China is now largest overseas market for many serviced apartment operators in the UK. Serviced apartment sector is booming right across the UK; +74% increase in future pipeline: 15,728 NEW serviced apartments by 2020.
‘China Daily’, leading English-language newspaper in China (daily circulation 500,000 in 150 countries/regions) ran a special report about the phenomenal growth in Chinese visitors to the UK using serviced apartments as their accommodation of choice.
The serviced apartment product – a self-contained apartment with living and sleeping areas along with a fitted kitchen and bathroom (sizes vary from studio to 3 or 4 bedroom apartments) meets the needs of Chinese guests exactly, as they so enjoy having an accommodation base which delivers a true home-from-home experience and especially having the flexibility to be able to cook for themselves.
VisitBritain – the national tourist board – reported earlier this month that inbound visitors from China to the UK had grown a staggering +47% in the first 6 months of 2017 to 115,000 visitors and expenditure similarly reached record levels at £231 million, up 54% year on year.
James Foice, CEO of The Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP) – the not-for-profit-trade-body for the serviced apartment sector – confirms: “Our member operators right across the UK are reporting a very strong uptake in Chinese inbound business between January and the end of August this year. The profile of the Chinese visitor covers all market segments including business, leisure and visiting friends and family (there are significant numbers of Chinese students studying at UK universities and their friends/family come to visit them) and clearly the favourable exchange rate is also helping.”
ASAP’s members in Scotland in particular report a very strong Increase in Chinese business. For one member in Edinburgh – The Knight Residence by Mansley Apartments (33 serviced apartments in the city centre) – Chinese visitors are up 18% year on year and China now represents their single biggest overseas market for the very first time; so much so that they have invested in a special app in Mandarin, a Mandarin language information pack and a special breakfast welcome pack including noodles, chopsticks and a selection of Chinese teas. And their vending machine is stocked with Chinese snacks and drinks!
Similarly the Chinese business is up 30% year on year at Premier Suites in Glasgow – and again covers the full age spectrum of visitors – the older generation as well as younger travellers. They too have invested time and resource to be part of the GREAT China Welcome Charter with information in Mandarin on their website. A total of xx of ASAP’s UK members are part of the CHINA Read Welcome charter.
Indeed the phenomenal expansion of the serviced apartment sector right across the UK is off the scale currently with a future pipeline of some 15,728+ serviced apartments – which represents a 74% increase on the current supply of 21,262 serviced apartments.
The future for the sector looks very buoyant as more and more customers prefer this flexible way to stay in a serviced apartment.
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.