CapitaLand’s wholly-owned lodging business unit, The Ascott Limited (Ascott) has secured more than 2,100 new units across 12 properties in China in the last three months.
With these new units, Ascott has added a record high of more than 5,600 units across 26 properties, which represents a 60% year-on-year growth in units in China. Globally, Ascott has sealed new contracts for more than 3,700 units across 22 properties; about 60% of which are from China and the rest are in various countries including Austria and Indonesia.
Ascott is also seeing strong recovery in China on the operations front. Its apartment revenue in September 2020 performed close to 95% of that in September 2019. Meanwhile, Ascott has been maintaining a steady stream of openings as demand for extended-stay properties continues to grow. In 2020, Ascott has opened 17 properties with over 2,400 units, with about half of these units in China.
Ascott’s resilient base of long-stay corporate guests and the strong domestic leisure travel market have enabled Ascott’s serviced residences in China to achieve robust occupancy rates. In September 2020, close to 75% of its guests in China were domestic travellers. During the same period, Ascott’s properties in tier one cities such as Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen achieved an average occupancy rate of over 86%. In Chongqing, despite facing the pandemic and the worst floods in decades, Ascott Raffles City Chongqing achieved high occupancy rate of 80% in August 2020. The property continued to enjoy high occupancy in September 2020 when it celebrated its first anniversary with a cheque presentation ceremony to the Chongqing Charity Federation, in support of flood relief efforts.
Mr Kevin Goh, CapitaLand’s Chief Executive Officer for Lodging and Ascott’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the resilience and flexibility of Ascott’s business model to the fore. In 2020, we have signed more than 9,300 units in 48 properties worldwide while expanding in China at a record rate. We are also planting new flags in markets such as Austria and Indonesia, offering our guests a wider network of Ascott properties. At the peak of the COVID-19 situation, many of Ascott’s properties worldwide remained open to provide a safe haven for our long-stay corporate guests, maintaining a robust average occupancy rate. With China being the first major economy to resume growth after the pandemic and the easing of domestic travel restrictions in the country, we are seeing strong recovery at our properties in China.”
“To provide guests with peace of mind, we launched the ‘Ascott Cares’ commitment to continue to deliver stringent hygiene and cleanliness standards. Ascott has also partnered with Bureau Veritas to provide independent audits for the hygiene and safety standards of our properties worldwide. At the same time, we have also been actively implementing various initiatives such as the launch of our ‘Discover ASR’ mobile app, ‘Work-In-Residence’, ‘Space-as-a-Service’ and our digitalisation efforts, to ensure Ascott is future-ready,” added Mr Goh.
Mr Tan Tze Shang, Ascott’s Managing Director for China and Head of Business Development for China, said: “During China’s Golden Week holiday from 1 to 9 October 2020, several of Ascott’s properties in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Chongqing, Xi’an and Wuxi, which are popular destinations amongst domestic travellers, achieved 100% occupancy. Apartment revenue for our properties in China was also higher during the Golden Week holiday compared to the same period last year.”
Mr Tan added: “With the 12 new properties secured in China, Ascott will make inroads into three new Chinese cities, Baotou, Ningbo and Yantai, while strengthening our presence in Changchun, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Suzhou and Xi’an. These properties are slated to open between December 2020 and 2026. The new additions will reinforce Ascott’s position as the largest international serviced residence owner-operator in China with about 30,000 units in over 150 properties.”