It all started when the team and I realised that, however hard we try, we simply can’t satisfy absolutely everyone. Our Membership encompasses a vast rage of different types and sizes of business. Some are starting out with a handful of apartments in just one town, others have an established footprint in multiple continents. Some have a full marketing and business development team and employ agencies to handle their PR and promotion; others rely on their local press and regional business networking to get their rooms filled.
But the one thing they all have in common is that they look to us, quite rightly as their trade association, to represent their best interests.
Sadly, however, unlike those in Westminster, we don’t have banks of senior and junior ministers, attaches, European and international diplomats to manage everything. And oh, how I could use a special adviser and a permanent private secretary! But our small, dedicated team battles on, without shouting about what we’ve been up to for the membership. And maybe that’s just what we should be doing..
This week we’ve been hearing all kinds of feedback from Members about what they’re up to. Their plans for the next year; what they’re enjoying about their Membership – and what we don’t do so well. None of it, frankly, comes as a surprise. We know our sector is still on an upward trajectory. Our friends at Savills and STR, among others, constantly report that back to us. Demand is still driving growth, and the pipeline in serviced apartments and aparthotels is greater by far than for traditional hotels and other forms of hospitality – even the sharing economy, which is starting to plateau!
And we are rightly proud of what we know we do well, as a team. We build relationships with important and influential people. We represent our ISAAP Accreditation – which we created and rolled out ourselves, without external input or huge budgets – very successfully. We answer questions, host interviews, research trends, and foster a tight-knit community. And we know this sector like nobody else. We are doing whatever we can to spread that word further afield.
Even last year, our aims were to take on pretty much everyone in the hospitality sector who wasn’t aware of the benefits of serviced apartments. And, specifically, the Accreditation our own Members offer – giving those booking the confidence that they’re booking accommodation that’s safe, professionally-run and of a high standard. Along with total security and safety while they stay with ASAP Members.
But after a lot of soul-searching we realised it was too big a task. Too wide a sector; too many different requirements in different regions. Too many bespoke requests from individual Members. Too much differing regulation in different regions, different countries. Even between neighbouring cities.
In effect, too many hours’ work for too few people!
So now we’ve stopped trying to be all things to all people. What we are committed to doing is simply making sure that buyers, all over the world, realise that booking with our Members ensures that their employees will receive the best possible experience – and that in future, they’ll only look for those carrying ISAAP Accreditation.
But as I hinted earlier, we’ve also realised it’s time we started communicating better to our Membership exactly what we’re doing on your behalf, when we’re not in front of you, hosting networking or training or events. And that’s what we’ll be doing from now on. Because if you don’t know what we’re doing behind the scenes, how will you know what we need your help with, on the front line, to fill in the gaps and spread the word about why you hold Accreditation and why it’s a badge to be proud of?
So, watch this space. We’re going to be giving at the very least a monthly Members’ round-up to explain who we’re talking to, which corporate doors are opening, how many more potential Members are asking about Accreditation, which regions are seeing massive increase in enquiries, what opportunities are there to join us in this campaign. As an Association, we have the platform to make this happen; together we are so much stronger and will get there so much quicker.
So, here goes then..