The Ascott Limited (Ascott), the world’s leading international lodging owner-operator, and pioneer of the serviced residence industry in the Middle East, Africa & Turkey has disclosed its remarkable performance during the peak of Covid-19 in the region, as a result of its sustainable business model.

According to statistics released by STR, hotel occupancy rates across the Middle East fell to 36% in May 2020, while Ascott experienced an average occupancy rate of 80% on its long stay base across its regional portfolio in the Middle East & Turkey during the same period.  On the short-stay front and in light of the increasing demand for domestic tourism in the region, Ascott revealed that there is a substantial and steady increase in staycations, as its properties have experienced an ample pickup in this segment. Currently, the brand is at a 50% occupancy rate for both long and short stays and is experiencing a continuous healthy pick in domestic tourism.

The Ascott Limited’s business model has proven to be more resilient due to its strong extended stay segment. Offering home-like environment combined with hotel services & amenities, Ascott has gained reputation amongst its corporate accounts and is conducive for longer-term guests. Globally, over 85% of Ascott’s properties remained open during the Covid-19 period.

“The strength and sustainability of our Serviced Residence model by far outweighs the risks and challenges of a traditional hotel model, which we at Ascott have experienced first-hand during the global crisis. With the unfortunate situation of hotels closing down temporarily, and some permanently, Ascott has been able to endure this pandemic”, says Vincent Miccolis, Ascott’s Regional General Manager for the region.

Ascott’s robust business model not only weathered the storm due to its unique offerings, but has also superseded the market performance as the group advanced to convert this crisis into an opportunity. Amongst its back-to-business strategies, Ascott launched the ‘Work-in Residence’ initiative that transforms selected apartments into conducive work suites for working professionals and students, by leveraging on the existing design strengths of its serviced residences. The group is further providing loyal Ascott Business Travellers added benefits with its programme, the ‘ASR Corporate’. For residents, Ascott regionally launched the ‘Long Stay Residential’ offer to support the arising needs for comfort, safety and peace of mind. In addition, to adapt to the emerging trends and redefine guest experience, Ascott rapidly evolved its digitized approach to ‘Future Ready Lodging’ offerings; this includes the development of a one-stop service app that will offer guests contactless entry to their apartments, payments, check-in and check-out, in-room service and smart controls.

On the business front, Hafid Mirabti, Ascott’s Director of Business Development in Middle East, Africa and Turkey said, “We expect that as the real estate sector picks up steam in due time, many developers and hotel owners will be more inclined towards sustainable business models, which will certainly present some viable opportunities of partnerships for Ascott to grow further regionally.”

As part of its global initiatives to ensure the safety of its guests and empower travel confidence, The Ascott Limited collaborated with leading testing and certification leaders’ Bureau Veritas through its ‘Ascott Cares’ initiative, making them the first serviced residence to achieve this feat. In the Middle East and Turkey, Ascott’s operational properties have received the Bureau Veritas certification to endorse their hygiene and safety standards. These include: Ascott Tahlia Jeddah, Ascott Sari Jeddah, Citadines Al Salamah Jeddah, Spectrums Residence Jeddah, Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh and Ascott Corniche Al Khobar in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA); Ascott Park Place Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE); Somerset Al Fateh Bahrain; Somerset Panorama Muscat in Oman and Somerset Maslak Istanbul in Turkey. Citadines Metro Central Dubai (UAE) has received the prestigious Dubai assured health & safety compliance stamp, awarded to hotels for implementing strict standards of safety.

Ascott’s properties worldwide feature well serviced apartments with spacious living & dining areas, and equipped kitchenettes that encourage a comprehensive home away from home living.

Source: Q Communications