South China Morning Post: Luxury Living
Constant upgrades keep tenants happy
Additional services vital as operators are spurred to raise their game, writes John Cremer
Whatever their main target market, serviced apartment providers know competition for tenants is likely to heat up in the months ahead. This makes it essential to keep upgrading standard amenities-appliances, entertainment systems and fittings-but also to come up with new attractions and incentives.
“The first question we ask is what we would like in our own homes,” says Pilar Morais, chief executive of CHI Residences. “This helps us focus on what tenants will want in an apartment they should see as their home away from home.”
Noting that hoteliers in Hong Kong and residential developers are expanding to provide more serviced suites, Morais see this as a spur for existing operators to raise their game.
Traditionally, the key market segments have been for business travellers, corporate reloations, families and leisure travellers looking for an alternative to hotels. But whatever the type of tenant or planned length of stay, expectations must be met.
“We have a 24-hour concierge service, so whatever you need at whatever time, our team is available to with any extra requests,” Morais says. “We also work with various partners to provide additional servicers that range from shoe shining and in-room massage to personal yoga sessions.” Tenants don’t specifically ask for brand-name amenities, but do notice them. Therefore, CHI makes a point of installing BOSE home theatre systems, Samsung 42-inch LCD TVs, and Slumberland queen-sized mattresses. The emphasis is on quality and comfort, with any new product given a thorough “road test” before purchase terms are agreed.
Advances in technology make it important to add or enhance certain features. These include Oxyvital air purification units which “wash” the air in each apartment, achieving a quality better than the World Health Organisation standards used as Hong Kong’s general guideline. And integrated “smart” systems let tenants access the internet on their TV screen and receive individual messages and updates from the building management.