Make Yourself At Home
Ascott’s serviced residences offer novel packages tailored to the needs of the couples and new families
Issue: Jul 2011
The Cooking Plan Package allows unmarried couples who often check in at Citadines Shinjuku Tokyo for a foretaste of domestic bliss to experience home affairs to the fullest
Serviced residences make for ideal housing options for mid to long-term stayers. They combine the comforts of home with the conveniences of hotels to give you the best home-away-from-home experience. But with global serviced apartment owner-operators, The Ascott Limited (Ascott), service is not only tailored to the needs of the cities the properties are in, it is also designed to engage the unique resident-profile of the properties. Forget cookie-cutter programmes and standard facilities. At Ascott, staff are sensitive to the concerns of the residents and unafraid to introduce novel services to cater to specific needs.
Citadines Shinjuku Tokyo’s central location and modern design are a hit with young couples
A Draw for Singles and Small Families
Like many modern cities, space is often a concern, constraint and consideration for homeowners in Tokyo. This is true, too, for the residents of Citadines Shinjuku Tokyo.
“In Japan, many young people live with their parents till they are married. So privacy is always an issue,” said Yuka Yamane, Residence Manager of Citadines Shinjuku Tokyo.
As a result, the Apart’hotel, located within walking distance of the Shinjuku East area, the thriving business, retail and entertainment hub, is a favourite with young couples and small families as an easy, short-term getaway.
“It is a common custom for unmarried couples to stay in hotels to enjoy private time together especially on special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and anniversaries. They find our property one of the best places to spend time together to experience home life before marriage,” added Yamane.
In fact, of the 30% of locals who live in the Apart’hotel, nine out of 10 are either young couples or small families. Its central location near prime subway stations, shops and entertainment, is a real boost, too.
Cooking Plan Package
Noticing the resident mix and needs, Yamane came up with an idea to offer something specially targeted at these couples and families.
“Many of our Japanese guests were asking for basic spices and condiments for cooking during their stay,” said Yamane. “I decided to create a programme to provide this service more comprehensively.”
The Cooking Plan Package comes with the free use of a rice cooker and other condiments such as cooking oil, three kinds of spices, pepper and soy sauce
Once presented with the idea, all the staff at Citadines Shinjuku Tokyo were on board and within a month of the proposal, the Cooking Plan Package was implemented. The package offers three kinds of spices, salt, pepper, soy sauce, cooking oil and sponges and detergent for doing the dishes. It also includes the free use of a rice cooker so that couples and small families can enjoy home-cooked meals.
“Guests don’t have to bring their own cooking utensils and ingredients that would weigh down their luggage,” said Yamane. “The feedback so far has all been positive.”
Since it was introduced in June last year, the programme has had an overwhelming response, with over 300 bookings in just six months. And the staff are continually improving the package.
“For the Valentine’s Day package, we even throw in a free cake,” said Yamane.
New parents and adoption agencies appreciate the Baby Welcome Package at Somerset Grand Hanoi
Welcoming New Parents
The genesis behind Somerset Grand Hanoi’s Baby Welcome Package in Vietnam is somewhat similar. The 185-unit serviced residence is right at the heart of Hanoi’s business and commercial district. Within walking distance of streets lined with cafes, bistros and restaurants, entertainment and shopping facilities, there is also a mall, convention centre and child education centre on the lower floors of the tower. Being the tallest building around, the apartments afford residents with a panoramic view of the city. But what has made this place particularly special is the fact that the apartments are near several international adoption agencies.
“This was during the period of the financial crisis in mid 2009 and we were facing competition from a few hotels. I was talking to a representative of Helping Hands, an adoption agency and we realized that adopting families is a market that we could tap into to remain competitive,” said Thai Phuong Hoa, Ascott’s Director of Sales and Marketing, North Vietnam.
“Parents who come here to adopt need a place to stay that is near the adoption agencies because they need to go to the authorities everyday with the baby to settle matters. They need a place that is convenient where they can cook simple meals for the baby,” said Hoa.
Baby Welcome Package
Hoa sought to learn all he could about the needs of these families. He and his team spoke to three other adoption agencies and more than 20 adoptive parents. After nearly two months, he discovered that apart from needing a good place to stay, these new parents also needed help in other matters.
“Most of them come from far away Western countries like Ireland, Canada, Italy, Denmark, and France and this is their first time in Vietnam. So they have no idea where to get baby supplies like milk, bathing items and these things are too heavy for them to bring from home,” said Hoa.
Staff at Somerset Grand Hanoi came up with the Baby Welcome Package idea due to its proximity to international adoption agencies
The Baby Welcome Package at Somerset Grand Hanoi includes baby bath tubs and baby bath essentials
The Baby Welcome Package was thus introduced to meet these needs. Baby bath tubs and bath essentials like baby soap and shampoo, milk bottles, brushes to clean the bottles, baby cots and a hot and cold water dispenser stocked with five gallons of bottled water are all part of the package. The management began with 10 such packages.
“We spent time surveying the market to find reputable brands for the products and also tied up with our sister properties to get extra baby cots whenever needed,” said Hoa.
The residents have warmly welcomed the service and to date, 300 packages have been purchased. The number of adoption agencies that have partnered Somerset Grand Hanoi have also risen from three to 12.
Indeed, such sensitivity to the needs of the guests and desire to engage residents not only bring in new businesses, they are also Ascott trademarks that sets it well above the rest.
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