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Space as a service: Ascott transforms rooms into workspaces

Work suites with videoconferencing facilities, and Starbucks self-service kiosks, are some of the new ways Ascott has reimagined its under-utilised spaces.

Ascott has rolled out two new initiatives to target remote workers and corporates seeking alternative workspace locations.
Ascott has rolled out two new initiatives to target remote workers and corporates seeking alternative workspace locations.

With the remote working more common than ever during the Covid-19 pandemic, Ascott has quickly pivoted its serviced apartment offerings to target not just long-term stayers but guests, corporates and students seeking alternative locations other than their own abode to conduct work or study.

The launch of Ascott's Work in Residence service, which follows after the programme's successful pilot in countries such as Australia, France, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Turkey, is now available across over 60 participating properties in more than 30 cities and over 10 countries.

These selected apartments turned work suites are fully-furnished and well-equipped work suites that enable guests to just check-in and start work with minimal disruptions. Larger apartments with separate living and dining areas, kitchen and individual bedrooms are ideal for project groups.

Guests have the flexibility to choose either daily, weekly or monthly packages. Depending on the length of use and location, the work suites come with a dedicated workstation, regular housekeeping, complimentary coffee and tea or complimentary parking at selected serviced residences. Nespresso coffee machines are also available in selected apartments.

Telecommuting essentials such as high-speed Wifi, wide-screen monitor, webcam for videoconferencing and Bluetooth speakers with microphones are available on demand. To enhance the work-stay experience, task lights, wireless charging stand for tablets and mobile phones, adequate power plugs and USB charging ports, as well as a stationery kit are provided for guests. Guests can also choose from a range of services which include food delivery, grocery shopping, printing, concierge or book-a-chef for in-room dining.

“To ensure that Ascott remains a dominant lodging player in the new normal, we must be agile, continually adapt and develop new business strategies to future-ready our company. We are evolving our lodging products and services to cater to new customer segments, uncover alternative revenue streams as well as deliver greater value for our guests and business partners," said Kevin Goh, CapitaLand's CEO for Lodging and Ascott’s CEO.

Meanwhile, Ascott is also exploring ways to offer more services to guests while further optimising the use of space at its properties though the Space-as-a-Service initiative, Ascott’s chief development officer Leong Teng Wui added.

"This adaptive use of space and menu of new services will create an even more productive, conducive and stimulating environment for our guests to live, work, play and innovate in our properties,” he stated.

For example, Ascott has partnered with Nestlé to set up Starbucks self-service kiosks offering coffee at special rates in the lobby of its Citadines-branded properties around the world. The Starbucks self-service kiosks are already launched in Citadines Balestier Singapore and Citadines Fusionopolis Singapore, and is expected to roll out to other Citadines properties elsewhere in China, Malaysia and Japan by the end of 2020 and Europe in 2021.

Ascott is leveraging the strategic locations of its serviced residences by exploring with MNCs, entrepreneurs and SMEs to use the space at its properties to host cloud kitchens or as parcel collection hubs.

In Singapore, Ascott has partnered with a food technology company to set up a cloud kitchen in the shared kitchen of lyf Funan Singapore to provide in-house guests with more dining options. In the Philippines, Somerset Alabang Manila is piloting the conversion of under-utilised spaces within the property into a parcel collection hub where delivery firms can sort and store parcels.

Elsewhere in Asia, Ascott has tapped onto the popular live stream ecommerce business by providing selected apartments at Ascott Raffles City Shenzhen and Somerset IOC Hangzhou in China for live streaming events and photoshoots for long-stay guests which include internet celebrities and corporates from new media and ecommerce companies.

As well, Ascott Raffles City Chengdu and Somerset Riverview Chengdu in China have converted some of their apartments into fitness studios where instructors can reserve them at special rates to conduct classes for the properties’ guests. In Vietnam, at Somerset Grand Hanoi, Somerset Hoa Binh Hanoi and Somerset Vista Ho Chi Minh City, selected apartments have similarly been converted into yoga studios.