After adding two new properties in London and Manchester to its small collection of serviced apartments this year, Supercity Aparthotels plans to expand to more UK cities.
CEO Alexis Burton told Business Traveller the brand is looking to sign management agreements in 2019 for properties in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Cambridge.
Burton said the company was looking to diversify into management agreements rather than making new purchases due to the difficulty of acquiring suitable properties in prime locations.
“Aparthotels as a percentage of rooms is low here compared to places like New York and Paris, so it looks like there’s a lot of room for growth – but it’s trickier in London,” Burton said.
“We can’t buy old hotels because they are priced on turnkey, and we then have to merge rooms. So you pay for 100 rooms and end up with 50 or 60 rooms.”
Burton has steered Supercity since it opened its first aparthotel in Earl’s Court in 2009, when serviced apartments were far less popular as a business travel option in the UK.
In 2016, Savills called aparthotels the “rising stars of the hospitality industry”, and in 2018 reported continued strong growth and investor confidence.
“Everybody’s chomping, everybody wants more,” Burton said of the sector now. “The data coming through suggests that there’s still under-supply.”
While most of that is focused in London, Manchester is also seeing a wave of serviced apartments opening or under development.
Supercity’s property there should have opened at the end of 2017, but a fire pushed that all the way back to December 6 this year.
“Now we are reopening amongst a climate of about four other large openings in the city,” Burton said.
Serviced apartments had an 81.7 per cent occupancy level in 2017, according to research firm STR.
Meanwhile management consultants GVA put hotel occupancy for 2017 at 77 per cent.