Thursday, December 8, 2022

Ascott opens 20 new properties with 4,500 units in H1

CapitaLand Investment Limited’s (CLI) wholly owned lodging business unit, The Ascott Limited (Ascott) has opened 20 properties with more than 4,500 units in the first half (H1) of 2022, a 56 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) increase in units.

In addition, Ascott has completed its acquisition of Oakwood Worldwide in July 2022, expanding its portfolio by about 15,000 units, to over 153,000 units across over 900 properties.

Ascott is also acquiring a freehold asset in Tokyo, Japan via the Ascott Serviced Residence Global Fund (ASRGF), Ascott’s private equity fund with Qatar Investment Authority. The asset will be refurbished to introduce Ascott’s first lyf-branded co-living property in the city. The acquisition follows Ascott’s signing of over 7,500 units in H1 2022, a 32 per cent increase compared to the same period last year.

The 140-unit co-living property to be named lyf Ginza Tokyo is ASRGF’s fourth acquisition in 2022, deploying close to S$400 million across four countries in under five months. Slated to open in June 2023, lyf Ginza Tokyo is set to meet the lodging demand of conglomerates and start-ups located nearby and cater to leisure travelers visiting the capital city. With the acquisition of lyf Ginza Tokyo, ASRGF will hold 12 properties with over 2,300 units across 9  countries.

Kevin Goh, CLI’s Chief Executive Officer for Lodging, said: “Ascott has completed its acquisition of Oakwood, and achieved strong organic growth in H1 2022 with the addition of newly signed and opened properties across our brands. We have kicked-off the integration of Oakwood with Ascott, placing us in a stronger position to drive further growth, deliver higher returns to our property owners and offer better experiences to our guests.”

“As a vertically-integrated global lodging business, Ascott is able to leverage its full suite of real estate investment and management capabilities for expansion. In addition to increasing our recurring fee income via new management and franchise contracts, we see opportunities to grow our funds under management through our private funds such as ASRGF and our Student Accommodation Development Venture. We will continue to step up our growth as demand for lodging increases with the resumption of international travel,” added Goh.

Ascott expansion spree in the MEAT region
Building on its global footprint, Ascott launched six properties in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey (MEAT) region this year, under its iconic Citadines and Somerset brands.

Recent openings include the stylish 16-storey Somerset Downtown Al Khobar, marking the group’s seventh operational property in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Somerset City Centre Atyrau, Ascott’s first operational property in Kazakhstan that now welcomes travelers to explore a world of exclusivity in one of the country’s major economic hubs; and the 162-unit Somerset Westview Nairobi (Kenya), which marked the brand’s foray into Eastern Africa, providing potential partners and guests the opportunity to view and experience Ascott’s world-class services on the African continent. Ascott has also seen the anticipated re-opening of Somerset West Bay Doha in Qatar, which offers solo, business and leisure travelers their own private spaces;

Oman welcomed its first Citadines property with the launch of the vibrant Citadines Al Ghubrah Muscat in the country’s capital in March. Whereas in July, Citadines Abha takes Ascott’s operational footprint to 1,062 keys in Saudi Arabia, and 2,391 across the region.

Vincent Miccolis, Ascott’s Managing Director, Middle East, Africa, Turkey and India, commented on the announcement: “Ascott’s growth trajectory showcases our commitment to providing our guests with the highest quality in lodging options across the region, as they Travel, Live and Discover with Ascott.  As we continue to grow our brand presence both regionally and globally, we are excited to offer our guests a diverse and broader range of properties to cater to all their hospitality needs, whether for business or leisure travel.”

Boost to Ascott’s global presence and recurring fee income in H1 2022
Aside from lyf Ginza Tokyo, 88 per cent of the new units Ascott signed in H1 2022 were on management or franchise contracts, while 12 per cent of the units were investments through Ascott’s private funds or its hospitality trust Ascott Residence Trust.

Among the new units added in H1 2022 are four rental housing properties under Ascott’s Adoor brand in China. This includes the 1,412-unit Adoor Apartment Shanghai (New Development), Ascott’s largest property in China, as it seeks to tap on the increasing demand from young and mobile professionals looking to rent fully-furnished homes on a longer-term basis in China.

Ascott has also signed three Ascott-branded properties and five Somerset-branded properties in China. In addition, Ascott has secured 10 Citadines- and Citadines Connect-branded properties in Singapore, China, Malaysia, South Korea, Vietnam, Netherlands, Ethiopia, and Turkey; as well as four Quest-branded properties in Australia. The properties are slated to open between 2022 and 2026.

Expansion of Ascott Star Rewards to further strengthen customer engagement
Since its launch in 2019, Ascott’s loyalty program, Ascott Star Rewards (ASR), continues to see high demand, with its membership growing 40 per cent y-o-y and member bookings more than tripled in H1 2022 compared to H1 2021. ASR members currently contribute about 90 per cent of Ascott’s direct bookings online, and more than 50 per cent of ASR members are repeat guests.

In March 2022, Ascott upgraded ASR to offer more rewards for members’ bookings made via its direct channels as well as expanded the program to include more exclusive benefits. ASR members can enjoy priority check-ins, birthday discount e-vouchers and look forward to brand specific arrival experiences and welcome amenities or signature gifts that are customized across Ascott’s suite of award-winning brands. As the Oakwood properties join the ASR network, members can access more quality lodging options to earn points.

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