The Ascott Limited continues to prosper in China despite challenging year

The Ascott Limited

The Ascott Limited (Ascott) has successfully secured over 2,100 new units across 12 properties in China in the last three months.

With these new units, the hospitality specialist has added a record high of more than 5,600 units across 26 properties, which represent a 60 per cent year-on-year growth in units in China. Globally, Ascott has sealed new contracts for more than 3,700 units across 22 properties; about 60 per cent of which are from China and the rest are in various countries such as Austria, with Citadines Danube City opening in Vienna in 2022, and Indonesia, with six properties in prominent cities such as Jakarta and Batam.

Despite the pandemic, Ascott is witnessing a healthy recovery in China on the operations front. Its apartment revenue in September 2020 performed close to 95 per cent of that in September 2019. Meanwhile, the company has been maintaining a steady stream of openings in 2020, having inaugurated 17 properties with over 2,400 units, with about half of these units being located in China.

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Ascott’s loyal long-stay corporate guests and the strong domestic leisure travel market have enabled its serviced residences in China to achieve impressive occupancy rates. In September 2020, close to 75 per cent of the hospitality expert’s guests in China were domestic travellers.

During the same period, Ascott’s properties in tier one cities such as Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen achieved an average occupancy rate of over 86 per cent. In Chongqing, despite facing the pandemic and the worst floods in decades, Ascott Raffles City Chongqing achieved a high occupancy rate of 80 per cent in August 2020. The property continued with high occupancy throughout September 2020 when it celebrated its first anniversary with a cheque presentation ceremony to the Chongqing Charity Federation, in support of flood relief efforts.

CEO – lodging, CapitaLand, Kevin Goh, who is also the CEO of Ascott, noted: “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the resilience and flexibility of Ascott’s business model to the fore. In 2020, we have signed more than 9,300 units in 48 properties worldwide while expanding in China at a record rate. We are also planting new flags in markets such as Austria and Indonesia, offering our guests a wider network of Ascott properties. At the peak of the COVID-19 situation, many of Ascott’s properties worldwide remained open to provide a safe haven for our long-stay corporate guests, maintaining a robust average occupancy rate. With China being the first major economy to resume growth after the pandemic and the easing of domestic travel restrictions in the country, we are seeing strong recovery at our properties in China.”

Also commenting was managing director for China and head of business development for China, Ascott, Tan Tze Shang: “During China’s Golden Week holiday from October 1-9, 2020, several of Ascott’s properties in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Chongqing, Xi’an and Wuxi, which are popular destinations amongst domestic travellers, achieved 100 per cent occupancy. Apartment revenue for our properties in China was also higher during the Golden Week holiday compared to the same period last year.”

Shang further explained: “With the 12 new properties secured in China, Ascott will make inroads into three new Chinese cities, Baotou, Ningbo and Yantai, while strengthening our presence in Changchun, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Suzhou and Xi’an. These properties are slated to open between December 2020 and 2026. The new additions will reinforce Ascott’s position as the largest international serviced residence owner-operator in China with about 30,000 units in over 150 properties.”

As for openings in 2020, Ascott has opened 17 projects that collectively contribute more than 2,400 units. Among these are seven new properties with over 1,200 units in Changsha, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Tianjin in China.

Outside of China, the group has inaugurated 10 new hotels with close to 1,200 units in Singapore; Bangkok in Thailand; Bangka Belingtung Island in Indonesia; Bundang in Korea; Gold Coast, Perth and Sydney in Australia; Osaka in Japan; London in the UK; and Tours in France.