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Go Native: The place to stay for the London Olympics


Irhal.com had the pleasure of interviewing Ben Harper from Go Native Apartments at ATM 2012, and he filled us in on the benefit s of using their services. If you’re planning a trip to the UK, especially during the Olympics, you might want to consider staying with them.  Ben will tell you why:

Irhal: Talk about the benefits for people using Go Native’s serviced apartments over hotels

Ben:  So we believe that anything from 2-3 nights to 3 months is worth considering serviced apartments. The key benefits are space, independence, home-from-home, ability to cook, the ability to prepare your own food – just giving you that extra space that you wouldn’t achieve at a hotel. Other key benefits are we have a range of studios, 1’s, 2’s and 3 bedroom apartments so for families it invites a really good option

Is Go Native aimed at business travellers only or do they consider families and other types of travellers also?

The foundation of our business has been the corporate market, that’s how we’ve grown up over the last 17 years. Moving into the Middle Eastern region has been a new venture for us and it’s hinged on the new apartment that we have launched in Sussex Gardens, Lancaster Gate. The apartment is just off Hyde Park near Marble Arch, Paddington and Edgware Road so we believe that it is a great proposition for the leisure corporate and the Middle East family market.

How many Middle East serviced apartments are there in Go Native’s portfolio?

See the way that we operate is that we have 500 of our own serviced apartments in London and Edinburgh and where we don’t have them, we act as a broker. So, we do have supply in the Middle East but it’s not our own. We call it our global network

Are you expanding to other countries in the Middle East as well, or do you not consider this market big enough for a service like the one Go Native offers.

The ambition is to be global, we are focusing predominantly on the UK market at the moment from an operator point of view, but, as I said, our business on the corporate side is quite client driven so if our corporate clients required us to be stronger in here we would strengthen our strategic partnerships out there.

I think where there is a big business and leisure travel inbound market, which there clearly is in Dubai, I think there’s going to be more and more opportunity for serviced apartments as consumer awareness grows, as corporate awareness grows due to the nature of the product. It saves people money and it gives people a different option to hotels. So I do see there is an opportunity, yeah.  

Do you have any statistics on how many Middle East based travellers have used Go Native apartments in the past?

This week was a fact find mission to launch Go Native to the trade here. We hope to come away from this week, and this show, with new distribution partnerships who can help us launch into this market.

Where is your largest market?

It’s probably a split between the UK domestic travellers, maybe business or leisure. A big market for us interestingly although it’s sold through the UK, is travellers from the Subcontinent so a lot of Indian and Chinese for example who might be coming into the UK to work on six months projects or investment banks or consultancies – we house a large number of them.

Tell us about the benefits of using Go Native during the London Olympics

We’ve taken a very measured approach to it. A number of hoteliers have got very excited about the opportunity to increase revenues and rates – we haven’t done that. We’ve done three things – we’ve taken on additional apartment stock in London and we’re working with Olympic sponsors to house their people and to house big sponsor’s requirements over the period. Second, we have held our corporate rates and third, the most important thing really is that this block is not yet open.  It opens on May 17th, so we still have availability for the Olympic period and the rates that we’ve launched this week will be held until the end of 2012, not increased for that period at all.

For more information about Go Native, visit their website.

To plan your trip to London on Irhal, click here to view the city guide!


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