Berlin/Frankfurt, xx. June 2023.
Project developer GBI Group is expanding its serviced apartment brand family with the new SMARTments connect offering, which is tailored primarily to young professionals. According to the concept, which has now been defined in detail, the company is already building a project in the east of Frankfurt am Main and is examining several other locations. "Our market analyses have shown that precisely this kind of accommodation offer is lacking in numerous cities," says Burak Ünver, Managing Director of SMARTments: "The young generation has a particular need to be sociable in accommodation at their place of work, even during their leisure time, but without wanting to forego a private retreat. To get this combination also at a reasonable price is particularly important for this group of guests."
In the SMARTments connect series concept, in addition to apartments that have their own kitchens, there is also a larger proportion of units without kitchens. Their residents use one of the communal kitchens instead. "Especially after exciting adventure trips in the new city or exhausting days at work, there is a desire for this group of guests to meet new, inspiring people while cooking and eating together. SMARTments connect is designed to allow such casual communication and interaction," explains Burak Ünver, Managing Director SMARTments. The enlarged co-working areas are also part of the special community concept.
At SMARTments connect in Frankfurt's Borsigallee 9, for example, a total of 128 serviced apartments including six communal kitchens, one on each floor, will be built in the Seckbach district by early 2024. "Residents of the apartments with their own kitchens can also enjoy the experience of communal cooking on the floor at any time," says Burak Ünver. "This parallel offering is ideal, for example, for locations where there is a strong start-up supply or many young professionals are pushing into metropolitan areas, but hardly any classic apartments are on offer," says Ünver: "Such gaps in the real estate structure of many cities are filled by our new SMARTments connect concept ideal."
Among guests eligible for SMARTments connect, GBI forecasts shorter lengths of stay than for GBI's SMARTments business brand, which has been established for more than a decade. "While SMARTments business registers an average length of stay of more than one month, SMARTments connect is expected to have a significantly higher share of short- or medium-stay travelers," Ünver said.
And the demand for such overnight accommodations continues to grow. "The flexibilization of the labor market will accelerate significantly," looks ahead Simon Behr, Managing Director of GBI Group: "Advancing digitalization and artificial intelligence, which is influencing more and more professional activities, are changing the structures of the working world at ever shorter intervals. New, exciting jobs and tasks are emerging, while other tasks are being handled by machines. This requires a high degree of flexibility. Anyone who wants to take on the new professional challenges and have exciting experiences in the future will need accommodation options such as SMARTments connect. "In Simon Behr's opinion, such properties will also increasingly be created as part of mixed-use project developments. These are a GBI trademark, combining micro-apartments with, for example, offices, conventional and subsidized housing, daycare centers, senior or assisted living, care facilities, student housing, hotels, commercial units, social amenities (e.g. doctor, pharmacy) and local amenities. "This makes neighborhoods livelier and more future-proof," emphasizes Behr: "And it also improves economic efficiency."
With such offers and the expansion of the SMARTments product family, the GBI Group is therefore not only responding to the increasing demand for micro-apartments among travelers. The new real estate form is also very popular with investors. Aberdeen Standard Investments Deutschland AG (abrdn) acquired SMARTments connect in Frankfurt, which is currently under construction, for a special real estate fund. "Our investment offerings include a mix of promising properties in Germany. SMARTments connect is clearly one of them," said Fabian Klingler, deputy CEO of Aberdeen Standard Investments Deutschland AG. "In fact, such properties are increasingly in demand in major cities."
In Frankfurt and at all other future SMARTments connect, the digitalization strategy that is already fundamental to GBI Group's long-stay offerings will be further deepened. For example, access and usage codes will be sent directly to guests' cell phones when they book. This allows them to access their room at night and, if desired, without personal contact. The SMARTments offers rely on consistent digitization via cooperations with technology companies such as hotelbird, apaleo and Straiv by Code2Order. This relieves SMARTments employees of routine tasks, allowing them to focus on individual guest care and fulfilling special requests that cannot be met digitally.