UK and Germany top serviced apartment openings

HVS’s latest annual Serviced Apartment report for Europe shows the region will see an expected 13,400 new branded units open by 2025. Co-living and connectedness are also significant new trends.

Man using laptop in hotel lobby
As extended business travel and cross-border assignments take flight again, the serviced apartment sector is set to further cement the reputation for quality and convenience it built during the pandemic.According to new figures from HVS, a global hotel consulting organisation, around 4,700 new serviced apartments will open in 2022. These will be followed in 2023 by around 4,350 units, 3,100 in 2024 and 1,325 in 2025. The sizes of the planned projects vary from 32 to 369 units, with an average of 139 units.
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Where is serviced apartment supply growing most?

The UK and Germany lead the way for total number of units planned. Each country accounts for 25% of units in the total pipeline.London (47%), which makes up 12% of Europe’s total new units, continues to be the top location for the development of serviced apartments in the UK. Interestingly in the context of the government's levelling up agenda, the capital is followed by the cities of Cambridge (18%), at the heart of Silicon Fen, and Manchester (7%), an engine of the Northern Powerhouse cluster and IT job hotspots.In Germany, serviced apartment growth is more dispersed. Munich and Frankfurt together account for a fifth of the country’s unit growth, followed by Hamburg (14%) and Stuttgart (9%).HVS expects France to benefit from around 1,650 new units coming on stream by 2025, with Portugal, Ireland and Belgium seeing around 500-700 new units each.

Which serviced apartment operators are opening most new units?

Staycity, which opened its third site in Manchester this year at St Peter’s Square, has the largest pipeline. Its unit development pipeline is split approximately 60-40 between its Wilde (1,700 units) and Staycity (around 1,000 units) brands, according to HVS. More than half of the units in the pipeline will be located in the UK, and the rest distributed between Ireland, France, Portugal and Germany.With the next highest number of openings, Adagio has more than 20 projects and 2,600 units. Germany (880 units) and the UK (630 units) concentrate the highest share of the brand’s future supply.The edyn group – shortlisted in the Think Global People and Relocate Awards Serviced Apartment Provider of the Year category – continues its European expansion of the Locke brand, as well as the introduction of its newest brand, Cove.Also Relocate Award shortlisted and planning significant European expansion is The Ascott (700 units), which includes its Citadines and lyf brands. The Residence Inn by Marriott rounds out the major players with an anticipated 1,200 new units by 2025.

What are business travellers and corporate travel teams looking for in a serviced apartment? 

HVS’s Sentiment Survey canvassed 90 lenders, investors, and operators to share their views on the current and future challenges and strategic focus. Commenting on the findings, HSV’s Consulting and Valuation Senior Associate, Maria Coll and Arlett S Hoff, a Director with HVS’s London office, observe that co-living – the creation of intentional communities – is really coming to the fore. The Ascott group for example is launching its lyf co-living brand in Europe with the 139-unit lyf Gambetta Paris in 2023/4, after launching the lyf brand in Asia.“The serviced apartment sector is targeting the professional traveller with its new concept creations. Many new serviced apartment brands are carrying the term co-living and increasingly focus on building a residential community for the short to medium term by providing ample space for residents to interact and co-work.“Whereas so far we have seen self-contained units with their own kitchen(ette), living room and bedroom(s), we are now also seeing the emergence of concepts providing a shared living and kitchen space amongst a number of en-suite bedrooms. Think student flat share but for the corporate world, with a target audience reaching from graduates to colleagues during work projects.“The new breed of brands tends to put connection at its forefront. Access to the local neighbourhood as well as like-minded guests provide an opportunity to feel part of a tribe, despite being away from home.”

Innovations in the serviced apartment sector

Flexible spaces, greater adoption of technology and digitalisation as well as the rising importance of ESG are also driving innovation in the sector, says HVS.Another Think Global People and Relocate Awards Serviced Apartment Provider of the Year category shortlisted operator, numa, emblemises changes in the sector. Its tech focus sees it operate with no on-site staff. In a wider trend hastened by the shared experience of the Covid-19 pandemic when no-contact check-in practices were finessed, guests check in digitally and have round-the-clock access to a guest experience team by phone, WhatsApp or Facebook.As cost pressures escalate for guests and operators, innovations like these are helping to manage margins and cost per stay and make serviced apartments a highly attractive option for corporate and extended business travel, as well as short-term for international relocations. 

Serviced apartment design keeps pace with hybrid working preferences

Commenting on the latest findings of HVS Serviced Apartment Sector in Europe report, Guus Bakker, CEO EMEA of Frasers Hospitality, winner of last year's Think Global People and Relocate Awards Serviced Apartment Provider of the Year - Global/Regional category and shortlisted again this year, said that global mobility is set to recover in the current labour market. “Although the hospitality industry in general will face the prospect of continued reduced corporate travel, the serviced apartment sector will revert to its core business: the extended corporate stay. Global mobility will see a speedy recovery in a very buoyant employment market."On the impact of international remote work and the need to work face-to-face with colleagues on projects in one location, serviced apartments designed around co-living are meeting clients needs. “Well-designed serviced apartments’ social spaces are an opportunity to facilitate human connection, foster creativity and keep individuals and teams engaged, aligned and productive in the era of hybrid work,” says Hans Meyer, Zoku Co-Founder.

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Read more in the spring 2022 issue of Think Global People.

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