Breaking Travel News

Breaking Travel News interview: Olga Rodellar, company director, Habitat Apartments

Breaking Travel News interview: Olga Rodellar, company director, Habitat Apartments Olga Rodellar, company director, Habitat Apartments talks to Breaking Travel News ahead of the World Travel Awards Europe Gala Ceremony 2016

Home to tourist apartments across some of Europe’s most exciting destinations, Habitat Apartments is ideally placed to capture an increasing share of the growing long-stay hospitality market.

Winner of the title of Spain’s Leading Serviced Apartment Brand at the World Travel Awards in 2015, and seeking to defend the title this year, Breaking Travel News editor Chris O’Toole sits down with company director Olga Rodellar what separates the brand from its competitors.

Breaking Travel News: Habitat Apartments was recognised as Spain’s Leading Serviced Apartment Brand by the World Travel Awards last year. How important was this for the brand?

Olga Rodellar: We are very pleased and proud to have been recognised in 2015, a second time in a row, as Spain’s Leading Serviced Apartment Brand by the World Travel Awards.

Habitat Apartments was one of the first companies that started operations in the sector of tourist apartments, starting its activity in Barcelona in 2001 and we have always invested our efforts in differentiating ourselves in quality of accommodation and service.

We have always aimed for top ten accommodation especially created for customers looking for high quality features.

Our objective is to provide quality over quantity, so we are not necessarily looking to provide a high number of apartments, rather to ensure the level of quality of the apartments we do offer.

We feel that for this reason we have received the World Travel Awards which of course is a great honour for us.

Habitat Apartments’ main focus since starting 15 years ago has always been customer satisfaction, it being our greatest motivation.

This award honours us greatly and drives us even more to continue improving.

Many of our regular customers have congratulated us on receiving such an honorary award as this and it is a reflection of all our efforts in this direction.

We also hope for this again in the 2016 edition!

Habitat Apartments is looking to make it a hat-rick of victories at the World Travel Awards in 2016

BTN: You are nominated again this year, with the winners set to be revealed at the Europe Gala Ceremony in Antalya, Turkey, in August. What are you doing to encourage members of the international hospitality community to vote for Habitat Apartments?

OR: The apartments which we exclusively manage offer an above average level of quality and we could dare to say the same for the customer service we provide as well.

We always want to differentiate ourselves in the quality of accommodation, the service provided, the capacity to accommodate different clients from couples up to large families and the locations of the apartments.

We do not want to offer accommodation only in a few parts of the city, but we want to offer apartments in the most important as well as diverse areas.

Tourists usually want to be in good areas which can vary depending on their preferences; some want to be in Paseo de Gracia or the Gothic Quarter, others prefer to be in the area of Fira de Barcelona, others near the sea front, the demand is very wide.

We are there in the important, demanded and prestigious areas offering serviced apartments.

Once again I would add that it is very important to have good quality as well as area diversity as required by the client.

It is also very important for the client to find apartments “made to measure”.

For example, a family of four would not need an apartment with five rooms, with two-or-three rooms they would be happy.

However when larger families come with children, parents and grandparents there may be ten family members and would need an apartment with four or five rooms, we can also assist in these cases.

We also have the privilege to advise each family on what they may require, from one bedroom apartments up to five bedroom properties.

BTN: Long-stay, serviced apartments have been one of the fastest growing and most competitive sectors of the accommodation market in recent years. What is it that separates Habitat Apartments from the competition in this field?

OR: With our long-stay apartments we distinguish ourselves from competition in the same way in which we differ with our short stay apartments, this being the quality of accommodation we provide, the quality of service we give to our customers and how well we treat business clients.

For our loyal business clients, we offer them the best price for their stay with us.

For these reasons 95 per cent of our customers decide to return to stay with us.

We offer them, as well as what was mentioned before, quality serviced apartments in convenient locations in several areas of the city favourable for business clients (near where they work, for example).

On the other hand, clients can enjoy more space and comfort than with a hotel room.

Other advantages for businesses include the different capacity of our apartments as well as the benefit of using the apartment as both a working and living space, a good option for longer stays given the fact that an apartment offers a complete comfortable space.

Moreover, two to five bedroom apartments are a convenient alternative for stays for a group of business colleagues who are travelling for work events and long stays, basically as a more economic option than separate hotel rooms or separate apartments.

Habitat Apartments offers the finest long-stay properties in Barcelona

BTN: Last time you were optimistic about the future of European tourism. How would you characterise the situation in the summer of 2016? Is this a positive time for the region?

OR: Spain is one of the most visited countries according to global statistics, especially evident in the summer.

Tourists come to see Spain’s impressive cities, the diverse beaches, the coastline and the islands.

We are fortunate to offer apartments in some destinations which have high demand through the summer months of June, July and August.

In Barcelona we have an exceptional destination, where the sea greatly increases the demand for the city during its “long summer”, from April to October, attracting tourists seeking sun and sea.

As well as this, Barcelona offers a lot to see and experience all through the year including the outstanding work of Gaudi, Montjuic, museums, the Gothic Quarter and Born area, sea side dining, attractive boulevards, parks, and water sports.

Tourists can enjoy a vacation combining culture and relaxation.

Thanks to its climate, culture, architecture and charming areas, Barcelona benefits from a long summer and high season.

Other European destinations where we work, like Italian cities Rome, Venice and Florence, or Amsterdam in the Netherlands, summer is also good for tourism as the warmer weather attracts tourists.

Furthermore many tourists take advantage of the summer to take a longer vacation to tour various European destinations.

BTN: Do you have any new properties on the horizon you can reveal to our audience here at Breaking Travel News?

Yes, we are looking at new horizons! In Barcelona, where we have more apartment choice, we are limited on growth due to legal restrictions with tourist apartments.

We have growth plans outside of Spain and specifically we are currently working hard to launch a new city.

We are in the process of researching the market and legalities for opening a magnificent building of serviced apartments in the centre of this city.

It is a great place for me, emotionally speaking, since it is actually where, 15 years ago, the idea of opening Habitat Apartments in Barcelona came about.

I cannot reveal the city now but I hope that within a year’s time I will be able to.