Serviced stays in the heart of Asian business

Business in Asia-Pacific has become a regional exercise, with plenty of mobility for key staff between each market. Serviced apartments are an important enabling tool for all of that travel.

Everywhere you look today, it seems as though talent is on the move. Whether it is young, single professionals taking on short-term assignments and building an international element to their resumé, or more established leaders in their fields helping build organisations and industries in new countries, the working world has never been more encouraging of talent mobility.

According to Crown World Mobility’s recent Global Mobility Trends report, it is the millennial generation, now with a few years of working experience behind them, leading the charge.

“Talent has arguably never been more globally mobile than it is today, and millennials are hungry for international experiences” Lisa Johnson, Crown’s Global Practice Leader for Consulting Services, said. “Low-cost adventure moves are becoming more popular. Indeed, more than half of companies now have employee-initiated move policies.”

The trend is particularly prevalent in Asia-Pacific, where intra-regional business travel has surged in the last few years. Malaysia-based bank Maybank, for example, has sent over 360 staffers on international assignments since a new mobility policy was introduced in 2009.

The home market of Malaysia has been the most common destination, followed by the Southeast Asian regional centres of Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines. China is a growing destination, and also source country for expatriates heading to other destinations across Asia-Pacific and beyond.

Ecosystem of help

All of that talent mobility is not only the result of company decisions, or individuals putting up their hand for international assignments. It is also a product of the complex network of service providers who enable that travel to be consistently smooth and hassle-free.

Accommodation services, serviced apartments in particular, are vital to any international assignment in the Asia-Pacific region. Fortunately, these have been growing with the rise in mobility, and there are now a wide range of options across the major business centres in Asia.

“We see tremendous opportunities for serviced residences in Asia-Pacific,” says Kevin Goh, CEO of The Ascott.

“More than 80% of our serviced residence units are in Asia-Pacific and China is our biggest market. China’s growing middle-class with rising affluence is driving domestic travel and is the world’s largest outbound travel market.

“Several Southeast Asian markets present strong growth potential for serviced residences, given the region’s young population, rising middle-income group, and policies in place to attract foreign capital.”

He acknowledges that that growing market also has a lot of choice when it comes to accommodation for assignees, but says serviced apartments still offer the best value balance between comfort, pampering, familiarity, and security.

“In the hospitality business, it is the people who make the difference,” he says. “Ascott staff work hard to ensure the wellbeing of our guests as we create memorable home-away-from-home experiences.”

That dedication to service is common across the serviced apartment industry and across the region. Whether the property is in Singapore, China, Malaysia, or anywhere else, expatriates can expect a common, high standard and an important attention to detail.

Service in Singapore

The number of serviced apartments in Singapore has exploded skywards in recent years, as the city-state cements its position as a hub for regional business covering both Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific. The surge has come across both the number of properties and the total number of individual serviced apartments available. These offerings now expand beyond the city centre, to also link expatriates with the growing business and research hubs in other parts of the country.

Far East Hospitality, for example, offers serviced residences in all of the familiar, traditional locations in Singapore. Its Orchard Scotts Residences is at the heart of the famous dining, shopping, and entertainment district, while Village Residence Robertson Quay and Village Residence Clark Quay are right on the city’s edge with close access to the key finance district at Marina Bay.

More recently, the company has opened its Oasia Residence on the West Coast, designed for expatriates working in the growing universities sector, as well as the one-north and Science Park business centres.

The Ascott is also well placed to cover every need of business travellers in Singapore, with a wide array of properties and a focus on seamless connectivity – both physically and in the online world.

Goh says the company understands the need for business travellers to be able to be online as easily as they would at home, but it is also aware of the difficulties that short-term travellers can have organising a data plan soon after arriving.

“In Singapore, we provide guests with a pocket Wi-Fi device to enjoy wireless connectivity anytime, anywhere,” he says. “In Hong Kong, guests can enjoy smartphones equipped with unlimited mobile data, and free local and international direct dialling calls.”

Tech in China

The serviced residence industry is also burgeoning in the key Tier 1 markets of Mainland China. Goh says this includes the most famous cities of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, but also the already huge but still growing centres such as Chengdu, Kunming, Chongqing, and Xiamen.

For Ascott, these fast-growing markets have given the opportunity to experiment with new technology, artificial intelligence, and even machine learning.

“Service butler robots in Ascott Raffles City Beijing and Ascott IFC Guangzhou can perform a suite of tasks such as leading guests to their rooms or facilities in the properties, providing concierge services, refilling room supplies, and delivering packages,” he tells HRM Magazine Asia.”

“We are testing the use of artificial intelligence and smart devices to learn guests’ preferences and automatically adjust the air conditioning to enhance their comfort.”

A region of possibilities

These are just two examples of markets where serviced apartments are both growing and innovating – but they are far from alone. Whether it is in the centre of Jakarta, or the growing business hub of Petaling Jaya outside of Kuala Lumpur; whether it is in downtown Manila or in the heart of Bangkok, mobile talent is busy working.

And wherever that talent is working, serviced apartment providers have been working hard to keep up with their exact preferences and requirements to make them feel at home when they finish their day.

Serviced Apartments marketplace


The Ascott Limited

The Ascott Limited is a member of CapitaLand. It is one of the leading international serviced residence owner-operators with more than 500 properties in over 130 cities spanning more than 30 countries across the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. Its portfolio of brands includes Ascott, Citadines, Somerset, Quest, The Crest Collection and lyf.

In Singapore, Ascott currently operates six serviced residences including Ascott Orchard, Ascott Raffles Place, Citadines Fusionopolis, Citadines Mount Sophia, Somerset Bencoolen, and Somerset Liang Court.


Fraser Suites River Valley

Nestled in the exclusive River Valley precinct that adjoins the Singapore River, Fraser Suites Singapore sits elegantly in an upmarket residential district with easy access to the city’s dynamic central business district and the world-renowned shopping belt, Orchard Road.

Comprising 255 serviced apartments, the Fraser Suites are ideal for both business and leisure travellers. Guests will appreciate the award-winning Gold Standard Fraser Suites Singapore is one Singapore serviced apartment that defines sophisticated city living with relentless pursuit of excellence

in hospitality.


Far East Hospitality

Far East Hospitality Holdings is a premier hospitality assets owner and operator. It now has a combined portfolio of close to 14,000 rooms under management across 90 hotels and serviced residences in seven countries: Australia, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Singapore.

Far East Hospitality’s stable of 10 unique and complementary brands: Oasia, Quincy, Rendezvous, Village, Far East Collection, Adina Apartment Hotels, Medina Serviced Apartments, Travelodge Hotels, Vibe Hotels, and TFE Hotels Collection, present excellent opportunities for business travellers of every type.


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