I’ve been hearing and reacting to a lot of very supportive feedback from members this week about some unpredictable – but not entirely unexpected – happenings in our serviced apartment sector.

And after the fifth call in a row this morning pledging support, and saying the same things, I say, ‘enough!’.

We need to stop this and wake up to the threats that are coming from outside – not inside – the serviced apartment sector. We need to come together on the same side now, and act – quickly.

As I said in an expert spotlight piece earlier this week, we face ongoing challenges from a whole array of directions. The sharing economy; the couldn’t-care-less attitude of the major OTAs; and from the bad actors in the apartment space, who are able to offer fraudulently-described or even non-existent accommodation, and rip off the consumer – because they are catching up and will have a credible proposition for your clients soon!

So why does our ISAAP Accreditation matter in all this?

Well, I’ve been getting out and about to meet major corporate travel buyers over the last six months, presenting the benefits of our sector and especially our own Members and the Accreditation they hold we, ASAP, pioneered 6 years ago. And I was, this very week, with one of the big global corporates which sends employees all over the world, on trips of varying lengths. I told him that some of our Members had questioned me about whether buyers like him were even interested in the Accreditation; after all, they have to work hard to achieve it, so they wanted to know it wasn’t investment in vain.

And in his own words, he said that duty of care and some kind of proven and credible independent accreditation like ISAAP is absolutely at the forefront of their compliance policy, when buying travel.

From the horse’s mouth – they actually recognise ISAAP accreditation in their RFP’s!

It was brilliant to hear.

We’ve spent the last 8 years working tirelessly with our members, the industry and other stakeholders to establish and refine the ISAAP Accreditation. We now have the support of global brands as well as small independents, other trade associations in different markets around the world and industry lobbying groups all backing our cause. We have done this – with little or no money – in the impartial belief that we are adding value to those organisations we represent and thus the industry as a whole as it grows. But we think it’s absolutely vital to offer everyone on all sides of the transaction, the complete confidence that the guest will receive exactly what they expect in terms of accommodation, service and duty of care.

And we’re proud of that.

We’re also proud of the support we have from the global brands among our members just as much as the smaller operators, who already see the value in what we are doing – the development of partnerships and participating with the CHPA in the Global Alliance of Serviced Accommodation. So we know we’re doing something right!

And we were the first to develop this level of accreditation and have constantly refined and reviewed it to stay relevant and reassuring to the travel buyer and the guest.

The latest ASAP/Business Travel magazine guide to Serviced Apartments 2020 is about to launch; and one aspect that is discussed very intelligently is the role of the sharing economy in business travel – and how it continues to fall short for most corporates. Do look out for it – the role of accreditation and guest safety and meeting expectations are well-covered.

It is clear to me and all the many people I speak to on a weekly basis that we should keep focused on our primary aspirations. That’s what drives me, the ASAP team, our members and other like-minded stakeholders who enthusiastically encourage and pledge their support for what we are doing. My sincere thanks go to you all.

We just need to step away from bickering within the sector and keep focused on the important work we are all doing so well!