As a team, we’re still excited by our new sense of direction and purpose, after distilling our five-year plan into one clear aim: to ensure that our Members are the accommodation of choice for all those buying travel.

And this means we have a vast range of tasks to make it happen.

We need to cause a stir about serviced apartments and aparthotels, with everyone of influence.

We need to make clear our sector’s differentiators, safety standards, and duty of care for the guest.

We then need to promote those differences to anyone using accommodation for business, reinforcing the differentiators between our Members and others with seemingly similar offerings.

We need to grow our membership, so it becomes ever more powerful a body, offering us all more opportunities to network and to be representatives.

And we need to refine our own offerings from the Association, from the levels and types of Membership and the benefits they bring, to the get-togethers, educational and business opportunities, and facilitating routes to market.

Among other things!

We were happy to explain all this at the Members’ meeting this week in London, which saw an amazing turnout. Thanks to those who came along, and also to our Industry Development Sponsors who help support our networking programme – their outstanding investment makes these meetings happen for every one of our Members.

And this was quite an event! We heard so much direct from the horse’s mouth – both critical and complimentary – about how those in the sector are finding our representation and what those present thought of our plans.

Without sounding in any way negative, we’re back to that analogy about gym membership; you can pay whatever you want to join a gym. But complaining you’ve lost no weight a year later, when you didn’t go near any equipment, means you’re not really getting the most for your money. We’ve said over and over, for what seems like forever, that we’re a dedicated, but small, team taking on the might of the super-powerful; and we need our Members to be onside, making this happen, to have the greatest chance of success.

So watch out now, for the mentions and the quotes that are starting to be sought from us by the media and policy-makers. We recently had some great advice on promotion from the ever-supportive John Wagner of Cycas Hospitality, and we’re already acting on that. And we’re delighted to talk to any and all of our Membership about any ideas you have, that may be for the benefit of us all.

This is your Association, and our door is open. Please feel absolutely free to give us a shout, we are listening. It’s what we’re here for!

James Foice, ASAP CEO