As a leading Asian Proptech start-up, Flat Monthly is already making serious inroads into the medium and long term accommodation market for corporates and executive travel.
More specifically, the model of fully furnished apartments combined with virtual concierge services is proving a real threat to incumbent service apartment operators.
The company has already seen a shift in clients away from traditional accommodation alternatives to the Flat Monthly model, in a similar way that businesses are shifting to the other flexible, cost-effective operating options like weworks and SAAS solutions.
Without the limitation of arduous management agreements and long lead construction times, the company is scaling fast into this growing market, where customer demands high-quality accommodation, at affordable pricing, on flexible terms.
Flat Monthly can deliver compelling solutions for business travelers, saving up to 35% on their accommodation needs. It does this by offering new or near new condominiums, fully furnished and equipped, with a virtual concierge.
The concierge service called “Howie” can arrange everything from cleaning, laundry, a driver, a rental car, moving services, and fast track immigration.
One of the issues in the market is that most serviced apartments are licensed to operate nightly accommodation.
Therefore, given the relative attractiveness of selling high yielding nightly rates, compared to lower-yielding monthly rates, it is generally more profitable for serviced apartments to operate a more nightly business than monthly stays.
This is great for them, but it means that they are failing to service corporates and executives with cost-effective solutions for medium-term stays.
Of course my comments are generalizations, but they are representative of the current market in many Asian cities.
Like serviced apartment operators, Flat Monthly also sees a strong trend in mobile workers, consultants, project teams and temporary placements in the region.
This is fueling demand for flexible medium term accommodation.
The ironic thing is that there are thousands and thousands of high quality condominiums vacant that are looking for rental customers.
The Flat Monthly model is essentially taking that un-utilised inventory and making it revenue generating for its owner.
The result of creating these virtual serviced apartments has the potential to crush the serviced apartment market, in a similar way to how Airbnb is disrupting the hotel market.