Serviced Apartment Summit, London (07.18)
Philip was invited to moderate a panel at the Serviced Apartment Summit in London in July 2018, on the debate "Brexit and London v European Gateway Cities". Many thanks to my fellow panellists: the youthful George Westwell (Cheval Residences), Steven Smit (Short Stay Group), Anja Mueller (Adagio), Filippo Cavandoli (Nomad Aparthotels) and Jan Winterhoff (GBI AG). Key takeaway nuggets below:
- Industry is maturing and raising its profile, not least because of the greater transparency in operator data thanks to STR (apparently the serviced apartment sector achieved an overall RevPAR £26 higher than the All London hotel sample).
- Brexit so far is having little impact on operators, investors or operations in Europe. If anything Brexit is suppressing London rather than boosting European cities.
- A quick survey revealed that the most popular cities in which to development serviced apartments are Frankfurt, Berlin and Amsterdam. Across Germany serviced apartment supply is expected to grow by 10% per annum over next few years.
- Which type of apartment lets best: studio or larger apartments? The answers were mixed and essentially it is horses for courses. In most cities where land in expensive and hotels expensive, studios yield the highest returns and sell best. But in other locations larger apartments sell very well, even in city centre locations.
- Asked "Is it coming home?", George was quick to shout yes. The European members of the panel were more uncertain. What a pity that George's confidence did not translate to the pitch. Good luck to the Three Lions for 2020 and 2022.
- In the absence of any evident concern regarding Brexit overall, a Labour government, Trump, technology and business rates were listed a items that are keeping the panellists awake at night.