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CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Shama Serviced Apartments to expand its global footprint

Shama offers both the warm comforts of a home and the impeccable luxuries of a hotel.

Nowadays, the line between travelling for business and travelling for leisure is increasingly being blurred as more people—and lately companies—continue to prefer having the comforts of house-like amenities but in the impeccable standard of a conventional hotel when it comes to the places they stay in. This is something that Shama Serviced Apartments, has been focusing on and leveraging in, providing this growing market segment the kind of hybrid model for fully equipped accommodations necessary for either long or short stays, whether for business or leisure.

For Gina Wo, Senior Vice President & Head of Greater China of ONYX Hospitality Group (Shama’s parent company), serviced apartments fill the “sweet spot” between home comfort and the traditional luxuries of a hotel.“In Asia, more and more companies are sending their employees on short-term assignments to fill skills gaps or facilitate the transfer of cross-cultural knowledge. Serviced apartments fill the sweet spot between leased residences and conventional hotels by offering enhanced space, flexibility, and value-added services,” said Wo. “Increasingly, serviced apartments are also attracting leisure and business travellers who appreciate enhanced space and home-like comforts, even if they may be in town only for a few days.”

“For investors and property developers, owning a serviced apartment project comes with the upside of being able to gain from a diversity of business sources—from longer-term corporate tenancy agreements to dynamic short-stay retail sales through branded channels and online travel agents—from one single property and address,” she said.

Shama value
Established in 1996, it has been a prominent brand concentrated solely in the serviced apartment market with a strong presence in its roots in Hong Kong, with six fully serviced apartments in the territory. Currently, Shama is able to provide more than 400 keys to fully equipped apartments within the special administrative region.

The acquisition of Shama by ONYX Hospitality Group in 2010 is a way to diversify its accommodation offerings to serviced apartments along with other names such as Amari and OZO. ONYX runs some of Thailand’s most successful hotels for over 50 years. Shama is now looking to increase its global footprint, particularly in Greater China. With the world’s second largest economy continuing its stellar growth trend, attracting more global businesses to set up shop there and spur increased knowledge sharing activities, corporate travellers and placements will likely keep the serviced apartments sector busy for the next years to come.

“From its beginnings as a China and Hong Kong-centric brand, Shama has since expanded under ONYX Hospitality Group’s leadership and counts Australia and Malaysia amongst its pipeline destinations,” Wo said. “There are ongoing discussions for additional Shama-branded properties in various countries across the Asia-Pacific region.”

“What makes Shama stand out is that we offer the best of both the comforts of home and the services of a hotel, and we clearly target residents and guests who are keen to make the most of their new city and live like a local, and also to feel truly at home,” Wo said. “We understand that our residents do not want to feel like a stranger, and this is why, apart from simply being a serviced apartment operator, Shama offers its exclusive ‘no boundaries’ lifestyle programme to our guests.”

This lifestyle programme that Shama offers include all aspects of a lifestyle any guest would likely look for, granting their clients a more immersive local experience including a taste of the local culture, the neighbourhood, lifestyle venue and amenities, as well as tenant activities held in the community and insider information on great finds on food and shopping.

Expanding footprint
In 2018, Shama through the ONYX Hospitality Group signed a total of six new development deals with five different partners, while also ushering the development and launch of five new properties in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Thailand. According to Wo, ONYX Hospitality Group currently have 13 Shama properties opened across Asia, and a further nine Shama properties under development.“The opening of Shama Hongqiao Shanghai as ONYX Hospitality Group’s 50th operating property in the Asia-Pacific region marks a key milestone for the group,” the senior official said. “Following the setup of ours Greater China regional headquarters in Shanghai earlier this year, ONYX Hospitality Group has made significant progress in China and received positive recognition within the market.”

Another newly launched Shama serviced apartments in mainland China is also in Shanghai, which include the 362-key Shama Changfeng Shanghai, located within the Changfeng Ecology Commercial District. Other recent openings by the hospitality group in the Asia-Pacific include the 429-key Shama Lakeview Asoke Bangkok, following JR Kyushu’s recent acquisition of the Somerset Lake Point Bangkok and its appointment of ONYX Hospitality Group as the management service provider of the property.
It is considered the largest Shama property by number of keys to date as well as the largest property in JR Kyushu’s 16-hotel portfolio and also its first property investment outside Japan.
Apart from the HKB High Flyers Award 2018 recognition, Shama continued to claim its award-winning reputation by bagging the Best Serviced Apartment Operator of Asia award for the sixth year at the recent 2018 AHF Asia Hotel Awards. 

“These awards and accolades serve as an affirmation of the efforts ONYX Hospitality Group has made in Hong Kong and within the Greater China market, and provide strong motivation for its brands to drive towards even greater achievements as the portfolio continues to expand,” Wo said.

Shama Serviced Apartments won the 2018 Hong Kong Business High Flyer Award as Best Serviced Apartments Operator.

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