Developing The Business Travel Market For Think Apartments (Case Study)

Business Issue
Sunlight Apartments approached McCallum Layton in early 2008 with an ambitious aim – to be the UK’s premier provider of serviced apartments by 2010. Their serviced apartments are designed to offer business and leisure travellers a stylish, comfortable, fully furnished alternative to staying in hotels, for stays from 1 day to 1 year, and at a price which can compete with hotel room rates.

Research was needed to feed into all areas of their strategy – marketing activities, ‘product’ provision, operations and the
re-branding of the company. Strategically, refreshing the brand and growing their revenue from the business travel market were priorities but, to do this effectively, the team at Sunlight Apartments (now Think Apartments) first needed to better understand the market – what customers want, how they buy, how to target them and, critically, how they could be motivated to consider serviced apartments as a viable alternative to hotels.

Our Approach
It was critical for the Marketing Team that the research should provide some hard figures upon which they could forecast sales and target their activities, so we carried out initial desk research, sourcing data which allowed them to build up a profile of business travellers. The challenge was then to understand the needs of three key client groups – Travel Management Companies (who source and book accommodation on behalf of corporate clients), aggregators (third-party distributors) and corporate travel buyers.

The qualitative research that followed was challenging from the outset, not only in terms of tracking down business buyers of corporate travel (who hold myriad different roles within different companies) but in persuading corporate contacts to give up precious time to share information and opinions.

Based on our research findings, Sunlight Apartments was
re-branded to Think Apartments and was successfully launched.

Insights from the research have been influential in guiding the design of new marketing materials, as well as helping to focus the design of the apartments themselves. Location, for example, was found to be the key criteria for corporate travel buyers when choosing accommodation. In response to this, Think Apartments’ advertising showcases breathtaking aerial shots of London, highlighting the close proximity of the apartments to some of London’s most visited areas, and has already helped their business grow by 14% in 2008 with pre-bookings for 2009 already at 70% of 2008 annual levels (as of February 2009).

Stewart Moore, Group Marketing Director at Think Apartments says: “Following the research, we were able to more accurately identify key targets and adjust the message within the exhibition space which has already helped drive very strong pre-bookings for 2009 and ahead of expectations especially given the current economic climate.”

To find out more about Think Apartments, visit: