I’ve been trailing for weeks now that something big was coming, and that readers needed to watch this space.
Now, I have to admit it. It’s time to share my frustrations; I’m finally at the end of my tether.
I cannot understand why this is so difficult, raising the profile of this amazing sector and making the traveller more aware of serviced apartments as their first choice of accommodation. As the best alternative to predictable and traditional types of hospitality offerings that throw you out while housekeeping come in, and the unpredictable nature of the sharing economy.
But why is it so challenging, when it should be so simple?
We’re a powerful young sector with some seriously creative and brilliant people behind us. So why are we struggling?
Every time my team has a figurative fist-bump for yet another achievement of recognition, we hit more confusion and doubt again almost straight away when someone challenges something we know is for the sector’s benefit.
Our entire reason for existence as a trade body representing over 160 member organisations across the world is to help the user – the consumer – differentiate, and then favour, our Members – those we represent – over those we don’t.
And why do we do this? Because we do all we can to showcase that our Accredited Members offer safety standards, duty of care, and quality assurances that the guest can rely on every time. We have had amazing support over the years from our Members and many supporters, we’ve all grown together.
But we seriously struggle for wider recognition.
I was interviewed this week, and this will be published at the start of next week, during which I outlined a tranche of developments for the Association and our high-level aims which should all be of interest to both Members and those with in the wider sector.
They range from the new levels of Accreditation, less cumbersome at the entry level yet more intensive at the premium, to our new communications audit and strategy; from how we’re striving to grow the Global Alliance, to making ASAP the new ABTA; from positioning ourselves as go-to commentators on hospitality, to formally defining the sector and creating its tone of voice; from ensuring a better return on investment for our Members, to better networking, thought leadership and outstanding industry events.
I’ve been saying for weeks, ‘watch this space’, and now we are asking for “a call for action” through more engagement and support from the wider industry. Everything ASAP is doing here is for the good of our whole sector, and it will benefit every one of those we represent if we can just get this over the line. David Smith, ASAP’s founding Chairman, always said, if ASAP succeeds, the industry, and therefore all organisations in it, will succeed.
This is a genuinely exciting time for us. If we get this right, it will be the first time any part of the hospitality industry has come together on a global position of safety and duty of care and the travel buyers, corporates, journalists, politicians, leading figures across hospitality, will recognise our industry for what it is – a fabulous alternative to more conventional styles of accommodation.
Everything we’ve put in place, from being the exciting new offering to our duty of care and compliance, will bear fruit.
But I’ll make no bones about it. If we can’t do this together, then it will fail; other forces are catching up fast.
So, at the risk of sounding like a sound byte from a political leadership pitch – I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.