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Ascott Accelerates Growth In Europe With Portfolio Expansion And Global Partnership With Chelsea Football Club

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Ascott Accelerates Growth In Europe With Portfolio Expansion And Global Partnership With Chelsea Football Club

  • Marks debut of The Unlimited Collection brand and expansion of lyf brand with six new property signings in Europe
  • Enters into multi-year partnership with Chelsea Football Club as the “Official Global Hotels Partner”
  • Operator of stadium hotels to be rebranded as lyf Stamford Bridge London

The Ascott Limited (Ascott), the lodging business unit wholly owned by CapitaLand Investment (CLI), today announced several major milestones in the European market as it accelerates its global expansion strategy. These include the addition of six new properties to its European portfolio, marking the debut of The Unlimited Collection brand and expansion of the lyf brand in the region. Building on a growing demand for Ascott’s suite of brands, these new signings will boost Ascott’s portfolio in Europe by 14% to about 8,000 units across six brands, and extend Ascott’s presence in the region to 29 cities from 24. The five new cities are Colmar in France, as well as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester and Manchester in the United Kingdom.

Ascott and Chelsea ink multi-year global hotels partnership

To further boost Ascott’s visibility in Europe and support its expansive global network, Ascott has entered a strategic multi-year partnership with Chelsea Football Club (Chelsea), becoming the Official Global Hotels Partner of the English Premier League club. Ascott will also assume management of the 232-unit stadium hotels at London’s Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea, from 2H 2024. To be rebranded as lyf Stamford Bridge London in 2H 2025, the properties will be an anchor showcase of Ascott’s hospitality to Chelsea fans from around the world. For more information on the partnership, please refer to the joint news release between Ascott and Chelsea.

Mr Kevin Goh, Chief Executive Officer for Ascott and CLI Lodging, said: “As a global tourism and business hub, Europe plays a key role in Ascott’s expansion plans. The diverse and dynamic nature of its hospitality sector offers plenty of scope for Ascott to drive more successful partnerships with owners. We will achieve this by leveraging Ascott’s flex-hybrid hotel-in-residence model, which is designed to meet the varying needs of owners and guests through a wide selection of brands and customised solutions, backed by experienced teams with deep local knowledge.”

“With five of the six new signings in Europe year to date being conversion projects, Ascott’s established suite of conversion capabilities has already been proven as effective in gaining the confidence of property owners. We expect franchise management to be our next pillar of growth in Europe, where market conditions are conducive for this business segment. For our existing owners, we will continue to deliver sustained value by embarking on asset enhancement initiatives that elevate the stay experiences of guests,” added Mr Goh.

Mr Lee Ngor Houai, Chief Operating Officer, Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA), South Asia and China, Ascott, said: “Our European portfolio has been delivering strong performance, driving average daily rates of almost 30% higher than pre-pandemic levels. In 2023, our properties in Europe far exceeded all other markets in terms of revenue per available unit (RevPAU) and contributed to almost 16% of Ascott’s global revenue. By expanding and strengthening Ascott’s presence in some of Europe’s key markets, we will be better positioned to capture the growth opportunities in Europe and contribute to the region’s thriving tourism sector.”

“Europe also serves as a significant source of guests for Ascott’s extensive network of hotels worldwide. In 2023, travellers from Europe contributed to about 16% of Ascott’s global hospitality business. Riding on Ascott’s expanded portfolio in Europe coupled with increased efforts to build on the brand in the region, we are targeting to almost double this figure to 30% by 2028, placing Europe as a top three source market for Ascott,” added Mr Lee.

Leveraging Partnerships for Expansion of Global Reach

Starting July 2024, Ascott will become the Official Global Hotels Partner of Chelsea for the next four seasons. Leveraging Chelsea’s strong following as one of the world’s 10 most popular football clubs[1], Ascott aims to introduce its extensive portfolio of hospitality brands and properties around the globe to a new catchment of guests.

This partnership will see collaborative efforts in offering “money can’t buy” experiences for members of the Ascott Star Rewards (ASR) loyalty programme worldwide. These include exclusive access to matches at Stamford Bridge and VIP visits to The Blues Cobham Training Ground. The Ascott brand will also be displayed at Stamford Bridge for both Men’s and Women’s matches, as well as across Chelsea’s social and digital channels with engaging content for fans to enjoy. In line with Ascott’s commitment to bring Chelsea closer to its overseas fans, Ascott will become the presenting partner of Chelsea’s flagship international fan engagement event, the Famous CFC, in two international markets.

Ms Tan Bee Leng, Chief Commercial Officer, Ascott, said: “The partnership taps on the strong synergy between Ascott and Chelsea as storied brands with global ambitions and extensive networks. As the Official Global Hotels Partner, Ascott will collaborate with Chelsea on a series of innovative marketing and promotional initiatives to engage with millions of football enthusiasts across Europe and beyond. Leveraging the club’s massive global fanbase of over 600 million[2] people worldwide and its premier position in European football, the partnership will provide unparalleled opportunities for Ascott to bring together the worlds of hospitality and football to curate memorable fan engagement activities, exclusive offers for Chelsea supporters, and bespoke stay experiences at Ascott properties for fans and guests alike.”

“With loyalty as a key driver of growth, we recognise the importance of providing unique and impactful experiences for loyal members of Ascott Star Rewards. Offering exclusive opportunities to attend coveted events like Premier League football matches, major tennis tournaments, and other high-profile activities not only enhances travel experiences but also deepens guests’ connection with our brands. In line with the brand promise of ASR to ‘Stay Rewarded’, these extraordinary experiences represent Ascott’s commitment to foster a sense of belonging and appreciation that is inherently rewarding for our guests,” added Ms Tan.

Building Loyalty for Growth

Tapping on the growing priority that travellers place on exclusive experiences, Ascott organised the first of its series of global events as part of the Ascott Privilege Signatures programme. Held in London, over 80 guests from across its platinum tier of ASR members and esteemed owners were treated to a stay at The Cavendish London and an experience at The Championships, Wimbledon 2024, where they enjoyed debenture/court access to view the Men’s and Women’s third round of finals on 6 July. More events are in the pipeline to delight ASR members and ramp up ASR memberships.

Please refer to Annex A for more information on exclusive Chelsea experiences for ASR members, and Annex B for Ascott’s new signings, property openings and asset enhancement initiatives in Europe.

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