In a year of unprecedented disruptions, serviced apartments have demonstrated relative resilience than other sectors of the hospitality market in the face of Covid-19.
Major serviced apartment operators, such as Ascott and Frasers Hospitality, continue to see a steady demand for its properties through the course of the global pandemic so far.
Ascott, for instance, has maintained robust occupancy levels in the region. lyf Funan Singapore reported an average occupancy of 86% from April to June 2020, while in the Philippines, Somerset Alabang Manila recorded 75% in the same period. Over in Vietnam, key cities Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City both recorded an average occupancy of 75% in May 2020.
“Guests appreciate the privacy of Ascott's self‐contained and spacious apartments where they can live and work, [such as cooking] in the fully equipped kitchen within the apartment if they do not want to order meal delivery. In selected apartments, a fridge or a washing machine is also provided, providing additional conveniences to our guests,” said Ervin Yeo, Ascott's managing director for Southeast Asia.
The same resilience was reported by Frasers Hospitality as well, where over 97% of their properties worldwide have reopened and demand is now picking up. However, the group is also quick to highlight that the serviced apartments sector is not immune to the effects of Covid-19.
“Our occupancies across serviced apartment properties have remained relatively stable due to long stay tenures,” shared Tonya Khong, senior vice president, head of regional operations, Frasers Hospitality.
"The benefits of staying in serviced apartments have become even more apparent during the pandemic, [such as] being able to ensure greater levels of social distancing amid reducing non-essential services and minimal contact with our staff members," she added.
Currently, the majority of guests staying, or booking for future at Frasers Hospitality properties are largely made up of corporates. “As borders start to reopen…we predict that we will start to see an increase in leisure bookings too,” said Khong.
Additionally, Ascott has also seen opportunities to reimagine its business, including adaptive reuse of its rooms and spaces with certain trends like remote working rising to the forth with Covid-19.
“As the ‘work from home’ trend rises, we are catering to the emerging demand for conducive locations with amenities to telecommute. In Singapore and Malaysia, guests can stay in our serviced apartments for the day to work or study," said Yeo.
"The separate areas offer ample space to unwind, exercise, work or have their meals within the apartment, and with high-speed Wifi, guests can stay in touch with their loved ones or attend online meetings [for work]."
He added: “Despite the challenges of Covid‐19, we remain confident in the long‐term growth of the region and will continue to cement Ascott's position as a dominant lodging player and deliver more value for our guests and business partners.”