Onyx sees “Airbnb” shift in serviced apartment sector

Shama Sukhumvit Bangkok
Shama Sukhumvit, Bangkok

The serviced apartment industry’s traditional long-stay model is changing, with more people now opting to use such properties for short breaks.

This is according to Duncan Webb, Onyx Hospitality Group’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer, who told Travel Daily that the consumer appetite for Airbnb-style accommodation has altered the market for serviced apartment operators.

Onyx operates its Shama serviced apartment brand in several Asian cities, including Bangkok, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

“Shama’s traditional long-stay model is morphing into short-stay. I think the growth of the Airbnbs of this world is leading people to realise that, by staying in an apartment, you have a little more freedom and space,” Webb revealed. “People are looking at serviced apartments in a different way; you could call it ‘Airbnb with security’.”

Duncan Webb
Duncan Webb

Webb added however, that the trend is not consistent across all markets; Shanghai for example, remains “pure long-stay” because it’s such a strong corporate market. But in others like Hangzhou the mix is “50-50”.

“We have a lot of people who choose to stay in a Shama because they have more space. So we see the market changing; you only have to look at some of our competitors (the traditional serviced apartment companies) and it’s very obvious – they’re selling on a daily basis, so we do the same.”

He also used the example of Shama Sukhumvit in Bangkok, which has a significant short-stay market due to its popularity with Middle Eastern guests “who like the concept of more space, having a kitchen and so on.”

Shama is one of Onyx’s fastest-growing brands, with multiple hotels in the pipeline across Hong Kong and China. The company also recently signed the Shama Luxe Aurora Melbourne – its first property in Australia.

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