Hanton hails aparthotel success

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 22 February 2017

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UK: SACO’s Stephen Hanton talks to SAN about the successful launch of the company’s Locke and Cannon aparthotels

Speaking to SAN at The Business Travel Show, where the company announced plans to open six new properties by 2020, Hanton said of the Leman Locke property: "It's started phenomenally well. It was trading at around 70 per cent occupancy in January and 80 per cent in February - that's within three months of opening. Our Cannon Street aparthotel was trading at 91 per cent in its first quarter - there is a huge demand for this aparthotel product."

Hanton is also delighted with the guest feedback the Whitechapel property has received: "Leman Locke has got 93 per cent RGI scores on ReviewPro, that's right at the top of the market, ahead of places like the Ace and the Hoxton."

"The customers are more of a mix than at our more traditional serviced apartment properties - it's more leisure-based, although there is still a strong corporate presence. RBS and Uber are regular clients, and there are also a lot of fashion industry guests," Hanton added.

One of the new properties announced is a canalised property in Amsterdam which is being converted to a SACO aparthotel, rather than under the Locke brand. "It was built in 1776 and was owned by the Lutheran Church. There is a museum there which we will maintain and keep open," said Hanton.

Asked how the company chooses whether to operate a new site under the Locke brand, Hanton said: "They need to be more economic in terms of room space, and have a real neighbourhood location as well as opportunities for F&B, communal spaces, a bar and a gym and so on."

Hanson also acknowledged the influence of Airbnb and the sharing economy in shaping the company's aparthotel offering: "Airbnb has opened up the apartment world to a wider audience. Corporate buyers are keen to use them but must tick all the boxes in terns of duty of care and so on, and aparthotels are ideal for them. The demographic of corporate travellers is changing, and they are looking for this time of accommodation. It's not an age thing - it's more about attitude and can be sector specific. We have a lot of guests from the fashion, tech and start-up sectors. We drew as much inspiration from Airbnb and Uber for these properties as we did from traditional serviced apartments and student housing."

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