As star hotel room tariffs skyrocket and getting a room becomes more and more difficult, a new genre of serviced apartments has emerged as a cost effective alternative for business travellers to Bangalore.
 
These apartments offer the flexibility associated with short-term accommodation, avoiding long-term commitments and largely cater to corporates, business travellers, tourists, expatriates and their families.
 
In all about 600 to 800 serviced apartments are operational and another 800 to 1,000 serviced apartments with an expected investment of Rs 500 to 600 crore are in various stage of development in the city, said Shivram Malakala, director of Habitat Ventures, a property consulting firm.
 
Serviced-apartments in Bangalore at present are operated by apartment owners or builders who usually offer entire apartments with upto 3 bedrooms or studio units or in some cases, shared apartments.
 
The tariffs for serviced apartments in Bangalore ranges between Rs 1,500 per day for one-bedroom/studio units, to Rs 6,000 plus per day for a 3-bedroom apartment.
 
According to Cushman Wakefield, an international property consultant, currently there are about 15 professionally managed serviced apartments which include Homestead, Chalet, Sterling Suits and Halcyon.
 
These are in up-market residential areas like Lavelle Road, Langford Town, Brunton Road, Vittal Mallya Road, Airport road and Indiranagar.
 
As the city is expanding to the north, several new centres are likely to come up in peripheral areas such as Whitefield, Bellary Road and Hebbal.
 
Sensing a business opportunity, global names like Oakwood, Marriott and Shangri-La are looking for local partners to set up serviced apartments.
 
Prominent hospitality brands have not yet entered the serviced apartment sector in Bangalore.
 
The advent of international brands like Oakwood and Ascott, which aim to launch the service soon, will lead to greater competition, and possibly improve service and product quality.
 
Occupancy levels in Bangalore for serviced apartments are said to be around 90 per cent, indicating latent demand.
 
There is a large unorganised service apartments market in the city, driven by individual households.
 
According to Knight Frank, another international property consultant which did a survey of the hospitality industry, "The occupancy level in Bangalore ranges between 80-90 per cent as business travellers are lured to them by both cost and comfort."
 
Competing with serviced apartments are companies like Infosys who have set up their own in-house hotel complexes on their campus in Bangalore in order to cut costs.

Source:Buisness Standard, Contributed by:Anil Urs / Bangalore April 24, 2007

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