June 23, 2019

Interview: Charlie from Your Apartment

Ahead of our collaboration with Your Apartment to design six units in their Bristol collection, we caught up with their Director, Charlie, to discuss their plans for expansion as well as the value of interior design to their growth.

How did you start in the serviced apartment/short let market and what is your background?

We started by working with landlords to make their properties more marketable and reach a wider audience of guests. This soon included larger developers to provide advice on the short-let market and ultimately managing their properties to get the best return on investment they could achieve. We now have over 100 properties in the Bristol area, still managing individual properties as well as larger developments and providing guests with serviced apartments across the city.

What are your learnings from any mistakes you made in the early days at Your Apartment?

Lesson 1: Working with family isn’t easy! I run the business with my brother Toby and we have vastly different skill sets however when we launched the business, we had undefined roles and often we clashed. Fortunately, we are quite a way from that now.

Lesson 2: You really can’t do everything yourself. Delegation is the key to scaling our business which is another reason we have engaged Homewings. Our projects are getting bigger and trying to do the interior design, finding furniture, ordering, procurement and assembly takes us away from running the business and getting more units.

We saw in your recent Serviced Apartment news article that you are on a mission expand into aparthotels in all UK major cities in the next 5 years. Tell me more about that.

Yes, we have big plans to use what we’ve learned in Bristol to expand across the UK. We’re primarily looking at London, Birmingham and Cardiff for the first stage of expansion but we’re also looking for opportunities in other key cities. We’ve seen a huge demand for accommodation which offers more amenities than a hotel but the same level of quality and consistency. Our plan is to create design-led, functional aparthotels in well-connected locations, so we’re looking for opportunities which allow us to bring them to our customers at an affordable end price.

Why are you focusing on aparthotels as an expansion strategy, rather than serviced apartments which currently make up your portfolio?

The decision to expand with aparthotels was made as it is a more commercially viable option for us when expanding to new cities. They allow us to maintain the quality we’ve been able to offer in Bristol but on a much bigger scale. The focus for us will be on selecting the right locations for the aparthotels which attract both corporate and leisure guests offering them access to the city.

What differentiates Your Apartment from the rest of the market?

We go beyond the idea of merely somewhere to stay and add those extra touches which become part of our guest’s experience. We provide unique living spaces in well-connected, central locations which are designed with the customer in mind, whilst remaining as a cost-effective solution for our customers.

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What are your thoughts on the importance of interior design for an operator?

In hospitality, interior design is hugely important to stand out from the crowd. For us, the design of our apartments plays a huge part of creating a seamless image of a stylish, design-led brand, attracting people to want to stay with us. Great design allows us to create an environment our guests can relax and enjoy whilst remaining functional to still feel fresh for the high turnover of guests.

Make more out of your property with Homewings

Interior design, FF&E and installation at scale. Here's how we add value:

Enviable ROI We deliver tangible returns and scalability. Plug our service into your business to increase nightly rates by 22%, boost occupancy by 18% and accelerate speed to market.

Customer-led design Stand out from the crowd with differentiated, practical interior design that incorporates your unique brand DNA while being tailored to your budget and target market.

One stop shop Our end-to-end project delivery - everything from design and procurement to installation, styling and replenishment - saves both time and money vs scattered outsourcing.

Dedicated resources Let your dedicated project manager and design team do the heavy lifting and execution - simply track your project with our state of the art design and procurement platform.

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