Service residence owner-operator Ascott wraps up a successful 2018 in key markets and looks ahead to its international portfolio in 2019 and beyond.
It’s been a milestone year for The Ascott Limited (Ascott) driven by new property openings across the MEA region. In October, the company made its African debut with the launch of Kwarleyz Residence in Accra, the capital of Ghana.
Boasting of one of the world’s fastest-growing economies driven by record levels of foreign direct investment, Ghana is a key emerging market with nascent tourism and hospitality sectors. Kwarleyz Residence is Ghana’s first international-class serviced residence and offers sophisticated living in the capital’s upscale Airport residential area.
Ascott plans to extend its footprint in the West African nation next year, having secured a contract to manage Ascott 1 Oxford Street, a 220-unit serviced apartment in Accra’s Osu district known as the ‘West End’ of Accra.
“A lucrative market with huge potential”
“Africa is a lucrative market with huge potential and, after Asia, is the world’s second fastest-growing economy,” said Vincent Miccolis, Ascott’s regional GM for Middle East, Africa and Turkey. “Alongside Ghana, Ascott has identified future potential for serviced residences in other West African countries including Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, and is poised to explore opportunities in key East African capital cities such as Nairobi, Kigali and Addis Ababa.”
In the Middle East, Ascott has extended its positive presence and market leadership this year via a number of expansion deals, taking its total number of serviced residence units in the region to 21 (operational and pipeline).
The company continues to forge ahead with ambitious expansion plans in KSA, accomplishing 10% revenue growth across its overall property portfolio in the Kingdom, alongside a 10-15% average increase growth in occupancy.
“KSA remains a dynamic market within the Middle East”
“KSA remains a dynamic market within the Middle East and as the Kingdom diversifies its economy, we’re seeing strong demand for Ascott’s serviced residences driven by domestic and regional travellers from business and leisure sectors,” continued Miccolis. “Ascott has set the benchmark for serviced apartments across the region and as testimony to this, we’re honoured to have been voted ‘Saudi Arabia’s Leading Serviced Apartment Brand’ at this year’s prestigious World Travel Awards.”
Ascott currently has five operating serviced residence properties in KSA, with three new properties scheduled to open in 2019 in Jeddah, Al Khobar and Makkah; meanwhile, a trio of properties is in the pipeline for 2020 in Al Khobar, Abha and the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
Elsewhere in the GCC nations, Bahrain proved to be another strong performer for the owner-operator, with a 15% increase in occupancy and 5% revenue growth for 2018; while Ascott’s total room nights sold in Oman reached 56,794 compared to 50,419 in 2017. A 96-unit property is also scheduled to open in the Omani capital next year.
With its unique geographical position straddling Europe and Asia, Turkey is a key expansion destination for Ascott. Turkey’s largest city and economic powerhouse, Istanbul, is a regional tourism and commercial hub; in addition to the recently-opened Somerset Maslak Istanbul a further two properties are set to open in the city in 2019, boosting Ascott’s presence in Turkey to three properties.
“An exciting period for Ascott”
Miccolis concluded: “Looking ahead to 2019 and beyond, it promises to be an exciting period for Ascott with expansion through strategic alliances, management contracts and franchisee agreements. We’re well on our way to becoming the leading serviced apartment provider in the Middle East with a target of 5,000 units across MEA and Turkey by 2020.”