On Monday of this week, I headed for the Honorary Artillery Company’s Prince Consort Rooms – a venue I’d never been to before – for our September afternoon and evening Members’ Meeting.
I had been walking quite briskly. But as I passed through the sentry gate between ranks of decommissioned canons and mounted guns, and into the Regiment’s converted former drill hall, I’ll confess my step faltered for a second. Was this a premonition?
Along with sharing updates on our recent activities and developments to the ISAAP Accreditation, we were also there to ask Members about exactly what they needed of us. How they saw us as a brand, and how they might help us achieve our aims on their behalf.
Were we inadvertently putting ourselves up in front of some kind of firing squad?
Of course, I should’ve had faith in ASAP Members!
There was universal approval in the room for our plans, our communications strategy, our simplified Membership process, and our new, streamlined focus on ensuring our ISAAP Accredited Members become the first choice of corporate travel buyers worldwide.
And there were pledges of support, along with a commitment to open doors where possible, to get the power of Accreditation recognised by the TMCs.
An eye-opening session led by external advisors quizzed Members about what they, and the wider world, recognise in our brand. What did they need it to communicate? How successful was it for opening doors for them? How could we clarify the advantages of Quality Accredited serviced apartments for those booking safe, high-standard accommodation for their colleagues, wherever they were travelling in the world?
And we came out of it with a much clearer idea of how to proceed.
There’s quite a task ahead! But with the Membership and everyone behind ASAP and ISAAP pulling in the same direction, we will get there.
We all know that ISAAP Accreditation sets the standard of safety and duty of care for guests globally, across serviced accommodation, corporate housing and executive suites in the hospitality industry.
But it’s easy to say that, without really thinking about what it means.
Those who have been so awarded should be proud to tell other people, should be adding it to their newsletters, their websites, into all their communications, should make sure their sales colleagues and front line staff bring it into every conversation – if you were a 4-star hotel that was upgraded to 5-star, you’d probably be shouting about it!
And we’ve launched a new level of ISAAP Accreditation Compliance now – with the same stringent approach, but much of the process achieved at arm’s length. Less time-consuming, less costly, but still ensuring basic standards are met. To date, the majority of our existing Members are still seeking the full Accreditation, but Compliance enables smaller or newer organisations in particular to start the process towards full Accreditation, and achieve ASAP Membership more easily.
And the more of us there are, all showing what a great thing Accreditation is, the easier it becomes for us all to reach more TMCs as a result.
The good news is that we are already starting to open doors to the corporate buyers. I’m in discussions about the first in a series of roundtable meetings and presentations – and delighted that Members at the event were offering their own input, to help reinforce that message. We’re looking forward to exploring some exciting commitments made on the day, and will keep the Membership informed of progress we’re making and further ways you can help at each stage going forward.
So let’s do this thing – together! Anyone in the travel buying industry, anyone who travels themselves, anyone with an interest in hospitality, whether they’re anything to do with serviced apartments or not, should surely be looking for a safe, secure, professional standard of accommodation management at the very least. And ISAAP’s how we can assure them of that.
As a sector and as an Association, we’re really starting to gain traction now. It’s time to step it up and we need everyone working with us for maximum impact.