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Ascott entrenches presence in Vietnam

Updated: 14/10/2013 | 11:02:06 AM
Singapore is the leading property investor in Vietnam. Despite the global economic distress and Vietnam’s real estate market downturn, Singaporean investors remain active in this market. VIR’s Bich Ngoc talks with Graham Black, Country General Manager for Vietnam from The Ascott Limited, about the company’s development in Vietnam.

How is this reflected in Ascott’s business in Vietnam?

Ascott is a pioneer in the serviced residence industry in Vietnam and we have a good understanding of the local market. We opened our first property in Vietnam, Somerset West Lake Hanoi, in 1994. Today, Ascott is the largest international owner and operator of serviced residences in Vietnam with over 1,800 apartment units across 13 properties in four cities – Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Haiphong and Danang.

As a well-established owner and operator of international-class serviced residences worldwide, we are able to leverage on Ascott’s global hospitality capabilities to enhance the value of our real estate. Our serviced residences in Vietnam have been achieving strong occupancies of over 80 per cent.

Ascott is also the preferred choice for travellers and companies as they only need to work with one party to take care of all their accommodation needs wherever they or their executives travel to. We actively listen to our guests, understand their needs and translate their feedback into unique local touches that help to make every stay special and memorable. It is this strong customer-centric approach that has reinforced our brand reputation over the years.

Why has The Ascott Limited not developed Ascott The Residence and Citadines apart’ hotel brands in Vietnam yet? Will you do it in the future?

Ascott has three globally recognised award-winning brands which cater to different lifestyle needs, including Ascott, Citadines and Somerset.

Our Somerset serviced residences are designed for guests who travel with their families and offer more recreational facilities such as playgrounds, tennis courts and swimming pools. This is a fit with the type of accommodation demand we see in the locations of our existing serviced residences.

Going forward, when there are suitable opportunities and locations, we do hope to introduce Ascott-branded as well as Citadines-branded serviced residences into Vietnam.

Our flagship Ascott serviced residences cater to top business executives with business support services in an exclusive environment. Our Citadines apart’ hotels cater to individual travellers who want quality accommodation and the flexibility to pay for the services they require.

What will be the focus of Ascott in Vietnam in the coming time?

We remain confident in the long-term growth of the serviced apartment market in Vietnam. The country’s large young labour force and pro-business environment will continue to attract foreign direct investments, generating demand for quality accommodation, including serviced residences.

Ascott currently operates eight properties in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and we will be opening more properties in Vietnam in the next few years. These include our first property in Haiphong – Somerset Central TD Hai Phong City in which Ascott has a 90 per cent stake and the property is scheduled to open in 2014 and our first property in Danang – Somerset Danang Bay that will open in 2015. We recently secured a management contract for Somerset West Central Hanoi which will open in 2016.

We are constantly looking for opportunities to expand our portfolio through investment, management contracts or franchising, and reinforce Ascott’s position as the largest international serviced residence owner-operator in Vietnam.

We will focus on deepening our presence in cities where we have properties to build economies of scale. The greater scale will enable us to further enhance our people, systems and properties to add value for partners and our customers.