Archives for category: Asia general

Travellers can save up to 57%, by choosing a holiday rental in certain Asian destinations compared to an equivalent stay in a three-star hotel.

The conclusion was part of a cost comparison by TripAdvisor of more than 630,000 properties, worldwide. It showed that families and groups travelling for a week or more can save substantially by choosing a holiday rental.TripAdvisor

The study looked at the average cost of accommodation for a week’s stay in a two-bedroom holiday rental, as well as a week’s stay in two bedrooms in a three-star hotel, in international destinations popular with Singaporean travellers during the year-end peak holiday season.

Travellers, specifically those in need of multiple bedrooms for an extended stay, can save up to 57% by choosing a holiday rental.

For travellers planning a trip in Asia Pacific, the greatest savings can be found in Goa, Tokyo and Penang, where a one-week stay in a two-bedroom rental property comes in 57%, 41% and 30% cheaper respectively than the same stay in two three-star hotel rooms.

Travellers heading further afield could expect similar savings in popular North American and European destinations, with two bedroom rental properties coming in up to 39% cheaper than two hotel rooms.

“Holiday rentals are a great option, especially for families, or larger groups going away for a week or more who don’t mind forgoing certain hotel conveniences, such as housekeeping, room service and a concierge, in exchange for a more affordable stay,” commented Jean Ow-Yeong, TripAdvisor spokesperson.

“The end-of-year peak travel season is a notoriously expensive time to travel, but, our study showed, that choosing a holiday rental could make things much more affordable.”

The survey was based on holiday rental and hotel costs in popular destinations from 1 November 2014 to 31 December 2014.

From : http://www.ttrweekly.com/

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Hotels and serviced apartments are increasingly finding favour among corporate investors in Singapore, according to property consultants.

Chesterton Singapore says the segment is compelling, leveraging on the growth in tourism as well as rising interest in hospitality real estate investment trusts.

Mapletree Investments recently signed a deal to buy a 49-per cent stake in Oakwood Asia Pacific, with plans to acquire and develop US$4 billion worth of corporate and serviced apartments in Asia, Europe and North America.oakwood

Analysts say the hospitality segment is attractive to investors who wish to diversify their business.

It also presents upside potential as real estate investment trusts (REITs) continue to be well received in the market.

Donald Han, managing director of Chesterton Singapore, said: “You have City Developments hospitality REIT… Far East Hospitality REIT… Ascendas Hospitality Trust and more might be jumping on to the bandwagon.

“Companies like Mapletree may… be mulling potential listing once their acquisitions have hit a particular matured level.”

Analysts say investors are looking at hotels and serviced apartments as they tend to offer higher yields compared with investments in retail malls or commercial offices.

Consultancy Colliers International says the rate of returns of hotels and serviced apartments is around 5.25 to 5.75 per cent in Singapore.

This is higher than the rate of returns of offices, which is around 3.5 to 4.25 per cent, and retail properties, which is around 4.75 to 5.5 per cent.

However, it is slightly lower than the rate of returns of industrial properties, which is at around 6 to 6.75 per cent.

The consultancy added that total investment transaction value for the hotels and serviced apartments sector in Singapore has increased sharply from S$298 million in 2009 to S$3.7 billion last year.

However, some analysts say rising prices in Singapore’s hospitality market could send investors scouting for opportunities abroad.

“Luxury property like what has been transacted at Westin recently went for about S$1.5 million per key,” said Mr Han.

“Compare that to Australia, where the price per key for a 5-star hotel would hover around S$500,000 to S$550,000 per key (while) in Tokyo, probably around S$400,000 to S$500,000 per key — about more than 50-per cent discount compared to some of the properties in Singapore.”

Tang Wei Leng, executive director of investment services at Colliers International, said: “One hot country right now is Japan. Call it “Abenomics” or the Japan Olympics that they will be hosting in 2020, all this will lead to people wanting to travel to Japan. Where do they have to stay? Serviced apartments and hotels.

“The other one that we think highly of is Seoul. There are two casinos that have been announced.”

Market watchers say the expected growth in international visitor arrivals to Asia Pacific over the next five years will continue to support investments in the hospitality sector.

According to preliminary findings from a recent report by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), visitor arrivals to the Asia Pacific region will continue to grow at an average annual growth rate of 6.2 per cent from 2014 to 2018, to hit 660 million by 2018.

CNA

Frasers Hospitality has marked its Sweet 16th ‘Fraser Day’ by revealing the company’s massive growth plans are on track.

The company has gone from two properties and 400 serviced residences in 1998 to 92 properties and 15,500 serviced apartments today.

Frasers Hospitality Chief Executive Officer Choe Peng Sum says the company is on track to double its inventory to 30,000 serviced apartments over the next five years.Frasers Hospitality Chief Executive Officer Choe Peng Sum

Choe said, “It has been a challenging 16 years, with recession in 1998, the 9/11 crisis in 2001, SARS in 2003, and the Global Financial Crisis sparked off by the US subprime crisis and collapse of financial institution Lehman Brothers in 2008.

“But through it all, Frasers Hospitality grew at a compounded annual growth rate of 22%.”

Frasers Hospitality has three brands of gold-standard serviced residences – Fraser Suites, Fraser Place and Fraser Residence – as well as Modena by Fraser, targeted at the road warrior; and Capri by Fraser, a design-led hotel residence aimed at the e-generation. With the wide product offering and lifestyle choice, Frasers Hospitality has seen unbroken growth in its 16-year history and is well positioned to meet its goal to double in the next five years.

Besides the strong brand offerings, the recovering economy in the European Union will provide a good source of growth.

Choe said, “Property prices are recovering and we have made some favourable investments there.”

There is also strong demand for extended stay and very limited supply. Even in London, serviced residences make up only 6% of the total accommodation supply which is even less than Singapore where serviced residences account for about 10% of supply.

As a result, ‘serviced apartments in London tend to post an average weekly rate of about £900 to £1000 with occupancy usually at around 85%’, said a study by Colliers International.

The study, entitled ‘Focus on the London Serviced Apartment Sector’ said, ‘According to The Apartment Service Worldwide, the market is still considered under-[supplied with London having just 1.2 apartments per 1000 business visitors compared to New York (5.2), Hong Kong (5.3), Sydney (2.6) and Singapore (1.8).’

EMEA (Europe Middle East Africa) will see faster growth and while it makes up 18% of Frasers Hospitality’s inventory, this will rise to 21% by 2019.

With consistent economic growth forecast for the near time, conditions are ripe for the ambitious doubling of Frasers Hospitality over the next five years.

The International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook released in Jan 2014 forecasts growth in the US economy of 2.8% in 2014 and 3.0% in 2015.

“The Euro area is turning the corner from recession to recovery. Growth is projected to strengthen to
1% in 2014 and 1.4% in 2015,” the report said. On China, the report said, ‘Growth in China rebounded strongly in the second half of 2013, due largely to an acceleration in investment. This surge is expected to be temporary, in part because of policy measures aimed at slowing credit growth and raising the cost of capital. Growth is thus expected to moderate slightly to around 7.5% in 2014–15.’

Choe said, “The toughest of these times was probably the global recession. We had started to expand in China and then the recession hit. We did a careful study and figured that the Chinese economy would grow even in those times, so we continued with our expansion unabated, and it has paid off.”

Frasers operates properties in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, with a Brisbane hotel set to commence construction in the coming months.

 

source : www.spicenews.com.au/

Short-term vacation rental websites are fast gaining popularity worldwide as more travellers are cosying to rental apartments or homes in place of the traditional hotel experience.
These emerging online models are founded on a simple concept – providing a platform for travellers seeking a place to stay and owners with a spare space to connect.

Based on individual requirements and preferences, whether it is to rent an entire apartment or house, a private room in somebody’s home or a shared space on the living-room couch, be it for a night, a week or a month, guests can search for a place that suits them best and connect with the host from there.

Vacation home rental websites enter Asia
Hailed as the pioneer in the holiday rental apartment scene, Airbnb introduced its online peer-to-peer concept in the US in 2008 and has since expanded to more than 33,000 cities and 192 countries.

While well-known in the western market, Airbnb has been a bit slow to foray into South-east Asia but it has since made up for lost time by expanding its operations into Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore late last year.

As this wave of short-term vacation rentals has finally caught on in Asia, Asian players are now seeking their share of the pie with their local offerings. Competition is heating up with similar online rental platforms popping up to wrestle for this emerging market in Asia.

Travelmob, a Singapore-based startup that entered the vacation rental scene last July, operates similarly to Airbnb but sets itself apart as an Asia-Pacific specialist by offering regional content to a global audience.

Travelmob co-founder Turochas Fuad said: “We are a very Asia-versed service and product. Being based in Asia (makes us) the experts here, be it with the place, culture, or people.”

According to Fuad, the number of room listings in their website has grown by 200 per cent since the start of the year to more than 14,000 properties. He said the site has been gathering “amazing response” with several thousands of nights booked every month, ranging from corporate retreats to honeymoons and expatriates relocating to a new city.

Meanwhile, the US-based vacation rental site of HomeAway has just announced in July its acquisition of a majority stake in Travelmob to accelerate its expansion in Asia-Pacific.

Another Singapore-based player, BeMyGuest, which was launched in October 2012, offers a similar suite of services as Travelmob but provides local activities and sightseeing tours across Asia in addition.
Bhavana Gupta, marketing director of BeMyGuest, said: “Apart from accommodation, we also offer authentic activities that are less commonly known to tourists like prata-making or Chinese tea-appreciation classes to give them a taste of the local culture.
“These unique experiences will appeal especially to the second-time visitors because it is unlikely for them to have done these before,” she added.

Who are the short-term renters in Asia?
As the online rental space heats up and become more mainstream, they present a potential to lure travellers away from traditional hotels with their proposition to provide guests real connections with their hosts as well as immersive local experiences in the destinations.

Business models like BeMyGuest are especially attractive to the “new millennial customers” between 30 and 45 years old, remarked Bhavana.

She said: “This group of people are seeking a differentiated tour and cultural experience because they are no longer satisfied with the usual hotels and sightseeing.”

Similarly, Roomorama, another Singapore-based short-term rental player founded in 2009, also observed a younger demographic among its clientile. Users are “savvy travellers” between the ages of 25 and 55 and are often looking for a “value-for-money and unique experience”, said Jia En Teo, COO and co-founder of Roomorama.Roomorama

And unlike hotels, they can provide guests the comforts of a regular home with a full suite of amenities like kitchen, laundry facilities and entertainment systems, she pointed out.
In addition, Roomorama provides greater cost savings, according to Teo. She said: “Roomorama offers about 30 to 40 per cent savings compared to a typical hotel in the same location with the same standards.”

Nevertheless, such social stay models are unlikely to threaten the hospitality sector, opined these travel technopreneurs.

“We offer a new type of travel experience which is different from hotels,” said Bhavana. “We want to see ourselves as an added choice for travellers and view it is a good opportunity for us and hotels to work together and learn from each others’ offerings.”

Teo agreed: “The concept of short-term rentals has a positive impact on the travel industry and we have made travel more accessible to those who may have been constrained by the lack of affordability previously.”

Opportunities ahead, but not without challenges
However the popular practice of vacation rental may still take time to permeate through the Asian market, given that Asians’ travel habits tend to be more conservative.

While Roomorama is currently more popular in cities like Beijing, Tokyo and Bangkok and Bali, Teo highlighted that one of the challenges they face is drawing awareness to this concept.

She said: “We have to convince Asian travellers that staying in a hotel-alternative can be simple, and very safe.”
Faud added that Asians do not like to host or stay in people’s homes, and “education is needed” to change that perception. But he also pointed out that there are many affluent Asians who invest in secondary homes, which then offer them the chance to monetise that property in such business models.

As for BeMyGuest, Bhavana said travellers today are more “experimental” hence they do not face much concern on this aspect.

There is no doubt that Asia is warming up to this peer-to-peer holidaying concept, and with that travellers can now exercise the option of seeking immersive local experiences which literally promises a “home away from home”.

Source : http://www.ttgasia.com/

Fraser & Neave Ltd. (FNN), the real-estate developer that was the target of a takeover battle last year, is considering setting up a real estate investment trust made up of hospitality assets.

The company is “still evaluating the feasibility of launching a hospitality REIT,” Chief Financial Officer Hui Choon Kit said in response to Bloomberg queries about its plans.Frasers

Thai tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi won control of F&N earlier this year, after his S$13.8 billion ($10.9 billion) offer edged out a bid from Overseas Union Enterprise Ltd. F&N, whose businesses range from soft drinks to shopping malls, said in June it may consider separating its property arm from its other businesses.

F&N is assessing proposals from investment banks seeking to manage a possible initial public offering of the REIT, which may take place next year, said three people with knowledge of the matter, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The IPO could include serviced apartments that operate under the Frasers Hospitality brand and hotels owned by Charoen, the people said.

The company’s property portfolio includes residential projects, shopping malls and business parks. It also consists of Fraser Centrepoint Trust, a retail real estate investment trust, and Frasers Commercial Trust (FCOT), which holds office properties located in Singapore, Australia and Japan.

Frasers Hospitality has properties around the world, and plans to open more serviced apartments in Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia, according to its website. Under Bangkok-based TCC Land Group, TCC Assets has hotels in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America, which include the InterContinental hotel in Singapore, Le Meridien in Bangkok and Plaza Athenee in New York, its website states.

Recent hospitality IPOs haven’t performed well. Both Far East Hospitality Trust (FEHT) and Ascendas Hospitality Trust (ASHT), which made their trading debuts in 2012, have slumped about 15 percent this year. OUE Hospitality Trust (OUEHT), which listed last month, is unchanged.

source : http://www.businessweek.com/

Shama, Asia’s leading serviced apartment provider recently secured three new management contracts in Beijing, Chengdu and Guangzhou. Shama Heda Hangzhou is also nearing completion and will open in the third quarter of 2013. To cater to the various market needs in the serviced apartments sector, Shama will also be introducing Shama Lite, a value oriented extension of the Shama brand.Shama serviced apartment

Mr. Tommy Lai, Vice President of Development, ONYX Hospitality Group (North Asia), said:

“The recently secured management contracts in China reinforce Shama’s position and presence as a market leader in Greater China. This is especially the case in second tier cities like Chengdu, Hangzhou, Suzhou and Tianjin- cities that we will be focusing on to expand Shama’s ever increasing portfolio. These cities show the most growth potential for the quality living and lifestyle that Shama has to offer.”

SHAMA BRAND UPDATE

Shama will introduce Shama Lite as a further diversification of the Shama brand, which already offers Shama and Shama Luxe properties at selected locations across Asia. Shama Lite will offer value-orientated serviced apartments. Whilst the unit size and specifications of Shama Lite are geared to a more mid-market profile, there will be no compromise on Shama’s design concepts, comfort and safety standards. Often located in more residential areas, Shama Lite is designed to appeal to discerning business travellers and families looking for an affordable stylish home away from home.

EXPANSION PLANS AND DEVELOPMENTS

Shama Heda Hangzhou- Opening Q3 2013
As a part of the national-grade development zone, Hangzhou Economic & Technological Development Area (HEDA), Shama Heda Hangzhou is now close to completion and will open its doors in the third quarter of 2013. This first Shama property in Hangzhou comprises 102 luxuriously appointed one and two bedroom units. It provides facilities such as a home theatre room, under floor heating system, fitness centre, breakfast lounge and business centre.

Shama BCS Beijing- Opening 2015
The latest management contract to be signed for Shama is for a 123-unit property in Beijing, situated in the luxurious Shunyi Yanglin District. The area is home to various prestigious international schools and the Capital International Airport is within 10 minutes’ drive. The property is expected to open in 2015.

Shama Chengdu- Opening 2015
Shama Chengdu will be strategically situated in the residential district of the Chengdu Tianfu New Area, the city’s latest urban development. Surrounded by hi-tech industrial zone, embassy area, and convention area, Shama Chengdu will serve the housing needs of corporate clients. The property will consist of 101 units and is scheduled to open in 2015.

Shama Guangzhou- Opening 2016
The latest Shama management contract is for a property in a prime area of Guangzhou, nearby the convention centre. The 112-unit apartment property will also feature a rooftop garden, fitness centre, and a breakfast lounge. It is expected to open in 2016.

Source : http://www.etravelblackboardasia.com

homeaway

Brian Sharples, CEO of HomeAway, discusses the company’s vacation rental ideas and expansion plans with Emily Chang on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg West.

Short-term vacation rental websites are fast gaining popularity worldwide as more travellers are cosying to rental apartments or homes in place of the traditional hotel experience.
These emerging online models are founded on a simple concept – providing a platform for travellers seeking a place to stay and owners with a spare space to connect.
roomorama home page
Based on individual requirements and preferences, whether it is to rent an entire apartment or house, a private room in somebody’s home or a shared space on the living-room couch, be it for a night, a week or a month, guests can search for a place that suits them best and connect with the host from there.

Vacation home rental websites enter Asia
Hailed as the pioneer in the holiday rental apartment scene, Airbnb introduced its online peer-to-peer concept in the US in 2008 and has since expanded to more than 33,000 cities and 192 countries.

While well-known in the western market, Airbnb has been a bit slow to foray into South-east Asia but it has since made up for lost time by expanding its operations into Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore late last year.

As this wave of short-term vacation rentals has finally caught on in Asia, Asian players are now seeking their share of the pie with their local offerings. Competition is heating up with similar online rental platforms popping up to wrestle for this emerging market in Asia.

Travelmob, a Singapore-based startup that entered the vacation rental scene last July, operates similarly to Airbnb but sets itself apart as an Asia-Pacific specialist by offering regional content to a global audience.

Travelmob co-founder Turochas Fuad said: “We are a very Asia-versed service and product. Being based in Asia (makes us) the experts here, be it with the place, culture, or people.”

According to Fuad, the number of room listings in their website has grown by 200 per cent since the start of the year to more than 14,000 properties. He said the site has been gathering “amazing response” with several thousands of nights booked every month, ranging from corporate retreats to honeymoons and expatriates relocating to a new city.

Meanwhile, the US-based vacation rental site of HomeAway has just announced in July its acquisition of a majority stake in Travelmob to accelerate its expansion in Asia-Pacific.

Another Singapore-based player, BeMyGuest, which was launched in October 2012, offers a similar suite of services as Travelmob but provides local activities and sightseeing tours across Asia in addition.
Bhavana Gupta, marketing director of BeMyGuest, said: “Apart from accommodation, we also offer authentic activities that are less commonly known to tourists like prata-making or Chinese tea-appreciation classes to give them a taste of the local culture.
“These unique experiences will appeal especially to the second-time visitors because it is unlikely for them to have done these before,” she added.

Who are the short-term renters in Asia?
As the online rental space heats up and become more mainstream, they present a potential to lure travellers away from traditional hotels with their proposition to provide guests real connections with their hosts as well as immersive local experiences in the destinations.

Business models like BeMyGuest are especially attractive to the “new millennial customers” between 30 and 45 years old, remarked Bhavana.

She said: “This group of people are seeking a differentiated tour and cultural experience because they are no longer satisfied with the usual hotels and sightseeing.”

Similarly, Roomorama, another Singapore-based short-term rental player founded in 2009, also observed a younger demographic among its clientile. Users are “savvy travellers” between the ages of 25 and 55 and are often looking for a “value-for-money and unique experience”, said Jia En Teo, COO and co-founder of Roomorama.

And unlike hotels, they can provide guests the comforts of a regular home with a full suite of amenities like kitchen, laundry facilities and entertainment systems, she pointed out.
In addition, Roomorama provides greater cost savings, according to Teo. She said: “Roomorama offers about 30 to 40 per cent savings compared to a typical hotel in the same location with the same standards.”

Nevertheless, such social stay models are unlikely to threaten the hospitality sector, opined these travel technopreneurs.

“We offer a new type of travel experience which is different from hotels,” said Bhavana. “We want to see ourselves as an added choice for travellers and view it is a good opportunity for us and hotels to work together and learn from each others’ offerings.”

Teo agreed: “The concept of short-term rentals has a positive impact on the travel industry and we have made travel more accessible to those who may have been constrained by the lack of affordability previously.”

Opportunities ahead, but not without challenges
However the popular practice of vacation rental may still take time to permeate through the Asian market, given that Asians’ travel habits tend to be more conservative.

While Roomorama is currently more popular in cities like Beijing, Tokyo and Bangkok and Bali, Teo highlighted that one of the challenges they face is drawing awareness to this concept.

She said: “We have to convince Asian travellers that staying in a hotel-alternative can be simple, and very safe.”
Faud added that Asians do not like to host or stay in people’s homes, and “education is needed” to change that perception. But he also pointed out that there are many affluent Asians who invest in secondary homes, which then offer them the chance to monetise that property in such business models.

As for BeMyGuest, Bhavana said travellers today are more “experimental” hence they do not face much concern on this aspect.

There is no doubt that Asia is warming up to this peer-to-peer holidaying concept, and with that travellers can now exercise the option of seeking immersive local experiences which literally promises a “home away from home”.

Source : http://ttgasia.com/

Source : Regional report 2013 of Apartment Service Worldwide :

The Travel & Tourism industry in Asia was worth $554 billion in 2011, generating $1.7 trillion in GDP, or 8.4% of Asia’s GDP.
Asia is often referred to as the powerhouse of world tourism, with outbound travel among Chinese and Japanese nationals leading the way. Outbound travel from China and Japan grew by 20% and 13.7% respectively in the first half of 2012 and is predicted to grow by 6% overall in 2013 (source: ITB World Travel Trends Report).

Across the region, China is the fastest growing market. In 2011 Chinese travelers made over 70 million international trips; this 22% growth over 2010 was fueled partly by the relaxation in visa regulations and is predicted to continue with a 12% growth in outbound travel during 2013. Much of that outbound travel will be to destinations within the Asia Pacific region. 20% of hoteliers in APAC expect the number of Chinese visitors to rise by over 40% (source: Hotels.com)

Like most other BRIC nations, one of the challenges facing China in the global travel market is the investment in business and commercial infrastructure required to service and drive business travel. China is more advanced than, say, Brazil in this respect, with significant investment made in regional airports as well as those servicing the main Chinese business hubs of Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.

Demand
Hotels in the Asia/Pacific region experienced positive results in the three key performance metrics in 2012 according to data compiled by STR Global.
Hotel occupancy across Asia Pacific averaged 68.3%, up marginally on 2011. This slowing of growth rate is attributed to demand outpacing supply increases over the previous three years, although the region’s 2012 RevPAR of US$88.24 represents the highest achieved since 1998.
Regional occupancy increases were highest in Bangkok (up 11% to 70.5%) and Tokyo (up 10.4% to 82.5%). The biggest falls came in Ho Chi Minh City (down 5.4% to 63.7%) followed by Bali (down 4.1% to 69.8%). Three markets – Jakarta, Taipei and Tokyo saw double-digit increases in average daily rate.
Although the US is recognised as the birthplace of serviced apartments, the sector has been operating in Asia for over 30 years. The market comprises a combination of branded and independently operated serviced apartments, local furnished accommodations, villas, and guest houses.
Product consistency and quality vary considerably however. A reputable, trusted provider is considered essential in a market where secondary cities and remote locations have limited options for types of housing available.

China
There are more than 520 new hotels under construction in the Middle Kingdom. Tourism growth is primarily originated by foreign tourists: 294 million overnight stays were counted in 2011. Approximately 106 million hotel guests travel to and within China every year – 70 million come from abroad.
Beijing is the centre of China’s serviced apartments sector. There has been a remarkable price growth in the Beijing residential market in recent years, with capital values of high-end apartments tripling since 2001. The average rents of Beijing serviced apartments have increased by 30% over the last two years, with apartment owners and operators benefiting from a supply line stagnant after the 2008 Olympic Games.
Demand for Beijing’s high-end serviced apartments is partly due to the expanding presence of multi-national corporations, foreign senior managers and ex-pats overseeing new projects. Demand for corporate housing has also increased as Beijing attracts more workers from both overseas and the Chinese provinces.

Hong Kong
Serviced apartments first appeared in Hong Kong as ‘aparthotels’ in the 1980’s. Today, the local market services a substantial number of ex-pats working and an ever-increasing number of foreign nationals arriving to work or seeking investment from the world’s largest IPO market.
These business travellers come mainly from the US and Europe, but arrivals numbers from mainland China and South East Asia are growing too. Hong Kong is the gateway to China and this has been a contributory factor to serviced apartment occupancy levels averaging 90 – 95% in 2011.

Colliers International estimate that there are around 17,000 serviced apartments in Hong Kong, with the largest concentrations – and highest average rates – in the Central and Wan Chai districts. But with both local and international operators recognizing the value of serviced apartments, the supply landscape in Hong Kong is becoming more competitive, whilst apartment tenants are becoming more demanding in terms of service and quality.
A shortage of high quality office space in the prime areas and the expansion of Hong Kong’s infrastructure are driving new serviced apartments supply in the New Territories where rentals are comparatively lower. For example, CHI International aim to add another 400 serviced apartments to their existing 100-strong portfolio by 2015.

India
The tourism sector in India also experiences continued growth. in India there more than 295 new hotels planned and 2,900 up-market hotels operating at average 61% occupancy source: http://www.tophotelprojects.com).
The 1,000 existing first class and luxury hotels will be supplemented by 295 new properties and 48,000 hotel rooms.

Japan
There are 13 new up-scale hotels coming into an already saturated Japanese hotel market. The largest project is the 376-room Marriott Hotel in Osaka, due to open in spring 2014. 346 rooms will come on-stream when the new Hilton opens in Okinawa in early 2014.
Other projects in Japan include the Ritz-Carlton in Osaka (136 rooms, opening May 2014) and the boutique Andaz Hotel in Tokyo (164 rooms, opening early 2014).

Philippines
The second fastest growing economy in Asia and a stable political environment are combining to fuel a surging Manila hospitality market, particularly in the high end luxury sector, with escalating room rates and strong occupancies setting the stage for dramatic future growth for the sector.
With an economy growing at 7.1% – just a few points behind China – there is a strong pipeline of growth and investment in the hotel sector with 5,797 rooms opening over the next five years, growing supply by 37%. Research by C9 Hospitality predicts that average room rates of 6% and occupancy in luxury accommodation of 72%.
Manila is home to 15,567 hotel rooms, 57% of which are in the up-scale tier. The corporate transient and meetings markets account for 78% of total hotel room nights. The urban spread of Mega Manila is expected to create new markets for the apartments sector.

Singapore
The rising number of companies sending employees on short-term assignments has seen serviced apartment operators in Singapore encounter a surge in demand for short stays – especially if the assignee is accompanied by family members.
The Ascott Ltd reports that compared to an average assignment of two to three years, average stays now range from a few weeks to six months. 60% of residents in Oakwood properties in Singapore stay for less than one month up to a similar maximum.

Taiwan
Taiwan is one of the crucial transit hubs in Asia, as an important industrial and export partner for the United States and the European Union. Taiwan is part of the Four Asian Tigers, with Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea and has been successfully transformed from a cheap labour-intensive manufacturing economy into a world leader in advanced technology.

In 2009, Taiwan was one of the worst-hit economies in the Asia Pacific region but bounced back in 2010 and 2011, registering 10.7% and 4.0% GDP growth respectively. Mainland Chinese residents from 13 cities can now travel independently in Taiwan.

Signs of rejuvenation have sparkled in Taiwan’s hotel market with the emergence of new hotels like the W Taipei and Le Meridien.
With a relatively low incoming supply of upscale hotels and high occupancy rates in both Taichung and Kaohsiung’s markets, hotel developers are receiving encouraging signals about future demand.
Limited high-end hotel supply in Taiwan coupled with a positive tourist arrivals outlook provide opportunities for Taiwan’s hotel market to bloom.
The strongest increase in visitor arrivals is still from mainland China. Since Taiwan has lifted the travel restrictions for mainland Chinese visitors, arrival statistics from mainland China has registered a CAGR of 55.3% from 2007 to 2011.

According to the Taiwan Tourism Bureau (TTB), total visitors to Taiwan are expected to reach 10 million by 2016.
Taiwan is also a major centre for exhibitions in Asia. In Taipei, Taipei World Trade Centre (TWTC) and Taipei World Trade Centre Nangang Exhibition Hall (TaipeiEx) are two of the major MICE facilities in Taipei that caters to both domestic and the international events.

Hotel room supply increased by 3.1% between 2006 and 2012. Standard tourist hotels form the bulk of lodgings, accounting for 73% of the total accommodation supply in June 2012. The overall supply growth rate spiked in 2010 at 3.6%.

Thailand
Thailand’s serviced apartments sector is centred on Bangkok, where Knight Frank put the number of serviced apartments at just under 16,000, an increase of 1.2% on 2011. 45% of that stock is located in Sukhumvit – home to a substantial proportion of the region’s 789,000 ex-pats.
The political unrest of 2009 -2011, demand and supply of serviced apartments is set to grow again in Thailand. Serviced apartment occupancy levels in 2012 were marginally above that of the hotel competitors, up 5% to 75.59%.

Vietnam
Despite the Vietnamese economy underperforming, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) has maintained a high GDP growth rate and considered as the most dynamic city in the country. And despite the real estate market being significantly affected in comparison to other industries, the serviced apartment sector is now attracting investors drawn by rising demand.

Around 60% of the 3,000 serviced apartments in HCMC are located in the central business district, with The Ascott Ltd and Frasers Hospitality amongst the major players locally. The market can also be subdivided by tenants’ nationalities. Residents of District 1 and 3 come from Japan, Singapore, and Malaysia, Central, Southern and Eastern Europe. Those in the new urban areas in District 7 such as Phu My Hung tend to be from Korean, China and Taiwan. Tenants from the US or UK are centred on District 2.

By 2015 an additional 20 serviced apartment projects providing 5,200 units will take the total supply to nearly 9,000 apartments. The new projects will be concentrated in District 4 and Tan Binh District.

Market Perspective

Boom Time for Serviced Apartments in Asia
By Tony Soh, Chief Corporate Officer, The Ascott Limited

Asia is the fastest growing region in the world today. Many companies are expanding in Asia to tap on the region’s growth opportunities.
According to a 2012 talent mobility study by global professional services firm, Towers Watson and workforce mobility association, Worldwide ERC, 45% of companies worldwide projected an increase in cross-border expatriate assignments till 2014, with 65% of the respondents identifying Asia as the most frequent destination for such assignments. Among Asian corporations, an overwhelming 85% cite the region itself as their primary destination for cross-border assignments.

This increased talent mobility creates strong demand for quality accommodation including serviced apartments in Asia.
Serviced apartments are gaining popularity as more companies recognize the benefits that serviced apartments can provide for their executives’ relocation or project assignments.

Serviced apartments bridge the gap between hotels which cater mainly to short stays and the traditional rental market. In addition to services and facilities typically found in hotels, serviced apartments offer more space, comfort and privacy, much like a normal apartment. With a fully equipped kitchen, separate living area, home entertainment system and broadband and wireless Internet connectivity, serviced apartments combine the convenience of hotel services and the unique feeling of staying in a spacious home away from home.

Furthermore, residents’ programmes like local city tours and cultural workshops offered at serviced residences such as Ascott’s help expatriates and business travelers assimilate quickly into their new environment.

Compared with booking multiple rooms in a hotel, companies are able to enjoy greater value by housing their executives in a larger serviced apartment where each executive can still enjoy the privacy of individual bedrooms. Companies can also have the flexibility to adjust the duration of the leases in serviced apartments, should there be changes in the duration of projects or assignments.

According to The Apartment Service’s Global Serviced Apartments Industry Report 2011-2012, the serviced apartment industry has grown 34% in units in just two years, between 2010 and 2012.
The strong demand for serviced residences is also reflected in the Global Serviced Apartment Market Review published by Savills in 2012. Occupancy data for key global financial centres points to an average occupancy of 87.9% for Q2 2012, ranging from 85% in Singapore to 91.6% in Hong Kong.

Looking ahead, the serviced apartment industry is poised for further growth in Asia given the region’s strong economic fundamentals, which will continue to attract foreign direct investments, relocating expatriates and business travelers on project assignments.

Ascott, being the largest international serviced residence owner-operator, currently has a portfolio of over 120 operating properties in Asia, with another 40 properties under development. We see strong potential for further growth in this region.

China, in particular, will continue to be our fastest growing market. It is the world’s second largest economy and a top destination for overseas assignments. Besides gateway cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, there is increasing demand in high growth cities such as Chengdu, Wuhan and Xiamen. These cities have been attracting foreign direct investments due to their rapid urbanization and strong infrastructure. Ascott currently has over 8,000 apartment units in China. In the next few years, we target to expand to 12,000 apartment units and open nearly 20 new properties in cities such as Beijing, Chengdu, Foshan, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Hong Kong SAR, Macau, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiamen, Xi’an and Wuhan.

Ascott is also looking to expand in Singapore, where demand remains strong, driven by the inflow of foreign investment and various government initiatives to reinvent Singapore as an exciting business and leisure destination.
Elsewhere in Asia, we expect to open over 20 properties in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines where sustained foreign investment will continue to generate significant demand for quality accommodation.
With more growth opportunities for serviced apartments, we can also expect competition for the extended-stay market to become stiffer. Serviced apartment operators will need to be adaptable to market needs, stay ahead of the trends, innovate and enhance quality as we grow. Ascott intends to leverage its global presence to achieve economies of scale and will continue to focus on improving guest experience through refurbishment programmes and other customer service initiatives.

Supply
Our research has highlighted 49,480 serviced apartments in 419 locations across the Asia region. Based on our estimates of the world’s total supply of serviced apartments, Asia accounts for 7.54% of the global serviced apartments market and in 4.76% of the world’s serviced apartment locations.
Based on these figures, regional supply has therefore increased by 16.8% since 2011.
The major operators in the region are as follows.

asia major operators

asia major operators cont

HomeAway’s expansion has largely been driven by acquisitions. Yeoh Siew Hoon catches up with Carl Shepherd, co-founder & chief strategy and development officer of the world’s largest vacations rental site, to find out more about its plans for Asia.

Q: What’s the state of the overall vacation rental market in the US and Europe currently? What kind of growth is it seeing?

The vacation rental industry primarily consists of second-home owners and small vacation rental management companies (overseeing 10 or fewer properties). As evident by HomeAway’s year-over-year paid listing increase of 11% and the 22.1% increase in website visits, the market continues to grow. However, awareness remains the biggest obstacle to consideration among travelers.

Q: Where is demand coming from and what kind of content is most in demand?

The typical owner on HomeAway is generally married and over 46 years old (a “baby boomer”). The traveler booking a vacation rental is typically female, age 45-64, with 1 to 2 children and they are booking, on average, a week long stay at a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom rental for approximately US$1,500. Currently we have more demand than supply for destinations in South-east Asia. Demand for select cities follows the profile one would find for international travel from Europe and the US: the best known destinations attract the most interest.

Q: Can you also share content split – in US, Europe, Asia?

We don’t disclose the content percentages by region because travel is a global industry; a property in England is equally attractive to an American, German, or Brazilian if that family is traveling to the UK. As a proxy, we can note that about 40% of our revenue originates outside the United States, although this metric can be impacted by swings in the exchange rates from time to time. Revenues from Asia would be a small percentage, as we are only now beginning our work in those markets.

Q: What are HomeAway’s plans for Asia, other than opening an office in Bangkok?

HomeAway’s mission is to make every holiday rental in the world available to every potential holiday rental traveler in the world. As such, our first goal for our Asia operation is to generate supply for the more than 44 million monthly visitors to our website, and to have high quality options for them when they want to travel to South-east Asia.

As for the office in Bangkok, the initial team is sales based: charged with finding the best vacation rental supply and to generate high quality listings for distribution to the US, EU, SA and Oceania. We also plan to partner with the nascent but growing STR industry in Asia, and have already found a productive relationship with travelmob.

We are also pleased with our partnership with Tujia in China. We are already seeing bookings by Chinese into homes in South-east Asia, the US and Europe, and we look forward to having Tujia’s inventory on HomeAway. (It has also signed a partnership agreement with Tripvillas, which gives it access to more than 2,000 holiday homes across APAC.)

Q: What’s the over-riding vision for HomeAway in Asia – to take vacation rentals mainstream? How would you define that, and how long would this take?

HomeAway’s over-riding vision is global and it is that vacation rentals supplant hotels as the preferred choice for family and group travel worldwide. With this lofty vision comes the understanding it will take the vision will take years to achieve.

Q: How do you intend to tackle the cultural issue that generally, people in Asia don’t like to stay in people’s homes or that they don’t like other people to stay in their homes?

We are not sure that the cultural issue is as firmly rooted as one might have supposed even two years ago; the recent success of companies like travelmob, tujia, and roomarama, and even to some extent Airbnb are proving that Asians grasp the concept.roomorama

Additionally, there is already a great deal of inventory managed by professional managers in SE Asian travel markets. Over time, we will need to drive demand from inside the region, but we have many options for serving internal Asian demand for Asian properties, as our partnership with travelmob illustrates.

Q: Do you think the market needs education – in terms of what vacation rental is and how different is this from social stay sites such as AirBnb, 9flats or wimdu?

Yes, there is a great opportunity to increase awareness about vacation rentals through education, but education needs are different based on the market. For example; in the US the need focuses around building awareness around the industry and highlighting the benefits of vacation rentals for families and groups that have never stayed in a vacation rental before, or at least don’t realize they have.

Media and those less familiar with HomeAway’s business will sometimes mistakenly identify AirBnB (and their clones) as direct competition. However, the businesses are actually very different. HomeAway’s inventory is second homes in vacation markets whereas the aforementioned companies’ inventory are primary homes located in major metropolitan areas. Plus HomeAway’s primary customers are not individuals searching for a hotel replacement for a weekend, but instead are families and groups, with an average stay of seven days.

Overall, vacation rentals are not commonly thought of when travelers consider their lodging options. A recent PhoCusWright survey of the industry cites awareness as the biggest barrier to growth of the industry. We recognize that the process is further along in the US and EU, but our experience in markets like Brazil illustrates when the option is made available, the public responds to the value, space, and privacy afforded by vacation rentals.

Q: What are the challenges you think you will face coming into Asia?

We very much respect the cultural differences, and believe this challenge is particularly acute in Asia. Americans, Europeans, Australians and South Americans share a core cultural background, and there is no doubt that this commonality has lowered the hurdles in establishing growing businesses in those countries. We feel that finding the right partners and the right management team will be our best defense against being perceived as clueless Americans.

The next known challenge is building demand within Asia. As you note, there is not a culture of traveling this way, so that demand may take a while to build. However, history shows that Asians are fast to adopt new business models on the internet, so we don’t view this as a long term challenge.

Q: You mentioned you’ve done 16 acquisitions since start-up, so Homeaway is an acquisition story.

It’s true that in our early years, HomeAway acquired local market leaders in markets where the vacation/holiday rental industry was well established. Like any other online marketplace, the goal was to develop the largest possible network of buyers and sellers in the shortest amount of time.

In more recent years we have focused on building out a common infrastructure and technology platform that can scale to new geographies. This has resulted in the creation of the world’s leading marketplace for holiday rentals. We are only just beginning to make this inventory available to Asian travelers and property owners, but the combination of the worldwide network and a scalable platform will ultimately benefit our Asian customers.

Q: Why didn’t you just acquire Tujia then instead of just taking an investment?

We believe that the unique political and cultural environment in China is best served by a local team, creating a local product, matching local laws and customs. We believe that American companies trying to “become Chinese” is a failed concept, and we find partnering with Tujia to be far more consistent with our mission.

Q: So acquisitions would be a natural way to grow in Asia?

We are constantly evaluating acquisition opportunities, and companies in Asia are no different in that regard. Our business model generates significant free cash flow and enables us to react accordingly when opportunities arise.

Source : http://webintravel.com