Daniel Bischof, Bachelor student at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, gives his view on the sector in Europe.
In Europe, serviced apartments have long been treated as niche products, mainly focused on business travel and with little focus on leisure travelers. But a new breed of traveler is shaping the European serviced apartment industry, looking for the value, convenience and quality they are finding in private apartments and limited service hotels.
In terms of corporate travel, serviced apartment providers need to identify who makes the initial research into extended stay and apartment options, and what they are seeking. Users tend to use smartphones to browse, explore and find inspiration, while they traditionally prefer to use a laptop or phone call for the final booking. Providers can tailor their language and offering to make best appropriate use of each mode of contact.
Differing trips also lead to different search or booking platforms, so researching a holiday with children might begin on TripAdvisor, while a business trip often starts at Booking.com. There customers can see London’s Hilton Park Lane next to boutique hotels at a similar price. Brand loyalty doesn’t always come first, and this is a unique opportunity for serviced apartment providers to optimize their visibility in a manner similar to hotels, beyond the corporate niche.
A serviced apartment should not be seen as a stripped-down alternative to a hotel, but as a new preferred way of guest accommodation, so the end customer leaves with positive memories. At this stage it does not matter to guests whether they stayed at a hotel or apartment, but service providers can directly affect this.