Stay with Confidence in 2017

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One of the hardest decisions when organising your holiday or business trip is undoubtedly deciding where to stay. This is because while your accommodation might only be a place to rest your head at night, it is still important that you feel safe and comfortable in it to ensure that you make the most out of your trip. There are so many stresses associated with travelling and so booking the perfect accommodation can greatly alleviate some of those anxieties, particularly regarding security and even convenience of location. However, booking the perfect accommodation is a lot easier said than done because nowadays there is a whole deluge of possibilities covering everything from hotels to even now families renting out their private residences. Therefore, sometimes it can be very tiresome trying to work your way through all the possibilities to see which are legitimate options that really do deliver all that they say on the tin. Consequently, this often leads us to review websites like TripAdvisor as what better evidence could you acquire than the feedback of those who  have braved the path before us? However, while invaluable, reviews are very subjective and so what is one person’s cup of tea may not be another’s. Subsequently, this is where the benefits of Quality Accreditation schemes really come into play as they help to ensure that accommodation operators are meeting a certain benchmark in regards to performance and service standards.

When you think of accommodation and indicators of quality, often times you think of the ‘star’ rating system – with the ultimate travel dream being stays in luxurious and sumptuous five star resorts. However, did you know that aside from the ‘star’ rating system, the serviced apartment industry actually has its own trade body, The Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (The ASAP) which plays a pivotal role in ensuring guest confidence when booking serviced apartments and in maintaining overall supplier standards? The call for this monitoring and control over and above the star rating system is that the serviced apartment sector is dynamic and rapidly growing. Therefore, as this sector is still developing and we are striving to inform consumers that serviced apartments are an alternative to traditional accommodation types which offer their own unique benefits, it is integral that there are measures and standards in place to ensure that guests are delivered the certain standard of quality that they are promised. Therefore, this is where The ASAP with their leading global Quality Accreditation Programme plays a critical role as not only do they provide accreditation for operators like The Spires, but they also assess agents, buildings and apartments to ensure that all parties are commited to  industry best practise and to ensure that quality can be measured and compared across the whole sector.

Therefore, while you may be nervous about booking a serviced apartment because you may have never stayed at one before, please be assured that The ASAP and its accredited operators such as The  Spires are out there to ensure that you receive the experience you are promised and that you can subsequently book, and stay with confidence. Wherever you see The ASAP Quality Accreditation Marque, you know that you are safe to proceed with booking as it means that the operator has passed The ASAP’s Quality Assessment which does not just cover the standards of the physical establishment you will stay in, but also the booking process and the health and safety credentials of the premises to ensure the ultimate in security, comfort and service experience.

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The ASAP stamp of quality approval on our website

If you are worried that the accreditation programme is just a tick-box scheme, we can assure you that the Accreditation Programme is more than that as the marque is only gained after a series of checks including an overnight stay so that an assessor can fully walk in the steps of an guest and understand the experience they will be delivered. Likewise, there are actually over 250 service quality and regulatory measures that need to be met so it is not something that can be gained through the completion of a form. Moreover, the accreditation criteria is updated annually to ensure that it remains relevant and in keeping with developments in customer experience offerings as well as with developments in the law and with health and safety regulations.

Therefore, with a new year comes a new year for change and so why not try staying somewhere different like a serviced apartment? It offers all the comfort, modernity and style of a hotel, while also being a convenient, spacious and cost-effective alternative. Likewise, due to their offering of modern equipped kitchens and stylish lounges, serviced apartments also  provide that priceless home away from home feel which you just cannot get in a hotel. We know that change can be scary, however when you choose to book with an quality accredited firm like The Spires, there is no need for fear as you know that a professional assessor has approved it and can attest to its service standards. Therefore, make 2017 the year you book and stay with confidence – you deserve it.

For more information about The Spires Quality Accreditation by The  ASAP, visit http://theasap.org.uk/memberships/quality-accreditation-programme/stay-with-confidence-quality-accreditation/

#ScotSpirit

What do you think differentiates Scotland from any other destination in the world? Could it be its renowned warm hospitality; its rich historic tapestry; the absolutely jaw-dropping stunning landscapes and scenery (be it dramatic cliff faces or tranquil beach fronts) or the exhilaration and adrenaline-pumping energy of all the adventures that are available from bungee jumping to mountain biking? Whether it is these answers or another, what is resolutely irrefutable is how Scotland is like no other country on Earth – it is truly unique in its appearance, its energy, its character and in its spirit. No other destination can replicate the emotion and wonder to be found in Scotland and what is so pure about it is that once you experience it, it is everlasting and becomes a part of you. Therefore, this is what has culminated in VisitScotland launching its very first global marketing campaign for Scotland – The Spirit of Scotland campaign.

The Spirit of Scotland campaign aims to reflect the amazing potential that Scotland can bring as a holiday destination – in terms of the memorable and exciting experiences it offers. What adds to the campaign is how it reflects the true hospitality and generosity that characterises Scotland by VisitScotland working in association with tourism providers to allow vulnerable and disadvantaged families to have their own memorable Scottish holiday so that they too can benefit from the magic. The campaign is built on the foundation of several prominent spirits which uniquely characterise Scotland and its people, now known as the “Seven Spirits of Scotland” (the seven deadly sins are so old-school):

Warmth – We mean the atmosphere, food and people as opposed to the climate!

Humour – In Scotland, we love to have a laugh (particularly at ourselves) and there is always something amusing going on.

Guts – Participation in some of Scotland’s most daring activities and adventures or even just the indomitable spirit of people overcoming any obstacle and barrier in their way.

Spark – With the 2016 focus year of “Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design”, it is clear for all to see the inspiration that Scotland provides from its unique inventions; its modern architecture and its irreplaceable artwork. Cutting-edge, innovative and creative – there is more to Scotland than just heritage.

Soul – Scotland is renowned the world over for its stunning, idyllic and dramatic landscapes and scenery whether that is beautiful natural wonders; dramatic mountain views or tranquil coastal walks.

Determination – Linking back to the ‘guts’ involved in engaging in some adrenaline-pumping activities or taking on a challenge, it is undeniable that a sense of perseverance and tenacity can sometimes be required on a trip to Scotland.

Fun – What can better characterise Scotland other than fun?! Whether you are visiting one of the myriad of visitor attractions on offer or exploring the streets of one of our bustling cities, a sense of enjoyment and excitement is always lurking around the corner.

What Is Our Chosen Spirit? Warmth

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With everyone getting involved from visitors to tourism providers, we want to take the chance to become an ambassador of this campaign by identifying with one of the “Seven Spirits” and what could be a more appropriate one than Warmth. Having studied abroad and having worked in a diverse workforce, I am very proud to state how if there is one thing that international guests always comment on about Scotland, it is the amazing kindness and generosity that Scottish citizens provide to guests. This was no different than when I worked Front of House at The Spires because we welcomed guests from all corners of the globe and everyone positively commented on just how open and embracing the Scottish people were. Likewise, if there is anything The Spires likes to characterise itself on, it is its warm sense of hospitality and providing a home away from home sensation which emanates through the design of our apartments to the greeting provided by the enthusiastic, passionate faces that await you at reception. Hospitality is so important to us it even forms an integral part of our brand values with “Service”, “Respect” and “Smiles” being key underlying principles. Consequently, wherever our guests come from and for however long they stay, we strive to make sure everyone feel instantly welcomed and at home – no request is too big.

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It is the warmth provided by our staff to our customers throughout their whole stay which encapsulates the true essence of Scotland and while the scenery, landscape and activities make for a wonderful time; it is the hospitality that really completes the experience. When our guests arrive, when they come home after a long day exploring and even when they leave, we strive to have them leave with fond memories of their stay with us and to know that they experienced the best and warmest service available. Regardless of which of our Scottish cities guests stay in, be it the dynamic powerhouse of Glasgow, the breath-taking beauty of Edinburgh or the sparkling silver landscape of Aberdeen, we want them to know the magnificent warmth that typifies our nation as a whole – even if it is not so warm outside! We are so eager to replicate the spirit of Scotland it has acted as a significant form of influence on the design of our newest Edinburgh apartments with Scottish touches playing a role throughout including beautiful artwork designed by a Scottish artist.

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Wanting To Show Your #ScotSpirit?

A crucial element of The Spirit of Scotland campaign is the incorporation of social media. Subsequently, an integral part of the campaign is the use of #ScotSpirit on everyone’s favourite social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to encapsulate everyone’s unique experience in Scotland. Therefore, whether you are visiting us in Scotland or you are lucky enough to live here, make sure to spread the spirit and magic of Scotland by using #ScotSpirit alongside your unique photos and stories – it is time to let the world know just how awesome and amazing our corner of the world is for both holidays and living.

For more information, visit https://www.visitscotland.com/about/uniquely-scottish/scotspirit/

Serviced Apartments: The Solution to Business Travel Blues

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People often think that there could be nothing better or more glamorous than travelling the world as part of your career. However, the reality is that many business people are actually frustrated with having to travel for business, particularly as more often than not, it is not necessarily to international trendy cities but simply to the other side of the same country. A survey carried out by British Airways uncovered the top five motives that encourage business travellers to not be particularly fond of travelling for work and they are as follows:

  1. Being Away From Family – 64%
  2. The Long Hours – 58%
  3. The Stress of Connecting Flights – 44%
  4. A Lack of Internet – 24%
  5. Being Unable to Work – 16%

However, these are not the only issues; there are a few other common gripes which have been highlighted by http://realbusiness.co.uk/article/32343-the-five-worst-things-about-business-travel–and-what-do-to-about-them With a lot of the customer base of serviced apartments like The Spires being corporate, this is already indicative of their ability to be a business travel lifesaver. Although, there is not much we can do to solve the issues of connecting flights, we do have your back covered when it comes to easing the pain of the other prolific gripes. Therefore, this reflects how serviced apartments should be your prime choice of accommodation when travelling for business.

Say Goodbye to Loneliness!

For instance, we know how hard it is to be away from the family, however with our spacious apartments that can accommodate up to 6 persons, we offer a simple solution: bring your family with you! With fully-equipped kitchens and lounges as well as bedrooms which can be either twins or doubles (select locations only), our accommodations could not be any more family friendly; particularly as we can provide cots and high chairs for the little ones. Therefore, if you are staying for an extended period of time, The Spires can almost act as your second home from home; complete with dining tables for everyone’s favourite family dinners. You will all be fighting over the remote in no time.

Likewise, on this note of all the space our apartments can provide, this means it is also possible for colleagues to share an apartment; without the trauma of having to share a room. This will help to keep costs down as well as will fight the feeling of loneliness – it is a win-win for the both the employer and employee.

Needing some space and a breather?

You have been in an office and in meetings all day long and the last thing you want to do is go out and socialise but at the same time you do not like the thought of returning to a bare hotel room. Well, serviced apartments can help with this.  With a lounge, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom; you are not confined to a single room but have plenty of space in which to spread yourself out and relax. Our apartments are minimalist and stylish yet still retain that familial feel meaning that you feel perfectly comfortable and welcome. Therefore, why we cannot unfortunately prevent your long hours, we can help to make your downtime as leisurely and relaxing as possible. Likewise, we have a noise policy in place and so you never have to worry about not getting a good night’s rest; particularly when combined with our sumptuously comfy beds.

A Lack of Internet?

In this technological age where we are all digital natives, we know that one of the biggest worries is being disconnected. However, when you stay at The Spires, you do not need to be in fear of this because we have a very secure and reliable WiFi connection. While there is a charge, this is because our WiFi is very high quality and robust. There is nothing worse than the promise of free WiFi at a hotel which you can never access or face exceptionally slow speeds, and that is never the case here. Therefore, you do not have to live in fear of the WiFi cutting out but relax and know you will always get a secure and rapid connection which means you can keep in contact with both the business world and your family/friends.

Unable to Work?

There is nothing worse than being confined to a hotel room where you hardly have room to unpack your suitcase let alone spread out your work documents – you can almost go stir-crazy from being in such a confined space. However, with serviced apartments you have more than just a bedroom but a lounge and dining table. This means not only do you have enough room to spread out your papers and files, but can you sleep in a room separate from your work and laptop and you can also work in comfort on one of our cosy couches. Likewise, both in the lounges and bedrooms we provide ample cupboard and drawer space so you never have to be at a loss as to where to put your belongings.  Therefore, whether you want to relax or work, our peaceful apartments provide the perfect ambiance which enables you to be at max productivity.

Scared of Eating Alone?

Nothing makes people quite as self-conscious as eating alone in a restaurant, however when you stay in a hotel room, you do not have much choice because you do not have any cooking facilities. Therefore, unless you are happy with cold supermarket dinners constituting of sandwiches and crisps or take-aways; restaurants seem to be your only saviour. That is, unless you stay in a serviced apartment. With fully-equipped kitchens that include a microwave, toaster, oven, fridge, freezer and more, you can make dinners worthy of a Michelin starred restaurant or you can simply just do a high quality beans and toast. Either way, our kitchens are the perfect solution to the self-consciousness of eating in a restaurant; the expense of eating out and providing the freedom that enables you to cook to satisfy your own dietary requirements.

Location, Location, Location

Surveys have also revealed that business travellers are fearful of that generic stay in an airport hotel where your nearest attractions are the hotel bar or the airport itself. However, all our apartments have exceptionally city central convenient locations meaning that you are right in the midst of all the attractions, be them culinary, cultural, natural or retail, and are potentially not too far from your work location too. Therefore, when you are tired from all your meetings but want to see the local sights, or just to have a refreshing pint, our apartments provide the perfect location in which to enable this.

Time for a Catch-Up

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Going through my recent blog entries, I have noticed a distinctive lack of my own personal student work placement blogs. When I first began at The Spires the plan was initially to do a blog each week (hopefully!) chartering my rise from an inexperienced yet energised university student to a full-fledged sale administrator extraordinaire, however clearly somewhere along the way that plan went awry! The last time I had a post dedicated to my own personal development was at the three month mark so somehow the fact that I am now blogging about myself with slightly less than a month to go, is rather fitting.

Considering my blogging absence you may be wondering what havoc I must have been causing, and it has certainly been a busy few months here at The Spires! Particular news of note for The Spires itself is the continued rolling out of The Apartment Collection – By The Spires, the serviced apartment finding service element of the firm which enables us to source accommodation out with The Spires’ home locations so we can meet guest’s wider needs. As of late, I am attempting to start a “Featured Destination” of the week to get the ball rolling and to provide some travel inspiration for our social media followers so they can see all the locations we can take them. I am also doing this in conjunction with my recently discovered addiction in Infographics as even though they may be a bit old school now, I still find them to be a very attractive means of communicating information which gets the point across while being eye-catching: https://magic.piktochart.com/output/6737572-the-apartment-collection-milton-keynes. 

Similarly, other very exciting news is that the opening for the Edinburgh location keeps growing closer and closer, and as a result, we can now happily show some sneak-peeks of our newest apartments which can be found at the dedicated Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/TheSpiresEdinburgh. Having been working at The Spires as the plans have increasingly unfolded for Edinburgh, it has definitely been intriguing to witness all the hard work that goes into opening a new location. Of course, I never imagined that it would be an easy venture but looking at how the smallest details need to be thought of, from cushions to toiletries, you realise how every decision is ultimately important as everything goes to create an image of the brand in the customer’s mind.

In terms of the personal chaos I have been causing, as well as my usual social media management and email marketing campaigns, a particular task of note is my introduction into the world of segmentation. Recently me and my fellow Sales Administrator, have been tasked with the rather daunting task of going through our databases to segment all entries into groups which share particular common characteristics as this should be indicative of their unique requirements. When first bestowed with this task, my unsuspecting colleague and I were aware that this would be a somewhat timely task although we were quietly confident that we would manage it in three-weeks tops. However, 1.5 months later and still sifting through it, we recognise that we possibly underestimated the magnitude of the challenge that awaited us… Fortunately, it is a challenge that I am enjoying because there is something oddly addictive about it, and from an academic perspective, it is really beneficial to put something in to practise that I have learnt so much about from both high school and university. Sometimes it can feel like all the endless models and theories you encounter at university have no workplace value as no one actually implements them in practise, and that is why it is so satisfying to see them being used in action because it reinforces the value of what you are studying and that those theories do exist for a reason (other than to play mind-torture on students!).

Other things I have been getting up to have included an insight into the world of taking reservations (and therefore the use of a PMS); the scanning of business cards and the creation of promotional materials such as posters for the apartment blocks. These may not sound like the most glamorous of tasks, however I am always really eager to try new things; it is always beneficial to have new tasks to add to that repertoire! The scanning of business cards was a particularly interesting endeavour because it was quite enjoyable to learn all about the possible career options on the tourism stage as well as to gain an insight into some of the international firms that exist. Even though the smallest and most innocuous tasks like scanning business cards can seem quite inconsequential, when you consider them in relation to the sales process and how that prospect’s details could enable them to be converted into a potential lucrative business source, you do realise how it is all the small things that build up the bigger picture. Similarly, even from a learning perspective, so much can be gained. For instance, as a young university student anxiously holding on to the sides of that career ladder, teetering precariously on the first rung, it is really insightful to see all the different formatting of business cards and how an effective business card means that not only is it memorable and conveys all that it needs to, but it is also capable of being easily scanned so that the details can be stored. The same goes for the development of the promotional materials I created, because even though it does not necessarily require a high level of skill, a poster is something that will be viewed by the public and every single touch-point from a poster to a direct customer interaction communicates something about the brand and you want it to be consistent with the values upheld by the firm.

Therefore, with five months up and one month to go, you might be able to see how contemplative and reflective I have become. The university report I have to write may also have something to do with why my mind has reached the point of micro-analyzing the importance of tasks like scanning business cards. It is akin to the days back in high school when you had to explain everything down to the symbolic importance of why the author made the curtains blue; there has to be a reason behind everything. In a sense however, that is what my placement has taught me, that there is a reason for every task you complete-particularly in the hospitality industry where even the smallest of actions influences the customer journey and therefore the over-riding success of the firm.

Ultimately, unless I manage to do something utterly catastrophic in my remaining 4 weeks (I still have time to delete all the contacts in the CRM by accident or potentially sell a room for £1…), I can already say with confidence that I am exceptionally happy I signed the second semester of my third year away to The Spires. With a month of full-time work left to go, there are still so many things I want to try such as video tours of the apartments, blogging from our Birmingham & Glasgow locations and even attempting more team-related blogs. Therefore, watch this space for all the fun that is still to come!

Till next time,

Alex (Intern Sales Administrator)

Back to Serviced Apartment Basics

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The most exciting news at The Spires in the past few weeks is that we have just launched our brand new serviced apartment finding service: “The Apartment Collection- By The Spires”.  As you may know, The Spires initially operated over one hundred serviced apartments across four major UK destinations. However, with this latest development, we are no longer constricted to these geographical boundaries and are now able to source serviced apartments all across the UK & globally; meaning we are now in a position where we are better able to satisfy our customer’s diverse requirements.

Now for a little bit of honesty. When I first interviewed at The Spires, it would be fair to say I was a little ignorant in regards to the serviced apartment world. I could probably give you a satisfactory definition of what a serviced apartment was, but it was not an accommodation form that had really made it into my consideration set when it came to decision-making. Conversely, having now worked at The Spires for approximately 3.5 months I think I can safely say that I am somewhat more enlightened, and while by no means I am a fountain of knowledge or a serviced apartment guru, I am certainly a converted key advocate for them. Therefore, you too may be sitting reading this thinking “why would I want someone to source me a serviced apartment anywhere I want?” or even, “why would I choose to stay in a serviced apartment”. Consequently, I think it is time for you to sit down with a nice hot beverage and prepare for a lesson in serviced apartments as we go back to basics and discover all there is to know about this dynamic industry.

The Definition

There has been much furore and confusion when it comes to deciding on a set definition for a “serviced apartment”, due to the variety in supplier offerings, and this could be at detriment to the industry because it means that customers are in a state of confusion when it comes to their expectations of the experience they will be provided with.  Similarly, many terms are thrown about when it comes to serviced apartments including “suites”, “apart-hotels” and “extended stays” so it is no wonder that it is difficult to create a standardised global image. However, when in doubt, it is best to turn to the official industry body for serviced apartments: The Association of Serviced Apartments (The ASAP). As their Managing Director states,  The ASAP is now marketing “the Serviced Apartment as an umbrella term for a type of furnished apartment available for short–term or long–term stays, which provides amenities, housekeeping and a range of services for guests where taxes and utilities are included in the rental price.” In effect, what makes The Spires unique is that we offer the flexibility and service of a hotel (such as housekeeping and breakfasts on request) with the space, freedom and comfort of an apartment-it is the best of both worlds.

When looking for serviced apartments, there is always a wealth of possibilities to choose from; particularly with individuals being able to lease out their apartments. Therefore, to help you with your decision-making, make sure to look out for those apartments which have passed The ASAP’s Quality Programme because it means it has been subject to a rigorous inspection process and therefore has been deemed as exceeding customer expectations.

The Industry

For all you ever want to know about the serviced apartment world, you need look no further than The Apartment Service’s “The Global Serviced Apartments Industry Report”. This year alone, the report was compiled using findings which had been unearthed from over thirty interviews and over 2, 500 surveys that had been conducted with stakeholders in all relation to the industry from operators to agents to buyers.  Therefore, it is safe to say this report knows what it is talking about.

The most critical finding that was documented, is that the serviced apartment industry is one that is rapidly growing. At present, there are nearly 750,000 serviced apartments operating in over 9, 000 locations and since 2008, there has been an 80% increase in the amount of serviced apartment inventory across the world. The rapidness of the serviced apartment boom can only be emphasized when it is considered how in the past twelve years, the numbers of serviced apartments have doubled and they are predicted to double again in the next four. Yes, as you may infer, as an industry we are aiming for world domination!

Of course, I am sure we have all endured an economics lesson in life and therefore are aware of the connection between supply and demand. Therefore, there would not be this surge in supply if it were not for the fact that there is a market for it. Over 80% of those surveyed stated they preferred serviced apartments over hotels, with factors such as the freedom to make your own meals, as well as the privacy, swaying their preference.

The Misconceptions

Going based off of my own misconceptions, I think one of my greatest ones in regards to serviced apartments was that they were designed for corporate long-term bookings. However, while I cannot speak for the whole industry, I would say that a majority cater for leisure and corporate bookings alike. Similarly, while minimal stays do tend to be in place, this can be from as little as two or three nights and a great percentage of apartments, such as our own, can actually be booked from as little as a one-night stay. This is because booking an apartment is on par with booking a hotel room in that all you have to do is pay for the apartment per night (not the number of people). With the majority of providers, there are no leases or utility bills to be paid separately as you are not taking any ownership of the apartment, like you take no ownership of the hotel room.

The Benefits

As was stated before, 80% of respondents favoured serviced apartments over hotels and in approximately 75% of businesses, employers are increasing their usage of serviced apartments when it comes to business projects and assignments. Hotels and serviced apartments will always be in a heated rivalry because of the similarities of their product offerings, however, would it be biased of me to say that serviced apartments edge it? You get all the benefits of a hotel stay from the attentive housekeeping and the hearty breakfast on request, but you also get that extra space and flexibility; and normally at a lower cost to boot.

 I will not lie; I love the thrill of staying in a luxurious hotel with the thriving lobby environment and shedding the adult responsibilities of making the bed and cooking dinner. However, having stayed in one for a prolonged period of time, I can also say how the novelty does wear off. Being restricted to a sole room can make you go stir-crazy as your legs long to be able to move between more than just the bathroom and the bed.  Similarly, your stomach and your wallet ache from having to eat out all the time. It is true; you do not long for something till you lose it and when you stay at a hotel, you long for those home comforts. Thankfully, that is where serviced apartments come in. You have the familial welcoming decor of your home as well as fully furnished modern kitchens and lounges that mean you can spread yourself out like you do at home and have control over the food you want to make.

Similarly, like hotels, a majority of apartments like ours will have a dedicated reception desk meaning you will always be greeted by a warm, friendly face and have someone there to ensure you have the best experience possible.

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Ultimately, I am confident in saying that the world is waking up to the benefits of the serviced apartments and due to there being over 700,000 located all across the world, with “The Apartment Collection-By The Spires” we can certainly find you an apartment for wherever you want to stay.

Sources: http://www.relocatemagazine.com/articles/reeditor-02-2015-tas-report-reveals-exponential-growth-and-investor-interest-in-serviced-apartments

http://www.relocatemagazine.com/news/re12-d1-2014-5591-asap-unveils-new-quality-accredited-logo-and-serviced-apartment-definition

2015: The Year a Watch May Become Your Favourite Travel Sidekick

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If I were to ask you what the core function of a watch is, undoubtedly your response would be that it is to keep you informed of the time. Whenever you see someone glance at their watch it is inevitably due to them checking the time or perhaps they are just admiring it if it happens to be a particularly stylish, desired watch brand. However, this may be set to change. As powerful as it is to dictate the time, and therefore people’s schedules, watches are set to become even more influential this year as they too are “smartified”; opening them up to a whole range of new potential functions. Yes, as you may be aware, one of the most hotly anticipated products of the year has to be a certain Apple Watch which is to be released near the end of April (there may be a queue beginning already; sleeping bags and coffee flasks at the ready!) and it is set to revolutionize the travel industry.

You may wonder how the travel industry and a watch fit together? Well unfortunately, technology still has not progressed to a level where time travel has become reality and so the ability of the smart watch to transport you to another time, past or present, is sadly not the case. However, what is true is that even though the Apple Watch has not been released yet, already many an app from major firms has been designed for it. The likes of Uber, Evernote, Expedia, Trip Advisor, KLM and easyJet have all invested in designing an app and consequently, this is where the impact of the watch on the travel industry can begin to be inferred.

So, what changes can we expect? There is the potential that room key cards are set to become old-school as giant hotel brands like Starwood design apps that allow guests to use their watches to check-in and to even let them into their room. Similarly, if you happen to be following a person who may be radiating tourist signals and who is happening to be glancing down at their watch every other street, it is quite likely that they are using a navigation feature on their watch to help them find their way.  Likewise, you may walk into an airport to see everyone looking down, not at their phone, but at their watch as they look at flight apps which will be reflecting live-time departure and arrival times; delays and the length of the line in security. Inevitably, watches will even become the new form of boarding passes and checking-in to flights as apps are already in progress regarding this. The watch could even become a real gift for business travellers as apps like Evernote will allow them to dictate all their notes, thoughts and plans into the watch so it can be transferred to that renowned Cloud and then be accessed later on a different device.

Above all, the watch could revolutionise the industry due to the way it will totally transform the customer experience and how travel companies deliver their service. As was reported by TNOOZ, Air New Zealand has already designed an app which allows guests in their airport lounges to order drinks, just reflecting the potential the watch could have in keeping companies in touch with consumer’s movements and needs.

It is crazy already to think of the potential power that a mere watch could hold over our lives although it has been reported by the Telegraph that only 25% of British citizens think that wearable technology will enhance the quality of their life. It will definitely be an exciting development to watch unfold (no pun intended) and to see the impact it will have on the serviced apartment industry. Even though I am really intrigued to see just how far the watch’s power could stretch, it is a little sad to see another piece of technology that will be added to people’s digital portfolios alongside Kindles, Phones, Laptops, Tablets etc. It feels like everything is getting “smartified” and that there is already an abundance of devices that consumers are hooked into without adding a classic staple like a watch in the mix; particularly as watches tend to be bought for significant relations on special occasions or are passed on as heirlooms-they can have sentimental value.

Consequently, being one of those classed as a technology “laggard” when it comes to product innovation, I am sure it will take a few years for me to be persuaded otherwise to invest in a smart watch. Personally, my regular average watch seems to be doing a pretty good job at getting me on time to places as it is, and at a mere fraction of the price. Conversely, my manager is eagerly awaiting the great unveil of the Apple Watch; reflecting the diverse range of opinions regarding technology’s latest baby. Therefore, we are intrigued to hear what all our followers and readers think; will you be fighting your way towards the front of that queue on Apple Watch launch day?

Sources

http://clapway.com/2015/03/27/travel-apps-apple-watch123/

http://www.tnooz.com/article/Apple-Watch-travel-personalised/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/11483729/Apple-Watch-Britons-still-not-convinced-by-wearable-tech.html

http://www.travolution.co.uk/articles/2014/12/18/9540/wearable-tech-set-to-take-travel-to-the-next-level.html

 Image: http://blog.worldmate.com/2015/03/what-do-you-need-to-know-before-developing-apple-watch-app.html?utm_content=buffer724c2&utm_medium=social&utm_source=plus.google.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Meet The Team: A Day in the Life of Laura.

laura

Name: Laura Aird

Job Title: Front of House

Location: Glasgow

How long worked for the company: 4 years

What your job entails:  Dealing with day to day reservations. Checking guests in and out – seeing to guest needs and making sure they have a comfortable stay.

Any funny or interesting stories that have happened to you while at work:

One time I had to witness a policeman take a fingerprint from our front door – quite interesting to see the whole process. It felt as if I was on an episode of CSI.

What do you like most about serviced apartments? I prefer working in apartments as it’s more personal than a hotel – you get to know your guests better.  If I am going away to stay anywhere I will always try to book an apartment first now as they give much more space and comfort than staying in a hotel. Similarly, you have the convenience of a kitchen so you aren’t always having to eat out and if you are away in a group you can all comfortably stay together.

Favourite flavour of ice cream?  Ben & Gerry’s Carmel Chew Chew.

Favourite actor/actress? Johnny Depp – or as I like to call him – my future husband 😉

Tea or coffee? Neither – I prefer wine!

What can’t you leave home without?  My mobile.

Serviced apartment or hotel?  Serviced Apartment.