Not for Profit Membership Organisation :
The Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP)
When we met the Association, they represented over 70 members within this sector, which faces various challenges itself – largely around growing public awareness of this form of longer-stay accommodation in a busy tourism market.
Their members are operating across the world, with concentrations in areas including the UK, western Europe, Middle East, US/Canada and Australia.
Some operators are very small, operating just a few apartments in a few buildings; others are truly international, operating in 100 cities in tower blocks of high-quality multi-bedroom apartments with central business and leisure facilities and concierge.
When we started working with them, the serviced apartment ‘brand’ itself was generally unknown, and it remains so today although it is forecast to grow hugely. Apartments are available to book via most online services such as booking.com (Priceline) and TripAdvisor, but not usually termed ‘serviced’ apartments, leading to some confusion as to whether they are simply personal apartments that someone has vacated, more along the lines of Airbnb, which at that stage wasn’t seen as a suitable option for business travelers.
Further, there was developments within the ‘sharing economy’ – Airbnb, OneFineStay, and outside the hospitality industry, disruptors such as Uber – that were affecting the traditional hotel industry. Serviced apartments, as something different from hotels, tends to be lumped in to the wider sharing economy rather than a professional, regulated alternative.
As a result, ASAP has developed accreditation standards across operators, agents and even buildings, with a quality marque which needs publicizing both to business and leisure travelers and to policy makers.
Finally, the association has a rival organisation looking to host competing events, to offer membership to the same customers and be positioned as the leading authority in the sector.