What It Takes To Become An Award Winning Brand
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More than just a place to stay.
That’s the tagline award-winning serviced apartments provider, Cheval Residences, pride themselves on. And they’re not lying. With a range of five star serviced apartments across London and a team dedicated to providing the best user and guest experience, Cheval Residences won two awards last year and are once again in the running to win not one but three awards at tonight’s Serviced Apartment Awards.
Avvio is extremely excited to be working with Cheval Residences. Last week, we sat down with Cheval’s Emma Stroud to discuss what makes an award winning brand.
Having won the award for ‘Industry Inspiration’ and ‘Best Branded Residence’ last year and been shortlisted for three awards this year, it’s fair to say the Cheval brand remains as strong as ever.
How do you use innovation to grow your award-winning brand?
Innovation is the icing on the cake; it’s what allows us to be creative in the 21st Century.
As a brand, which has championed the ‘personal touch’ with all our clients, it has been imperative for Cheval Residences to continually look forward when it comes to understanding the latest trends and technology in the digital world. More key, however, is our understanding of our customers’ preferences and habits, while ensuring we have an open ‘ear’ to how our customers wish to engage with us.
This has naturally led us to look outside the box in how technology can support the creative process and the means by which we can deliver digitally led unique experiences that benefit both our customers’ needs and our needs as a business.
What does it take for a Serviced Apartment company to become a multi-award winning accommodation provider?
A lot of work! It requires a very cohesive approach across all residences whether offering short or extended stay. The business has grown from four residences, with just over 200 apartments at the Millennium, to today’s collection of eight residences with over 500 apartments, all situated in prime Central London locations. The business has been driven through much of this period by George Westwell, who appropriately won two major awards in 2016 for his contribution to the serviced apartment sector.
Through his leadership and direction, the business has ensured all members of the Cheval family are engaged with the vision and drive to ‘be the best I can’, a saying that is emblazoned on a wall at Group Office.
I would say that one of the strong points of the Cheval brand is that we do not sit still. We continually review all areas of the business and ensure change is pushed forward when it is to the benefit of the business and the people behind the brand.
How do you build a strong relationship with your clients and keep them coming back?
That is the million dollar question! Again we believe customer loyalty is created and developed over time, not just through the use of gadgets or the ability for customers to book online at warp speed, but in the trust and emotional engagement that the customer experiences at each and every step of the way.
There is a huge responsibility on the teams within each of our residences for developing and maintaining those long lasting relationships; in the way our guests are greeted to how team members go that extra mile, something that is not part of their job description.
It also helps to balance these elements with understanding market forces and adapting our sales and marketing messages to ensure we do not lose during times when customers are very price sensitive.
With the direct booking revolution in full swing and accommodation providers competing with online travel agencies (OTAs) for web traffic, how do you grow your direct bookings?
While we do not wish to give away all our secrets, it helps to work with partners who are as commercially aware as your own brand; who understand your direction and objectives and are excited to travel that journey with you. It is also very important to try new things, even when the experts tell you otherwise. To think laterally, so that if one way doesn’t work, there are always alternatives.
On the flip side, it is essential that Serviced Apartments use OTAs to support growth in brand awareness and in their capacity to bring new customers to the door, while ensuring they are managed wisely and effectively throughout the annual cycle.
As a brand of the 21st century we have to be clever as well as creative, while understanding that there is no such word as ‘can’t’ especially when we are competing with brands that could swallow us up if we took our eye off the ball.
Cheval Residences will be attending tonight’s Serviced Apartment Awards at The Grange Tower Bridge Hotel in London, having been shortlisted for three prestigious awards: best sales/ account management team, best independent operator and best marketing or branding campaign. Avvio look forward to cheering them on and couldn’t be more thrilled to have them as a valued client.
Avvio has also been shortlisted for the best use of technology and look forward to seeing some of you there. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to keep updated on tonight’s awards and other industry insights. Or if you’ll be at tonight’s celebrations, drop by the Avvio table and meet some of our experts. We’d be delighted to see you there!