EXCLUSIVE: Why Quest needed to change

Hannah Edensor

Just over a week after Quest Serviced Apartments relaunched as ‘Quest Apartment Hotels’, we decided to get the lowdown on the industry by speaking exclusively to Quest ceo Zed Sanjana.

And what an industry it is, with Airbnb, online travel agents, and a competitive landscape – all vying for the modern business traveller.

“Customer needs are changing, and expectations are shifting, and our brand is evolving to become relevant for them,” Sanjana told The Nibbler.

“Everyone is talking about the millennial traveller, the travellers in their 20s and early 30s, but we want to extend beyond that.

Sanjana calls it a “millennial mindset”, which he says is a way of approaching the market and slotting their needs into a renovated hotel landscape.

“Millennials will be 78% of the workforce in 20 years’ time,” Sanjana said. “And they are a much more sophisticated customer than 20 years ago.”

“They want and need to travel. They’re driven by experience, driven by sharing, they’re connected, and they’re looking to determine their experience themselves.”

“They also have access to a lot more infrastructure to make their decisions than ever before.”

With all this in mind, Sanjana says this is a positive sign for Quest, as their position as an apartment hotel gives millennial travellers the chance to determine their own experience post check-in.

“Apartment hotels give a different type of experience than a person checking in to a hotel,” Sanjana told The Nibbler.

“They can cook for themselves, have their family stay with them, get a cappuccino from the local place downstairs that we’ve recommended, live like a local – they are masters of their own destiny.”

And Sanjana believes Quest has “no standout competitor”, adding that the franchise is in “every CBD, suburban and regional market.”

Talking about Airbnb, Sanjana told The Nibbler that while the home-sharing disruptor is “good at what they do”, what they don’t do is the ‘beyond booking experience’.

“They’re [Airbnb] good at technical experiences and are good booking channels,” Sanjana said.

“But beyond the booking experience they don’t have the ability to check in with the guests once they’ve actually checked-in, and that’s our advantage.”

“The OTAs and Airbnb don’t drive demand, and don’t create their own inventory.”

“Our game is to make customers warm to our brand, create that stickiness of our brand.”

“A customer is always going to judge you on their worst experience not their best. We’re playing to our strengths.”

And with a “robust pipeline” with a “number of sites around Melbourne and Sydney” in the works, not to mention outside Australia working with The Ascott Limited, Quest is showing no signs of slowing down.