Serviced apartments have found a permanent home with travellers, according to the results of Cheval Collection’s latest travel survey, with guests also looking for a great reputation and flexible booking.
The study, analysing the responses of more than 2,200 travellers, found that 68% of respondents were likely or very likely to book a serviced apartment, when staying in either London or Edinburgh. This was only two percentage points lower than during 2020, when demand for serviced apartments was at a peak as guests looked for accommodation where they could have guaranteed space and privacy.
As travel recovers globally, the company has seen a return to pre-pandemic performance and guests remain eager to enjoy that personal space, aligned with high-end service, as they explore again.
Daniel Johansson, director of development & acquisitions, Cheval Collection, said: “Investors have realised that serviced apartments are no passing fad and we are now talking to a number of owners and developers as we expand across dynamic cities around the world. Demand is building for serviced apartments with experienced operators who can deliver high-quality stays in luxury environments.
“But we’re nothing in the eyes of guests or investors without our reputation. The survey found that 90% of respondents said that positive online reviews from previous guests were very important or important; the most relevant of all the possible considerations for travellers.”
The study also reported that a combined 49.7% of respondents said they always or sometimes checked a property’s social media channels before booking. Within the 18 to 34 age demographic, this figure was 60%, compared to 44% for respondents aged 55 and over.
Johansson added: “As we celebrate our 40th year this year it is a great accolade to all our teams that we have so many loyal guests who return repeatedly. This feeds into our direct bookings, which help us build a picture of our guest’s desires and grow our relationships with them. In line with the rest of the accommodation sector, we have also seen expectations about what comes with using our system over an OTA or other agent change over the past two years.”
When asked about their paid accommodation preferences, 66% of respondents said they would choose to book directly with the accommodation where possible. Of those who were likely to book direct, 79% expected to receive the best rate and 55% expected more flexibility.
Indeed, a sizeable 42% of respondents would be unlikely to book a non-refundable rate which tied in with the almost 90% for whom the availability of a flexible rate was important. Johansson said: “When you have a good relationship with the guest and you are the favoured booking channel, it is that much easier to offer something which works for everyone.”
The most reassuring news for the sector was that a combined 82.2% of respondents said that they expected to make between one and four domestic leisure trips in the next six months, with 78.5% planning one or more international leisure trips over the same period. Business travel continues to lag, but one trend the group noticed was an increase in businesses looking to serviced apartments as they consider their teams’ wellness while they’re on the road.
Johansson concluded: “During the pandemic we’ve all come to value the freedom of travel and the freedom to stay how we want – and a return to hospitality. Our survey illustrates that, for guests, this often means serviced apartments.”
The survey and report can be viewed and downloaded here.