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Tue 11 Nov 2008 04:00 AM

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Bookers benefit from apartment boom

Planners are being urged to take advantage of the region's expanding serviced apartment sector.

Planners are being urged to take advantage of the region's expanding serviced apartment sector.

Despite there being a growing number of hotel apartments in the GCC, which TRI Hospitality Consulting predict will reach 90,000 units by the end of the year, operators say that corporate bookers are failing to recognise the benefits.

According to general manager for Green Lakes Serviced Apartments, Dubai, Bruno Hivon "planners don't automatically think of a serviced apartment".

"The hotel would come to mind first so when we approach companies we invite them to see the property, the prices and the product and then it becomes automatic," he said.

Hivon outlined that increased competition in the market ultimately means that planners on a budget can benefit from lower rates. Managing director of Hospitality Management Holdings (HMH) Michel Noblet agrees that serviced apartments "offer the best value for money and provide home comforts at mid-market prices".

However, the market growth also means that the serviced apartment may not be an option for planners booking short-stay accommodation as an alternative to hotels in the future.

"As  the hotel supply grows in the coming years and there is increasing competition from the number of hotel apartments entering the market, it is likely that hotel apartments will shift focus to longer-stay guests," said associate director of TRI Hospitality Consulting Emma Davey.

The latest serviced apartment development was announced in October by Abu Dhabi National Hotels (ADNH), which is venturing into the serviced apartments market under its Al Diar Hotels brand, with five-star Siji Hotel Apartments in Fujairah.

"This luxury accommodation has a mission to provide business executives with a warm and stylish home environment," said hotel manager Fouad Melhem.

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