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Ascott Exceeds 2019 Record Growth To Add Over 14,200 Units Globally In 2020 Despite Covid-19

January 13, 2021 Serviced Apartments No Comments

CapitaLand’s wholly owned lodging business unit, The Ascott Limited (Ascott) has added a record of over 14,200 units across 71 properties globally for 2020.
Despite COVID-19, this exceeds the number of units secured in 2019, marking a fourth consecutive year of record growth for Ascott. In China, Ascott has also achieved an 80% yearon-year growth in units compared to 2019
. The new properties secured will boost Ascott’s annual fee income by over S$27 million as they progressively open and stabilise.

Since October 2020, Ascott added more than 4,900 units across 23 properties. This includes over
3,800 units across 17 properties in China. Ascott will make its first foray into the city of Yangzhou while expanding in other cities such as Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Wuhan. Among the newly secured properties are two rental housing properties in Shanghai and Hangzhou, marking Ascott’s increased presence in China’s high growth rental housing sector. As China continues to urbanise, an estimated 252 million tenants will make up a RMB3 trillion rental market by 20252

. Outside of China, Ascott has sealed
contracts for over 1,000 new units across 6 properties. They are in markets such as Doha, Qatar;
Manila, Philippines; Singapore; Sydney, Australia; as well as Binh Duong and Danang in Vietnam where Ascott will introduce its first lyf coliving property and first Citadines Connect business hotel in the country.

Mr Kevin Goh, CapitaLand’s Chief Executive Officer for Lodging and Ascott’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “COVID-19 has validated the resilience of Ascott’s business model as property owners continue to sign new management and franchise contracts with us, allowing us to achieve our fourth consecutive year of record growth in 2020. Through these new contracts, we continue
to build our future recurring fee income stream. In 2021, over 80 properties with about 17,000
units are slated to open across the world. This includes over 70 properties with more than 15,000
units in Asia Pacific which is expected to lead the global economic recovery. We will continue
to look for opportunities to expand our presence through management contracts, franchises, strategic alliances, and stand ready to seize good investment opportunities.”

Mr Goh added: “While we were not spared the short-term operational impact of COVID-19, we believe that the fundamental demand for lodging remains intact and will bounce back quickly once the global pandemic is brought under control. In the meantime, we continue to seek new opportunities amid the crisis. We have capitalised on Ascott’s well-designed and spacious serviced apartments to tap on domestic demand while pursuing new businesses. Ascott’s new businesses such as the ‘Work in Residence’ and ‘Space-as-a-Service’ initiatives have generated more than S$91 million3 in 2020. With the global roll out of vaccines and testing protocols to facilitate the gradual resumption of international travel, Ascott will emerge stronger and deliver greater value for our partners and guests.”

Mr Tan Tze Shang, Ascott’s Managing Director for China and Head of Business Development for China, said: “Ascott’s business in China continues to lead our global expansion. We have achieved record growth in new units and about half of the properties opened globally are in China.

In key cities, our properties such as Ascott Heng Shan Shanghai, Ascott Aden Shenzhen, Ascott
IFC Guangzhou, and Raffles City Residence Beijing, have strong average occupancy rate of over

In 2021, we are slated to open three lyf coliving properties in Hangzhou, Shanghai and
Xi’an to cater to the fast-expanding demographic of millennial and millennial-minded customers.
The first of our three rental housing properties in China is also slated to open in Hangzhou in 3Q
2021. These new lodging options will enable Ascott to expand our customer reach and product
offerings to business partners in China.”

Mr Tan added: “Ascott’s expansion into the rental housing segment taps on the growing demand
from young, mobile workers as well as returning students from abroad who are looking to rent
quality fully furnished homes in the tier one and tier two cities on a long-term basis in China.

We have also infused new technologies into the more traditional rental housing sector by
enabling our guests to pay rent and utilities, submit requests and book facilities digitally to
increase guest satisfaction and improve operational efficiency.”

In 2020, Ascott opened 25 new properties adding over 3,900 units to its global inventory. This
includes the opening of 10 properties with more than 1,800 units in China. In the last quarter of
2020, new properties were opened in Australia, China and Thailand. The new properties include
Quest Ballarat Station, Quest Preston and Quest Wangaratta in Australia; as well as Citadines
Yunlong Lake Xuzhou and Tujia Somerset Yunlong Lake Xuzhou in China.

Please see Annex A for highlights of some of the newly signed properties and Annex B for highlights of some of the new properties opened in 2020.

Leveraging digital capabilities to support Ascott’s growth Amidst the COVID-19 situation, Ascott continued to leverage and upgrade its digital capabilities to support Ascott’s growth, enhance its guests’ experience and ensure their safety.

Ascott completed the migration of its customer relationship management and property management systems to a cloud enterprise solution. The move enables Ascott to increase operational efficiency and further enhance guest experience across its properties worldwide. The
check-in process is shortened, and the creation of an automated workflow management system
allows efficient tracking and management of operations such as housekeeping services in realtime. A new data analytics platform was also introduced to provide greater value for Ascott’s corporate clients.

Ascott’s service robot, Aria will be deployed to selected properties in Singapore in 2021. Aria is
one of the contactless technologies that Ascott has introduced to its properties in China. Guests
can call upon Aria to perform a suite of tasks such as concierge services, leading guests to the
rooms or facilities, delivering clean laundry and packages, and refilling room supplies. Aria is
also able to interface independently with the property’s vending machine to bring guests their
ordered items via a mobile app.

To minimise physical contact and reduce check-in time, Ascott has installed self check-in kiosk
with facial recognition technology in selected properties in China and Singapore. In Singapore,
Ascott has worked with Singapore Tourism Board to install an E-Visitor Authentication system
at Ascott Orchard Singapore where guests can scan their passports at the kiosk and their data will
be sent to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority to verify the validity of their stay,
providing seamless check-in. In addition, Ascott has launched an automated room key card
verification system which enables guests in China to simply tap their room key cards on the card
reader installed in the property’s breakfast lounge and head straight for their breakfast without
the need for its staff to verify the guests’ breakfast entitlements manually.

Ascott’s loyalty programme Ascott Star Rewards (ASR) tapped on numerous digital initiatives to support the company’s expansion, increasing ASR members by 45% over 2019. The new Discover ASR mobile app is a one-stop 24/7 digital concierge, providing greater value and flexibility for ASR members to enhance their experience with Ascott. Through the app, ASR members can search for special deals and book their stay at about 200 participating properties in over 25 countries and more than 85 cities. Guests can also access their apartments via the app’s digital key feature. Other ASR initiatives supporting Ascott’s growth include the purchase of ASR points online, as well as the ASR Elite Status Match and CapitaStar-ASR Points Exchange programmes which allow ASR members to gain more points or upgrade their membership tier.

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