Global growth and future outlook: The Ascott Limited

Apart’hotels have remained popular throughout the pandemic, with their self-contained format, spaciousness and home-from-home comforts allowing guests to feel safe and secure when away from home for extended periods of time for work or leisure.

Over the past year, international lodging owner-operators, The Ascott Limited (Ascott), has reviewed its lodging products and services to ensure they are future-ready for continued growth in a post COVID-19 landscape. This includes leveraging the existing design strengths of Ascott’s serviced residences to take advantage of emerging trends such as the increased popularity of working-from-home, deeper health and safety concerns, and a rapidly digitising world. These adjustments enabled Ascott to open 71 properties globally in 2020 despite COVID-19.Corporate guests can make use of Citadines Islington’s ‘Work in Residence’ initiative, which transforms apartments into work-from-home spaces, with upgraded task lighting, wall features for videoconferencing or webcasting, and high-speed Wi-Fi so that guests can stay in touch with friends and family and attend online meetings.In 2020 Ascott launched its DiscoverASR app for members of its loyalty programme, Ascott Star Rewards (ASR), which acts as a one-stop 24/7 digital concierge. It offers services such as contactless entry to apartments, payments, bookings, check-in / check-out, e-vouchers and special offers and allows guests to customise their stay by sharing pre-arrival and in-stay requests. ‘Go Green’ notifications give guests the choice to opt out of daily housekeeping and be rewarded with ASR points as an incentive.Kevin Goh, Chief Executive Officer, The Ascott Limited, comments: “COVID-19 has validated the resilience of Ascott’s business model as property owners continue to sign new management and franchise contracts with us, allowing us to achieve our fourth consecutive year of record growth in 2020. Through these new contracts, we continue to build our future recurring fee income stream. In 2021, over 80 properties with about 17,000 units are slated to open across the world. This includes over 70 properties with more than 15,000 units in Asia Pacific which is expected to lead the global economic recovery. We will continue to look for opportunities to expand our presence through management contracts, franchises, strategic alliances, and stand ready to seize good investment opportunities.”With 70,000 operating units across over 30 countries in Asia Pacific, Central Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the USA, and another 52,000 units under development, Ascott’s growth continues on its upward trajectory, and we take a look at where Ascott and its brands are going next.

A first for Austria

Ascott has also signed an agreement with SIGNA Real Estate (SIGNA) and ARE Austrian Real Estate to manage Citadines Danube City Vienna, Ascott’s first serviced residence in Austria. Scheduled to open in Q4 2022 in the Austrian capital Vienna, the 223-unit property is being built in the 22nd district, a fast-growing area of the capital.Citadines Danube City Vienna is part of the “VIENNA TWENTYTWO” urban development project, which will be a new landmark in the 22nd district with contemporary architecture, first-class transport links and covered promenades. This centrally located quarter will have attractive work, living and leisure opportunities, including the associated infrastructure such as restaurants, supermarkets and bars.

Eastern promise

Ascott North Bund Shanghai is one of the newly signed properties in China, where Ascott achieved an 80% year-on-year growth in units. Slated to open in 2024, the serviced residence will be part of a development that focuses on the long-stay market. Located in North Bund, the up-and-coming central business district of Central Shanghai, Ascott North Bund Shanghai is near the financial districts of Liujiazui and The Bund, which form the ‘Golden Triangle’ of downtown Shanghai.Citadines Sanwan Yangzhou is one of the 71 properties Ascott added globally in 2020 despite COVID-19. The property is nestled at the intersection of Southern Duiang Road and Wenyuan Road within the Guangling district, an upscale residential area favoured by both locals and expatriates. Scheduled to open in 2024, the serviced residence is surrounded by various office buildings, supermarkets, retail and dining options. Citadines Sanwan Yangzhou is a five-minute drive to both Yangzhou East Bus Station and Yangzhou Railway Station, a 10-minute drive to Yangzhou Eastern Railway Station, and a 20-minute drive to Yangzhou International Harbour.

Strong presence in Indonesia

In February, Citadines Berawa Beach Bali was opened in the heart of Canggu, on the South coast of Bali, Indonesia. The 224-unit serviced residence is a stone’s throw from Berawa Beach and surrounded by a plethora of cafes, restaurants, retail and recreational options. It is also a 20-minute drive to Seminyak, a landmark tourist destination with high-end shops, bars, and restaurants. The property is also just a 30-minute drive from the Ngurah Rai International Airport.  With Citadines Berawa Beach Bali, Ascott has over 150 properties and more than 23,000 units across over 40 cities in Indonesia, reinforcing Ascott’s position as the largest international owner and operator of serviced residences and hotels in Indonesia.

Citadines expands its UK footprint

Here in the UK, Ascott is adding to its Citadines portfolio with Citadines Wembley London, due to open later this year. Part of a mixed-use development with student housing and commercial space, Citadines Wembley will be a 300-unit property located just minutes away from the iconic Wembley Stadium. The property will take its cue from the world-class venue, with design features inspired by its star-studded musical heritage, including a theatrical entrance, vintage record players and music library. The property offers a variety of apartment types suitable for up to two guests. The apartments include fully equipped kitchens, a separate bedroom, private bathroom, living area, a flat screen TV and free WiFi.Citadines Wembley will join the five existing Citadines Apart’hotels in the UK, including Citadines Barbican, Citadines Holborn-Covent Garden, Citadines Trafalgar Square, Citadines South Kensington, and the recently opened Citadines Islington.

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