Julie Grieve: Serviced apartments vital to growth

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As all eyes were on Scotland last year due to key sporting, political and festive events, people’s 
 eyes have been opened to the wonders of our country.

With Scotland’s tourism industry generating £5.2 billion GDP to the economy, this year we’re likely to welcome more visitors keen to sample some of that fine Scottish hospitality that was displayed in abundance last year.

Edinburgh, in particular, is a prime tourism destination. The Festivals lure five million people to the city and the number of tourists that visit the Castle, St Giles’ Cathedral and the National Gallery Complex offer an exciting glimpse into what there is on offer.

Consumers’ attitudes are more discerning which is why we’re seeing a spike in serviced apartments. Already proving popular in the US – where 12 per cent of accommodation bookings are for serviced apartments – this country is beginning to catch on as we’re currently sitting at five per cent. And the good news is serviced apartment operators are gaining more prominence on the main booking engines which is helping fuel this growth.

Serviced apartments bring greater independence and a greater sense of time to enjoy all of what our capital has to offer which is why operators are looking at extending their offering. As Edinburgh’s second largest operator we are adding a further 14 apartments which will be ready for the summer.

However it’s not just about the style, it’s about the service and we have to surpass all expectations if we want visitors to return. This can only be achieved from providing outstanding service and extremely high standards which are recognised and awarded by industry experts.

The Association of Serviced Apartment Providers Quality Assurance programme provides the serviced apartment sector with an official set of standards – similar to the star rating used by hotels. All members who have achieved the accreditation can display the approved kitemark to its guests, providing them with a high level of confidence.

By constantly improving and innovating what we do, in turn, we are helping make Edinburgh a destination visitors want to return to.

Julie Grieve is the chief executive of Lateral City, operator of the Old Town Chambers and Merchiston Residence