The Ascott Limited has secured its first franchise agreements in Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, for an operating serviced residence in the city that will be rebranded as a 116 unit Somerset Vientiane later this year and a 194 unit Citadines Kuta Beach Bali, scheduled to open in August.

The new franchise agreements mark a new milestone for Ascott and will be one of the company’s growth drivers for the future, allowing it to build rapidly in existing markets and expand into new ones.

“Since opening our first property in Singapore 30 years ago, Ascott has grown to be the world’s largest international serviced residence owner-operator and through franchise agreements, we have added two more cities to our portfolio to reach 85 cities worldwide,” Ascott chief executive officer Lee Chee Koon said.

“Together with investments, management contracts and strategic alliances, franchise will bring us closer to achieving our target of 40,000 apartment units globally by 2015.”

As Laos heads towards more economic reforms and creates more special economic zones across the country, the number of expatriates and business travellers to Vientiane is expected to increase, generating a significant demand for serviced residence in an area where there is currently a lack of international-class serviced residences.

Somerset Vientiane will be strategically located within the major commercial area of the new business and residential Sikhottabong district and is a five minute drive from the Chanthabouli business district and 15 minute drive from Wattay International Airport.

The four star residence features 116 units and modern business and recreational facilities such as tennis court, lap pool, gym, children’s playground, business centre and meeting room.

Meanwhile, Citadines Kuta Beach Bali offers a prime beachfront location in Kuta, and is within walking distance to the retail, dining and entertainment hub of Beachwalk shopping centre.

Featuring a choice of studios and two bedroom apartments, the property boasts panoramic ocean views, a rooftop swimming pool and bar, meeting room and business centre.