest operators have come together in 2014 to classify and define the concepts within the Serviced Apartment market."

"Following these definitions, apartment hotels or aparthotels have a higher service level often including a 24-hour reception, a restaurant, bar, meeting facilities, fitness and spa areas. Apartment hotels attract shorter to medium stays compared to boarding houses, where long stays dominate. Boarding houses offer only limited services such as weekly cleaning and laundry service. They focus rather on temporary living instead of simply accommodating. In such properties you do not find meeting facilities, bars or restaurants. The reception hours are limited and key boxes are common."

"We are trying to implement the term classical apartment house instead of 'boarding house' as we know of course that in the international context it has a totally different meaning."

• Which German regions/cities have the most established markets and which do you think will be development hot spots over the next few years?

"Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich have a well established serviced apartment market with a high number of developments. Almost 50 per cent of the German serviced apartments are located in these destinations. The Frankfurt market especially is currently developing strongly. Destinations that have a strong economy or are especially connected to one kind of industry have good chances to become hot spots. Many operators show interest in B-destinations. The biggest challenge for all developments will be to find available and suitable sites."


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