An upward curve: Serviced Apartment Summit Europe 2018

George Sell By George Sell
12 July 2018 | Updated 12 July 2018

UK: Around 300 industry figures from across Europe and beyond gathered in London this week for the 2018 Serviced Apartment Summit Europe.

The first day of the event saw delegates tour the new Wilde Aparthotel, Staycity's latest London property, before setting sail for a drinks reception on a Thames cruiser. There was some great networking and many connection were made in uncharacteristically glorious London sunshine.

Yesterday saw a full day's conference, which kicked off with host Piers Brown making several exciting announcements, including the location for the 2019 Recharge event (Berlin), a new location for the 2019 Serviced Apartment Awards (Park Plaza Riverbank) and a new event - Serviced Apartment Summit Asia, which will take place in Bangkok on February 21 and 22 2019.

And new for this year's London Summit was a travel buyer forum, which saw a series of session aimed at bringing travel buyers, relocation specialists, TMCs and serviced apartment operators and agents closer together. The session covered topics such as direct v indirect booking, the hybrid operator/agent model, guest experience, short term rentals, and what serviced apartments will look like in the future.

In the main room a pen of experts gave a "state of the nation" look overview of the industry fro various perspectives. Operators were represented by Karim Malak of Aparthotels Adagio, travel buyers by Jan Jacobsen of AIG, distribution was handled by Steve Burns of BridgeStreet, technology by Jeff Swanson of RMS, The Hospitality Cloud, and legal by Joe Payne of Katten Law.

STR's Thomas Emanuel then provided some essential data and market insight. His presentation contained data from more than 50 per cent of the UK serviced apartment sector, which shows that real progress is being made in benchmarking the industry here. Although the general picture is very positive, Emanuel said that demand is not quite keeping up with supply in London (which has 10,900 serviced apartment units compared with Edinburgh - the next highest total with 1,800). He also pointed out that several cities have a huge increase in units in the pipeline, including Glasgow (184%), Manchester (158%) and Liverpool (105%). In the year to May 2018, average UK serviced apartment occupancy was 75.9%, ADR was £119.86 and REVPAR was £90.98.

There were morning sessions on distribution and investment, before another new innovation was launched after lunch - the process round tables. This saw the audience split in to eight groups for collaborative discussions over a glass of fizz, on topics including legal issues, the serviced apartment industry charter, appealing to the Chinese guest, branded residences, preparing your business for a sale, and more.

Further session covered injecting digital in to Operators' DNA, Brexit (or the B-word as it was referred to) and the relative merits of London another European gateway cities, before a 'drinks with bosses' session featuring Chris Ahearn, CEO, Oakwood Worldwide; George Westwell, director, Cheval Residences; Guus Bakker, CEO, Frasers Hospitality - EMEA; Anja Graf, CEO, Vision Apartments; and Steve Burns, managing director, EMEA/APAC, BridgeStreet discussed some of the key learnings from the event.

A prize draw rounded off the day before delegates went their separate ways, many of them to watch England's unsuccessful attempt to get to their first World Cup final since 1966.

The atmosphere at the event reflected the buoyant and growing state of the European serviced apartment sector, with significant growth forecast in the UK, as described above, Germany - which is forecast to get a 42% rise in unit numbers by 2020, France and further afield.

To download the speaker presentations from the Summit click here.

Delegate feedback

"It's very impressive. This is my first time here and I'm very excited. People are very engaging and I have made a lot of amazing contacts which I am sure will generate new partnerships after the conference."
Kate Xiong-Britton, Director UK and Ireland, CTrip

"It's great, I've been really pleased. My favourite parts of the conference are when you're getting data and really good insights in to what's going on in the market."
Chris Ahearn, CEO, Oakwood Worldwide

"I've really enjoyed the conference. It's my first time here so it's great to meet other serviced apartment companies, to discuss future opportunities and what we can do together to make the sector more well known."
Ilkka Ylilauri, director, Forenom

"This is a wonderful conference. Coming from the US, it gives us exposure to operators and potential partners here in Europe that we wouldn't normally have access to. We're looking for some likeminded partners and there are some really great ones here at the conference."
Ken Brown, VP global solutions, Furnished Quarters

"We have been coming here for the last four years - we have to be here, it's key for us and we love the conference."
Moussa Samake, group head of sales, Vision Apartments

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