What are you looking to promote at ATM this year?
This is an exciting year for The Ascott Limited as we expand our global footprint and set to surpass the target of 80,000 units by 2020. 2017 saw aggressive expansion as it acquired an 80% stake in Synergy Global Housing, a leading accommodation provider in the U.S., and increased its stake in Quest Apartment Hotels to 80% to establish itself as the largest serviced residence provider in Australasia. Coupled with other investments and management contracts, Ascott’s portfolio has increased from more than 51,000 units in 2016, to end last year close to 70,000 units.
This year we are entering Africa, extending the global coverage to all continents. The serviced residence industry in Africa has significant untapped potential, our initial venture will see us open a property in Accra, Ghana, later this year. Our first of three to open over the next two years in Accra. Building on that, we will look to expand across countries in the East, West & North of Africa.
Along with our focus on growing through Africa, we intend to build economy of scale within key existing markets such as UAE, Turkey and 2nd & 3rd tier cities of Saudi Arabia.
What products are Ascott showcasing at ATM?
Year on year we continue to see steady growth from Arabic guests staying in our properties around the world and to display the dedication for excellence we have teams from these markets joining us at this year’s ATM, including India, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Europe and China. We will be offering a truly international portfolio.
What differentiates Ascott from other serviced residence owner-operators?
As the leading international serviced residence owner operator, our key differentiator is our feel of community. We want every guest to know they are valued and that they are in a safe, enjoyable environment with like-minded individuals. Each property has a neighbourhood feel, and that is carried out through market defining service standards, special training provision and a range of exceptional services. This has always been one of our differences versus other serviced residence operators.
The continued feedback we receive from our guests from all around the world is “I felt like I was at home and part of a community”. This is achieved through our philosophy of LIFE (Local Touch, Individuality, Freedom To Breathe and Exceeding Expectations) and ‘heartware’ with colleagues and guests. In short, delivering service from the heart and motivating employees to deliver consistent service standards throughout all properties worldwide.
How many visitors do Ascott receive a year?
Across the MEA & Turkey we received around 65,000 guests last year, a growth of about 5% from the previous year. These numbers continue to fluctuate across the region with market trends changing due to economic challenges. Our core business and focus will always be on extended stay business, mid to long term accommodation. However, with such dynamic and competitive markets in which we operate the balance between short and long stay business is becoming a science.
Are there any new hotels opening in 2018?
This year across the MEA & Turkey we have plans to open three properties. The first of those will be in Al Kohbar, Saudi Arabia, The Ascott Al Kohbar. This will be the first of three properties to open in the next two years in the area. (Citadines Al Kohbar, Somerset Corniche Al Kohbar)
Citadines Makkah will open before Ramadan, our first property in the Holy City. This property is a great addition to support the high demand of religious tourism to the area.
Accra, Ghana will end the year with our first property in the country. We hope to announce more properties this year at ATM, as we continue our aggressive growth plans in the region.
What are the tourism targets for the future?
Across the MEA & Turkey region, our targets are to deepen the presence in existing markets such as Turkey, UAE and Saudi Arabia, and to expand our presence in new markets such as Africa. Globally, Ascott is now in all continents and this strategy of deepening presence in existing markets and expanding presence in lucrative new markets is companywide.
Currently we are placed in 7 Countries, 10 Cities with 22 properties and 3038 units in the MEA & Turkey region. 10 of these properties are currently operating, with 12 in the pipeline. Our growth plans leading into 2020 is to exceed 5000 units in the region and we are very optimistic that this goal will be achieved.
Mr Vincent Miccolis, Regional General Manager for the Middle East, Africa & Turkey.
Over 20 years of experience working with several prominent hospitality brands across Europe. Mr Miccolis has been with Ascott since 1997 and held senior roles in London, Brussels, Marseilles and Paris.
Mr Miccolis will oversee Ascott’s operations and drive the growth of Ascott’s presence in major cities such as Accra, Dubai, Jeddah, Riyadh, Istanbul & Muscat. Ascott will seek opportunities in Middle East & Africa. Besides ensuring that Ascott properties open smoothly over the next years, Mr Miccolis will direct every effort towards delivering first class services to our residents.