The number of guest nights spent in serviced apartments in Australia has jumped 73 per cent over the past decade to more than two million.

At the same time the number of guest nights spent in all types of accommodation has increased by 27 per cent, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for June.

More than 20 per cent of guest nights are now spent in serviced apartments.

Experts say people with children and groups travelling together were attracted by the extra space hotel apartments offer and the chance to save money by cooking their own meals.

They also loved the convenience of being able to do their own washing on long stays.

Accor chief operating officer Simon McGrath said apartments now made up 25 per cent of the hotel group’s offering – up from 10 per cent a decade ago.

“Apartments are where the massive growth has been,” he said.

“The space offered by apartments gives families and people who are travelling in a group a more cost effective way to travel.

“There’s a trend for two or three families to travel together.

“The apartment model allows the freedom to design your own holiday but also make sure you can still cater for yourself which makes it a little bit cheaper than your mainstream hotel.”

But Mr McGrath said apartments weren’t taking business away from traditional hotels, instead there were more options opening up to cater to the growing numbers of travellers.

He said couples may still stay in a standard hotel room if they were holidaying on their own, but choose an apartment if they were taking the kids.

“Forty years ago travel was just for the rich,” he said.

Mr McGrath said the trend was happening in markets worldwide.

“Apartments have been popular in Europe for some time and we’re starting to see more and more apartments in Asia, so it’s not just in Australia,” he said.

Mantra Hotels and Resorts director of marketing Ken Minnikin said the days when families would try to cram into a small hotel room were becoming a thing of the past.

“People have realised that for the same sort of price as a hotel room you can stay in a two or three bedroom apartment which has a lot more space with a lounge room and a kitchen,” he said.

“It makes it much more affordable because you can choose to be self catering.

“It was originally driven by leisure travellers in destinations like the Gold Coast and North Queensland but it’s grown into CBD locations around Australia as well.”

Accommodation Association of Australia CEO Richard Munro said it was easier to finance and develop apartments than hotels.

“Someone needs to find $60 million to build a hotel but you can get a bunch of investors for apartments versus one key investor,” he said.

“It’s faster to get them built to meet demand than hotels.”

He said it was also now easy to book apartments online as well.
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Noel and Helen Fitzpatrick, from Macedon in Victoria, were staying in a two-bedroom apartment at Quay West Suites Melbourne with three of their grandchildren this week.

“We like the convenience and the size – this one is particularly good because there are two separate areas so there’s plenty of room,” Mrs Fitzpatrick said.

“Breakfast is a bit of a waste of money if you eat out, it’s very expensive.

“Today a couple of them fell over ice-skating and they get wet bathers swimming in the pool so we can flick their clothes in the washing machine and dry them.”

Paul and Lynne Kavanagh, from Wahroonga in NSW, were this week holidaying at an apartment at Peppers Broadbeach on the Gold Coast with their children Jonjo, 9, and Shea, 7.

“One of the reasons we chose an apartment is because it’s really big,” Mrs Kavanagh said.

“It’s like being at home. You don’t have to have a shower and get presentable to eat your breakfast – the kids can get it and eat in their PJs watching TV.

“The washing machine is a big thing as well. You don’t have to take that many clothes because you can put them in the washing machine and you don’t have to do washing when you get home – it’s all clean.”

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