ASCOTT DIALS UP ON HOTEL-IN-RESIDENCE HYBRID MODEL AMID RENEWED HOSPITALITY LANDSCAPE OF NEW TRAVEL PREFERENCES
• Unveils refresh of flagship namesake brand “Ascott” to showcase flex-hybrid concept
• Refreshed Ascott brand continues to uphold its reputation as a pioneer of serviced residences, while deepening hospitality experiences enlivened through understated luxury that is anchored on fine arts
Singapore, 3 August 2023 – The Ascott Limited (Ascott), a lodging business unit wholly owned by CapitaLand Investment (CLI), today announced the refresh of its flagship namesake brand, Ascott. This brand refresh showcases its flex-hybrid accommodation concept that has proven resilient through and post-pandemic, and has increasingly come to the forefront as the preferred model in the lodging industry. This hotel-in-residence model, with its added level of adaptability, enables Ascott to cater for varying lengths of stays from short to extended periods; for different guest profiles from those travelling solo to that in groups – elevated with the convenience of services, facilities and amenities of a hotel.
Flexing through product and room mix, adoption of new room models, facilities, amenities, and features, the hotel-in-residence model enables agility to pivot as demand shifts across different market segments and geographies, presenting a value proposition that is unique to Ascott. Enhancing the experience with a wider range of hospitality services further uplifts what would be a traditional stay in a serviced residence. Similarly, Ascott’s portfolio of hotels will also have the flexibility to offer extended stays if required.
Mr Kevin Goh, Chief Executive Officer for Ascott and CLI Lodging, said: “Operating on a "flex-hybrid" model helps Ascott to stay agile and adaptive in the face of volatile business cycles. By being responsive to shifts in demand, Ascott can quickly pivot its operations to suit the needs of the market and optimise occupancy to drive revenue growth. The model also mitigates the risks associated with over-reliance on a single market segment. When one segment experiences a downturn, the business can focus on other segments that are performing better. This adaptability ensures a more stable income stream and reduces vulnerability to economic volatility.”
“Amid a renewed hospitality landscape post-COVID, there’s certainly demand from our guests seeking these types of hotel-in-residence properties. Be it for solo travellers on shorter leisure stays, families on vacation, or business travellers seeking extended stays or relocations, the integration of expanded serviced residence space and intuitive hospitality services, amenities and facilities will further strengthen the stay experience. Third party property owners and developers are also responding positively to this trend, contributing to our growing momentum of management contract signings, even during the pandemic. The hotel-in-residence model enhances the efficiency of our hospitality portfolio, by adapting to market shifts, intensifying asset utilisation, diversifying revenue streams, improving guest satisfaction and optimising operational costs. The agility empowers Ascott to deploy its resources strategically, to generate higher returns for our investors and owners,” added Mr Goh.
Ascott is embarking on a refresh of its namesake brand to showcase its hotel-in-residence hybrid model. The flagship brand was launched with the opening of The Ascott Singapore in 1984, as the first international-class serviced residence in Asia-Pacific. The heritage of the brand has kept Ascott rooted as pioneers in the serviced residence industry.
Ms Tan Bee Leng, Ascott’s Managing Director for Brand & Marketing, said: “The ways in which our guests are using serviced residences have become much more varied. Ascott was traditionally thought of as an accommodation provider specifically geared towards business travellers working on long term projects or perhaps relocating. As travel preferences evolve, our apartments have now become a lodging option even for those staying for a few days.”
Ms Tan added: “Targeting affluent travellers and C-suites with high-end lifestyles and an appreciation of the finer things in life, our properties under the Ascott brand highlight the essence of fine living and celebrate its passion for fine arts. While the brand continues to be deeply rooted in its serviced residence heritage, the brand refresh will augment Ascott’s flex-hybrid strategy with room options ranging from studio apartments, penthouse suites to connecting and dual-key units. These room options will be complemented with elevated hospitality offerings to enhance the experiences for both short leisure trips and extended stays; for our guests travelling as individuals as well as in groups."
Ascott has been on a journey of redefining its brands and sharpening its product brand stories to drive greater brand relevance and affinity with its guests since early 2022. The Ascott brand refresh follows the unveiling of its refreshed Citadines and Somerset brands last year.
Inspired by the passion for fine arts and supported by the rising trend[ Altiant’s Buzz vs Reality Research, presented at ILTM ] of global travellers’ preference for luxury experiences over goods, the refreshed Ascott will cater to a growing demographic of discerning and seasoned travellers with a taste for fine living as part of their travel itineraries.
Ascott Brand Signatures
Ascott recognises that luxury travel has evolved to take on new definitions amid renewed appetites for fresh experiences. The refreshed Ascott brand aims to deliver fine living without the fuss of excessive opulence, for seasoned travellers with a preference for the quiet expression of luxury as they resume travel.
The essence of fine living at Ascott properties starts with its timeless interiors, which is a marriage of modern design and classic elegance. At every Ascott property, guests are greeted with carefully selected Lobby Art Installations that represent the overall theme of the property.
For instance, Ascott Marunouchi Tokyo in Japan displays a large-scale art installation by renowned Korean artist, Bahk Seonghi. Spanning over two metres in diameter, the art installation is an exploration of the natural circle of life and nature with suspended pieces of black charcoal balanced by the constant interplay with light and white background. At Ascott Dadonghai Bay Sanya in China, an intricately woven artpiece that hangs on its lobby wall is inspired by the UNESCO-listed traditional brocade craftsmanship of the local Li-minority. Upon check-in, guests will notice a crystal light installation that spirals down from the ceiling towards the uniquely shaped brass reception counter. The juxtaposition of crystal and metal is inspired by the traditional folklore behind Sanya’s famous Luhuitou scenic site. At Ascott ICC Guangzhou in China, an eight-metre wall decoration inspired by traditional Cantonese architecture Wok House, dons the lobby. Made of copper bars, the artwork, together with a kapok chandelier afront, creates a picture of a peaceful Cantonese traditional old town.
Personalised touchpoints and service are key to a memorable stay. The Ascott Artisan embodies and delivers the hallmarks of the Ascott experience with panache, and assists with the bespoke needs and wants of guests. At Ascott Makati in the Philippines, Ascott Artisans undergo concierge training by Les Clefs d’Or Philippines, part of an established professional association of hotel concierges, to further hone their skills and knowledge in hospitality and services. They also actively engage guests to create memorable Ascott experiences through curated activities and events in the property.
Usually located on the top floors, Themed Suites are artfully designed in line with the property’s theme, enabling guests to live in style at the top of the world. For example, the Time Traveller’s Capsule Suite at Ascott Raffles City Chongqing in China is specially curated for the discerning traveller to enjoy an up-close and unique experience of modern history and art. The tastefully decorated suite features iconic pieces of furniture, a world-classic vinyl recorder and limited-edition French photography masterpieces. A nod to classical music, Ascott Dadonghai Bay Sanya’s Maestro Themed Suite is adorned with a beautiful cello, a nostalgic vinyl record player, and a Marshall speaker – perfect for the music lover. At Ascott Orchard Singapore, the Murano Suite is furnished with Fendi Casa furniture and accessories, fitting for fashion enthusiasts to immerse in a couture-inspired stay experience.
Introducing guests to the local arts scene, the Ascott Soiree plays a defining role in the brand. A collection of in-residence programmes and local collaborations across various forms of fine art, the Ascott Soiree will span four key pillars – performing arts, visual arts, couture and culinary arts. Highlighting the beauty of Chongqing’s indigenous flower, Ascott Raffles City Chongqing’s Ascott Soiree showcases “Rouge of Camellia”, a series of art exhibits that feature larger-than-life red Camellia paper flowers created by local artist Wang Yihuan. With live demonstrations and workshops conducted on the property, guests can also learn more about Chongqing’s traditional kernel carving, an ancient art form that transforms walnut, peach, apricot and olive kernels into intricate handicrafts. At Ascott Waterplace Surabaya in Indonesia, guests will experience local artforms through a series of programmes such as traditional music and dance performances, batik exhibition by Wistara Batik, a local batik studio for people with disabilities, and batik painting workshops. Couture takes centre stage at Ascott Star KLCC Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, where the Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week will launch in late August 2023. Designer clothes, shoes, and accessories by local fashion designer Ridz Bohari will also be showcased at the property. Over in Thailand, Ascott Thonglor Bangkok converts its lobby and meeting rooms into art galleries, featuring paintings and sculptures by local artists.
The Ascott brand portfolio comprises over 40 operating properties extending across 9 countries globally year to date. With continued expansion of the Ascott brand globally, more than 30 properties are in the pipeline and slated to open in the next five years.
In China where the Ascott brand holds its largest portfolio of 23 operating properties, the brand is expected to double its footprint by 2028. Earlier this year, Ascott Dadonghai Bay Sanya opened as the brand’s newest property. The first in the resort destination of Sanya, oftentimes referred to as the Hawaii of the east, the 186-unit property is located along the Dadonghai coastline and offers a tropical retreat with the beach within close reach.