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Ascott transforms digital ecosystem to support expansion

Released at: 20:16, 27/05/2019

Ascott transforms digital ecosystem to support expansion

Photo: The Ascott Limited

CapitaLand's lodging unit to embark on digital ecosystem transformation to support rapidly-expanding global lodging portfolio.

by Jessica Nguyen

CapitaLand’s wholly-owned lodging unit, The Ascott Limited (Ascott), is embarking on a digital ecosystem transformation to support its rapidly-expanding global lodging portfolio. Ascott aims to drive revenue growth, improve operational efficiency, and enhance value to its customers and business partners through a comprehensive front-to-backend systems makeover.

In addition to its launch of Ascott Star Rewards, the world’s first loyalty program in the serviced residence industry to offer full flexibility to earn and redeem points, Ascott is adopting a new revenue management system as well as updating its backend global property management system to a cloud-based system.

“Ascott has grown its global portfolio at a compound annual growth rate of 32 per cent over the past four years,” said Mr. Kevin Goh, Ascott’s CEO. “2018 was a record year, with the addition of over 30,000 units, extending our footprint to over 170 cities in more than 30 countries and territories. For every 10,000 serviced residence units signed, we are expecting to earn approximately $18 million in fee income annually as the properties progressively open and stabilize. In 2018 alone, total operational units contributed $136 million in fee income. As we continue to grow our asset-light business model through management contracts and franchise deals to achieve Ascott’s target of 160,000 units globally by 2023, the ability to expand and multiply efficiently is paramount. Technology is therefore a critical enabler to succor this rapid expansion and boost our multiple revenue streams.”

As part of its transformational journey to digitalize its business from the core, Ascott is upgrading to a cloud Property Management System. This will allow Ascott to seamlessly interface with new systems as it scales its business and to consolidate guest and reservation data across all properties. To better predict customer demand and maximize revenue growth, Ascott is the first in Asia to adopt a revenue management system tailored for the long-stay business, with IDeaS, a leading revenue management solutions provider.

Ascott’s other digital initiatives underway include using advanced emotion analysis of guest reviews to identify customer insights for operations, marketing, and branding strategies, and an enhanced Customer Relationship Management system for Ascott’s sales workforce to access and capture information on corporate clients on their mobile devices on the move while managing leads. Ascott has also introduced service robots in China to perform a suite of tasks, including providing concierge services, leading guests to their rooms or facilities at the property, delivering clean laundry and packages, and refilling room supplies. This has increased productivity by about 40 per cent, allowing Ascott staff to spend more time interacting with guests. Ascott also offers the use of self check-in kiosk with facial recognition at Ascott Orchard Singapore, which has reduced check-in times for guests from five minutes at the front office to two minutes at the kiosk. Ascott is the first serviced residence company to adopt self check-in kiosks with facial recognition, with plans to roll them out to its properties around the world.

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