Highlights of the Serviced Apartment Summit Europe 2018

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Last week, the 6th edition of the Serviced Apartment Summit took place at the Park Plaza Victoria in London on the 10th and 11th of July 2018. The conference, hosted by Pierce Brown – CEO International Hospitality Media, attracted more than 300 CEO and senior level speakers and delegates from all over the globe including Australia, Singapore, the Americas and Europe.

HoCoSo’s Owner and Chairman, Jonathan Humphries, Concept Development Coordinator, Kilian Vollbach and Hotel Analyst Intern, Camiel Verhoofstad, were present and are looking back to two eventful and alluring days full of social activities, talks, presentations and much more.

Hospitality Education

HoCoSo would like to mention its special collaboration with two of the world’s best hospitality schools Glion Institute of Higher Education and Hotelschool The Hague during the two-day event. Among other students, Matteo Fasana from Glion and Camiel Verhoofstad from HTH, received the opportunity through HoCoSo to join the summit as student assistants, helping the organization of the event wherever needed, next to being able to join the panel discussions, presentations and the unique possibility to network with industry leaders. Matteo looks back to the summit with great memories, saying: “It truly was an experience of a lifetime. Being a relatively new member of the industry, the summit proved once again that hospitality really is the field I want to set foot in. The inspirational presentations and the networking with industry figures from all over the world underpinned my desire to work hard towards my goals!”
Camiel currently conducts his internship at HoCoSo and had the chance to both represent HoCoSo and HTH during the two summit days.

Summit Highlights

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The summit commenced with a tour through the brand-new Oscar Wilde inspired Wilde Aparthotel by Staycity after which all delegates were invited to a drinks reception on an exclusive boat sailing through the Thames river. (For once) the British weather was glorious and therefore most of the networking was taking place on the deck over a drink or two sponsored by Ciel Capital and Stow-Away. The evening ended with the sponsorship dinner as HoCoSo is a proud sponsor of the upcoming Serviced Apartment Summit Recharge in Berlin in January 2019!

The second conference day at the Park Plaza Victoria was filled with fascinating talks, presentations and panel discussions. And most certainly not to forget, the day offered more opportunities to network. The day kicked off with a presentation by Thomas Emanuel, Director of Business Development at STR, showcasing the positive performance of the extended stay sector compared to the overall hospitality sector. Moreover, even if hotels are still dominating STR’s data, 50% of the serviced apartment operators already joined the renowned market data & benchmarking platform.

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After a satisfying and tasteful lunch, HoCoSo joined the Prosecco Roundtable Sessions. And what can we say, it was clearly not the usual way of experiencing industry insights and forecasts. The first session touched upon the future design of serviced apartments and was hosted by Paul Loram, Co-Founder of Your Welcome and Alex Nigg, Founder of Properly. The main topic revolved around how automated technology can potentially revolutionize serviced apartments. This includes, but is not limited to, capturing guest and payment information, delivering a wide range of services such as food delivery, guides and local experiences. Many hotels are already using the internet of things to enhance the guest experience and the use of voice assistants could ultimately improve the service quality, decrease the rate of error and lower operational expenses. Nevertheless, the challenge within using these devices lays in the privacy concern of the guests, as voice assistants could eventually listen to them day and night.

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The second session revolved around how to attract Chinese guests and was hosted by Cho Wong from Compass Edge Europe and Katie Xiong-Britton from Ctrip, the largest Chinese OTA. Even if serviced apartment operators are experiencing a major boost in Chinese visitors, there is a misconception that the Chinese market is easy to attract and retain. Only 6% of the entire population (1.38 billion) have passports, and of those 6% an increasing number of travellers is seeking unique, local and individual experiences rather than travelling in large groups. But how can serviced apartment operators outside of China attract those seekers for individuality? The answer is simple; forget about Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube. Most Chinese people make use of their own social media platforms, which can be downloaded anywhere in the world. Those sites include WeChat, Weibo and Baidu. All in all, the same services are offered, if not more, than the social media platforms familiar to us. Moreover, the largest Chinese OTA, Ctrip, happens to be a partner of Booking.com, TripAdvisor and Expedia among others! Therefore, without much effort, serviced apartment operators in Europe can boast their properties on the most looked-at OTA in China.

Brand X-Ray – what makes a brand a success and how to deliver it?

One of the last activities that day included our very own project release presented by Glenn Haussman, Here To Stay TV. During the Breakout: Brand X-Ray – what makes a brand a success and how to deliver it? session, three parties received the chance to present their newest concept, after which questions had to be answered by a renowned jury. Next to HoCoSo, Charlie Rosier, Director of Cuckooz Nest and Vedrana Riley, CEO of Ciel Capital and Co-Founder of Stowaway, presented new and innovative concepts. The jury consisted of Arlett Hoff, Director at HVS, Christoph Hager, Head of Development at Zoku, Jon Colley, Head of Development UK at IHG and Piotr Kubiczek, CEO at Hello There.

For two years, Cuckooz has been operating serviced apartments in London. Due to a major gap in the London market, namely the high demand but lack of childcare institutions, Cuckooz Nest was created to offer a co-working space adjacent to a crash. This way, parents can work in a professional environment while being close to their children, of whom professionals are taking care of. In case the parents miss their children, the centre is just a few footsteps away.

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Stowaway on the other hand offers new and uniquely designed micro-apartments. Every apartment is built into an old shipping container, and while space is somewhat limited, the high quality of the interior ensures a luxurious experience for its guests.

Last but not least, Jonathan Humphries had something exciting to present! After more than two years of research, development and negotiations, HoCoSo presented the Alex Lake Zurich to the delegates. With a history of more than 100 years, the original property of Alex Lake Zurich has always been, and will remain, the only hospitality establishment situated on Lake Zurich. The adjacent greater regions of Zug and Zurich have been a centre of business and innovation for a long time now, with businesses such as Google, Disney, IBM and Bayer boasting major offices there. Therefore, it will become the first luxury boutique aparthotel of Europe and will consist solely of apartments, targeting the high end corporate traveller. However, luxury hotel services, such as a private members club, bar & restaurant, spa and 24-hour concierge services are being offered. The hotel will be ready to open in 2019.

Final drinks were enjoyed during the England-Croatia world cup game!

A special thanks to the organizers International Hospitality Media and we are looking forward to the next Serviced Apartment Summit Recharge in Berlin in January!

Camiel Verhoofstad, Hotel Analyst Intern, HoCoSo

COMING SOON IN JANUARY 2019: The 2nd Serviced Apartment Summit RECHARGE – a different way to do business, network and leave as friends! This event is sponsored by HoCoSo.

About HoCoSo


Swiss-based HoCoSo, which stands for Hospitality Consulting Solutions, brings together teams of global experts to create tailor-made solutions for client projects. Jonathan Humphries, Chairman and Owner of HoCoSo, and his direct team specialize in the extended-stay hospitality market, the boutique sector, and resort developments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). We create innovative and future-oriented solutions for each of our clients across the following three fields of services:

  • Product & Concept Creation, for both portfolio & individual asset developments.
  • Strategic Project Scoping, Execution & Asset Management, with a focus on strategic business planning, partner selection, and market & nancial feasibility studies.
  • Hospitality Education for companies and academic institutions, with a focus on course development, training and teaching innovation.

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