Industry’s future explored at ASAP convention

The eighth annual Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP) convention took place this week, which saw industry experts discuss global challenges facing the serviced apartment industry.

In his welcome speech, ASAP CEO, James Foice said: “The serviced apartment industry is growing fast. The UK alone contributes around 22,500 apartments with 3,500 more in the pipeline by 2020.”

He added that ASAP represents 189 members – up 265% in the last five years – across 17 countries and the association will continue focussing on its Quality Accreditation services.

Debating the future of the industry, panellists tackled the challenges posed by safety and security, the economy, changing labour conditions and technology.

STR’s Thomas Emanuel said: “Next year, with the introduction of data protection regulations, businesses need to be compliant and also continue to meet the needs and requirements of their clients. It’s an entire aspect of business to consider, and it also points back to duty of care responsibilities.”

On labour conditions, Steve Burns, Managing Director EMEA/APAC at BridgeStreet Global Hospitality, said: “In big cities there is the cost of living pressures and people commuting from a long distance.

“We are recruiting more from a broader variety of sectors beyond hospitality and the new blood makes our companies more diverse.”

ABODA’s President, Lee Curtis, expressed concern from a North American perspective over President Trump’s effect on workforce demographics, particularly in the service industry. He cited issues like deportation and immigration as putting a squeeze on the workforce, calling it “a quiet issue”.

“In terms of technology, there needs to be a focus on guest experience and taking advantage of what’s out there”, added Curtis.

Carlos Villaro Lassen, Secretary General of the European Holiday Home Association, said: “Our industry is very demand- driven. The technology is getting more and more difficult to utilise. It’s far more simple to get your product out there but companies need to take more risks and know how the IT systems work.”