Relocate Awards 2018 Book Now

Winner of the 2018 Relocate Award for Best Serviced Apartment Provider

The Ascott Limited

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Above: Marc Sandfort

Once again this was a hotly contested category supported from around the world by operators and agents with entries from big players and established global brands to newcomers and niche suppliers. This is not surprising in such a fast-growing sector that is responding quickly to leisure, business traveller and corporate HR requirements. In the end, it was the stunning entry from The Ascott Limited that swooped the prize.

The judges were impressed that a company that already offers an impressive range of apartment choice with 73,000 units in 130 cities, sitting across six continents, continues to remain focused on growing its portfolio of properties to meet corporate client needs. Their recent expansion in the US – a hot relocation destination for global mobility, and taking an 80% stake in Synergy Global Housing is testament to their ambitions.

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The Ascott has evolved from an operator owner to a company franchisor involved in property management with additional strategic partnerships and continues to go from strength to strength. For example, it acquired a property on New York’s Fifth Avenue, marking the debut of Ascott’s first Citadines serviced residence in the US, alongside the management of two properties in Ghana and a majority stake in Quest Apartment Hotels – serving Australasia.

At the forefront of technology

The judges particularly liked their initiatives to keep at the forefront of business innovation. The company deploy innovation champions in France, UK and Germany to identify new technologies which are worthy of trialling through incubator programmes and start-ups. These champions also oversee tech trials and give recommendations on rollout. At present, they are currently piloting a mobile check-in system in the UK and Europe to streamline arrivals and departures.

The firm keep corporate bookers happy with an array of online tools, rewards and new initiatives such as a pilot in the UK for relocation guests to spread their costs over a few months. There are countless other examples of their agility.

International experience

Globally, Ascott has approximately 8,600 staff made up of 86 nationalities. They encourage a global mindset and international experience. An example is the TAGEX programme which gives employees the opportunity to experience another culture for up to six months, offering them work and life experience within a safe environment.


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Read about the winners of the other Relocate Awards in the Summer issue of Relocate Magazine.


The company’s reach has been expanded by investment in Tuija.com, China’s largest online apartment sharing platform and bookings from outbound Chinese travellers have significantly increased as a result. A joint venture with Tuija operating under the TuiJa Somerset brand caters for business travellers to and in China. The partnership with Fliggy, Alibaba’s online travel service platform, has helped deepen access to over 200 million Chinese travellers.

Agility and guest experience

Relocate recently explored the theme of agility at The Festival of Global Mobility Thinking and Marc Sandfort, area manager UK for The Ascott Limited, speaking on a panel explained “guests are looking for more experience rather than just somewhere to stay”. He pointed out that the sharing economy had disrupted the serviced apartment space making the sector more agile. “We’ve changed our business model, the way we sell ourselves and really adapt it to the change in the consumer”.

The launch of the lyf brand: a concept designed by millennials for millennials offers communal spaces and shared facilities to enhance collaboration is an example of the company’s agility.

The Ascott Lifestyle programme also offers specially handpicked experiences for those relocating by providing a local guide upon check-in, outlining key shopping destinations to local food markets.

Clearly, The Ascott Limited is successfully responding to the evolving requirements of their corporate clients and business travellers and relocation guests offering a premium consistent level of service whether they are in London, Paris, Berlin or Beijing.

Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.

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©2018. This article first appeared in the Summer 2018 edition of Relocate magazine, published by Profile Locations, Spray Hill, Hastings Road, Lamberhurst, Kent TN3 8JB. All rights reserved. This publication (or any part thereof) may not be reproduced in any form without the prior written permission of Profile Locations. Profile Locations accepts no liability for the accuracy of the contents or any opinions expressed herein. 

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