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Serviced apartment industry 'needs tightening up'

SilverDoor's Mark Stephens says industry needs to address compliance concerns such as security
26/09/2016

Pictured: SilverDoor senior business development manager Mark Stephens

Compliance within the growing serviced apartment industry "needs tightening up" if it is going to make its mark within the corporate events industry, a leading operator has said.


SilverDoor senior business development manager Mark Stephens says compliance issues such as security were as yet under-regulated across the industry. SilverDoor is the world's largest serviced apartment agency, operating more than 160,000 serviced apartments worldwide.


"[Compliance] has probably not gone far enough. It’s still a massively growing industry, a really young industry and it has grown organically without much regulation. It needs tightening up," he said.


Stephens was speaking in a panel alongside Keith Prowse's Sam Coates and Jason Capper from Camm and Hooper, in a session called A Reliance on Compliance at last week's Venues & Events. SilverDoor


Stephens said the serviced apartment industry, as with Airbnb, was becoming more popular among corporate bookers but said there was still shortcomings.


"I think the main area of concern revolves around security issues with serviced apartments where there is a self check in procedure - generally no one on site to monitor access to the building, plus the building will be subject to residential rather than hotel health and safety regulations," he said.


"I think regulation has been slow, firstly because it's such new industry to the UK and secondly until recently it's been operating under the radar - operators generally have been leasing residential units and then operating them as serviced apartments.


"With the rise of the apart-hotel concept, the industry is becoming much more visible. Larger operators are now operating dedicated  buildings under a hotel licence, so the regulations and consequently service levels are becoming more standardised and regulated.


"Traditionally the serviced apartment and events industries have not overlapped. However with apart-hotels becoming an option in many cities, and consequently operators targeting shorter, transient stays and group business, I don't see why events companies wouldn't look to taking advantage of this. "


Capper told the audience that clients within the petro-chemical industry were more likely than others to place a heavy weight on compliance.


He said: "It runs through their entire business; they approach an event the same way they approach an oil rig."


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