Trust us; we know getting serviced accommodation in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region can be downright daunting.
For one, the region itself is vast and diverse. The apartment setups and amenities can vary greatly by property, and the very process of securing an apartment is mainly different than it is in the rest of the world. The fun really begins after you book your apartment with currencies exchanges and invoicing—we’re sure you’ve all heard of Fapiao!
All things considered, business and commerce in APAC are thriving. Thus, operating in the region is vital to the success of any international organization.
To help illuminate all the nuance a global accommodation programme manager must consider, Synergy developed a comprehensive APAC serviced accommodation content series covering everything you need to know. From the importance of local support to tax and currency policy to the importance of property vetting, our series invites you behind the scenes to ensure you are set up for success.
In part one of our series, we outline the five essential programme elements of any successful APAC serviced accommodation provider.
So, let’s dive a little deeper, shall we?
1. Financial Expertise, Tools, & Systems
If you are looking for quick service and maximum cost savings, financial expertise and in-region knowledge are your two most essential service differentiators. A working understanding of the financial processes, required entities, and requisite documentation for each sub-region within APAC will ensure your accommodation programme is both cost-effective and efficient.
Financial tools and systems are also vital attributes to look for in your provider. As we’re sure you know, dealing with exchange rates can be an absolute headache. It’s expensive, difficult to forecast, and it slows down the payment process. Not to mention, some landlords won’t even accept payment outside of local currency. The answer? Well, besides the need to have a local team who can help navigate the complexity, you also want a solid software stack that will integrate the various financial metrics and data points into one easy-to-use system of financial tools.
And rest assured, you don’t have to worry about currency exchanges with Synergy. We can bill in Indian Rupees, Singapore Dollars, Hong Kong Dollars, and Chinese Yuan Renminbi. Synergy can also issue Special VAT and e-fapiaos.
2. Strategically Placed Business Entities
It should come as no surprise; serviced accommodation providers need local or country-registered business entities to lawfully claim tax rebates on any in-country purchases of services. These rebates are critical to ensuring you receive the very best rate structure as well as the proper documentation of services for your internal financial teams.
To ensure we can support our international clientele’s APAC needs, Synergy set up separate business entities in India, Singapore, and China. Our finance department is staffed by an experienced and diverse team of international finance experts, providing our clients with end-to-end payment and billing solutions for the APAC region
3. In-Region, Local Support is Critical
Simply put, if you want a streamlined, cost-effective, end-to-end serviced accommodation programme across APAC, your provider must have experienced boots on the ground. Not only can a local team offer insights, suggestions, and advice about properties and locations, they enable a quick response to reservation and service enquires.
Added guest services like airport pick-ups, meet and greets, tailored welcome packages, and 24/7/365 guest support rely heavily on team members’ strategic placement throughout the region. Imagine trying to fix a Wi-Fi issue without a local contact—nearly impossible.
One of the most significant advantages of local support is the ability to build relationships with in-region suppliers. These relationships are instrumental in ensuring your apartment quality, access, and affordability needs are met.
In this regard, we’ve got you covered. Two industry veterans lead our APAC team with over 25 years of experience between them. Working with them includes a number of reservations, guest services, supply chain, sales and finance specialists to support Synergy’s clients with local solutions.
More recently, Synergy also opened an office in Bangalore to support clients with the complexities associated with the Indian market, and is tax registered in 5 indian states including Telengana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Haryana.
4. A Robust Serviced Apartment Portfolio
Working with a serviced accommodation provider with a robust inventory is a must for any successful APAC accommodation program. Apart from the benefits of receiving more options, the options you do receive will better align with your accommodation requirements. Just think about all the needs of your traveling and relocating employees. Everything from pet policies to laundry facilities to proximity to public transit depends entirely on your serviced accommodation providers’ access to inventory.
And, unlike other parts of the world, just because there is an available supply doesn’t necessarily mean your serviced apartment provider can actually place a reservation within the apartments. Moreover, many inventory options aren’t listed publicly and require a local in-the-know relationship to access the apartment. A robust apartment portfolio combined with local team members is critical in this regard.
When Synergy entered APAC, we knew how important it was to offer one of the region’s largest concentrations of serviced apartments. Now, with supply chain specialists across Singapore and Shanghai, Synergy can open the door to a wealth of top-quality apartments throughout the region
5. Property Vetting & Due diligence
We’ve all heard the gripe, “it was nothing like the pictures!” Adequate property vetting and due diligence will help you rest easy on the move-in day knowing there is no chance of receiving that dreaded call at three in the morning from your VP of Engineering demanding you find a hotel because the apartment you booked is in a basement without windows.
As health, safety, and security remain top of mind throughout the world, adequate property vetting and due diligence will help ensure the inventory options meet the strictest standards of cleanliness and sanitisation. Rigorous due diligence will also unearth any property limitations regarding security features, access vulnerabilities, emergency warning systems, and disability services.
Before you go…
Let’s put the difficulties, complexities, and challenges aside for a moment. It’s important to remember that APAC is a beautiful, dynamic, and diverse region. It offers some of the world’s most timeless cultures, all combined with the speed and efficiency of a sustainable, tech-forward population.
Whether you are a financial services company, a CA-based tech company, or an apparel company, business in APAC is a rite of passage and one worth the journey, effort, and investment. After all, there’s a reason the world wakes up on APAC time.
Interested in how Synergy can help streamline your business travel and mobility needs in APAC? Send us an email (email@example.com). We offer flexible solutions blended with incomparable account management capabilities, the highest levels of duty of care and 24/7/365 support from friendly, local experts.