The business travel space has changed in recent years with the emergence of Airbnb and so on, but while home comforts cater to certain audiences, hotel luxury will always have its place too – something CitySuites is well aware of.
Founded last year, CitySuites will officially open for business on 1 February 2017. With 20 staff and counting, the luxury serviced accommodation is based in Manchester, capitalising on the city’s growth amidst development of the Northern Powerhouse.
The brand is part of the Select Property Group, a global developer out to “revolutionise property investment by making it about people”, which boasts a Manchester HQ and offices in London, Dubai, Singapore and Shangai.
But with business travel in mind, CitySuites operations director Gavin Bailey explained why Manchester was the location of choice for the launch of the new venture.
“Manchester is massively on the map in terms of business travel with huge international names setting up camp in the city, including the BBC, Amazon and Google and Manchester Airport announcing new international routes every month,” he said.
“Couple this with the national emphasis of the city becoming the Northern Powerhouse, there is huge business potential in the city.”
Located on Chapel Street, the venue is in the centre of Manchester city, and Bailey insisted there’s no way it could be passed up.
“When our acquisitions team discovered that the CitySuites site was up for sale, we couldn’t say no,” he detailed.
“A stone’s throw from the spires of the city’s cathedral, its shopping boutiques and the major business centres, CitySuites really is in the heart of Manchester and surpasses any other location we’d seen.”
The concept of the site connects hotel luxury with home comforts, which Bailey said the team was able to create by experiencing business travel problems first-hand.
“As regular business travellers ourselves, both in the UK and overseas, essentially we are our own customer and completely understand the frustrations that working away from home brings,” he said.
“The standard accommodation options are not great. You can opt for a hotel room, which is often cramped and not particularly comfortable. Alternatively, you can choose serviced apartments, which for the most part are basic, a bit shabby and not managed brilliantly.”
The goal was to bring these two business travel worlds together, but with a luxury touch to create that business class setting.
“Apartments are designed to deliver the space and facilities for guests to work, cook for family and friends or simply relax on their sofa watching a movie on Netflix or Sky Sports,” Bailey continued.
“This is coupled with hotel facilities, including a pool, on-site gym, valet parking and fully manned reception. CitySuites caters for every need of the modern business traveller. I’m confident that CitySuites will be Manchester’s finest residence upon opening, bar none.”
Interestingly, there’s a Premier Inn just across the road from the location, but Bailey isn’t worried about the “average” neighbour.
“Our customers want more than an average hotel bedroom for a couple of nights, they want somewhere luxurious they can call their home away from home,” he declared.
“We also have a four-night minimum stay, so our customers will be different to those of Premier Inn and CitySuites is a different concept.”
The main complaints from business travellers that the company has aimed to avoid with its site include location and size.
Bailey said: “Business travellers were frustrated by doing work on their laps on their hotel bed, or opting for an apartment but being on the outskirts of town.”
The business travel brand appears to have every angle covered in detail. But Bailey highlighted that the main challenge for CitySuites is staying true to the vision as it attempts to push the boundaries of the marketplace.
Detailing how this has been achieved, he said: “We have constantly evaluated ourselves to ensure that we strike the balance between luxury and homely, and have the staff on board to ensure that our level of service surpasses our customers’ expectations.”
And with customers in mind, CitySuites is already attracting sales from businesses of varying sizes, from one-man bands to large firms looking at long-term accommodation.
“We have had freelancers book for four nights, international corporate buyers purchasing 11-month stays to be used for multiple staff, we’ve got a theatre group booked to stay for a number of months whilst they perform at one of Manchester’s theatres,” said Bailey.
“All customers, whether they’re lawyers, actors, accountants or whatever are attracted by our location, the level of quality and the home from home design.”
Organically, consumers have also been attracted to the venue, but the main marketing focus for CitySuites at present is business travel.
There are 237 apartments on offer in total, including studios, one bedroom and two bedrooms, while there is also a residential floor with four suites that Manchester VIPs have purchased.
In addition to traditional marketing methods and social media activity to drive business, CitySuites leapt into action to spread some festive cheer ahead of Christmas with a choir serenading commuters at Manchester Piccadilly Station.
Looking at the year ahead, Bailey concluded: “For CitySuites, we are eyeing up a number of potential sites both in the UK and overseas.
“But our core focus at the moment is to make sure that CitySuites meets and exceeds the expectations of each and every one of our customers from the moment they walk through the doors on 1 February.”