CEO Piers Brown Discusses the Hotel Industry's Investment in Serviced Apartments18 Apr 2018
Piers Brown, CEO of Serviced Apartment News discusses the transparent offer BridgeStreet now affords the guest. He also talks about the hotel sector and how they are now investing in Serviced Apartments for extended stay business.
Glenn Haussman: Welcome back to heretostay TV. Brought to you by Bridge Street Global Hospitality. I'm with Piers Brown, CEO of Serviced Apartment News and I'm no expert yet in serviced apartments. I'm trying to be, but this guy over here knows absolutely everything. So Piers, how have things changed in the universal serviced apartments over the last few years, because I'm sensing a lot is happening.
Piers Brown: Yeah, accommodation is really speeding up. Travelers got a lot more choice. There's so much transparency out there. Lots of people are differentiating their offering to catch the traveler during their journey. A lot more capital coming into the marketplace. You know, interesting that some hotel brands have bought into the serviced apartment sector. I'm expecting that to continue.
Glenn Haussman: I think that's going to continue because it makes a lot of sense. We keep hearing about the disruptors out there. Companies like Airbnb, but we haven't heard enough about the serviced apartment sector. Now I've been on the road doing speaking events around the United States and other places in the world and saying, this is a sector we have to look out for. It's interesting to watch it mature. You had just said Piers, that you're starting to see different divisions within it. It's kind of the same thing that happened in the hotel industry. What used to be a one size fits all approach, then we started creating more niche products to appeal to different price points and desires. That is exactly what you're seeing now.
Piers Brown: Yeah an example of that is maybe last week. Airbnb purchased luxury retreats. Airbnb is obviously a big big company now, but it's done the sector, I feel, a lot of good in highlighting the alternative to a hotel stay and people feeling empowered to make a choice. Maybe a direct choice and ultimately work with the sector.
Glenn Haussman: It's kind of like not just the Airbnb product which could sometimes be a little bit confusing for the user in terms of getting your keys and not necessarily having a complete understanding of what you're going to get ahead of time. The serviced apartment business seems to have all of that figured out. It's all pretty much guaranteed. You can have the level of trust that you don't have in other areas and I think that that's one thing that's getting people most excited about this sector.
Piers Brown: Yeah, definitely I'd agree. Of course what Bridge Street have launched here is so so exciting. You've got Windham, Windham vacation rentals really really pushing consistency of product, security, et cetera. It's just going to continue and continue I think.
Glenn Haussman: Do you think that the major hotel brands are going to really start to catch on to this and add serviced apartments in the future? Right now they seem to be all caught up in Millennials, but I think that this is going to be the next big thing to take the extended stay segment even deeper.
Piers Brown: Yeah, I think there's a bit of ... You could argue there's too many brands out there in the hotel space. I think a challenge the serviced apartment sector has got is to drive awareness maybe through effective branding, messaging, et cetera, et cetera.
Glenn Haussman: Right. I think that's something like the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers does a great job. They're known as ASAP. They're really the voice of the community out there. Helping to, I think, unify everybody with that single type of message. And sites like bridgestreet.com which now act as a clearing house for all of this product, I think is going to help with consumer awareness and understanding. Do you see it that way or maybe a little different?
Piers Brown: Yeah you know, based on what I know of Bridge Street products the key for me is it gives increased transparency and choice. It's a distribution game these days and that's what the Bridge Street platform offers.
Glenn Haussman: Right. You had mentioned that real estate component. I want to talk about that because owners and developers out there are looking to maximize existing buildings that they have out there. This seems to me to be an interesting way to supplement full time people with short term, extend stay type stays.
Piers Brown: Yeah, if you look at maybe the projections for urban living in cities, they're off the roof and space is becoming increasingly expensive. There are a lot of developers looking at mixed use. A mixed use component, because they're all chasing yields. Lots of the key cities are going to have mixed use components which could have a bit of retail in, co-working space, serviced apartments, branded residencies, that type of option I think.
Glenn Haussman: That's another thing that's taking off is that co-working spaces. Absolutely unbelievable, but we'll talk about that another day because that's not really what our conversation is here about. One thing that I like that bridgestreet.com is doing is, they understand the idea of mixing work with leisure. They call it bleisure and the whole idea of being part of the community. I feel like the serviced apartment sector seems to really understand that a lot more clearly than some of the hotel brands out there.
Piers Brown: Yeah I think the key from a serviced apartment perspective is flexibility and particularly the sweet spot of maybe an SME. SME they love serviced apartments. More and more people are mixing business with leisure. Making sure they do their work of course, but having a bit of fun as well. Yeah.
Glenn Haussman: That's what it's all about. It's about balance and understanding and serviced apartments are really fascinating in meeting, I think, all of the customer's needs. Any other points you think are really important for us to explain to our audience?
Piers Brown: Yeah, I'd say the capital flows coming into the sector that we've seen over the last year or so. I'm hosting the serviced apartment summit in New York in April which will have a lot of investors there.
Glenn Haussman: That's April 10th and 11th in Manhattan.
Piers Brown: That's it. That's it. Totally committed to the growth of the space and look forward to welcoming everybody to the event.
Glenn Haussman: Excellent. Well, make sure you go to the event. What is the website that they could find the event and sign up?
Piers Brown: Servicedapartmentssummitamericas.com.
Glenn Haussman: All right. Servicedapartmentssummitamericas.com. I will see you there. I'm Glenn Haussman for heretostay TV. Thanks for watching.